Magnetosphere

This project is one of the few projects I revisit regularly.

At its core, it is a simple physics system which plays opposing forces against each other. Some elements in the scene have an attractive force, others have a repulsive force, and over time these elements create a dynamic composition as they are pushed about by these invisible forces.

I set up an overnight render for a song by Trentemøller. When I awoke the next morning and viewed it for the first time, I was pleased. I watched it a couple more times and sent the link to my friend Andrew. His response, "Yeah, that'll do well".

The thing that is most interesting to me about the video is that it was nearly entirely created with code. I say nearly because I use a couple premade particle images but every other aspect (aside from the music, of course) was made possible with code. And randomness. If I were to recompile the code over and over, the resulting videos would all be unique.

Here is the first video I made for a song by Trentemøller's Miss You.

Due to the success of this project, The Barbarian Group was asked by Apple to turn Magnetosphere into an iTunes visualizer. Andrew Bell, the most patient person I know, had the horrible task of porting my bandaided Processing code into C++ while remaining faithful to the original look.

Additionally, Andrew and I struggled to make the project run at interactive framerates. The original renders took overnight. This visualizer needed to run at a steady 60 frames per second. It was a creative challenge, but a great exercise in restraint.

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