Holy S*** Visualization: Earth, Surrounded by Asteroids, and the 500k Kilometer Pixel

Watch this one in HD – because at 1080p, each pixel represents some 500,000 kilometers. And sit down: you may suddenly feel … exposed. (Duck!) The latest version of a popular visualization of asteroid discovery now brings high definition. And that’s important, because we’re talking about distances and data on the scale of the solar system. The video comes to us via Scott Manley, who has the awesome tagline, “Hacker, Astronomer, Gamer, DJ, Scotsman.” (His YouTube channel also contains a ridiculously cool-looking game where you run your own space program. And I thought Civilization was addictive nerd catnip; I’m staying …

READ MORE →

Nature, Through a Window: Moon, Fire, Water, in Light and Engravings, by Craig Dorety

Realizing the materiality of Earth and the Moon in new forms, artist Craig Dorety is rendering natural forms in light and engravings. For the Moon, he turns to carving techniques to mirror new data about the lunar surface – and, thanks to an SF Awesome Grant, he’s got some spare change to upgrade his CNC router. It’s a beautiful example of how art can make use of data, bringing together disciplines. (Okay, there isn’t any motion here to speak of, but the relevance of the 3D imaging technology here is clear and inspiring.) Lunar Topography Carvings http://craigdorety.com/lunar_topo.html Geeking out for …

READ MORE →

Across the Universe: Mind-Blowing AV Performance Makes Music a Spacey Trip

Turning music and sound into three-dimensional worlds often yields something that fields like a trip through space. But this feels like a real trip. Through pulsing, glowing starfields, “Versum”‘s audiovisual movements are brain-bendingly transformative. Artist Tarik Barri has created an integrated world of sound and image that makes the interface and the compositional realms seamless. It seems as though this really is a musical universe, through whose harmonies of the spheres you can fly like. Boldly going, indeed. Ingredients: Max/MSP/Jitter, Processing, Java, SuperCollider, GLSL [the 3D shading language], and … some serious skill and time, I imagine. The work has …

READ MORE →
astrocantus

Music of the Spheres, Player Roll Style: Astro Cantus iPhone App Plays the Universe

In the latest take on sonifying data in musical form, iPhone app Astro Cantus plots star data from the universe as musical notes. It turns the the sphere of heavens above the Earth into a massive piano roll. Co-founding developer Rocky Alvey, according to the creators, dismantled a music box as a kid, and that music box notion (yet again) is a big part of the concept here. What’s notable is that the app’s sonification does indeed represent not only the stars themselves but some of the data – spectra of the stars are translated into pitch. And there are …

READ MORE →
bloom_planetary_3

Sound, the Final Frontier: Audio Collections as Planets in Space, Intelligently Related

Two spacey ways of finding media: music collections, heirarchy, and images of planets in Planetary for iPad, top. Sound and loop collections, “magnetic” relations, algorithmic categorization, and rapid torchlight auditioning in Soundtorch 2.0 for Windows, bottom. If your music and sound collections seem like outwardly-expanding universes, two new tools promise to bring order by representing media as virtual planets and stars. One works on albums and tracks on the iPad; the other uses computer-aided analysis of loops and samples (not just music) on Windows. One will make your eyeballs pop; one might help you manage gigs of samples for a …

READ MORE →

Greebles, Nurnies, Wiggets, and Eyeball Kicks: Roughing Up Digital Realities

A “greebled” cube, (CC-BY-SA) Gargaj / Conspiracy on Wikimedia. Ah, digital geometry: as if caught eternally in a sterile, detail-less vacuum, the problem with virtual models can be that they’re too perfect, too abstract. So, following on the use of model kitbashing techniques to make more convincing graphics in the game Hawken, as we saw this week, here’s more on the idea. Wikipedia (somewhat surprisingly) has a great article on the use of “greebles” to make (physical) models look less bare. Model-makers, whether working with physical models or virtual, run into the same problem – and can employ the same …

READ MORE →

Video: Modeling Vipers for Battlestar Galactica, in Near Real-Time

Shuttle, the compact PC folks, have posted a step-by-step walkthrough demonstrating how artists model the Viper fighter craft for the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. (That might seem like odd timing, but Sci Fi Channel — now SyFy — continues to crank out spinoffs of the show, so there’s plenty of modeling work to be done.) What’s nice about the video is seeing how much of the workflow is now becoming real-time. That illustrates how the long-awaited convergence between traditional modeling and effects and live visuals is finally coming to pass. As three-dimensional design becomes more about “right now” and less about …

READ MORE →

Music, Physics, Space in Perfect Fusion: Interview, Creators of Game Osmos

You’ll want superb music on loop, because it may … take some time to get out of this puzzle. Musicians and artists now have the power to fuse visuals, sound, and interaction, to make a spectacle, an album, and a game all at once. But with the blank canvas of three different media before you, what form should that fusion take? Space shooters with pounding electronic beats behind them have cleared some of the way. Now it’s ambient music’s turn. In the game Osmos, you become a mysterious particle, floating amongst gravity wells in various fields of material. By carefully …

READ MORE →

David Bowie Space Oddity Moon Celebration: Remix Stems, Remix on iPhone

True, it’s the 40th Anniversary of the moon landing. But it’s also the 40th Anniversary of David Bowie’s space trip Space Oddity. What better way to celebrate than with access to stems like the “little mouse fart” sound effect? (Seriously. Maybe it was a space mouse?) EMI is re-releasing Space Oddity on a special EP with all the versions — mono and stereo, US and original, and the 1979 re-record. Buy that for US$5.99 on iTunes, and you get the stems, too, including the lovely Mellotron line, the vocals, guitar, instrumentals — heck, there’s even a nice Stylophone stem. For …

READ MORE →

Planetarium Projection "Necessary to National Security," Other Follow-Ups

Projection consultants Projector People weighs in on the McCain “overhead projector” attack; they’ve got an excellent round-up on the issue and all the coverage it has inspired so far as projection overlaps with politics: A $3,000,000 Projector? [Projector People Blog] And yes, as noted in comments, several of our Friends of CDMotion do VJ the planetarium here in NY, the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. I realize I actually missed this line from the Adler Planetarium: “To remain competitive and ensure national security, it is vital that we educate and inspire …

READ MORE →