In a nutshell, if you’d like to understand where Animoog comes from, from the very beginning of sound synthesis and modular synthesizers up to now, I strongly encourage you to watch the ‘I dream of wires’ documentary.
When I discovered and fell in love with Animoog, I knew very little of electronic music — its origins and history. While I’ve been slowly learning, I watched ‘I dream of wires’ over the weekend and not only numerous pieces of the puzzle found their place, but I learned much in this information-packed documentary.
While the documentary focuses on the modular synthesizer, I consider it really helps understanding where Animoog comes from — its sound design capabilities and even its user interface. Animoog is even shown for a second or two in the documentary itself, the only app to make an appearance.
This documentary was also inspiring to me at multiple levels. I hope it will do the same to you. Here’s the trailer. Enjoy! — Alex / Satri
While Animoog.org launched over 18 months ago, we haven’t published Animoog video tutorials, until now! The first set of videos I’m proposing, from Dubspot instructor Matt Cellitti, are from 2012! But despite their age, content is still pretty pertinent.
I particularly invite you to watch the first two 10-minutes videos which focus on understanding how sound design works in Animoog. While I consider myself more of an Animoog player than a sound designer, it quickly become useful to learn how to shape and sculpt Animoog presets to your taste. The videos obviously don’t cover everything Animoog players should know, but it’s an excellent introduction and chances are you’ll learn useful things you didn’t know. So here they are!
Hope you’ll learn something useful in there! :-) — Alex / Satri
Please allow this entry focusing on what I do on Animoog
Satri’s And back to space video
I’m happy to present to you my second video for the ‘Unanimoog, escape inside the music [Unmastered]’ album. It’s for the 45th track named ‘And back to space’ which is a solo improvised with the Animoog app. Playing a single Animoog preset in solo is just like playing a raw violin solo: a single instrument played live without loops, sequencing or external effects. Because of the expansive frequency content and harmonic complexity of Moog’s Animoog iPad app, along with the heavy presence of stereo ping-pong in the preset, please wear high end headphones to fully enjoy the track. All of this work is licensed as Creative Commons CC-BY.
The whole video is made from a single run of the iTunes visualizer. Anyone with a Mac or Windows computer and the free iTunes software can make similar videos live, that’s several hundred millions people! The entry for my first and similar video for the ‘Curious explorer’ track details the iTunes visualizer shortcuts, even the hidden ones, and tells you how to make the best out of it. I’m also working on a longer article which would provide even more details.
The whole video is made from a single run of the iTunes visualizer. Anyone with a Mac or Windows computer and the free iTunes software can make similar videos live, that’s several hundred millions people! I recorded the video with Quicktime, which can record a screencast. I however had to change the screen resolution of my old mac to the lowest possible (1280 x 720 pixels) to reduce the stuttering during recording. The simple montage was made in iMovie using one of its default themes. The following instructions tell you how to play and fully enjoy the iTunes visualizer yourself, at the full resolution of your screen and, of course, no stuttering since you’ll be playing it live. It’s a much nicer experience than what is shown on the video. I only played with the iTunes visualizer for less than an hour, I suspect someone’s skills after more practice means great fun.
I found undocumented keyboard controls in this 2008 lifehacker article. Once you know and use the various controls in harmony with the music that you hear, you play the role of a VJ. Let me tell you about the basics of controlling the iTunes visualiser:
There are three main visual components, (A) the cores, which are the moving spheres, (B) the rays, which flow out of the cores, and (C) the nebula clouds, which fill the whole screen and changes the ambiance
There are 20 modes for you to enjoy, you incrementally cycle from one mode to the next with the ‘M key’. Take the time to explore the various modes since they’re what alter the visualizations most
You can modify the movement of the visual components by freezing the rays (F key) and by locking or releasing the camera rotation (L key)
The nebula clouds (N key) should not be underestimated, they radically change the ambiance and can also be toggled on/off rhythmically. Pressing the ‘E key’ will enhance the nebula clouds, making them more prominent
The ‘A key’ and ‘S key’ will add or subtract rays to the visualizer, usually, I prefer when there’s more
The ‘+ key’ and the ‘- key’ are equally important since they increase or decrease the brightness of the of the rays
Finally, you can change the color palettes (P key) which obviously impact the general feel of the animation
Once you understand the basics, the most artistic and technically challenging part begins: controlling it live over a great song! A difficult part of the performance to me is making certain changes of modes (M key) and freezing (F key) along with the rotation (L key) generate something beautiful and in sync with the music. That makes the most significant difference
Keeping the rotation enabled (L key) mean you can get closer to the cores. Once very close to a core you may want to freeze and stop the rotation since the effects are often superb
Try also toggling freezing and rotation rhythmically, you can achieve something nice this way
The iTunes visualizer keyboard controls that I’m aware of, for iTunes version 188.8.131.52:
iTunes visualizer keyboard shortcuts
Increment to the next visualizer 'mode', out of a total of 20 modes
Freeze cores and rays
Freezes the movement of the cores and rays, which can still rotate (L key). With freeze and lock rotation enabled, nebula clouds will also freeze
Stops and starts the rotation of the camera. If the rays are in the frozen state (F key), only brightness of the rays will change according to the music's loudness
Enable nebula clouds that fill the screen with an animated haze. These clouds are not available for all modes (M key)
Enhance nebula clouds
If nebula clouds (N key) are enabled, pressing the 'E key' will accentuate them
+ / -
Adjust ray brightness
Increase (+ key) or decrease (- key) brightness of the rays, multiple presses further increase or decrease their intensity
A / S
Add or subtract rays
Add (A key) or subtract (S key) rays to the visualizer
Change color palette
Increment to next color palette, out of about 10 different color palettes
Displays the track cover image, title, artist and album names at the bottom left of the screen
Cycle mode after track
The visualizer mode increments to next mode when a new track begins. Enabled by default
Reset the brightness (+ / - keys) and density of rays (A / S keys) to their default values
Displays most of the keyboard shortcuts, but this current table also tells you what the official Help won't
Any other key
Avoid hitting unpaired keys!
The two improvements I’d like to see to the iTunes visualizer: (a) easy control for the number of cores in the scene, and (b) full control on how close or far we are from the cores.
If I missed any hidden iTunes visualizer keyboard control, please let me know in the comments below! Have fun — Alex / Satri