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Category / VJ / Visuals

Support Illuminart at VIVID by Cindi Drennan 29 May, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Support Illuminart at VIVID by Cindi Drennan

Ishinomaki Light Projection By Richard Byers 5 March, 2012 at 12:52 am

Ishinomaki Light Projection By Richard Byers

See the Supported Projects page for more.


spxlAudioToMidi 29 June, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Processing sample: spxlAudioToMidi


View sketch page for source code, Windows, Mac and Linux executables.

A small application made with Processing to produce MIDI control messages from a live audio feed. Auto-levelling frequency band meters are used to obtain “peak” output values across the entire audio spectrum analysed (whereas it is usual to have strong bass response with weaker treble response), and easing is applied to make the levels less erratic. 10 separate monitor outputs are supplied, where each monitor is attached to one of the frequency band meters and that meter’s output is scaled to the particular output range for the monitor, allowing for a reduced final output range as well as inverted ranges. Controls are provided to select the MIDI output device and the MIDI channel to use, as well as for selecting which monitors are connected to which meters and the monitor output ranges.


TECHnique feat. McBean 24 July, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Sat 18/Jul/2009 TECHnique feat McBean at The Sly Fox Hotel

TECHnique feat McBean
Sat 18/Jul/2009 at The Sly Fox, Enmore SYD

Visuals by subpixel

MySpace: TECHnique
Facebook: event | group


Esfera mod by spxl 6 6 January, 2009 at 11:16 am

Processing sample: Esfera_mod_by_spxl_6

based on Esfera.pde by David Pena

Source code:

On Thursday 18 December there was another meeting at Cafe 1001, and again there was a triple-head setup with three projectors onto the back wall of the main room. Nice!

I’d decided that this time I’d work on this Processing sketch to have some 4:1 content for the massive screen. Up until this point, the tentacled object in space had been stationary and not especially interesting-looking. On Thursday morning I started tweaking the program with a view to actually being able to VJ with it, adding a bunch of new features like being able to move it around, make it bigger (“zoom”) or smaller, and more easily change some of the parameters. The tentacle shape changed a bit, as well as the appearance with some new oscillators to change the red, green and blue of the colour, and some mystery 1’s and 0’s on the surfaces. I’m no expert on lighting yet, but at least I managed to do something about it being so dark (as appears in Esfera mod by spxl 5).

I was perhaps a little too engrossed in what I was doing, and at some point realised I was already running late for the gathering!.. and rushed off to Brick Lane with my still warm code. The setup at Cafe 1001 was improved on last time, with a large table for laptops, etc bhind a raised bench with the projectors on it.

The tentacled space thingo was quite well received by the crew, though at that stage it was a bit of a beast to deal with effectively. Having pointer and keyboard inputs, I plugged in my Wacom and handed it to Rob to move it around while tapping at some controls myself on the keyboard. Even at 1920×480 it seemed to run pretty fast (and so it damnwell should!), and with the ultra-widescreen had a nice spacious and spacey feel about it.

I also tried running the radial gradient array sketch at that resolution, but, being a 2D pixel-based affair, my machine just wasn’t fast enough (or rather the program is too intensive) to get above a crawl instead of scintillating flashing colours.

Nevertheless, both sketches have been updated since then, and the Game of Life sketch created, and I’m starting to get a bit mental with trying to put nice comments and such on everything as well as make improvements and add new features. I think the commenting is taking as much time as anything else!.. and of course generally tidying things up, rearranging files on the webserver, updating all the past blog entries with Processing sketches to have a consistent look, and so on. I think I should really investigate creating a plugin or filter or something for WordPress – maybe a little database to keep track of the sketches and format them all nicely. I’m already running in to versioning issues, and changing the structure of the files is bad news for old blog posts!

Yesterday I did some work on creating a better timewarp effect – rather than change the speed of all of the oscillators, instead manipulate the “number of milliseconds” that have passed (this value is used in calculations by the oscillators) and also modify things like how far the object moves or rotates for the frame. Since the program was using simple easing logic, I’ve fudged it by multiplying the easing factor by the square of the (less then 1.0) timewarp factor, or leaving it alone if the timewarp factor is 1 or more (making the movement “faster than the mouse”, as it were,  seemed like a bad idea).

You see the brighter patch of red on the top-right of the sphere in the screenshot? That’s caused by five point lights just near the sphere arranged around the funnel of text. unfortunately the Java applet doesn’t seem to play on my machine (nor does version 5 of this sketch), and I think the lights (or use of lighting generally) is what causes it to fail. Then again, I don’t actually know, so this is only a guess! If you have the PDE installed you should be able to recreate the sketch from the source files.


The Dark Ages 31 October, 2008 at 5:23 pm

For Thursday October 30, 2008.

The Dark Ages

It seems that I’ve been accursed with darkness the past few days. First the bulb in my lamp went, then this evening my ceiling light. Grr. Off to the shops for some groceries (and light bulbs) I go. I arrive home to find a flatmate cooking in the kitchen. A minute or two later..


Power outage.

Not paid the bills?.. Wait, it’s not just us. Okay then. Good thing I’m planning to head over to Brick Lane just now for the meetup. Hopefully the power will be reconnected by the time I get back. One can hear a lot of shouting and cursing in the local neighborhood. And cars blasting their horns. I’m sure that helped loads.

I put away shopping, pack my laptop, and head off. Walking down the road I note that this power outage is quite extensive. Even as I go further down Brick Lane, no lights. It’s not until Quaker Street that there seems to be any consistent power.

Coming out of the darkness and into the light

Listening to music on the way to Cafe 1001, the refrain from one track, “It’s just another excuse!”, seemed entirely appropriate for the situation. Come on London, what else can you throw at me? Darkness? Pah!

Emerging from the blackout zone and into happy lights and fun land, when I arrived at Cafe 1001 I found Dr.Mo and some others setting up, and a documentary film crew. And people practicing Capoeira. nebulus (nebulus design on Facebook, nebulus design videos on vimeo) had his custom hardware controller and had brought two projectors, added to a third and a Triple Head To Go made for a superwide 4:1 display across the back of the club. Nice! His realtime generative 3D visuals looked pretty amazing too.

I was asked to be interivewed by the film crew, which was for a University Video Project, and which is itself to be art of a 30 minute TV show. Not sure if I’ll be on TV. I’ll let you know if I am (or will be).

After the interview I asked to connect my laptop briefly to the triple-head in order to detect the screen size, and Mo suggested to set up properly instead of just testing it. After a small amount of confusion (thinking I should see more than one external display) I was beaming out on five heads (if you include my head and the laptop screen, though these latter two didn’t display the visuals output).

Of course none of my source material is in a 4:1 aspect ratio, so I had to look for footage that wouldn’t look too odd when stretched, and was also able to trim the top and bottom of some other clips on the fly for an acceptable result.

Actually, it was better than acceptable. It was starting to look pretty rad, if you don’t mind me reviving an old schoolyard term. I was well pleased with what I was seeing, and that, really is the point of doing this sort of thing in the first place.

I also liked seeing the custom visuals nebulus was pumping out. He had one laptop closed with another sitting on top of it, subsequently repeatedly overheating the lower machine, which was a shame. He managed to get things running on a single machine, though not quite as smoothly (and with, apparently, less complex visualisations).

Overall I had a pretty good night. When I arrived home the lights were back on (and flatmates were home).

Thanks to Dr.Mo for organising the meetup, nebulus and Silent Eclipse for the projectors, Deepvisual and whoever else supplied equipment.

A mini review from Deepvisual on the vjlondon forums:

Source: Next VJ meeting – Thursday – 30th of October – Café 1001

more fun…

very few of the regulars turned up???
instead we had a surprise visit from the lovely Joanne (Silent Eclipse) and an interplanetary freak-out from Nigel (nebulus) with his astonishing planetarium visualiser software.. George ( sub pixel) then took over the triple head for a while and put Neon through its paces.
the Student film crew were out in force, I found out I had started visuals before they were all born…
and we even had a walk-in VJ who had heard in the street that there were VJs in the venue this thurs and came along.

See a video of me playing on the triple-head below.


subpixel visuals: live at Cafe 1001 – vjlondon meetup, Thursday 30 October 2008 from subpixel on Vimeo.

See inside my Mind! 24 October, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Video link: Mind! Reggae Dubstep | 22 Oct 08 by spxl

I created this video from clips and photos I took at Mind! Reggae Dubstep on Wednesday night (22/Oct/2008) at The Dogstar in Brixton.

I wasn’t counting on the branding across the top being made so blurry in the YouTube version, and the titles could certainly do with some improvement. I might try making a nicer overlay next time. I figured I’d already spent enough time pfaffing about, and it was time to release something!.. The render, re-encode, upload cycle takes quite a bit of patience.


Open your mind 8 October, 2008 at 8:12 pm

The MIND! London ( website is now open for business! I registered the domain yesterday evening, and a reasonably productive creative flurry last night has given rise to the new site. Hurrah!

There are some screenshots of visuals for (and at) Mind! gigs, and I’ve also posted a video of some new Mind! title graphics I’ve been working on.

Since the night is called ‘Mind!’, the entries might be called ‘thoughts’ (Initial Thoughts – the first post). In case you were wondering, yes, this is a test of the cross-referencing features of the blogs. :o)


Mind! Wed 01 October 1 October, 2008 at 6:32 am

Mind! is on again tonight. Yes, it has been two weeks already. Where does time go? :o)


MIND visuals by subpixel

MIND visuals by subpixel

MIND! :: Roots :: Reggae :: Dancehall :: Drum & Bass :: Dubstep :: Breakbeat

Music by:

Visuals by subpixel

Wed 01 October, 10 til 2

The Dogstar. 389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LQ

Directions: Exiting Brixton tube station, turn left. Turn left at Coldharbour Lane (KFC is on the corner). The Dogstar is a couple of minutes walk away on the right hand side of the road. Easy! :o)

Don’t panic 30 September, 2008 at 5:15 am

The phrase “Don’t panic” appeared to a couple of times in the past few days, reminding me of the words supposedly adorning the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the book by Douglas Adams of the same name.

First instance – Brick Lane, Saturday night: a guy handing out flyers spotted one of the Don’t Panic flyer packs nearby and picked it up (so it seems flyering is a two-way street after all!). I mentioned to him that they can usually be found in the record shop down the road (though when I went to said record shop on Monday evening I didn’t see any).

Second instance – in “The Shadows in the Cave” (part 3 of the documentary The Power of Nightmares), Lewis Z Koch from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says on dirty bombs:

The danger from radioactivity is basically next-to-nothing. The danger from panic, however, is horrendous. That’s where the irony comes. … (Is) Instead of the government saying, ‘look, this is not a serious weapon; the serious danger of this is the panic that would ensue, and there is no reason for panic. Don’t panic.’

I did a search for the phrase and found an interesting reference. George Zebrowski asked Arthur C Clarke in an interview, “If you were addressing humankind, and all its groups were listening, what advice would you give?” Clarke’s answer:

The best advice I think was given by Douglas Adams: “Don’t panic.”

There you go. Enough said, really.

In other news… the last Mind! gig at The Dogstar (Wed 17 September, as advertised in my previous post) didn’t go so well. I’d arrived early to set up only to find a football match onscreen, so no access until that had finished, then being told by the bar manager to stop what I was doing when trying to set up later, citing liability concerns. I’d made sure I was back in London from my trip especially for the gig, so felt a bit miffed that I’d left Berlin that morning for nothing. I’d even booked a hostel in Brixton that night and the following day to be close by. Hindsight is, or can be, painful.

The Sunday of that weekend saw the inaugural Sound on Vision event at Vibe Lounge on Brick Lane. I arrived around 2pm to set up and was on from about 5pm. I decided to start with a minimal setup and build up the content from there. I had some heat from Mowgli as he didn’t think it was eye-catching enough, but had someone ask me about one of the clips I used while I was playing and later had some positive feedback from someone else who had been watching. Mowgli noted some lack of contrast, suggesting that images usually need to be blown out to “too much” on your screen to look okay as a projection. Criticism noted. I’m going to have to work out a way to increase the contrast whilst still allowing for a dreamlike mixture of multiple layers, which might in itself be spoiled by too much contrast! Experimentation required.

This past Friday night I went to the British Film Institute (the BFI) at Southbank in London for the AV Social, something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. It is an interesting venue, and I had some idea to go back on Saturday, but I left it a little too late to head down there in the evening, so had a look around Brick Lane instead.

I’ve also recently been reading about OpenFrameworks, the D programming language, and Ruby (as a language and as Ruby on Rails). Nothing exciting to talk about just yet. I installed Aptana Studio to try out Ruby on Rails, and was following some tutorial only to have something fail that probably shouldn’t be failing (setting up or starting some kind of server) before getting to any code. I did drop a simple “Hello World” script on the webserver to see if it will run, and at least that worked. As with the visuals mentioned above, experimentation required (and study!).

Latest news is that I’ve finally booked a flight to Denmark in October for some birthdays. It will be nice to see one of my best mates and some other friendly faces there, and no doubt become reacquainted with the legendary “Fisk” (Fisherman’s Friend and vodka).