Nodes is a new commission created for the Peer to Peer: UK/HK online festival which ran from 11th – 14th November, created as a reflection on the interconnectedness of the global live coding community.

Live coding is a performative practice where artists make music and visual art live using programming. This happens primarily at events such as Algoraves, but there is an equally active online community which organises regular performances, conferences, workshops and more.

Moving beyond e-mail and social media platforms, people within the community have built their own tools which allow for real time communication and collaboration across borders and time zones. In this way the local nodes the global live coding community are able to stay connected.

Many thanks to Dr Charlotte Frost from Furtherfield for the nomination. Nodes was commissioned on the occasion of Peer to Peer: UK/HK online Festival 2020 by Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Open Eye Gallery and University of Salford Art Collection.

Seamless Looping Neon Trail in Blender

I’d like to return to the fifth video in the Design Yourself series to show how i did a glowing neon trail. The video is heavily themed around robots, and if you look in the background you’ll see that it’s actually a circuit board.

The circuit diagram was a random one I built using the rather excellent Fritzing software. If you’re ever looking for high quality SVG illustrations of electrical components then Fritzing is a great resource. I brought the exported SVG diagram into Blender to illustrate it a bit.

If you look closely you can see that the circuit board has a glowing trail. To achieve this effect I followed this tutorial:

At around 6:00 the author tries to find the point where the neon trail position loops but does it visually. At first I was doing the same but then I remembered that in the past I had faced a similar problem when trying to loop the Wave texture. To get an answer for that question I consulted the Blender Stackexchange site

I adapted this a bit and came up with the following solution: To seamlessly loop the neon trail effect first insert keyframe with the Value of the Add node set to 0. Move to a point along the timeline where you want it to loop and add another keyframe to the Value of the Add node and type (0.3333*pi)/$scale (but replace $scale with whatever the Scale of the Wave texture is). My node setup is the same as in the video but here it is as well:

click to embiggen

Now when you play the animation the neon trail effect will loop seamlessly!

Overlaying multiple textures in Blender

In 2019 I made an internet artwork for Fermynwood’s programme Toggler.

For this work I decided to use a similar aesthetic and process to Visually Similar. I talked a little bit about the process behind Visually Similar in a June’s Development Update. The node tree to overlay each of the transparent textures looked a bit like this.

Click to embiggen

When trying to do the same with the Toggler artwork I came across something weird that meant some textures just weren’t showing. So I decided to ask on Stack Exchange and Reddit why this might be the case.

Click to embiggen

It looks like I wasn’t using the alpha channels properly and didn’t need to use the Add math node, or just needed to use it properly. If were to apply the same process retrospectively to Visually Similar the artwork would look like this.

Curiously several of the textures didn’t show up. I suspect that doing it this “proper” way revealed that I had the order of the nodes incorrect. If I show the work again I’m might edit it so it looks “right”, but in this case the mistakes yielded a more preferable result.