Book Image

Mapping and Visualization with SuperCollider

By : Marinos Koutsomichalis
Book Image

Mapping and Visualization with SuperCollider

By: Marinos Koutsomichalis

Overview of this book

SuperCollider is an environment and programming language used by musicians, scientists, and artists who work with audio-files SuperCollider has built-in graphical features which are used in conjunction with the sound synthesis server to create audio-visual mapping and sound visualization. If you wish to create data visualizations by acquiring data from audio and visual sources, then this book is for you.Digital sound artists need to analyze, manipulate, map, and visualize data when working on a scientific or an artistic project. As an artist, this book, by means of its numerous code examples will provide you with the necessary knowledge of SuperCollider's practical applications, so that you can extract meaningful information from audio-files and master its visualization techniques. This book will help you to prototype and implement sophisticated visualizers, sonifiers, and complex mappings of your data.This book takes a closer look at SuperCollider features such as plotting and metering functionality to dispel the mysterious aura surrounding the more advanced mappings and animation strategies. This book also takes you through a number of examples that help you to create intelligent mapping and visualization systems. Throughout the course of the book, you will synthesize and optimize waveforms and spectra for scoping as well as extract information from an audio signal. The later sections of the book focus on advanced topics such as emulating physical forces, designing kinematic structures, and using neural networks to enable you to develop a visualization that has a natural motion with structures that respect anatomy and which come with an intelligent encoding mechanism. This book will teach you everything you need to work with intelligent audio-visual systems to extract and visualize audio-visual data.
Table of Contents (16 chapters)

Nonstandard and complex visualizers

Having discussed the basic ways in which we can visualize numerical data and audio, we will now demonstrate how we can exploit the built-in GUI elements to implement more complicated or nonstandard visualizers. In particular, we will discuss how we can reappropriate GUI elements originally meant to carry out different tasks, and how to combine the various built-in visualizers in more complex ones.

Nonstandard visualizers

Despite the existence of dedicated objects that cater to all our basic scoping, plotting, and metering needs, the use of simpler and less sophisticated GUI elements is to be considered sometimes because of their characteristic crudeness, which may be just what we are after for certain projects. As in the previous example, we can manually set the value of almost all GUI objects, and that being so, we can exploit them accordingly to design imaginative, uncanny visualizers. For example, we could make the previous code appropriate so that it monitors both the values as well as the distance between any two consecutive adjacent entries in our dataset using RangeSliders:

updateSliders = fork{loop{{ arg item, i; {
    var value;
    // store current and previous values in an array and sort it so that the smaller number is always the first
    value = [dataset[i][index-1], dataset[i][index]].sort;
    // set each RangeSlider's value
  }.defer; };
  if ( index < 1000) {index = index + 1;} {index = 0; }; // increment
  0.1.wait; // sliders will be updated every 0.1 seconds

The entire code can be found online.

A complex scope

After having discussed all major built-in signal visualizers in SuperCollider, it is trivial to combine them in a singleton visualizer. Nonetheless, the server inconsistency of ScopeView and FreqScopeView is an obstacle not easy to surpass. Since it is probably a matter of time before a future version of SuperCollider solves this problem, it does make sense to attempt it, even if only for educational reasons. The code for MyFancyStereoScopeClass is given online. We have to save it onto a file with the .sc extension, copy it into our extensions folder (which can be always retrieved by evaluating Platform.userAppSupportDir), and recompile the SuperCollider's Class library before we can use it as shown in the following code snippet:

( // MyfancyStereoScope Example
Server.default.waitForBoot({ // wait for server to boot;

If all scopes were functional, our custom stereo scope would appear as shown in the following screenshot: