Messing with Processing: Part1

Aka Here’s one line, two and three. Now make your own program

A few weeks ago, at event I’ve mentioned in this blog, I asked a certain someone if they were also hacking into a piece of hardware. I wont mention the hardware, that may become clearer in a few weeks.

‘Have you heard of Processing?’ Asked the certain someone in a manner that mixed condescension and derision in a casual cocktail that wouldn’t need any Tabasco.

Of course I had heard of Processing. In fact, there is entire hardware dedicated to doing just that. It called, wait for it, a ‘Processor’.

Turns out though, I was wrong. That ‘processing’ wasnt what the certain someone was talking about. What the someone was talking about is Processing, the coding language. The heady cocktail meant that I was going to check this language out and figure out exactly what it did.

And it does a LOT and it’s EASY. I’ve worked with C++ (when it mandatory in school and engineering school) and Machine Code (which is more complicated, but certainly more fun). I usually liked the latter. Processing, on the other hand, mixes the code structure that a lot like C++ (though its based on Java) but gives you an output as fast as Machine Code. I wont get into what makes Processing so great, there are lots of posts on that already.

Last weekend, I was approached by a classical music artist. He wanted to have a projection of video and text behind him, as he performed live on a stage. There was one problem, the text and video work fine with the music, as long as you dont improvise. When you do improvise, they go out of sync. The video keeps playing on clock time, while the musician has launched into something longer and more intricate. ‘Static’ video just cant react to things as they change on the ground.

So for those extended parts, he wanted something ‘psychedelic’, something that would react to the music. I decided to create ‘visualizer’, something that would use the frequencies of the music and use them to animate things or change their colour (much like the equalizer visualizers that were a rage with Vinamp). That’s how I started working on Processing. And its been fun and addictive. (I’n my opinion its more addictive that smoking).

So far I’ve come up with this, a visualizer that has four variations. It’s based on an example from and I’ve added more shapes and reactions to it. If you want to see the code, just drop me a line.

Now I cant wait to use it with a live musician!



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