Machines Don't Care: Toneburst

I was recently reminded of some of the great work of Toneburst, and the many contributions he has made to the world of Quartz Composer.

One of the most interesting aspects of Toneburst's work, has been his study of HLSL shaders, VVVV, and the porting of some great pieces to QC/GLSL. His GLSL and Core Image studies have been superb as well. His work is always tidy, well conceived, and visually appealing. I find exceptions with everyone's work (including my own), but in general, Toneburst's work can be viewed as being as fundamentally sound as the Apple Developer examples.

A few pieces that I have been very impressed by and used myself:

Desaxismundi Maths Surfaces - An implementation of many fundamental shapes, all in GLSL. "toneburst 2008. Based on original HLSL shader code for VVVV by desaxismundi (Guillaume Pouchoux)." There are great "pretranslate" and other controls that allow shapes to look like they "bloom" from strips to full shapes, interesting "wiggles"; an awesome mix of organic and mechanical.

In my own use of QC, at a point when I was branching out of using QC for video effects as much, in seeing this composition, I had a mental leap of using kineme's very new (at the time) Vee based particle generator inside of these shaders. This was truly a pivotal point, that actually changed my views of what QC is, in it's allowance of very non-traditional combinations of technology through the QC editing apparatus.

tb Superformula: This is another astoundingly "cool" visual generator, based on the Superformula :

Again, awesome pre-scale, and pre-translate controls that give immediate "holy crap this is cool" impact, when manipulated. This one had great controls for adding "ripples" (extra divisions), etc. With some animation, this really looks great.

tb GLSL Lighting Models: This is one of the best aggregate collections of GLSL shaders available. The Thin Film and Glossy Wet shaders, Lambskin, Edgefuzz, all of the shaders really, are extremely useful, great ways to expand QC's repertoire. (I'm going to take a moment to give some additional GLSL related shout out's to some amazing GLSL shaders Chris Wright has posted at over time (normals, refraction, fisheye, volumetric), some shaders of psonice, and a "wee little" shoutout to some of my own forays.)

tb GLSL Transformation Matrix: This is a great patch that does all the hard work of matrix calculations; this can be used with Kineme and NI patches that manipulate matrix to great effect, in addition to the original GLSL considerations of Toneburst.

tb VVVV Curve 1.1: A nice multi strip curve look. It's a slick visual generator, that again, has that simultaneously organic, but techy feel.

tb Plane Deform LUT and LUT_ali : Amazing examples of using CI for generative imagery. Truly great looking stuff.

I could probably go ahead and list all of Toneburst's work. The point is, Toneburst's QC work is something that those who are interested in QC programming should take a look at.

His blog is:

Here are a few things I've done that have benefitted from Toneburst's contributions:

This is a particle "tube" created by use of Kineme Particle Tools, and the Desaxismundi Maths Surfaces. This is something I found when moving some stuff around on my HD's recently, which jogged my memory about all of Toneburst's great work, in general, and it's contribution to my own QC style.

This used some of the previously mentioned GLSL Lighting models, definitely Glossy Wet and Thin Film.

This is a pretty old render that took the Superformula and processed it quite a bit, with some crazy animation. Wish I had rendered at higher rez, in retrospect!

This uses a great "drop shadow" macro that Toneburst conceived.

The above uses the Desaxismundi plus Kineme Particle technique to make a "particle tree".

Above is a straight ahead render of an "isoraytrace" generator of toneburst's.

As time has gone on, I'm absorbed with using my own methods on projects, and I can't say that I incorporate anything from anyone at this point, save for very rare occasions. Now, I'm sometimes suprised to find that Toneburst and I are barking up the same tree on a concept concurrently (OpenCL Heightfield/Displacement related ideas, for example), but I really shouldn't be considering the impact Toneburst has had on my thinking of "what is cool in the world of digital graphics". Besides his own work, he's exposed me to the work of Desaxismundi, Sanch, tonfilm, and VVVV. I give a big tip of the hat to Toneburst and his contributions to the QC community.