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The Creatures of Prometheus – Generative visualisation of Beethoven’s ballet with Houdini

Latest in the series of self-initiated studies by Simon Russell exploring the combination of the audio and visual, ‘The Creatures of Prometheus’  is a generative visualisation of the ballet composed in 1801 by Beethoven.

The animation is driven mainly through a MIDI file. The Houdini setup reads the notation and emits particles using the pitch to derive their height and amplitude to derive their speed. As the volume of each note increases it also effects the colour emitted.

The setup also reads the previous note and determines if the current note is higher or lower and pitches the particles up or down respectively. The conductor is simply keyframed but the volume of the piece drives how much they exaggerate the movements.

Simon notes that the first four bars are in the wrong tempo (and time signature) but he wanted to get the piece finished and out rather than perfect. He also writes: “It was quite a fun one because I plugged in the data, hit render and then didn’t really know what would come out. Usually I’d hand animate every last detail but this one is essentially generative. ”

Houdini work was produced by Simon, Alex Eckford created music from the MIDI and Greg Felton and Alan Martyn at Amphio helped with data crunching.

Project PageSimon RussellAlex EckfordAmphio