January 4, 2010 - Comments Off on Solar


Solar began as a realtime demo that I created for a talk I gave at UCLA in January 2008. The demo went on to become the second most popular audio visualization I have created. The video below, using Goldfrapp's "Lovely Head", has been viewed over 220,000 times since I posted it on February 2, 2008. It is the project I get the most requests to recreate (for client work or print pieces) and has been featured on Visual Complexity and the cover of Eye Magazine.

The focus of the talk for UCLA was to show how small steps can combine to form something engaging. I start by showing a single particle, then two particles, then many particles, then add an emitter which can create particles but can also morph into an attractor which pulls particles. Then you add a magnetic repulsive force, then an orbital force, then a gravitational force. Add a few visual tweaks and you can end up with something like this.

I liked the look quite a bit so after I finished the UCLA presentation, I came home and began to make it an audio visualizer. This was a pretty easy step. I just have each particle listen to specific frequencies of incoming audio. The amplitude of the frequency effects the mass and charge of the particle so as the audio gets louder, the particle gets larger and more pushy.

Published by: Robert Hodgin

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