Archive for the ‘Electronic’ Category

tldr; I did lots of steps and connected lots of pipes together to control audio and visuals in real time with a MIDI controller + Ableton + Unity + MIDI-OX (this was the secret sauce)

Intro

(FYI: This is a really really long explanation of my process with no code and no links to download it. Its mostly a record for myself, but maybe there is something here that will help you!)

I’ve been doing Houdini tutorials and was inspired by complex shapes I could make through combining simple functions like Subdivision, Taper, Twist & Copy To Points.

2021-03-28 – Clawed Ball, Houdini

From this, I wanted to manipulate the object in real time with a MIDI controller and decided to re-create the Houdini functions in Unity. The tweet below is the result:

There are 2 things I’d like to talk about here:

  1. Tendril Ball – The visuals
  2. MIDI Control – Using a MIDI controller to manipulate Ableton Live (audio) & Unity (visual) simultaneously

Tendril Ball

It’s a ball made of tendrils, hence the name.

First, I started by creating a mesh of a cube.
I used this site: http://ilkinulas.github.io/development/unity/2016/04/30/cube-mesh-in-unity3d.html

Then I added a parameter to add subdivisions to the cube along the Y-Axis.

Cube mesh with subdivisions.

Then I added a Twist parameter. Each “layer” starting from the bottom is rotated clockwise.

Next, I added a Taper parameter. Each “layer” starting from the bottom get smaller until the size is 0 at the top.

I now have a single “tendril”.

Tendril: Twisted and tapered.

Then I needed to find a sphere without too many vertices on it. I ended up using a “cube sphere” from https://catlikecoding.com/unity/tutorials/cube-sphere/ with a Grid Size of 2. This resulted in a sphere with 26 vertices.

Emulating Houdini’s Copy to Points node, I instantiated one tendril per vertex on the sphere, resulting in the Tendril Ball below.

Tendril ball: Copy to points

I then exposed 3 parameters:

  1. Distance
  2. Length
  3. Twist Amount

MIDI Control

For many years now I’ve been trying to find a good solution to send MIDI from a controller to Ableton Live and Unity simultaneously. Finally I found the missing piece of the puzzle and I have actually been on their website multiple times without realising the answer was always there! This is probably the main reason I wanted to write this blog post.

The answer is MIDI-OX (http://www.midiox.com/). It lets me take a signal from my MIDI controller (Behringer X-Touch Mini) and split/send it to 2 virtual MIDI ports. I am on Windows 10 and I use loopBe30 for virtual MIDI ports.

MIDI-OX

In Ableton, I receive MIDI input from the virtual port “01. Internal MIDI”. I loaded a Wavetable synth and mapped the macros to the first 3 knobs on the X-Touch Mini.

In Unity, I receive MIDI input from the virtual port “02. Internal MIDI”. I used Minis by keijiro (https://twitter.com/_kzr) to receive MIDI input. I map they first 3 knobs on the X-Touch Mini to control the 3 values on my Tendril Ball (Distance, Length & Twist Amount).

Behringer X-TOUCH MINI Midi Controller: Amazon.co.uk: Musical Instruments
Behringer X-Touch Mini

And thats it!

Sorry, not sharing any code because this is part of long ongoing project of mine and this is just one small piece of a much larger execution. I don’t really expect anyone to read all this anyway!

The next problem to solve is using the Push 2. The knobs are endless/relative encoders. Turning a knob doesn’t send a value from 0-127. Instead it sends a value saying whether it increased (< 0.5) or decreased (>0.5). I need to do more research into 2’s Compliment). When I turn the knob in one movement, Unity (Minis) is only receiving one event even though I can see many events being triggered in MIDI-OX and in the Unity Input Debugger. So if I turn a knob from 0 to max in one go, in Unity its only incrementing the value by a small amount.

Heres a game I made for the Oculus Rift with my colleagues at DAN.

http://thehungergame.com.au/

Here are 2 musical works in progress. One from last week and one from today.

DOWNLOAD:Β (2012-08Aug-18) Hard Reset

This one has a bit of a new wave and synthpop kinda feel to it. Have some lyrics for it, but will wait until I’ve finished the whole song before sharing that on the Interweb.

DOWNLOAD:Β (2012-08Aug-26) Soft Reset

This ones some kinda blues/jazzy piece. Was playing an iPhone game made by a friend called Pong Beats (http://www.pongbeats.com/) and remembered how much I love the sound of acoustic piano, so decided to pull put my M-Audio Axiom 25 and connect it to Ableton Live and make some music

Image

I haven’t used it in a long time…and for some reason, the C# and G keys on both octaves don’t work anymore! After doing some googling, sounds like its a common problem. Someone’s solution was to turn it upside down and slap it. I tried it but it didn’t work. Well, I managed to make some music even without those 2 notes (4 keys all up), and I added a task to my TODO list to figure out whats wrong some other day. Hopefully its not a hardware problem!

Instead of making a stop motion video of my giant Lego man (you can see him in the video below) like I was planning to do, I ended up playing with Processing again. Basically I didn’t really have the right space to setup my stop motion, and I really needed to have a green screen to do what I wanted to do. But its all good, no time wasted as I was very productive anyway!

Firstly, heres the video of my creation today:

Now an explanation…

In summary, I am waving my hand around in the air like an idiot and it is controlling the music coming from my computer. The hardware and software components that are at play here are Microsoft Kinect -> Processing -> Ableton Live and Novation Launchpad. I had a chat to my friend DJ Gustavo Bravetti and he had some good tips for me on how to setup Ableton clips to make the transitions smoother and sound more musical. When I have time, I’ll set up a whole song and give a better performance!

A bit more detail…

Basically, the Kinect is sending the location of my hand to Processing which is in turn sending MIDI note on messages to both Ableton Live and the Novation Launchpad. In this version, I have separated the grid into 4 quadrants, each on playing a different MIDI note that is going into 2 channels in live. The first channel has an arpeggiator triggering an Impulse drum kit, and the second channel has an arpeggiated synth. The lights on the Launchpad are also set to light up each of the quadrants as they are triggered.

For those wanting to delve into the code, its not highly commented, but you should be able to get the idea of what I’m doing. Any issues, just leave a message here or send me an email on benxtan [at] gmail [dot] com.

Processing source code and Live set are available here (UPDATED):

http://benxtan.com/kmidic/kmidic_processing_v0.2.zip

http://benxtan.com/kmidic/kmidic_processing_v0.1.zip

You will need to install Processing, and the rwmidi and libfreenect libraries in the libraries folder of your Processing sketches.

Here are some links if you are after more information.

Software Links:
http://www.ableton.com/
http://processing.org/
http://ruinwesen.com/support-files/rwmidi-0.1c.zip
http://ruinwesen.com/support-files/rwmidi/documentation/RWMidi.html
https://github.com/shiffman/libfreenect/tree/master/wrappers/java/processing

Hardware Links:
http://www.xbox.com/kinect
http://www.novationmusic.com/products/midi_controller/launchpad

Once again, if you are a musician or music business in Australia, its free to sign up to http://rockstarhookups.com.au so go do it! I’m giving you free stuff, so help me out here ok? πŸ™‚

Ok, heres todays creation. Found a old 8 bar loop I made in November last year that I liked and started working on it until it turned into a 3 minute song. The songs is a mix of prog rock drums with electro synthesisers. Has a bit of an EBM/Industrial feel to it at times. What do you think?

Heres a picture of my desk while I was working on the track:

And heres the track so far:

Direct link: http://benxtan.com/audio/electronic/songs/(2011-04Apr-23)%20Destro%27s%20Secret%20v1.mp3

This is just the first draft. I’m planning to add samples, vocals or guitars to it later.

Digital Samurai

Digital Samurai

Heres a drawing I did today. Phase 1 of me creating things this Easter long weekend.

This drawing was done with a black Artline 200 and generic red ball point for the red in the eyes.

Photo was taken with my iPhone since I don’t have access to a scanner at the moment. Might scan it properly later.

I’ve also put it on facebook under the guise of ‘Eye Also Ink’ here.

UPDATE 1: Heres a short loop created in GarageBand in iPad to go with the drawing

(2011-04Apr-23) Digital Samurai.mp3

UPDATE 2: Heres a better quality image.

http://svenisnumb.deviantart.com/art/Digital-Samurai-205997270