direct to video

March 5, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — directtovideo @ 5:41 pm

I feel slightly dirty about this, but I’ve joined vimeo. Did I suddenly get overcome by an urge to get a bit more web2.0, you ask? No, it’s because I had to in order to submit something to the Victoria&Albert Museum’s Decode:Recode gallery. The idea being: you take their ident piece as source code, mess with it and send it back to them.

We were looking at the other entries a couple of weeks ago, and several things struck us: 1. most of them didn’t change the code at all except for messing with the colours; 2. the colours were a bit.. dutch to start with; 3. the nicer ones were generally done with AfterEffects messing with the video, not running realtime. It felt like it was time the demoscene struck back and offered an education on the fine art of realtime graphics. So, that’s what we did. Paul offered up a 512 byte intro done on the spectrum, and I made something for high end PCs. Very, very high end PCs.


The piece uses a particle system generated off a voxelised version of their logo (the only thing I preserved from the original), rendered as 250,000 cubes and affected by various swarming modifiers, and then using a crafty ambient occlusion / radiosity tracer using raycasts through a voxel set version of the particle system. Insert the usual lighting + shadows, cameras, fine selected colours (not dutch!) and post processing effects here, and we’re done. A few hours work well spent.


Anyway. Check the video on Vimeo here, and check my Vimeo page here. Now I’ve got it, I might as well use it. I’m afraid the encoding on the vimeo video is terrible, but there’s a high quality version on download – I might upload a proper one at some point if anyone wants it.

Update: My Decode:Recode made it into the Metro newspaper in the UK! I’ve uploaded a scan here.


  1. really beautiful, great work one more time

    Comment by guardian — March 5, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

  2. Got the modified source code for that? Would love to run it myself!

    Comment by neil — March 5, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

    • Although the decode:recode site says there’s a license agreement attached to the original source that any modified versions go under GPL (or something like that), I never touched their source. πŸ™‚ It’s a complete do-over from scratch.. so I managed to dodge that whole GPL issue πŸ™‚

      Comment by directtovideo — March 6, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

  3. Looks great! I have an i7, so I’d love to try an executable if you’d post it.

    Comment by Cat — March 5, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

  4. Dude,

    Really fantastic work on the organic break up of this.


    Comment by hunz — March 7, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  5. Great work mate, looks great, technically awesome as per usual. I love this direction..

    Comment by Neil Purvey — March 7, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

  6. Ah ok man! Looks ace anyway, would have loved to have run it myself πŸ™‚

    Comment by neil — March 7, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

    • I’ll sort the exe out sometime so it can be run realtime πŸ™‚

      Comment by directtovideo — March 7, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  7. Oh yes! The “demoscene struck back” for real with this one… absolutely breathtaking & speechless!! Hat’s off! This is a lot more impressive than any of the other recodes & my original… no question!

    It’s a shame you only got around doing this now, though. It’d have been top to have on the tube projectors.

    Comment by toxi — March 8, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

    • Hey, thanks – that’s really cool to hear from the maker of the original.. πŸ™‚ I was hoping I’d make it in time to get on the underground projectors but yea – guess it’s way too late.

      Comment by directtovideo — March 8, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  8. Would love to see this running on my machine. Just put a nice soundtrack on it and release it as a demo, surely! I’ll even do the sound!

    Comment by rhino — March 15, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

    • I guess a demo needs to be a bit more for me nowadays.. I will release the exe at some point if/when i get around to making it a bit “more”, dont worry. πŸ™‚

      Comment by directtovideo — March 16, 2010 @ 8:59 am

  9. Hey,.. you were in my news paper this morning (Metro in London).

    Love this ReCode,.. I enjoyed the DeCode event, great to have the demoscene tackle some more main stream visual/digital arts. Code and design = good times.

    Comment by HoTWire — April 13, 2010 @ 7:27 am

    • I only found out about the metro piece when I walked into the office this morning and one of the guys showed me! Was pretty surprised. πŸ™‚

      Comment by directtovideo — April 13, 2010 @ 8:07 am

  10. This looks great. How did you compute the ambient occlusion? Searching for ‘ambient occlusion voxel tracing’ brings up a paper from 2012…

    Comment by p_k — December 11, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

    • Just by rendering all the cube positions into a volume texture as voxels, and then raytracing through it.
      Raytracing through voxels to compute AO has been around for a while – I’m pretty sure it predates the 2012 paper. πŸ™‚

      Comment by directtovideo — December 13, 2012 @ 10:27 am

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