Sound designers, musicians, producers and engineers are all familiar with manipulating sound through the use of audio processing. Most examples of processing, like filters, reverbs, and delays produce a relatively predictable result. I’m interested in processing that has an unpredictable result. For example, the octave pedal that purrs like a robotic kitten when you feed it harmonic input, that I wrote about in Octave Pedal Rhodes. I have a similar interest in producing sound directly from visual media with tools like Michel Rouzic’s Photosounder, which I used for Conversion of Graffiti into Sound.
One of the first things I tried to do with Photosounder was to capture the image it creates from imported audio in order to use an image editing application as an audio processor. This didn’t work very well because much of the resolution was lost with the screen grab. Since then, Michel has added a feature to export full resolution spectral images of sound. This makes the concept of using a Photoshop filter as an audio processor possible.
To test this concept I created a simple pattern with an electric piano patch and opened it in Photosounder. Without changing any settings I immediately saved the sound as a bitmap image. Next I opened the image in Photoshop and started experimenting with filters. Once I had some filtered images I loaded them back into Photosounder to see how they sounded. Gaussian blur and Liquefy created some unique effects, but my favorite of the bunch was Glowing Edges. This filter seems to transform the electric piano into a haunting choral passage.
Original Electric Piano Pattern
Glowing Edges Electric Piano Pattern