Examples of motion graphics using Perlin Noise

This short Perlin Nosie animation by Bálint Ferenczi is inspiring – I really like the hand-drawn feeling.

This block-based 3d fly through is also great, and works well with the urgency of the music.

A very simple idea, the simplicity appeals to me.

Use of colour but little movement, interesting abstraction.

3d form, the monochromatic simplicity works for me



Initial Audio Outcomes

I wanted 4 audio ideas to begin with but have ended up with 2 and rather than polish these any further or create another 2, I am keen to move on to examining visual ideas. Also – rather than creating the audio and then creating the visual dimension, I can see that an iterative back-and-forth approach to developing both is a more holistic way of working. This is an approach to animation and sound composition that visiting animator and RCA lecturer, Joe King, talked about in a recent presentation to NUCA students.

Both studies are stereo at present although have the ability to be quadraphonic. They’re different in mood, tempo and timbre but they both have a modulating element of distortion/dissonance that essentially interferes with the musicality of each piece. The distortion/dissonance element is a manifestation of the noise idea I am currently developing.

idea #1  Bell Study

Takes the nice bell sound that the Access can produce and applies a number of modulation parameters to it as well as polyphonic arpeggiation. I have 3 sets of note triggers running in Ableton Live, 1 for bass notes and 2 for upper register notes. Only blacknotes are used, which limits the melody to a pentatonic scale and means that most notes will sound pleasing together. The bass notes and upper register notes will never be the same, but the 2 upper register notes might co-incide which introduces an interesting nuance into the arpeggiator polyphony. This will mainly be a 3 note pattern but will sometimes be a 2 note pattern. There is a fixed delay applied to the master output which I will most likely modulate too in a future iteration.

For me the key words are peaceful, magical, meditative, rhythmic, sometimes discordant and distorted.

idea #2 Ascending Study

A simple ascending pattern composed of root and fifth notes which is split across a number of trigger clips.  It feels like the pattern is perpetually trying to ascend but only occasionally does. Another 2 sets of control clips contain MIDI controller information which is applied to oscillator balance and LFO speed (LFO controls filter cut off among other things). The LFO cuts the sound up much of the time although sometimes the notes get a ‘clear run’. Reverb is applied across the study.

For me the key words are staccato, static, tuning in/out, attempting, sometimes succeeding completion.

Initial Audio Ideas

The point of entry into the audio-visual composition process for this project is ‘audio idea development’.  I hope that the final piece will provoke an instinctive and possibly emotional response for each viewer. Because of this I have chosen to start with abstract sound as for me personally, this is more capable of provoking an empathic response than abstract visual content.

As a starting point, I am currently developing 4 semi-generative quadraphonic audio compositions each of which I will subsequently develop visual content for. Taking the ‘less is more’ approach, I am currently trying to take a deliberately simple, almost childlike approach to piecing together a palette of sound timbre groups each of which has its own abstract qualities which give it a distinctive identity. For example dreamlike, invigorating, forceful, suspenseful. Once I have the 4 quadraphonic pieces worked up to a suitable level of completion and variation, I will move on to develop visual content for each. It may well be that I subsequently discard any of the 4 and/or work up additional pieces to sit alongside them. At this stage, I am interested in developing initial audio form during the process of which I will be developing and improving technique.

In terms of sound origination, I am currently working with an Access Virus synthesiser, which although quite old (circa 2000) allows for full MIDI control of all parameters and also features multiple audio outputs. I need to be able to route audio programmatically to 4 outputs in order to achieve quadraphony. In coming phases of the project, I plan to use the MIDI note on and controller information to trigger and manipulate visual content. So there will be a direct relationship between the quadraphonic sound and (hopefully) 4 projectors used in the final installation.

In terms of an audio composition tool, I am currently using an old edition of Ableton Live, which enables MIDI loops to be set up that have varying probabilities of triggering other loops. This is why I refer to the compositions as being semi-generative.

Project Planning

The installation requires meticulous planning to ensure it happens without glitch. To that end I have produced an outline project plan which I will be supplementing over the course of the project duration. The outline follows

(Weeks commencing)

28/05 to 11/06

Project definition, learning agreement submission


Planning / audio ideas


Audio / video ideas


Audio / video development


Identity development, marketing


Finalise audio / video




Equipment acquisition, detailed stage planning


Stage digital art in exhibition space, final tweaks


Exhibit to public, complete submission assessment requirements, strike installation, submit



SNU Project Definition

For the self-negotiated unit (SNU) I will produce an audio-visual installation to be shown at Slack Space Colchester and exhibited to the public for the three days Monday 13th to Wednesday 15th August 2012. I want to create an abstract audio-visual-spatial experience that encourages the visitor to develop their own instinctive response. The digital art will be deliberately simplistic in form but will hopefully act as a catalyst to stimulate sensation and even emotion. To deepen engagement, the digital art will be exhibited in an immersive environment created using multiple speakers, projectors and screens.
I am taking as my starting point the idea of ‘digital noise’ – in the sense of timbres and shapes that we may have heard or seen so many times that we take them for granted and they become a form of noise to us.

The submission for this module will consist of a reflective journal comprising blog entries published within the ‘snu’ category, a body of studio work which will be referenced throughout the reflective journal, and a written critical evaluation of the project.