I’m happy to announce the release of NeonPlastic, a generative Pure Data artware piece by myself (visuals) and Joe Newlin (audio), inspired by Neoplasticism and all things boxy.
The above video acts only as a preview. To experience this piece in all its hdmegaawesomeness grab the code, open Pure Data,
get yourself a cup of tea and press the big red button!
On one of my frequent journeys on the information superhighway I stumbled across Little-Scale’s Mass JPG Killer. This handy little patch allows a user to load any binary file and “glitch” it by overwriting some of the original data with a repeating pattern of user-defined data.
The only problem (for me and people like me) is that I don’t have Max/MSP and can’t install it on Linux, meaning I’ve never actually used it!
Little-Scale very kindly provided the internet at large with screenshots of the inner workings of the patch. I was able to to use a whole lot of science and maths to rewrite and reinterpret this patch of mass destruction in Pure Data, which is more easily available.
Pure Data File Killer
Click to download
Usage of the patch is very simple and can yield some quite interesting results!
- Click open to load a binary file. Pure Data may freeze for a moment if you’re loading in a large file. I don’t recommend loading in a file over 100MB
- Set the byte offset. This number represents the starting point at which the patch will start “corrupting” the file. If you’re a glitchspert (glitch + expert) you’ll remember that you should avoid modifying the header. To avoid modifying the header set the offset to the 1000s.
- Set the period value. This can be hard to understand, so here’s an example: If the period is set 1378 then at intervals of 1378 bytes from the offset it will modify the data.
- Set the data value. This works in conjunction with the period value. Using the previous example, if the data is set to 102 then at intervals of 1378 bytes it will replace the current byte value with 102.
- Press either random period or random byte data to populate these values with random values.
- Press glitch it!. Guess what that does.
- Write the files to save them to the same directory as the source file. The original file will not be overwritten.
- To start again press the reset button. It will load the original byte data.
This patch is very similar to Little-Scale’s with a couple of exceptions:
- The offset cannot be set for each instance. This is by design as I felt it was a bit redundant.
- You no longer need to copy the hex data to a new file in order to view the results
- It’ll work on any platform that can run a full version Pure Data Extended. This should include the Raspberry Pi version as GEM is not required.
Although it was originally inspired by the JPG Killer you can get some very interesting results if you use other file formats and set the period data to a number less than 20.
A new book by Bryan Chung, Multimedia Programming with Pure Data was recently published by Packt Publishing.
Despite it being a big part of Pure Data Extended, GEM – and making visuals in PD – doesn’t get as much attention as audio processing. Whereas sound-makers have resources such as Loadbang and excellent tutorials from Obiwannabe, visual artists have little access to such a comprehensive resource, which can be a bit off-putting for new users. With that in mind I was more than happy to be a reviewer for this book that focuses almost entirely on GEM and making visuals in PD.
Although it is definitely suited to new users this book does get quite complex in later chapters where it begins to detail camera tracking, OpenCV and particle generators. I even learnt a couple of things!
Most of the tutorials are written to work on all operating systems (Linux, Mac and Windows) though some instructions, such as installing libraries, aren’t always covered. That could be another book in itself!
Get yourself a copy now!
Thank you to everyone that attended the Pure Data Play workshop on 2nd November as part of Flip Festival. In the space of two hours the participants went from knowing nothing about Pure Data to manipulating 3D objects on screen, playing videos and webcam streams and controlling their videos using user-defined keyboard shortcuts. Some images of the patches:
To those of us who know more about programming and using Pure Data these patches may seem simple, but hopefully from this tutorial the participants have gained an insight into what is possible using Pure Data.
What I like most about Pure Data is that it is very extensible. It can accept data from a wide range of sources – including Arduino boards, game controllers (including Wii remotes and Kinect controllers), microphones, lists of data and even raw binary data – manipulate it and give audio or visual feedback. Best of all it does it in a way that is very logical. Some people may prefer to write lines of data, but with Pure Data (and other dataflow languages) you can visually see how data flows and is manipulated.
If you’re interested in attending or booking me for a Pure Data tutorial get in touch!
On Friday 2nd November from 12pm I’ll be running a Pure Data workshop as part of Flip Festival at Lighthouse Media Centre in Wolverhampton.
Pure Data is a dataflow programming language that is utilised for a wide variety of purposes including making generative electronic music, creating glitch visuals, interactive live performance and VJing (Video Jockeying). I’ll guide participants through the basics of Pure Data – including general usage, playing and manipulating videos and creating generative visuals that respond to different inputs. No experience of Pure Data is necessary, only a laptop and a willingness to experiment and learn!
The event is free to Flip Festival ticket holders and £6 for everyone else. Tickets can be purchased online. Here’s the event details on Facebook. Don’t forget to bring your laptop!
To see what can be created with Pure Data take a look at what I’ve made in the past.