Spectra - Video & Audio to Art

Spectra - Video & Audio to Art

iOS Universal Photography

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Spectra is an app to create computational art from video and audio on iOS and Mac.

Settings files store the parameters that describe the art form and include:

• Control values
• Color palettes
• Audio samples

With built-in presets, video and audio samples you can generate cool art immediately! Then customize with your own settings, video and color palettes.

Many extra presets are available from within the app using ’Show More Settings’ in the File menu.

You can save settings in the ‘MySettings’ table of the presets pane, or in iCloud with 'Save Settings in iCloud' in the File menu. This enables sharing between iOS and Mac.

Saved settings and presets will include the current color palette - which you may have created yourself from the ‘Colors’ pane - and the current audio.

Video frames can be used for creating color palettes for drawing, and the audio is used to modulate line or arc length - the components of the paths Spectra draws.

A color palette generator is in the colors pane, where you also can quickly switch between video, settings file, variable, random or grayscale palettes. The variable palette generates color using a given color and a periodic trigonometric function. Generating colors in this way is fun with unlimited surprising results.

Visit the website for many examples, a demo and screenshots visually elucidating the simple process to transform video to art.

Using color and sound from videos various art forms are generated automatically with with attributes dependent on the values of user selected parameter controls.

Use your device videos, screen recordings or your favorite theatrical movies as input. You can use the audio of the video, or load a separate audio file.

The output can be printed from high resolution PNG images, or you can output the art as resolution independent PDF files to print at any resolution supported by a particular printer.

Spectra can be used as a platform for educators to integrate mathematical computation with creative art.

Although Spectra does not teach these concepts it can be used as a fun visualization and experimentation of applied math.

Numerous mathematical concepts can be introduced and illustrated through the art forms Spectra mathematically generates:

• transformations, functions, plots and parameters
• plane geometry: lines, triangles, circles, chords
• angles, rotation, trigonometry, radians
• distance, arc length, area
• randomness

4 basic art forms whose names are derived from the math:

• linear
• radial
• arc
• chord

Each Spectra graphic is merely a path composed of lines, circle arcs and chords. Each part corresponds to a particular frame of the video and sound level at the same time.

When using video as a color source every color is chosen as the average color of the frame.

Various other parameters you can adjust include:

• inner and outer radius
• zoom and 2 different arc length modes
• use of audio for line width and length modulation
• random, grayscale and parametrized color palettes
• random variability in frame selection ranges
• descriptive title label
• art aspect ratio
• line capping and width
• alpha gradient : the transparency of each part can diminish gradually over time so it is apparent what other parts it may overlap
• path filling to create solid pie shapes

To get a better glimpse of the variety of art you can generate peruse our website 'Gallery'.

For your convenience...

• Presets Table: Select from many control, color and sound settings sets. Then customize by changing the control, color and sound, say from another settings file.

• You can save your settings, including the colors and audio samples for reuse on both platforms.

• Two sample videos.

• Audio Samples: Additional audio files are built into the app, in particular many presets contain sample audio. This enables you to use the app "out of the box."


On Mac App Store:


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What's New

• NEW: Rendering progress is shown using partial drawing of the graphic as well as a new progress bar.

• NEW : ‘Stop’ and ‘Redraw’ buttons in the image view to stop drawing or continue drawing one that has been stopped.

• NEW: Spectra can now open audio files in the Spectra Documents folder, which can be accessed using iTunes File Sharing. Select ‘Spectra Documents’ from the Audio menu. Spectra also supports the Music app, iCloud and file import from other apps using sharing - see next.

• NEW: Support added to receive audio from other apps using their 'share icon' (square with an arrow pointing out of it). Select 'Copy to Spectra' in apps that support this. For example, when listening to an audio attachment in Messages tap the audio players share icon to send it to Spectra.

• NEW: "DPI Factor" slider in the Size pane (DPI = ‘dots per inch’). Use this feature only when you are ready to save or print. Multiplies the regular DPI by a factor up to 3 for higher resolution printing. You can also save spectra to resolution independent PDF format.

• NEW: When a setting is chosen from ’Show More Settings’ the Presets pane is opened for you to 'My Settings' scrolled to the icon for the selected setting.

Previous Update:

FIX: Some button and label text were truncated if the system settings option for "Bold Text" is on.

Added the file extension m4r to the list of recognizable audio file types so that they can be chosen in iCloud Drive* from the Audio menu - use 'iCloud Drive...' from the Audio menu.

*Remember that iCloud Drive is a useful way to share settings between the iOS and Mac apps! (So if you have a Mac be sure to try the Mac version.)

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