Gallery Layout Plan and Final Thoughts

This floor plan is just to illustrate that ideally I would like to have two sections to my exhibit: video and print. The divided sections would allow for different lighting settings since video likes to be in the dark, while prints need to be lit.layout3d

Here is an example of the planned print layout. Each column features songs from the same musical artist. I would love to have as many prints as the space allowed, wrapping around the walls. I think what is most interesting about this project is the differences in song prints across musical artists, as well as similarities within each musical artist set.

wallLayout

Here are some interesting qualities I have noted in a previous post:

(from left to right)

Kishi Bashi: Many white strokes. With highlights of blues, teals, purples, and yellows. Extremely wavy/stringy.
Absolutely makes me think of Kishi Bashi. He plays the violin and utilizes a loop pedal. (Amazing artist if you haven’t listened to him yet).

ZZ Top: Lots of pink, purple, and red! Strokes/colors are pretty even throughout the song.
These selections of songs have a steady rhythm and tonality, which could probably explain the consistency of strokes.

Nujabes: Boxy strokes. Bold colors. Black accent lines.
The most interesting thing about Nujabes is the boxy strokes. I have not encountered another artist with this pattern yet.

Snoop Dogg: Distinct vertical bands of color (mainly blue, green, red, and yellow). Very jagged strokes.
This is probably due to the rhythmic variation throughout the song. Also, the loops used to make the beats can come from a variety of selections.

Emiliana Torrini: Mostly vertical strokes. Lots of white, with highlights of pink and yellow.
She probably produced the most consistent outputs. The songs on her album Fisherman’s Woman do mostly consist of soft gentle beats, so I feel like these images are very suiting.

I would still really like to play around with my color algorithm to including the range of the frequency spectrum. Throughout the past few weeks I shifted my focus to the creating my prints, and making sure they work on three viewing distances. This was also my first time working with prints, so I was unaware about how much is lost in translation from the screen to print. This was definitely a good learning experience though! And now I know a lot more of what to look out for in the future.

Final Song Painting Print Experiments

So one comment that I received during the previous critique was the lines were pretty jagged. I realized that this would be easily solved by using curveVertex() instead of vertex() in Processing .

Here was the resulting image:

sdm_closeupCurves

Another suggestion I received was that the image did get a bit busy. So I experimented a bit, having the program draw only every other beat with a smaller line in the middle (double stroke).

sdm_closeupCurvesEO4

I did like this a little better, but I disliked how thick the single stroke (one without the overlayed middle line) looked. So I decided to do a few tests on varying this thickness. The above thickness is 4.

Single stroke (width = 1):

sdm_closeupCurvesEO1

Single stroke (width = 2):

sdm_closeupCurvesEO2

Single stroke (width = 3):

sdm_closeupCurvesEO3

Ultimately, I ended up settling with the single stroke line with a width of 2. And a double stroke line with widths of 1 and 4. I liked the new variations in strokes. The effect was subtle, but added just another detail that can only been seen at a closer level.

After reviewing my print tests, I realized that a lot of the purple in my original image was no longer showing up. After struggling a bit, I learned about the gamut warning in Photoshop.

Here is my previous brightness test print. The yellow displays all unprintable colors. So once I raised the brightness to account for how dark the printer, a lot of color information was lost.

gamutWarning

This was a pretty easy fix, by just converting my image to use a CMYK color profile.

I did a few more test prints using varying brightness/contrast for optimal image adjustment information for the four songs I picked from different musical artists.

Along the x-axis I have varying values of adjustment for contrast levels in increments of 20. Along the y-axis I have varying values of adjustment for brightness levels in increments of 10.

bcTest_burst

bcTest_feather

bcTest_sharpdressedman

bcTest_whoami

Here are the printed results (apologies for the bad cell phone picture):

IMAG0507

The differences were very subtle (even harder to see in the photograph, I’ll try to put a better quality photo up in the future), but I ended up settling with a 40 brightness level increase and a 40 contrast level increase (fourth row from the top, third column). It will be nice to keep these for future reference.

After making the appropriate adjustments, I was ready for final prints!

Here are the four final images (I would take pictures of them, but without a proper camera, the quality wouldn’t do it justice):

burst_final
Kishi Bashi – It All Began With a Burst
feather_final
Nujabes – Feather
sharpdressedman_final
ZZ Top – Sharp Dressed Man
whoami_final
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Who Am I

Mountings at Hobby Lobby ended up to be MUCH more expected than what others had mentioned in class. So, I only had one done. There has been talk that Copy Center is cheaper, so I either plan on checking their prices or try to do it myself.

Song Painting Initial Printing Tests

Alright, so I know I’m a bit behind on my updates for this past semester.

Here is some copy pasta from my Generative Art specific blog, documenting my test prints/algorithm adjustments for my generative art final.

First, I set up some test prints. I had heard from Catherine that the printer in the print lab tends to print a bit darker.

I set up a photoshop layer with different layers. Each image had a varying brightness level adjusted by the amount indicated to the right.

brightnessTest01

Here is a scan of the printed result:

brightnessTestScan

I know that the scan has probably lost some of the actual color information, but the prints were noticeably darker than the digital version. I continued to use this as a key for future prints.

My first print: I printed “Sharp Dressed Man” at full resolution, with in retrospect was rather small (18×10 inches at 300 pixels/inch).

Feedback I received was to print at a larger scale, and research various ways to accomplish this in Processing.

So here is some information I found at saving high resolution images from Processing:

PDF Export: “The PDF library makes it possible to write PDF files directly from Processing. These vector graphics files can be scaled to any size and output at very high resolutions.”

PGraphics (#16 on 25 Life Saving Tips for Processing by Amnon): “…create[s] a high resolution copy of the regular draw() loop.”

I ended up sticking with the PDF Export, that way I could scale the image to whatever resolution I needed for printing. But the PGraphics “hack” does seem like a good alternative once I settle on the exact resolution I want for my prints.

I ended up making my print as big as the Print Lab in our department allowed me (which was approximately around 43×24 in).

The print did result in some valid feedback from my review in class.

Unfortunately, I currently do not have a great camera, so I cannot take a decent picture of the actual print.

But here is a snippet of my print that shows a good indication of the problem.

sdm_closeup01

Although the individual lines are actually quite crisp, due to the quantity and transparency of the strokes, the resulting printed image looks blurry when viewed at a closer distance.

Phil gave very good advice that a print should work at three distances: across the room, a few feet away, and up close. He said that I accomplished the first two, now just have to find a way to reward the viewer when they view my piece at a super close distance.

So I got some feedback to try overlaying a smaller line over the stroke to perhaps regain a sense of depth in the print, and add more visual interest at a closer viewing point.

Here are some tests:

I printed one line (strokeWidth = 4) and a second line (strokeWidth = 1) both at an alpha level equal to half of my original, this way the middle line would result in the full original alpha value.

sharpdressedman_pi00

 

I printed one line (strokeWidth = 4) and a second line (strokeWidth = 1) both at an alpha level equal to my original, this way the middle line would result in twice the full original alpha value.

sdm_closeup02

 

Yay! This actually made a huge difference! The sound waves were much better defined. I decided to print this version of my line strokes in a full print to get more feedback.

Spectrograms!

As I had stated in a previous post, I realized the best first step to adjusting my color algorithm was to look at the actual input I was feeding into it! This is something I really should have done when I originally started running into issues.

Using Processing, I produced full spectrograms of three contrasting songs.

feather_freqFull
Spectrogram, Nujabes, “Feather”
heartstopper_freqFull
Spectrogram, Emiliana Torrini, “Heartstopper”
paranoia_freqFull
Spectrogram, The Avett Brothers, “Paranoia in B Flat Major”

After viewing these outputs, it is obvious that I was getting muddied results due to the fact that I was using a linear distribution when averaging.

Screenshot from 2013-11-10 13:44:07
Close-up of Spectrogram, Nujabes, “Feather”

These results also pointed out how much my current color algorithm excludes out of the frequency spectrum. I was only using the first three bands, which correspond to the bottom three rows (easier to distinguish in the close-up).

I read through the Minim documentation more closely, and found a function called logAverages that will group frequency bands by octaves. The logarithmically spaced averages correlate more closely to how humans perceive sound than the linearly spaced averages (that I was using initially).

feather_logFreq
Spectrogram with Logarithmically Spaced Averages, Nujabes, “Feather”
heartstopper_logFreq
Spectrogram with Logarithmically Spaced Averages, Emiliana Torrini, “Heartstopper”
paranoia_logFreq
Spectrogram with Logarithmically Spaced Averages, The Avett Brothers, “Paranoia in B Flat Major”

Using logarithmically spaced averages shows a more clear difference between the songs, though the latter third of the octaves are still similar. I will take this consideration when I start composing a new color algorithm.

Final Project Proposal: Technical Details and Projected Schedule

So, for my final project I’d like to revisit my music paintings from the chance-based system project.

My color algorithm was a happy accident. However, it only incorporated a small section of the frequency spectrum.

My initial experiments of utilizing the full frequency spectrum resulted in very muddy images. And unfortunately, I ran out of time, so I went back to my previous algorithm.

For my final project, I would like the resulting colors in the paintings to carry more meaning. I would like to be able to answer questions concerning the color. Like, why are ZZ Top’s music paintings primarily purple? What characteristics in the song cause it to be so?

To do this, my first step will be taking a closer look at the FFT graphs of songs over time. This will allow me to see what is the actual input I’m using in my color function, giving me a better understanding of what is happening. I also have a very loose understanding of sound and FFT analysis. I feel like studying this would also give me a greater comprehension of the technical aspect of music.

I found a paper entitled “Time-frequency Analysis of Musical Rhythm” by Xiaowen Cheng, Jarod V. Hart, and James S. Walker. I haven’t really read through it quite yet, but one of the diagrams seemed very applicable.

spectrograms
Time-frequency Analysis of Musical Rhythm, Xiaowen Cheng, Jarod V. Hart, and James S. Walker

I would also like to go through Diego Bañuelos’s Beyond the Spectrum of Music: An Exploration through Spectral Analysis of Sound Color in the Alban Berg Violin Concerto.

banuelos
Diego Bañuelos, Beyond the Spectrum of Music: An Exploration through Spectral Analysis of Sound Color in the Alban Berg Violin Concerto

To help keep myself on track, here is a projected schedule of what I’m planning on doing each week till the final project presentation.

Week 11:

  • Create various spectrograms of contrasting/similar songs (See former post for song choices).
  • Begin analysis of spectrograms
  • Test prints of existing color algorithms (considering varying scales and types of paper).

Week 12:

  • Start composing new color algorithm based on correlations found in spectrograms.
  • Tweak line density/thickness/opacity depending on test prints.
  • More test prints using new line distribution.

Week 13:

  • Finalize color algorithm/line distributions from previous week testing.
  • More test prints for color matching.

Week 14:

  • Create ideal gallery floor plan.
  • Final prints.
  • Final video.

Chance Based System Gallery (plus Video Sample!) and Final Thoughts

My ideal gallery presentation:

Imagine you walk into the first room of the exhibit. There are a few benches (comfortable of course) in front a huge screen. The following videos (along with all the pieces in the exhibit) are playing on loop.

You walk through an open door to the main exhibit. Prints of the final pieces are displayed in a grid pattern (like the previous post). Pieces with the same input artist are placed adjacent to each other in a row. Rows are then stacked up on top of each other to encourage comparison.

I didn’t get to talk about it much during class, but I definitely like thinking of each sound wave as a brush stroke made by the musical artist. If you refer to the previous post, there are some distinct characteristics between the output strokes across each artist. It would be interesting to further investigate more into the properties of sound waves. And what characteristics of the music correlate to the type, color, opacity, frequency of each brush stroke.

Here is some speculation about each artist and their image output (again, you may want to refer to the previous post).

The Avett Brothers: Lots of variation in color and brush stroke throughout duration of the song.
I feel this is very indicative to the progression in the music itself. I feel like The Avett Brothers have many crescendos in their music.

Kishi Bashi: Many white strokes. With highlights of blues, teals, purples, and yellows. Extremely wavy/stringy.
Absolutely makes me think of Kishi Bashi. He plays the violin and utilizes a loop pedal. (Amazing artist if you haven’t listened to him yet).

Nujabes: Boxy strokes. Bold colors. Black accent lines.
The most interesting thing about Nujabes is the boxy strokes. I have not encountered another artist with this pattern yet.

Emiliana Torrini: Mostly vertical strokes. Lots of white, with highlights of pink and yellow.
She probably produced the most consistent outputs. The songs on her album Fisherman’s Woman do mostly consist of soft gentle beats, so I feel like these images are very suiting.

Snoop Dogg: Distinct vertical bands of color (mainly blue, green, red, and yellow). Very jagged strokes.
This is probably due to the rhythmic variation throughout the song. Also, the loops used to make the beats can come from a variety of selections.

ZZ Top: Lots of pink, purple, and red! Strokes/colors are pretty even throughout the song.
These selections of songs have a steady rhythm and tonality, which could probably explain the consistency of strokes.

I had a lot of fun working on this project. I would love to continue further exploration later down the line (potentially for my final project for generative art). =]

Chance Based System Final (as of now)

The following changes were made to my final system:
– Alpha of the stroke is based on the level of the soundwave. The louder the soundwave, the more opaque the stroke.
– Strokes are no longer drawn back and forth from top to bottom. I decided to draw the waves consistently from top to bottom. That way the repetition in sound waves is more noticeable as the line are draw parallel to each other. This increases the chance of bands forming.
– Boundary conditions are now handled as a wrap around. Before, there was an issue of a wave being stuck on the side for some time, before a wave of greater amplitude pushed it out of the corner. Now the waves are able to travel more freely.
– I was also have an issue of a line forming at the top of the image (this was more prominent in some songs more than others). This was an issue due an error in the definition of my starting point.
– The maximum amplitude of the mid and high frequency bands are now influencing the color by adding some variation.

Chance Based System, Iteration X, The Avett Brothers, "Go to Sleep"
The Avett Brothers: “Go to Sleep”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Kishi Bashi, "Manchester"
Kishi Bashi: “Manchester”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Nujabes, "Feather"
Nujabes: “Feather”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Emiliana Torrini, "Heartstopper"
Emiliana Torrini: “Heartstopper”
Snoop Dogg, "Ain't No Fun"
Snoop Dogg: “Ain’t No Fun”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, ZZ Top, "Gimme All Your Lovin'"
ZZ Top: “Gimme All Your Lovin'”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, The Avett Brothers, “Paranoia in B Flat Major”
“Paranoia in B Flat Major”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Kishi Bashi, "I am the Antichrist to You"
“I am the Antichrist to You”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Nujabes, "Flowers"
“Flowers”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Emiliana Torrini, "Nothing Brings Me Down"
“Nothing Brings Me Down”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Snoop Dogg, "Gin and Juice"
“Gin and Juice”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, ZZ Top, "Legs"
“Legs”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, The Avett Brothers, "Shame"
“Shame”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Kishi Bashi, "It All Began with a Burst"
“It All Began with a Burst”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Nujabes, "Luv Part III"
“Luv Part III”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Emiliana Torrini, "Sunny Road"
“Sunny Road”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, Snoop Dogg, "Who Am I"
“Who Am I”
Chance Based System, Iteration X, ZZ Top, "Shar Dressed Man"
“Sharp Dressed Man”

Struggles with Mid and High Frequency Bands

First attempts with mid and high frequency bands went poorly. I had ran through a selection of songs to gather data on maximum values for the low, mid, and high sections of bands so that I could normalize each band value from 0 to 255. However, I was getting strange results where there was hardly any variance in the stroke’s color.

Chance Based System, Iteration VII, Nujabes, "Feather"
Chance Based System, Iteration VII, Nujabes, “Feather”
Chance Based System, Iteration VII, Hospitality, "Eight Avenue"
Chance Based System, Iteration VII, Hospitality, “Eight Avenue”
Chance Based System, Iteration VII, Ella Fitzgerald, "Lullaby of Birdland"
Chance Based System, Iteration VII, Ella Fitzgerald, “Lullaby of Birdland”

After I stepped away from my program for a while, I came back to realize a simple error. For data collection, I had set to look for the max value of each band (low, mid, and high) for the duration of the entire song. However, I forgot to reset this value for each wave drawn when ready for the actual generative art process. Thus, the color stroke would change only if the current max value exceeded the previous max value. Totally makes sense how towards the end of the song, the image would flatten into one color!

Unfortunately, even after this error was fixed, I was still unhappy with the results across songs.

Chance Based System, Iteration VIII, Hospitality, "Eight Avenue"
Chance Based System, Iteration VIII, Hospitality, “Eight Avenue”
Chance Based System, Iteration VIII, Snoop Dogg, "Gin and Juice"
Chance Based System, Iteration VIII, Snoop Dogg, “Gin and Juice”
Chance Based System, Iteration VIII, Kishi Bashi, "Manchester"
Chance Based System, Iteration VIII, Kishi Bashi, “Manchester”
Chance Based System, Iteration VIII, ZZ Top, "Sharp Dressed Man"
Chance Based System, Iteration VIII, ZZ Top, “Sharp Dressed Man”

I was very unhappy with these results. Colors ended up much too dark. And there wasn’t a whole lot of variation across songs.  At this point I decided to see what kind of results I could get out of the HSV color space.

Chance Based System, Iteration IX, Hospitality, "Eight Avenue"
Chance Based System, Iteration IX, Hospitality, “Eight Avenue”

Although the colors looked very interesting together, I came across the same problem. There was not a whole lot of variation across songs. I accidentally overwrote some images, so Hospitality’s “Eight Avenue” is currently the only image output from this system. I will add another example once I finish with my update.

Ultimately, after fighting my system over a period of a few days, I realized that I was quite happy with my original color algorithm. So I went back to my old system, and decided to fine tune that for my final display.

Chance Based System Post-Critique Thoughts

So, I had my In-Progress Critique in class today for my music input chance based system. I thought I’d organize my thoughts/goals for the upcoming week.

  • Color Algorithm:
    Definitely going through with my plan to normalize the amplitudes of each frequency band, and pull my RBG channel values from the low, mid, and high frequency bands. In order to properly normalize each band, I think I will need to  find the maximum amplitude of each band across all songs I plan to use in my final piece.
  • Opacity Algorithm:
    I had been using the average amplitude of the low frequencies. Instead, I would also like to utilize the normalized bands. Perhaps using the average amplitude across the entire spectrum, or maybe a summation of amplitudes of the low, mid, and high band.
  • Behavior Pattern Investigation:
    Phil pointed out to me that thing he found most interesting about each piece is the vertical bands of color that appear. Although I feel like this is mainly due to serendipity of the pattern of consecutive beats in the song and the wavelengths having a small amplitude (thus less vertical movement), I feel this is worth further investigation. Also, it would be good to be able to reason why certain behavior appears.
  • Final Presentation:
    I really liked the idea of having a bunch of still images, as well as a video demonstrating the program as it draws in real time along to the song.
    As my main goal was to demonstrate a visual difference between different artists, it would be good to select approximately five artists of different genres. And in order to demonstrate consistency, I would use three songs from each artist.
    I’m having some difficulty choosing genres/artists, but right now I’m leaning towards indie (Kishi Bashi), hip-hop/jazz (Nujabes), rap (Snoop Dog), folk (The Avett Brothers), and rock (ZZ Top). That being said, I have a lot of favorite artists and wide taste in music, so don’t be surprised if these change. I definitely want to keep it to three songs per artist though!

All in all! I am really happy with my progress so far, and I am excited to see what comes!

Chance Based System: More Songs!

So for the sake of tomorrow’s critique (and my own curiosity and enthusiasm), I have run a diverse selection of songs through my program! Here are a few of my favorites. I will admit I got a little overzealous. I have also included a link to each image’s input song in the caption if you are unfamiliar with the song.

Chance Based System, Iteration VI, Nujabes, “Feather”

 

Chance Based System, Iteration VI, Pink Martini, "Hey Eugene"
Chance Based System, Iteration VI, Pink Martini, “Hey Eugene”

 

Chance Based System, Iteration VI, The Fugees, "Killing Me Softly"
Chance Based System, Iteration VI, The Fugees, “Killing Me Softly”

 

Chance Based System, Iteration VI, ZZ Top, "Sharp Dressed Man"
Chance Based System, Iteration VI, ZZ Top, “Sharp Dressed Man”

 

Chance Based System, Iteration VI, The Avett Brothers, "Paranoia in B Flat Major"
Chance Based System, Iteration VI, The Avett Brothers, “Paranoia in B Flat Major”

 

Chance Based System, Iteration VI, Hospitality, Eight Avenue
Chance Based System, Iteration VI, Hospitality, Eight Avenue

 

Chance Based System, Iteration VI, Emiliana Torrini
Chance Based System, Iteration VI, Emiliana Torrini, Heartstopper