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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

The complex beauty of a sine wave

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: Daniel Sierra)

A thesis animation project explores how universal building blocks evolve to form beautiful, complex structures.

Trigonometry has never been so gorgeous.

The short animation Oscillate was created by New York School of Visual Arts post-grad student Daniel Sierra, as his thesis project. The idea of his experimental work, Sierra said, was to take one of the most basic trigonometric concepts — the sine wave — and explore its evolutions.

"My goal with Oscillate was to visualise waveform patterns that evolve from the fundamental sine wave to more complex patterns, creating a mesmerising audio-visual experience, in which sight and sound work in unison to capture the viewer's attention," he said.

Sine waves are the form that sound waves take and are the "building blocks" of sound, which makes them the perfect visual expression of audio, and its periodic motion induces a trance-like effect.

"I wanted the audience to begin with the widely recognised image and sound of the sine wave and show them how it is a building block not just for sound, but also complex visual forms by changing its interpretation over the length of the piece," Sierra said.

The animation was created using Houdini's VEX tool to generate and animate waveforms, and the music — also written by Sierra — was created in Reason.


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