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Interaction, Visual Composition and Synthesis with Quartz Composer

PAYLING, Dave (2016) Interaction, Visual Composition and Synthesis with Quartz Composer. In: Seeing Sound, 9/04/2016 - 10/04/2016, Bath Spa University. Newton Park Campus. Newton St. Loe, Bath BA2 9BN.

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Abstract or description

This paper gives an overview of my creative practice over the last 3 years, in particular focussing on the video synthesis and interaction techniques used in the compositions Diffraction, Circadian Echoes and a piece currently under development. It specifically discusses methods of synthesising animations in Quartz Composer. Quartz is a free visual programming language available in OS X, which is designed for processing and rendering graphical data, interactive motion graphics and video manipulation. It can be used to create real-time interactive applications and offers many tools for parametric mapping between sound and image. As a MAX/MSP and Jitter user, I will describe the relationship between both applications and discuss the influence Quartz has had on my creative outcomes with examples from my compositions

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Circadian Echoes was inspired by Norman McClaren's short film ‘Pas de Deux’ (1968), in which two people perform a dance routine. Set in high contrast and silhouetting lighting conditions the couples' performance is also enhanced by various optical processing effects. The compositional process involved developing a method of creating gestural motions of a CGI animated line which were intended to be a mimetic representation of the dancers’ arms movements. This extends the work of Smalley (1997) by creating tools and methods that allow visual materials to have degrees of gestural surrogacy in a similar way to sound materials. Developmental Stages were documented in two stages. (Developmental Stage 1: - to be titled ‘Development Stage 1’) Stage 1 had a single spline curve moving in response to a mouse click. Stage 2 (add this link to the Store entry: - to be titled ‘Development Stage 2’) saw the addition of feedback and rotation, which created optical effects similar to those in McLaren’s work. Further processing and multiple overlays created circular forms and further surrogacy from the recognisable dance-like gestures. The overall compositional strategy was to create passages of subtle tension, which, as discussed by Evans, can be used as a method for resolving tension in compositions and visual montages (2005, p. 15). This was achieved by development of the abstract forms up until 2’55”, when they resolve into a balanced, mirrored symmetrical pattern coincident with a diminuendo in the soundtrack. Performances. Premiered at the flEXiff Experimental Film Festival, Sydney Australia in 2016 and performed at Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music. Queens University, Belfast. The underpinning critical and conceptual frameworks for the processes were presented at the SeeingSound Symposium at Bath Spa University also in 2016. Evans, B. (2005) ‘Foundations of a Visual Music’, Computer Music Journal, 29(4), pp. 11–24. McLaren, N. (1968) Pas de Deux. Available at: (Accessed: 10 August 2018). Smalley, D. (1997) ‘Spectromorphology: Explaining Sound-Shapes’, Organised Sound, 2(2), pp. 107–126.
Uncontrolled Keywords: INCL
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies > Film, Sound and Vision
Event Title: Seeing Sound
Event Location: Bath Spa University. Newton Park Campus. Newton St. Loe, Bath BA2 9BN
Event Dates: 9/04/2016 - 10/04/2016
Depositing User: Dave PAYLING
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2016 09:24
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2019 10:29

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