Amazing guest, Charlie Gleason!

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Our first guest! The talented Charlie Gleason joins us and chats about his journey into creative coding and the things he has built. All the way through Actionscript, sound engineering, design and of course there’s some generative art in there!

Be sure to check out Charlie’s Website, and follow him on Twitter

Tim: Hi, welcome to the generative art podcast with Tim and Ruth. Today we have our first ever guest, Charlie. Let’s get going. It’s me, Tim Holman. We also have…

Ruth: Me, Ruth John and today we’ll be interviewing one of our lovely guests. May I introduce you to Charlie Gleason.

Charlie: Hello, Hi.

Ruth: Charlie How are you?

Charlie: I’m very well, how are you?

Ruth: I’m good, thank you. We should probably start with finding out a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Charlie: Sure. I am a human being, Charlie Gleason. I am a designer and a developer and computer science dropout and creative coding enthusiasts. And at the moment I look after design and front-end development and brand stuff at Heroku.

Ruth: Oh, great. So, what we want to talk about today is probably more your interest in creative coding. How did you discover creative coding?

Charlie: I’m a very failed musician. And when I wanted to be a not failed version of that, I wasn’t really working. And I had gone back to do computer science and I realized that I had literally no money to make a music video, which was frustrating. And I like scraped together a a thousand Australian dollars. I now live in London, but at the time, a thousand Australian dollars and I gave it to, yeah, no it’s just squids all the way.

And I got some friends and I’m sorry if they are listening because they did their best, but the end product like was not something that was gonna work. And then I realized, Oh my gosh, I spent this money and I had like literally no option now. And so I turned to my trustee computer and made a thing called tweet flight, which is a music video that pulls tweets in real time based on the lyrics, like a big Twitter karaoke. And then that went further than I ever thought anything I ever did would. And then from there I got really hooked on this idea of using computers as a middle ground for making art.

Ruth: That’s really, really interesting. I want to talk a little bit just about the learning process for you because I actually teach adults how to code, the coding course and we get a fair few amount of musicians in. They are always actually very good coders. What did you use to learn to code? You said your drop out computer science. So did you get back?

Charlie: Yeah, well I originally studied design which was like the very hip titled. I think it was a bachelor of design brackets, multimedia design back when multimedia was like a thing that you just, it just made use flash. You should see me with an Excel spreadsheet. But yeah, so I started writing action script, which…

Tim: Action script two?

Charlie: Yeah. And then graduated to three, which was actually like, I think three is a genuinely legit language.

Ruth: I think me and Tim have discussed this before, haven’t we? We might make this an issue on the podcast.

Tim: We love ourselves an actionscript.

Charlie: Yeah, Absolutely. Yeah, I mean. It’s fine. It’s fine. The race is lost, but action script was, I don’t know, it was legit. Anyway, so I started experimenting in that and then ended up working in advertising and that was around the time that Steve jobs wrote that letter, letter of flashlight, which was kind of like the death nail, right? Where he was like, well, it’s never going to be on our phones. And they were at the time like the biggest phone. So then all of a sudden everyone started talking about HTML5. And I kind of dug in there and then it became a kind of a perfect, it was kind of a perfect time to learn HTML and CSS and like the Javascript because a lot of the, the things that had been frustrating in the past, like using tables for layouts, all that kind of stuff had started to…

Tim: Beautiful corner before the radius images

Charlie: so many 4 x 4 pixel transparency.

Tim: spacer gif three

Charlie: So all of that had kind of shifted. So then it was like a perfect time to pick it up and then it just went from there. Really.

Tim: It’s crazy. I feel like I have a very, very similar similar pathway. It’s like the end of, you know, when you can spot one thing dying and you can see something else kind of popping up rising out of those ashes. So it tends to be a nice time to jump onto a bandwagon.

Charlie: Yeah, it was a bit wild as well. It kind of felt like anything was possible in a way. And I started going to a lot of conferences. I went to web directions in Melbourne, in Sydney, sorry. And I went to Microsoft’s remix which, which was about the open web, which at the time for Microsoft to be talking about the open web soon. Quite like, even that seemed kind of bananas, even though now, I mean, everything is kind, kind of changed. It’s been nearly 10 years, which is really weird. But yeah, I don’t know. It just seemed like anything was possible in the middle of these people who are really creative and, and fun and I don’t know, it was just, it was just a great time. It felt really exciting.

Ruth: Did any of that inspire you to build some of the things that you’ve built? For instance you’ve got sandpit JS. You want to describe what that is to listeners? Cause it’s very, very cool. And people should check out. It’s www.sandpitjs.com.

Charlie: Yes, www.sandpitjs.com. I definitely need to, I mean I’d love to do a version two because I think I learned a lot. But basically, sandpits are a tool to kind of make creative coding easier. So, it gives you a bunch of hooks into kind of a life cycle of setting up a piece of creative coding or generative art and then a bunch of hooks to do stuff to it. And it also ties into DAT.gui So if you, which is interface for changing values, which you’ll see a lot in using creative coding because it gives you a way to like really easily tweak values to see what impact that has. Because at its core, creative coding is just cool, sexy math.

Tim: That’s our tagline right there.

Ruth: Let’s say that’s our byline. Cool sexy…

Tim: Cool, sexy math podcasts.

Charlie: Yeah. I mean the logo designs itself. And then our collective mutual friend and great human being, Glen Madden who is a really great developer, he started helping me out with this kind of idea through some freelance work that him and I were doing. And then its kind of just snowballed from there. And the main reason was because he lived in Melbourne and I lived in London and collaborating could be difficult because of time zones and we wanted something where we could always have the state stored in the URL. So that way you could just like copy and paste 50 versions. And it was kind of saving the state of the artwork or like the values that the artwork was using at any point in time. So that’s kind of its core

thing. I think there’s some incredible projects out there now that have definitely been better maintained. So, I don’t, yeah, I’d love to, I mean at the end I’ll probably recommend a bunch that you should check out as well, but I still think, I mean for me, I still use sandpit and I think it’s cool. I would say that.

Tim: Just another small note on that, which is and you mentioned Glenn is such a good, I guess like supporter of ideas, you know, when you’ve got thoughts about something, he’s like a good listener and a good kind of person to help you like extend and grow what you’re doing, just generally nice, such a nice thing to have.

Charlie: Yeah. He’s, it’s like watching, it’s like watching a kid get excited, right? It’s like really intoxicating and like you get kind of caught up in it and he’s, I mean, he’s made heaps of internet famous stuff. He made like star components in CSS modules originally and like internet famous Glenn Madden as I call him. But yeah, it’s definitely been a big influence.

Ruth: It’s always nice to have that support network when people get excited, just as excited about the little things as you do. Yeah Glenn actually talking about internet famous, the first time I met Glenn we were actually stopped in the bar that we were in and someone just went are you Glenn Madden? Glenn was like, what?

Charlie: Because he needs more ego. Glenn, if you’re listening to this, you’re doing a great job.

Ruth: So that’s great. So, sandpit actually saves the piece of art which you can generate with it because it’s like this little app where you can put in all your little parameters in the GUI thing that you have and it does, you are basically just creating generative art, which is amazing. Without even needing to be able to code. Like you can go in and you can hack it if you want to, but you don’t need to. And you’re saying that you can save it in the URL?

Charlie: Yeah. Basically, the parameters will get saved in the URL. So, whatever you define as being like, I want this value to be changeable between these, between these like let’s say that your like line thickness on some kind of like incredible, stunning or inspiring life changing piece of generative art. You could say like, all right, between 1 and 10 is the values that this will accept. And then as you shift those around, that gets stored in the URL and it made it heaps easier. If we were having a conversation around something, you could just be like, cool. As long as you’re running in the same version as me, like the underlying code, you’re still going to need to ring. As long as you have the same version running, you can kind of see these things happening in real time, really quickly, which felt great for this kind of freelance project. And then when we realized how well that worked for this freelance project, we kind of rolled it into this, into this concept of a library.

Ruth: Yes. It’s like collaborative, generative art. Just so very slowly.

Charlie: Yeah, yeah. Very slow.

Tim: You do kind of econ to the point there with all generative art. You know, you, you do have like such a big random aspect of it. But then I think when you’re kind of handing off your final pieces of showing, you know, what you like best, you still do need that like fine tuning and curation.

Charlie: Sure. Yeah. And I think a lot of the time as well, it’s, it’s like that feeling of, I think the creative process generally is just one of like extreme anxiety and then an extreme euphoria and you just kind of move between those two States. So, I think this idea came out of us being like, well, when you have that, like that moment where you’re like, ah, I’ve got it. You kind of want to be able to keep it track of that or to like to grab that moment. And I think it’s, I mean generative art is incredible in that sense as well. It’s so playful, like the, the ability to kind of just see it and they end up with something that’s so far from what you originally had in mind, but it’s like objectively beautiful is a really great, it’s really great feeling.

Ruth: I really love the idea of it being playful. Actually. That’s how I feel when I’m doing anything. I’m playing

Tim: 50% of the time and then the 50% anxiety.

Charlie: Yeah. Well that too. But I mean you must have that root cause you work a lot in generative visuals and like your work with live JS, which should people haven’t checked it out, you should definitely check out live JS cause it’s really amazing like musical, group around Java script as a language, like a tool to create stuff.

Ruth: All the artists singularly onto this podcast at some point. But one thing that I have been making this year, which has been spending a lot of time on is essentially that it’s just one piece of software which generates art. That’s the idea. Which I have been using for visions, but it wasn’t really intended for that. Part of the process where I’ve just gone, oh quickly put some, put some audio analysis in there and quickly make it work. So now I have to go back and back engineer the whole, oh actually this works really well for visuals.

Charlie: Well, it’s such a good feeling. I love that though. It’s like because of that real roller coaster, I think being like open to creative ideas just sort of flowing and not putting too much of that kind of emphasis on, on getting exactly like I think I have an idea in mind about what you’re trying to achieve, but just relax and like let the moment come.

Ruth: The whole idea of the build itself was to stop having anxiety about building. I was trying to make the actual process of generating something as simple as possible. And it’s not quite there yet, but then is anything ever there? It had a nice stage where you can just be like, here’s the shape, here’s a color palette, here’s the grid boom! There you go. Hitting with visual.

Tim: You do that thing where just halfway through I feel like I copied and duplicated a whole folder and then just kind of keep expanding and expanding and expanding and the end, I’ve got about a hundered.

Ruth: Yeah. So that’s the other problem. So, I’m solving this with a MIDI controller at the moment because what I’m trying to do is you do that, you’re like, I really, really like this thing, like this visual that I’ve made. But if I just tweak, you know, like we are talking about like line thickness. If I just tweak the line thickness, I’ve got a whole new one and wow, look at that. Rather than having eight versions use an interface to tweak. A little bit like a sandpit basically. But you are sort of your interfaces a piece of hardware. So, you still code just one thing. But you have an infinite amount of iterations on that one thing which you can control. And that’s the idea. It’s getting there. I have to write a state machine for the analysis in the midi data. Next stage. It’s nice. It’s been fun.

Charlie: I do think like being able to record that process as well. It’s really nice like finding those moments because I think so I talk about him a lot. I’ve never met him. I would like to meet him, but I’m going to totally butcher pronouncing his name, Deslauriers.

Ruth: We did some work last year JS Conf for you. So, opening for that was generative make the first bit before we, set up the the bit was a generative video, which was some shapes coming up and that was all generative in real time. It was all done in with Web GL and it was him and a guy called Simone. See I’m butchering names. We’ll put a link to it in the description of the podcast and yeah, it was really good for us to see some of his process, which isn’t any different from what we do. It’s just, it’s just really just consistently churning out this generative stuff like all the time.

Charlie: It’s just liked this prolific creator in a way that I find so inspiring. And I think also his Twitter is an incredible, so if you haven’t checked it out, its Matt desl on Twitter. Deslauriers, but his stuff is like constantly just it’s being released, and you can check it out. And I was looking through the source code of the JS conf last year because he opens sourced it or the people that worked on it open sourced it of which he was one. And like I love it cause there’s the comments in that are just, it’s like code comments. So, it’s all written just being like this seems to work not sure why, quite exactly because it’s been a while since I checked it out. I love that. It just feels like everyone’s just trying to make something that feels good and it’s hard.

Tim: It’s definitely liked a big piece of the community. I mean maybe it’s a little bit less now than I used to see it but especially when the canvas was kind of coming up, everyone just kind of let their code sit in there with comments and all. I definitely remember prowling through a lot of different things. Kind of trying to understand.

Ruth: Does anybody else swear to themselves and comment?

Charlie: I am really nerdy with that. I like, I always worry, yeah, it’s like I’m a as 75- year-old. I’m conservative in the way that I write on the internet.

Ruth: You probably have… All my comments just to myself, just being rude to myself.

Tim: I definitely feel like I lie in my comments. You know, I put a lot of todo’s things and then right before I publish, I just delete them and send notes.

Charlie: Yeah. Like I’m been getting to that one.

Ruth: So many in the stuff where I’m writing, it’s just to do this, to do that, to do refactor the whole piece of software.

Tim: Abstract logic in the state machine

Ruth: Get around to it. Yeah. I think that’s actually one of the challenges as well with being like a person that with a like grown up, you know, I freelance for a lot of the time that I really got interested in creative coding and I think I’m working for a grownup company. It is hard to kind of find time and inspiration because usually by the end of the day I’m kind of like, I’ve kind of gotten everything out of me because you know, there’s just a lot going on and then whereas previously when I was freelancing there’d be a lot more downtime. So, you kind of think, ah, I just had this kind of burning desire to create stuff. So, it’s kind of a, I think finding that inspiration is a real challenge. So, if anyone else works for like grown up companies and it has that same feeling, do not worry, you are not alone.

Tim: It’s interesting actually. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot recently as well. I do exactly the same kind of thing, just a lot of hard bone during the day. And then it’s like, Oh, do I really want to do a little bit more? But then sometimes you find the time.

Ruth: It’s hard to do it all day and then come back into that. I don’t want to sit around a computer now. I don’t do it as much as either of you. But I can understand. I have worked for grownup companies in the past.

And just about for myself. So, I’m a child. Are you working on anything right now Charlie?

Charlie: Yeah, actually with Glen of Glenn Madden fame. We’ve been talking a lot about design systems. So slightly outside the creative coding front, but I’ve been really interested in this came out of a project that Tim you created on…

Tim: This Tim generative artistry podcast famous Tim.

Charlie: Well, yeah, internet famous generative artistry podcast famous Tim Holman. Your work in markdown in creating generative art, which is like one of my favorite projects and I think it’s incredible. And you open sourced it recently. But this is like a tool that as you like scroll through a page, it will update the code and show you the generative art. So, your kind of like learning about something and like, so it’s kind of a way to like to learn as you go. You can like edit this, edit this input as well so you can kind of see it change. It’s like a really amazing project. So yeah, Glenn and I had been talking about design systems and Mark down and how to like to make creating and documenting design systems easier in markdown. But I have much less to show for it than you do Tim.

Ruth: So, my thing about that is, this is on the generative artistry website, right?

Charlie: It is, yes.

Ruth: This is on the tutorial part, the generative artistry website. When you, I’ve got a few examples of this. When people have built something where you have like a demo or something like that, you’ve got these tutorials, but actually underlying it is a completely useful tool. But sometimes it just, no one noticed because the thing they built on top, it’s not the tool. So, Tim’s build these tutorials, but underlying is this really great other tools of how to do tutorials. Does that make any sense at all?

Charlie: Yeah. It’s like, it’s like a total win win. I’m just going to fan out on this for a second because I remember when you originally showed me this, we run into each other in JS Conf Australia long time ago when we were both younger and must’ve been two years ago, right? Maybe it was a year, no it was only a year. Oh geez. And I remember you showed it to me, and I had like a full, I had a full meltdown. At that moment where you’re like, I will never create anything of value

ever again because everything good has been made. You know, that feeling like if you, if you see like a really good project and you’re like, well, I’m done now.

Ruth: I get that every single day.

Charlie: Don’t hang out with talented people.

Ruth: I’m just like, what am I actually doing?

Charlie: But it’s just an amazing, I remember talking to you about it. I just think it’s really cool and that’s the kind of thing as well. Like the people that are making tools at the moment, like Matt who I talked about earlier is a really good example of that where he’s doing a lot of stuff in like Sigma with plugins at the moment around like animations and design. And also, I talk constantly about like glitch and what Jenn Schiffer, Jenn Schiffer is doing in that space with like building that community in a way that’s just incredible and people are kind of making tools more accessible and more welcoming and kinder of being that gateway to creative coding or being creative on the web, which I love.

Tim: That whole landscape right now has changed so much over the last five years. Of course, I guess initially with code pan, but now code sandbox and glitch, netlify is doing is doing so much as well, just to give you like a platform and to give people kind of back that open nature of all their code, such a pleasure to, you know, you always kind of save the shoulders standing on the shoulders of giants. It’s definitely like that. We just have so much at any given moment. That’s awesome. And you know, new technology comes out and it’s like a big handful of people are going to be like, what can we do with this right now? What can we how can we extend it?

Charlie: Yeah. Which is awesome as well because they’re kind of, I think a lot of the early like experiments and projects, especially in that like HTML 5, Java script can do stuff that’s not annoying period of time in like 2010, everything was view source-able, right? So, you just see how they’d done it and then do it yourself. And then it became that big period of like, you must minify everything because bandwidth and you must minify everything because this is what you do and like build tools, things like that. And then all of a sudden everything was kind of a black box again. You didn’t really have the ability to like peek behind the curtain and feel connected to this other person’s work or art and be able to kind of be inspired by that. So, it’s really wild to see that everything being open source again or everything being this like huge melting pot of artists and credit people just like, here’s an incredible thing I did. Why don’t you have, it just feels really healthy and good.

Ruth: I’m going to spend the rest of my evening just trolling. Made myself really feel really good about the thing that I’m building right now. There is one, there is one thing that I have to ask you, Charlie, I was looking at the things that you built, and I came across, www.Iwillneverletyougo.com. Which is honestly one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

Charlie: Oh my gosh. Because it was like.

Ruth: Can I explain it? I am trying to explain it. It’s just, it’s like a, it’s a music video that you play in your browser that you can be a part of.

Charlie: Sure. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It came out of, I made a record a couple of years ago, which was quite a sad record. And as a part of it I kind of went back to the drawing board. I’m making any music video after the success of tweet flight and I started looking at web GL and at the time I was also trying to be a drag queen, which I was incredibly unsuccessful at as well. But there was a small window of time. I think I’m already too tall. You can be too tall. But I got really into this idea of using a web GL and like adding elements of drag that I was kind of experimenting with. And the idea is that you would watch someone on the screen and then during that time it would kind of take photos of you surreptitiously and then the next time you play it, everyone else who’s watched it, and has it approved to those photos getting, getting published.

Right. It saves the photos as you go at the end you can publish them. That just gets sent out to everyone else. And it was using images API, which made it really easy cause it’s all, there’s no service side code on that. I think it’s all open source as well. It is. Yeah. It’s all in my GitHub. But yeah, it was an interesting mix of like trying to create after effects style masking and visuals in the browser in real time. And then also having this kind of element of playfulness of having other people around the world ideally being involved. I think my only issue with it is that five minutes is a long time, four minutes. Like it’s a long time for a song. And I think a lot of the time on the web when you come across those kinds of things, you check them out and after 30 seconds you’re like, Oh cool. And kind of the punchline of that music video doesn’t really happen until you get to the end of the song. And so, I think my optimism that people would sit for like four minutes watching me tear myself apart on the screen was maybe overly optimistic. And if I did it again, I’d definitely show that the photos are being taken or allow you to like upload the photos as you go. But it was like, it was a lot of fun and it was, it felt at the time, like I was really pushing what I was capable of doing, especially around web GL, Shaders.

Ruth: Yes, the effects on the video are amazing for having that all done in just code. Yeah. That’s, wow. I’m really impressed. And you’re right. I sort of watched, I didn’t get to the end basically.

Charlie: Yeah. Cause it’s too long, but yeah, I mean I loved making it, but basically, it’s a, it’s like a 5,000, what’s 1920 by three, it’s like a 5760-pixel wide video that has two videos going side by side. And then the mask is like a third video and then in web GL that gets chopped up every frame overlaid and then masked against each other. Which is like, I think also the level of technical ridiculousness is quite hard to tell based on the fact that it was almost like the music video became more important than the technology behind it, which is kind of a shame because I think the technology is probably more interesting.

Ruth: It’s kind of interesting. You watch it and I mean that’s something really well done, right? Is that, I mean technically I did, I wasn’t aware like, Oh, this just looks really good in a browser. This looks amazing. This is so good. And now that you just described it, I’m like, Whoa. Oh, my goodness. How did he manage that.

Charlie: It’s such a, I mean web GL you can, you can throw so much at it before it, I mean one of the two of the downsides where it doesn’t work on iOS. I don’t know if that would’ve changed now because of this.

Ruth: I still have people contact me every day about audio not working on iOS.

Charlie: Yeah. Point. If I did, if I ever do another sad record of sad songs about my sad feelings, I would definitely love to try and pick up that concept again and make it clearer like what’s going on and make it more real time because there’s no reason that you couldn’t photograph that someone watching, give them permission to upload it and then injected into the video in real time as well. Right. Like I mean there’s stuff, it also shows you watching through your webcam. So, there is an element of like live interaction. But yeah, look, I was really proud of it. It was like, it’s like, it’s kind of like riding a record that you’re really proud of. Its kind of critically doesn’t, critically it gets quite good feedback and then it just doesn’t really go anywhere like It definitely wasn’t my most successful project, but it’s definitely my proudest.

Ruth: The ones that you are most proud of doing and then the stupid little things that you do or at least that’s my experience anyway.

Charlie: You did make me feel very good about myself. Thank you very much.

Tim: Maybe the next record will be happy feelings.

Charlie: Yeah. I don’t know if, I don’t know if I, making a record is so hard. Honestly. It’s so like just like rips you apart. I’m really proud of all the music I made, but I think it’s just so like emotionally exhausting. And I don’t know if I, I mean that Headspace because I remember a friend of mine was like, oh you going to make a record, I was like, I don’t think I have anything that valuable to say at the moment as well. And I also think it’s like listening to a really great, speaking of drag Queens, Trixie Mattel, who’s like the world’s most incredible drag queen and a, she is really interesting because she performs like folk acoustic music in drag. She did a really good interview with Cameron Esposito who runs a really great podcast called query. And she was saying it’s like no one, the world does not need another like white guy with a guitar who has feelings. Like there’s, like the space is full. That’s fine. So, I think, I mean, I think that’s why I always loved those creative coding as an Avenue for making music because it held, it was an opportunity to express ideas outside of like that very narrow box of being like, I’m a white guy with a guitar, look at me, have feelings. It was like a way to kind of push that made him hopefully get people to feel more connected or find ways to, I don’t know, just take a little bit deeper. I don’t know. I don’t know if I succeeded at that.

Ruth: You, you are able to intimate your records. But one of the really interesting things about able to, and that actually happened this week that we’re recording in the past week, they’ve just released another learn Ableton thing. So, they do these things on the web, helping you to learn electronic music. They did one two years ago, which was just the basics of electronic music, like beats and drum patterns and things like this. The latest one they did in the past synths. So, they’ve just done this learn ableton synths. You can just step through and you can do all these little interactive demos and that’s a little bit Web GL I think as well actually.

Charlie: Yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff. I think they used THREE and I know they use tone and animate. There were a few things. Yeah. They did a write up of it. I’m such a fan.

Ruth: Wow. It’s so good Isn’t it. They use tone to the last ones yeah, Tone.JS.

Charlie: Yeah. And I think the last one was built in elm I want to say want to say, but I don’t know if that’s true. Saw that in a tweet, I did not fact check that statement.

Ruth: We can pick it out. But yeah, it was really interesting to hear you say that you’re using just Ableton

Charlie: Well yeah, I went back and studied him. I try, I think I’ve tried to study every course and dropped out of all of them at some point except for design, design I finished, but I went back and studied sound production around the computer science time as well. So, after I did computers outside of tech, well, I’ll go and do audio, cause now I’m going to be a musician. And I was, I really fell in love with it, but it was, it’s like, it’s, it takes a bit to learn, right? So, I just, I think it’s so cool that they’re making these tools that kind of help you understand like the core fundamental underlying structure of electronic music, which is ultimately always going to be like I keep drama synths samples you know, based, it’s like the pieces that will always be there. But on the synthesizer one, it’s similar. It’s like all of those underlying concepts of how a synth works, like release and attack and sustain them or whatever. All that kind of core stuff is hard to learn in an application. So, I think it’s wild that they’re putting this stuff out. I am such a big fan.

Tim: Yeah. If anyone’s looked at the web API’s, you kind of think, Oh, I can just kind of come in here and do something. And it’s, I feel like it probably with zero experience matches how it is in the real world where it’s like, Oh, I’m creating what this oscillator and I have to plug it into this, what time? You know, nightmare.

Charlie: Yeah. And it’s like those sounds, Tone is like soul destroying work cause the human ear is really sensitive to certain frequency. So, I think it’s like 10,000, 1000. And, and it’s like I think knowing that stuff is, it just takes time and practice and I mean there’s incredible resources out there, like those ones. But yeah, I just think they’re Ableton had some incredible web stuff out there and I yeah. I am such a big fan.

Ruth: Great. It’s so great to see. So yeah, this is the one thing I always say about the web audio API when I’m talking about it is you just have to, if you want to use it for all these cool toys so you can use it for just playing audio. That’s cool. You can use it just to change the volume. I think everybody has a good concept of volume. If you do want to use it for the whole synth thing, the electronic music or these cool toys that you see, you have to have this fundamental understanding of even just the basic understanding of like audio, which for a regular person isn’t something necessarily something that you do understand. Cause it is quite a beast of an API actually.

Charlie: Yeah. And I think that’s some cool libraries that have been built on top to help. And I think that’s the same with WEBGL. Like if you three JS, I know there’s a bunch of other ones now like A-frame and also Babylon, there’s like a, there’s a bunch, but if you ever try and use just like vanilla web GL to draw like a triangle, right? It’s like 40,000 lines, right. It’s like hello world in dart. It’s next level. And I think talking about like standing on the shoulders of giants, it’s so wild that there’s these people, communities, teams, groups that are like out there creating these tools. And I think that goes back to that whole creative coding. The core of it is that people are out there making these things so that you can get to the bit that’s fun. And I think that’s as it like a community of human beings. Just a very cool thing.

Ruth: Yes. Yeah, I agree. It is. And yet I’m still learning how to write shaders. 36:45

Charlie: Ah, GLSL yeah, it’s very unforgiving as well. It’s only there’s a console log in there either because it’s run like directly on the GPU. Right? So, it’s like…

Ruth: I’m sort of half way through the book. I started at the beginning of this year and then I got distracted doing generative art visuals. I will finish it by the end of this year I promised myself. But that is one of the biggest things I found when I started doing it. Because you are writing GLSL sort of, obviously with that. You kind of used three to do it. I used three to do it. So, you sort of with purpose sort of uniform with or rather than like the fragment shader within JavaScript itself, but you are writing GLSL. With no error handling at all. So, I was just terrible with my floats to start with cause it’s strictly tight and it just been writing Java scripts so long. Yeah, new float 1and even just not putting the point or I would just be, urgh, what nooo.

Charlie: Yeah, it’s super, it feels super frustrating. But I think even like, even es6 is like template literals make that easier just to, just to even like get GLSL into three. So, it’s like that is a step forward and you’re like, when that’s something you’re excited about, like, geez. But yeah, it’s incredibly powerful and I think people like in convergence on Twitter has put out incredible resources and tools. If you want to learn more about shaders and generative numbers, I think they did a like, whole incredible series of articles on using random with numbers to make art and like, and then there was a whole bunch of stuff around shaders which is well, checking out. I don’t know what that person is like, who that person is in real life either. So, it’s like a total enigma and mystery. I have no sense of mystery, because there is nothing mysterious about me.

Ruth: Ok, well! Great. I am out of questions.

Tim: Yeah. Should we wrap it up on that mystery, mystery of the day?

Charlie: Yeah, works for me. Oh yeah. If you would like to talk to me about generative art, music drags or, or anything else. I am super high fives on Twitter and I’m, I’m super high fives on pretty much everything. I think it was like the biggest fluke my life. Yeah. Wow. I’m pretty enthusiastic. And you can find some of my work www.charliegleason.com or a super high fives on GitHub.

Ruth: Great. We can put his links in the description.

Tim: Definitely. Definitely. I feel like I have, I actually already have questions that I’ll save for me.

Ruth: Alright. Thank you so much.

Charlie: Well, thank you both. You’re awesome.

Ruth: Thanks very much for listening to this week, Generative about podcast. We’ll be back next week with an episode on tooling, so make sure you listen. You can find all the links and all of the information about this episode on www.generativeartistry.com.