Random_ish cover art

6 December 2012

This is the cover for my latest DJ mix, and I thought I’d share the story of making it:

The mix itself is mostly a random collection of recent music I’d bought, and was one of the few times I’ve just thrown a recorded mix together like this — usually I come up with a theme beforehand or record a live DJ set somewhere — so it seemed appropriate to have a cover that was somehow randomly generated.

My attention immediately turned to Processing since it’s the perfect platform for quickly exploring visual ideas like this.  At first I imagined some sort of grid of randomly coloured squares, but I then remembered I had an experiment in progress over at OpenProcessing (an on-line version of Processing for quick experiments or even putting together a portfolio of Processing sketches):

The above animation is a sequence of random ellipses, slightly offset by a small random amount from the centre of the sketch, drawing atop of each other, while slowly erasing the previous the ellipses; it was attempt to recreate the effect of this album cover that I discovered while previewing some new tunes, solely has an exercise of interest.

For contrast, this is the same sketch except that the previous ellipses are erased ten times more slowly:

After revisiting the sketch, the aesthetic of this bunch of random traces (or tracks!) seemed a perfect fit for a mix based on a random collection of music tracks, so I enlarged the animation, inverted the colours, and grabbed a screenshot of the resulting animation:

In this review, I’ve realized how closely my mix cover resembles the original cover art inspiration, but I’d like to think that I arrived there in a roundabout way, as opposed to literally copying it. This is something I love about Processing: starting out w/ an initial idea and then plugging away with various revisions and tweaks on a theme; simply experimenting to come up w/ something appealing or interesting . . .

I’ll certainly be using Processing to generate more cover art in the future.

And if you haven’t already, please enjoy the mix!

Comments (1) | Tags: , , , , | More: Blog

One Response to “Random_ish cover art”

  1. Jerome says:

    You’re so right about Processing being an awesome tool for stuff like this :D

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