Hope and Change

I thought I'd put the projects in reverse order, to make it easier for people who have seen the earlier glitch projects already.

Lesson 5: Editing Sound as Image

I thought I would try to create some kind of rhythmic pattern by playing the idea that pixels are arranged from left to right and from top to bottom.  So what I did is just select long bars of vertical pixels and replace them with white (command-. on a mac).  The idea is that there would be some kind of regular rhythmic pattern corresponding to each line of pixels with the same pattern of white pixels.  The result was not as regular as I thought it would be, but I'm still fascinated by the result.  Also, the original file was shortened by more than half (white space became truncated?).

Here is the upper half of the image.

Here is the original sound (it's a piece by me that gradually increases the density of orchestration from a solo bassoon until it's distorted and noisy).


Here is the databent version...



 Lesson 4: Datamashups

Here are a couple of results from a lot of experiments.  I went overboard and did a lot of work with not a lot of super great results IMHO.  I'll try to update more if I can find the time.  This one takes an image and mashes it with a reversed version of itself.

Here is a mix of three tracks with pieces of the image reversed and rearranged in different ways.

Then I took a GIF of Animal from the Muppets headbanging.  I divied up the images in GIMP and datamashed all of them.  I was surprised that the result wasn't more extreme.


This is the result of datamashing all 15 frames together...

It seemed that after 5 frames or so there were diminishing returns on the perceivable changes.  Here is a GIF illustrating the datamash from 1+2, 1+2+3, etc. All the way to 15.

And then a GIF of an extreme JPG compressed version...


 Extra Project: Bending Vector Graphics

I've been interested in bending vector graphics since I saw there was a possibility a few weeks ago.  My first attempt was pretty...meh.

SVG files (scalable vector graphics) are great because they can be scaled to any size and you don't loose any resolution.  That's because SVG files are written in an XML code that describes lines/curves in terms of relative coordinate and angles, so that, for instance, a plain black circle is about 1 line of code that tells you how big the circle is, where it is on the canvas, and it's line and fill color.

Here is an example of what an SVG file looks like in a text editor...

This is a lot more complicated than a simple circle because of reasons which you'll see below, but you get the point.  It's readable code.

Bending an SVG file is pretty simple.  You just have to be careful not to bend any of the words, which are specific keywords that describe things like "paths," and you must be careful not to bend any of the header info either (the header can easily be cut out and pasted back in after the bend).  Essentially this just means a simple Find and Replace technique using decimal and hexidecimal numbers.

So where can I get some complex SVGs?  I could just download some from the internet, but I thought of something more fun.  Adobe Illustrator has this cool feature called "Live Trace" which takes an image and converts it to vector graphics.

So where can I get an iconic image to vectorize...hmmm...

Usually the goal with vector graphics is to make the vectors have as few breakpoints as possible, but my goal is different.  I want complexity because that means more data to hack.  So here is what a "bad" Live Trace looks like.


You can see the edges aren't smooth as you would normally want if you were a graphic designer trying to make a nice simple smooth image.  But that's not what I want.  So lets go for our first bend.  I'll open it up in Text Edit and do a Find and Replace.

Iteration 1: Find and Replace

You got a little something on your face Mr. President.

Iteration 2: Find and Replace

This is the iteration where the image got ridiculously long.  Here's a shrunken overview...

Here is the cropped version


Iteration 3 (cropped)

You can see that some of the colors are changing too.  Especially in the next one.

Iteration 4: Final

Drizzle President

The image dimensions shrunk to a more manageable size and I really like the colors and the shape of it.  It almost looks like some kind of cartoon bust.

Pebble Splatter

Here is an unrelated bent SVG that was derived from close up photograph of concrete.  There were thousands upon thousands of vertices (because the image has tons of detail as compared to the Obama poster), so Illustrator slowed to a crawl when working with this image.


Bent SVG:



Lesson 3

Databending with Audacity

Cactoid II

Pretty simple Audacity bend using echo.  Same original as Cactoid I.

Spinal Penetration

Another echo bend with another cactus original.

Salty Schmear

Same original as Salty Smolder (a macro of a cracker).  This was a created by first bending in Hex Fiend and then (you guessed it) using an echo effect in Audacity.  Clearly echo is my fave.

Glacial Itch

So lets take a stepped approach to a relatively involved glitch.  To start lets do echo (I know, I know, but it's so good) on an image of a glacier.

Step 1.

That looks good by itself, but lets take it further.  How about reversing a portion of it.

Step 2.

Let's add a little phasor action.

Step 3.

Way to go algorithm.  Now lets compress it into a jpeg and hack it with Text Edit find and replace.

Step 4.

Well, I think I just designed the new flag for the nation of Glitch (now all we need is a battle cry). But why not go further?  Lets rotate it and bring it back to Audacity.  Cut and paste to counter some of that horizontalness.

Step 5.

That'll work.  Let's rotate it back and apply my favorite effect (echo) once again to top it off.

Step 6.

....aaaand that's a wrap!  Or is it?


Lesson 2

This was a PNG databend using TextEdit.  Inserting paragraphs and deleting chunks.  The PNGs didn't open in GIMP (just as black images), so I converted them to JPEGs in Preview first.

Salty Smolder

Salty Smolder


Lesson 1:

All of these glitches are done in Hex Fiend or Text Edit on a Mac.  Using some combination of cut and paste, find and replace, or just typing random messages into the file.

Chicken of the Woods

This is my first attempt at glitch from a couple of weeks ago.



Glitch Dialog


First iteration:

I love how on the very first edit in Hex Fiend that the birds faced each other...


I went several iterations further, but I think I like this one the best (thinking of cropping, but I'm torn.  I really love the green part).



Taken with an iPhone with an aftermarket macro lense.



I used the following technique to get this effect:  Edit in Hex Fiend, rotate, edit in Hex Fiend, rotate, edit in Hex Fiend, rotate, edit in Hex Fiend, rotate, edit in Hex Fiend.


Another macro, this time its a close up of a sandy pier.


This was a simple find and replace with an extreme result.  I'm rarely satified by the horizontal stripping effect that I get when I take something too far because they all tend to look the same, but I am quite fond of the colors and texture of this one.


I just downloaded this from a random website.  It's a photograph of what I believe are Lorikeets.


There appears to be a glitch in this photograph already...


Entirely done with Text Edit.  I inserted short texts in place of large blocks of code and long texts were inserted in place of shorter texts.  I had to screen grab this because only my mac previewing function interpreted the image this way (it looked very different in "GIMP").  The black bars are from the fullscreen mode of the previewing function (I liked them, so I kept them).

Here is the same exact bend but in GIMP...


Please sign in or sign up to comment.