Friday, August 27, 2010

Studio Typewriter - Fourier Transformations

I've become very interested in the translation of sound into image and image into sound. Recently I've been using a programme called "Bitmaps And Waves" or BW.exe coded by Victor "X" Khashchanskiy (http://www.elisanet.fi/victorx/) which applies a Fourier Transformation (http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/rbf/CVonline/LOCAL_COPIES/OWENS/LECT4/node2.html) to translate from the pixels in the image to the sound samples in the wav. The virtue of this method is that it's a true mathematical relationship and so it works both ways. That is to say, when the reverse process is applied to the image produced from the sound it reconstructs the exact same sound.

When some change is made to the image, such as a resize or a photoshop effect, turning that image back into the sound carries with it the mathematical distortion and thus changes the sound.

As an experiment I converted all of the tracks from the Studio Typewriter "Kitchen Sink" album into wavs and then used BW.exe to create bitmap images of them. Then I resized all 14 images to a uniform size (640x480 pixels) and then turned them back into wavs. Finally I converted the wavs to mp3s and uploaded them to last.fm. (As I write this I'm still waiting for some of them to upload - a last.fm glitch is blocking some of the uploads).

Here are the images created from the tracks:



























4 comments:

  1. there actually is some loss in the manner of "lossy" compression SFIAS has a method of stripping the header and the treating the file as and arbitary bitmap the pictures look quite different but there is no loss of information.
    -paul the less

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  2. http://unrequitedloveofgod.blogspot.com/2010/09/on-turning-sound-into-pictures.html the sfias response to this blog

    ReplyDelete
  3. Stumbled upon my name mentioned in this possibly forgotted blog and decided to contibute a few words.

    1. The conversion from sound to image is lossy. Brightness of each pixel represents power spectrum density. The phase of original sine wave is ignored.

    2. My website has been moved from elisanet to http://victorx.eu

    3. My current project creates music of images. It is more artistic, and reverse conversion is hardly possible. It's here:
    http://buddhaorc.wikispaces.com/Buddha+Orchestra

    Being also a painter, I feel it's a nice and easy way to create music.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks very much for letting me know about Buddha Orchestra. I've begun exploring the examples on your website.

    ReplyDelete

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