Inspiration

We sought to change the way people approach melodic and rhythmic riffing in music - by thinking of sequences and collision course shapes in holographic space vs. discrete events occuring linearly. Innovative human computer design expedites the skill and dexterity musical expression often requires. Multidimensional interfaces offer new ways to visualize sound and music and offer feed back we've dreamed of for generations.

What it does

Design choices and algorhithms in music theory and signal processing give the end user a safe path to performing multiple types of instruments, including synthesizers, samplers, percussion, and microtonal effects.

How I built it

We utilized a dataflow programming language called Max with OpenGL for visuals. Max is traditionally a signal processing environment for audio and video. The music was originally composed in Ableton Live with virtual instruments and drum machines.

Challenges I ran into

Bringing meshes into this environment was very difficult. It's good at using existing primitives and generating derivitive visualizations, however, traditional animation is not as accessible. It was challenging to navigate the balance between presenting a strong narrative experience and providing modern instruments for the user to explore their own creativity.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  • stong narrative with good pacing
  • intuitive and fun interactions
  • musically expressive interactions
  • thought-provoking musical interaction
  • team was brutally focused on priorities for the deliverable

What I learned

  • its good to fail early (learn and move on)
  • top-down design, bottom-up implementation
  • need to establish and follow patterns for managing state in max/msp
  • max/msp does not play well with text-diffing (git) -- I really miss branching and merging patterns on collaborative projects
  • there is such a thing as too much pizza

What's next for Optopoculus Max: Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • record/playback gestures to buffer
  • more gestural tracking and guidance
  • deeper interface with tonal elements
  • multiplayer and distance jamming

Built With

  • cycling74's-max
  • ableton
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