Algorithmic Animation

24 Feb 2011

I started the code that would ultimately generate the video below on Christmas, 2009, at my cousin’s home, and I have made subsequent revisions since. For example, in September I needed to spawn particles based on an initial mask, such as text. Most recently I rewrote the particle class to record particles’ x and y position in terms of t time.

My animation code, written in Java, spits out a sequence of PNG images, i.e. frame000.png frame001.png ... frame899n.png.

For a while I used Ffmpeg to convert these sequences into AVI files:

ffmpeg -r 30 -i frame%03.png out.avi

So 900 frames of 1080p video would generate a fat 30 second AVI.

When I chose to combine these sequences by hand, I started compositing them in After Effects.

I doubt H264 can ever really encode these in an attractive way that loads quickly. Case in point, the above video consistently loads painfully slow for me (at least at 720p).

Also, I’ve been debating whether or not to release this code, since I consider it more of a tool for my own video art production. But I decided why not release the code I have been hacking at for a while now. It’s not clean or elegant because I don’t care for it to be right now, but if you want to play with it have at it: * You will also need: