Pure Data and Gem


Over the last few weeks I have been playing about with Pure Data’s library for visual work, Gem. I used Gem to build the control system for the interactive audio-visual installation I created as part of my final year University work, so was already familiar with some of the tools available, however, I knew there was much more that Gem was capable of.

I was particularly interested to see what could be created using the ‘3D’ objects available in the programme and how these could be combined and manipulated to create interesting visual pieces.

I thought I would post a few screen grabs to show the results I have been getting so far.

It’s really easy to create ‘solar system’ type orbiting visuals in Gem with each planet rotating around in space. Easy, but not particularly interesting at the moment.

It’s also really easy to create very abstract visual pieces with geometric shapes evolving and colliding with one another. Although perhaps easier to create then the orbiting planets images, there’s something visually fun and absorbing about these ones.

Although I haven’t done it yet, it wouldn’t be too complicated to use a piece of audio, or parameters manipulating a piece of audio, to also manipulate parameters of the visuals, creating a synchronised audio-visual piece.

What I really want to explore however is combining the simple shapes available in Gem to create visual pieces with narrative. Perhaps depicting a growing or evolving organism, or exploring a faux 3D landscape.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a program that will let me capture these pieces in motion with any degree of quality – hopefully I will find one to coincide with me achieving the visual pieces I am striving for.



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