i spent some time porting over 22 of the 35 examples that comes with the nice graphical programming environment nodebox to supercollider. (nodebox is based on python and specializes in generative graphics.)
if one compare the code for these examples, i think it is obvious how capable supercollider is for 2d graphics. it's just as simple as nodebox and processing!
well, some more advanced features are missing at the moment - like reading back paths, image manipulation, bindings to coreimage, pdf export etc, but simple interactive 2d and animation sc can handle.

all the ported code lives here...
and here for swingosc (windows/linux)...


here's a class for supercollider that generates perlin noise. i wrote it about a year ago to learn how that works but didn't finish the helpfile until now.

some examples of images made with this class...

and this is an example from the helpfile that gives an overview of some settings of 'persistance vs octaves'. the 8 steps of persistance grows from 0.25 to 0.95 left to right. and octaves grows from 2 to 9 bottom to top.

(update 090523: RedPerlin is now part of the redUniverse quark)

low life

attached are three programs that all uses some sort of audiovisual self-referential code in that they synthesise their own syntax.
as i think this only works on supercollider osx i made some short videos...

redWorm from redFrik on Vimeo.

redSnake from redFrik on Vimeo.

redSnail from redFrik on Vimeo.

one can also write custom 'scores' for these programs to perform... (1,1mb) (848kb) (698kb)

the code is also available in the examples folder in the supercollider distro.

Package icon redWorm.zip1000 bytes
Package icon redSnake.zip1.07 KB
Package icon redSnail.zip1.17 KB


a different plot for supercollider. though it is actually more useful as an 'artistic' visualizer rather than a serious way to represent data. it works with collections like arrays, envelopes and wavetables. the technique is to translates them to length/angle pairs and then draw a shape from that.

it's distributed via supercollider's package system quarks. all open source.
(update 090511: redFingerprint is now part of the redUniverse quark)
how to install:
download supercollider

there's also some older code here that does similar drawings...


and of course it's always more fun when things break. here the same thing with a nice bug...

work with mark: RedUniverse - a simple toolkit

i made a short demo/poster session at the LAM conference 19dec in london. see
below is the handout describing the toolkit.

this toolkit is now distributed via supercollider's package system quarks. all open source.
how to install:
download supercollider
(if you run OSX and prefer to use SwingOSC over Cocoa gui, you'll need to move the file to the osx folder and recompile.)

RedUniverse - a simple toolkit

Mark d'Inverno & Fredrik Olofsson

This is basically a set of tools for sonification and visualisation of dynamic systems. It lets us build and experiment with systems as they are running. With the help of these tools we can quickly try out ideas around simple audiovisual mappings, as well as code very complex agents with strange behaviours.

The toolkit consists of three basic things... Objects, Worlds and a Universe. Supporting these are additional classes for things like particle systems, genetic algorithms, plotting, audio analysis etc. but preferably many of these functions you will want to code your self as a user.

We have chosen to work in the programming language SuperCollider ( as it provides
tight integration between realtime sound synthesis and graphics. It also allows for minimal classes that are easy to customise and extend. SuperCollider is also open for communication with other programs and it run cross-platform.

So to take full advantage of our toolkit, good knowledge of this programming language is required. We do provide helpfiles and examples as templates for exploration, but the more interesting features, like the ability to live-code agents, are hard to fully utilise without knowing this language.

Detailed overview

In SuperCollider we have the three base classes: RedObject, RedWorld and RedUniverse.

RedObject - things like particles, boids, agents, rocks, food etc.
RedWorld - provides an environment for objects.
RedUniverse - a global collection of all available worlds.

Objects all live in a world of some sort. There they obey a simplified set of physical laws. They have a location, velocity, acceleration, size and a mass. They know a little about forces and can collide nicely with other objects.

Pendulums are objects that oscillates. They have an internal oscillation or resonance of some sort.

Particles are objects that ages with time. They keep track of how long they have existed.

Boids are slightly more advanced particles. They have a desire and they can wander around independently seeking it.

Agents are boids that can sense and act. They also carries a state 'dictionary' where basically anything can be stored (sensory data, urges, genome, phenome, likes, dislikes, etc). Both the sense and act functions as well as the state dictionary, can be manipulated on the fly. Either by the system itself or by the user in runtime.

Worlds provide an environment for the objects. They have properties like size, dimensions, gravity etc and they also keep a list of all objects currently in that world.
For now there are three world classes:
RedWorld - endless in the sense that objects wrap around its borders.
RedWorld2 - a world with soft walls. Objects can go through but at a cost. How soft these walls are and how great the cost is depends on gravity and world damping.
RedWorld3 - a world with hard walls. Objects bounce off the borders - how hard depends on gravity and world damping.

The Universe is there to keep track of worlds. It can interpolate between different worlds. It can sequence worlds, swap and replace, and also migrate objects between worlds. All this while the system is running.
The RedUniverse class also does complete system store/recall to disk of all objects and worlds.

So the above are the basic tools. They should be flexible enough to work with e.g. objects can live in worlds of any number of dimensions. But as noted, one can easily extend functionality of these classes by subclassing.


How the objects and worlds behave, sound and look like are open for experimentation. That is, this is left for the user to code. So while there is great potential for customisation, it also requires more work form its users.
The RedUniverse as a whole tries not to enforce a particular type of system. E.g. one can use it purely without any visual output or vice-verse.
We see it both as a playground for agent experiments as well as a serious tool for music composition and performance. We hope it is simple and straightforward and while there is nothing particularly novel about it, we have certainly had fun with it so far. Foremost it makes it easy to come up with interesting mappings between sound and graphics. In a way we just joyride these simple dynamic systems to create interesting sounds.

The software and examples will be available online on the LAM site. Of course as open source.

(note:and also in the supercollider package system quarks)

default synth hack

i recently implemented something nick collins and i discussed a long time ago (sc2 era - custom event class). it is a 'hack' of the default synth in supercollider. ie the one that many of the help and example files uses. so when you install my class, the default file will be overwritten and all the slightly daft pattern examples will from there on spring into new life.

distributed via supercollider's package system quarks.
how to install:
download supercollider

update 111116: redDefault is no longer a quark. it's available here.

then run some examples. most of the ones in and work very well. see for more info.

(and yes, it is easy to uninstall and get back to the boring default synth)

just to compare - here's first an example taken from a helpfile playing on the default synth...

and this is the exact same example with my hack installed...

not only does it create a new synthesiser, it also changes duration, attack/release times, amplitude etc. the pitches are mapped to a diminished chord in a somewhat strange way: the slower the duration - the greater the leap between the notes to quantise to. eg if half or whole notes, only octaves will be heard.

a tiny little white one

this chunk of sc code will create a tiny but not so well behaved audiovisual creature.
(i must admit i stole the title from a.berthling's album on mitek) (32,7mb)

/*a tiny little white one  /redFrik 061009*/

        n= 25;                                                          /*number of arms*/
        b= {Buffer.alloc(s, 32, 1)}.dup(n);             /*length must be power of 2*/
        SynthDef(\wormsnd, {|out= 0, bufnum, freq= 60, amp= 0.01, pan= 0|
      ,, freq, 0, amp), pan));
        var width= 300, height= 300, freqSpread= 100.rrand(1000).postln, muckProb= 0.0008,
                muck= 0, i= 0, j= 0, shapes, synths, pnt, w, u, freq,
                centerX= width/2, centerY= height/2, o= 0.1, frict= 1, lfo= 1, lfoSpeed= 0;
        w= Window("a tiny little white one", Rect(128, 64, width, height), false);
        u= UserView(w, Rect(0, 0, width, height));
        shapes= {|x| {1.0.rand}.dup(b[x].numFrames)}.dup(n); /*init shapes*/
        synths= {|x| Synth(\wormsnd, [\bufnum, b[x].bufnum, \pan, x/(n-1)*2-1])}.dup(n);
        u.drawFunc= {
      {|shape, x|            /*iterate shapes, x is index*/
                        var dist;
                        if((muckProb*0.1).coin, {muck= 4.rand});
                        if(muck>0, {
                                        {pnt= Point(x/n*10, x/n*10)},
                                        {pnt= Point(x/n* -10, x/n*10); if(muckProb.coin {muck= 0})},
                                        {pnt= Point(x.rand2, x.rand2); if(muckProb.coin {muck= 0})}
                                if(i%2000==0, {muck= 0});
                        }, {
                                pnt= Point(0, 0)
                        lfo= (lfo+lfoSpeed).fold(0.05, 1);
                        i= i+1;
                        j= (j+10.rand2).fold(0, shape.size-1);
                        shape.put(j, (shape[j]+o).fold(0.01, 1));
                        if(muckProb.coin, {
                                o= [0.15.rand2, -1, 1].wchoose(#[0.95, 0.025, 0.025]);
                                frict= [0.997.rrand(1), 0.95.rrand(1.5)].wchoose(#[0.95, 0.05]);
                                lfoSpeed= 0.0001.rand2;
                                        #[\o, \frict, \lfo, \lfoSpeed],
                                        [o, frict, lfo, lfoSpeed].round(0.0001)
                        o= o*frict;
                        b[x].sine1(shape.clip(0.01, 1));
                        Pen.strokeColor= Color.grey(x+1/n);
                        Pen.moveTo(Point(centerX, centerY));
                        shape.clump(2).do{|ll, k|
                                var distance, angle, temp;
                                #distance, angle= ll;
                                pnt= Point(distance, distance).rotate(angle*2pi*lfo)+pnt;
                                                (pnt.x*10+centerX).clip(0, width),
                                                (pnt.y*10+centerY).clip(0, height)
                        dist= pnt.dist(0).clip(0.1, 20);                /*distance from 0, 0*/
                        freq= dist/20+lfoSpeed+muck+(lfo*0.01.rand)*freqSpread+60;
                        synths[x].set(\freq, freq, \amp, (1/n)*dist/20);
        {while{w.isClosed.not} {u.refresh; (1/30).wait}}.fork(AppClock);

a tiny little white one from redFrik on Vimeo.


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