Submitted by , posted on 12 January 2002

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I know this is not a fancy terrain renderer nor a static indoor poly-pusher, however this might be of someone's interest.

So what is this Generatrix about? Generatrix is an interactive multimedia installation, first presented in Milan/Italy, May-2001, at Anteprima Bovisa Europa 2000 (international exhibition of modern art) hosted by the PAC (Gallery of Contemporary Art). It features real-time generated graphics and audio, which is resulted by some audio input prosessing (FFT, spectral analysis) and real-time video-in capture.

The ideology behind this is to visualize the people's thoughts, which one way of capturing is via their speech, screaming and other vocal "output". In the state of silence, there is only a single drop, particle, ball, sphere or whatever you may call it (in fact it's a metaball). When the audio input gets alive, some other smaller or bigger particles are being ejected by the central body. These particles keep moving, orbiting, pulsating while there is a significant amount of acoustic pressure in a certain frequency interval. The frequency analysis is done using fast-fourier transform. To bring the people's feelings about the whole stuff a bit more forward their faces are captured using a camera (it can be a simple webcam as well) and mapped onto the particles as if they 'd seen themselves in a mirror. To bring even more fun into the game, the audio output was distorted using EAX effects, so even a little girl could sound like an ogre :)

The installation would not be perfect without a proper setup - so we created a big cylinder shaped "room", which the visitors could enter, so they could feel more intimidated in the dark and pulsating environment. Believe it or not, Generatrix was a great success, everyone liked it and came back several times to gesture, scream, belch into the microphone. :) And you would be surpriced how many people couldn't gett it that there is a PC behind all this. Bringing modern multimedia in touch to them was a good feeling.

Finally, something about the hardware we used: SGI Zx10 workstation with Wildcat 4210+ graphics (though it runs on any PC with an OGL capable 3D card), SB Live 5.1 audio. For the graphics I used OpenGL, the audio capture was done using DirectSound 8, and Video for Windows used for the video capture. Binaries will be available soon. For more info you may take a look at

Image of the Day Gallery



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