During the summer of 2021, I had the pleasure of collaborating with STL musicians Passing Clouds to create animations paired with their musical tracts. These animations were created in Processing, a coding language that generates visual imagery. This project was an excellent opportunity to further my explorations of the applications of creative coding to graphic design.
Then The Ceiling Opened
For the first animation, Then The Ceiling Opened, I was sent a musical tract. I used this track as the starting point for creating an original animation. Because the animation was created using code, I was able to use the audio file as an input for the program. I pulled data from the audio file’s frequency and amplitude, input that data into variables in the algorithm, and used those variables to control the size, color, and speed of elements of the composition.
The Streets Were Flooded
For the second animation, we swapped around the process. I created the animation first, which was then sent to Passing Clouds for them to score. In this animation, I chose to use a video file as an input. The original video was a public domain film of a thrift store, found via the Prelinger Archives. I chose this footage as a starting point because it seemed to coincide well with the themes of consumerism and identity that Passing Clouds touched upon in Then The Ceiling Opened. Using code, I broke the image down pixel by pixel into a grid of squares. I manipulated the size and color of the squares using data about the color and brightness of each pixel. I then added a Gaussian distribution variable to the algorithm to add a random element to the size and color of the pixels. The randomly shifting large blocks of color obscure elements of the composition and add a sense of mystery.