Accidental Niceness

I was experimenting with a adding surface texture to the Paraboloid Spread shader, and pushed one of the parameters further than I usually would. The result was really cool!

What’s actually happening is that I’ve added a repeating pattern to the surface of each individual mesh strip. There’s a control for the size of each texture ’tile’, and in this case, I’ve set this all the way up to 1.0. This stretches the tile image (in this case a blurry circle) to fill the whole area of the mesh, blurring it in the process. Setting the mesh blending mode to Add melds the meshes together, giving this fiery, explosion-like effect.

The fifth pic there was the result of another happy accident, when I set the tiling surface pattern for the mesh to an image input, but neglected to connect anything to it, resulting in a really nice glitchy noise-type effect, that flashes on and off in a really cool way.


8 Responses to “Accidental Niceness”

  1. May 21, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Thats what we are talking about. Make it your own! This is a huge area to explore. Many of these algorithms have presumed ‘correct’ values, but, you are not dealing with just math, but aesthetics, and thus being able to fuck with values above and beyond the normal perceived correct values leads to really really nice things.

    Half of the fun is breaking it in unexpected ways.

  2. 2 toneburst
    May 21, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Absolutely right, vade!
    The trick is to recognise the useful mistake…
    I quite like ‘glitchy’ things, anyway.


  3. 3 matt
    May 22, 2008 at 2:45 am

    any tutorials on how to reproduce some of this stuff?

  4. 4 toneburst
    May 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Hi Matt.

    I do post code sometimes. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of work involved in putting together a proper tutorial, especially for relatively advanced stuff like this (not saying I’m a QC guru or anything, but I’ve learnt quite a lot over the year or so I’ve been tinkering with it). I always mean to do some tutorials, but I get distracted, and end up making something new instead…

    One thing I do like to do is comment my code, and add explanatory notes to the compositions I release. It’s partly for my own benefit, so I know what’s what when I come back to the comp. later, but hopefully will prove useful to anyone else who might want to pull things apart to see how they work.


  5. 5 blouboy
    May 23, 2008 at 12:19 am


    what you are doing is pretty amazing. i for one would suggest keeping at it like you have been doing. i look forward every day to seeing what you have been up to and for the most part, i learn as much by taking it apart and playing with it as i might with a tutorial. you might take a break for a while and write up a little book at some point though. a basic book would open up QC to a bunch of people who aren’t using it yet.


  6. 6 matt
    May 23, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Man your stuff is amazing, i want to learn how so bad lol. Any good places to start with tutorials, links, or books? thanks.

  7. 7 D
    May 25, 2008 at 5:17 am

    Is this VVVV or QC you are creating this stunning(shader/patch) work in?

  8. 8 toneburst
    May 25, 2008 at 7:02 am

    Hi D.

    it’s Quartz Composer.
    A lot of the stuff I’ve been doing lately has been about emulating stuff you can do in VVVV in QC though. I’ve also been working on converting a lot of VVVV shaders to work in GLSL/QC, so there’s a connection.



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