Arnaud Rebotini - The Great Preacher (13:10)


Translating any song or audio clip into mesmerizing mandalas, in realtime.

TouchDesigner Configuration

First, the program visualizes an audio clip in a method similar to a standard equalizer. The audio file is sampled at 250 different frequencies ranging from the low to high frequencies. The value of the sample is displayed as a pixel on a scale of black to white. This process is repeated 60 times per second, or 60hz to create a "live" visualization of the audio clip as it plays. The rate of 60hz is chosen because it matches the maximum frame rate used in this project. If the clip was sampled at a higher frequency some of the sampled valued would not be represented in a rendered frame of the output video, and that calculation would just slow things down for no reason. Technically the live visualization of the audio frequencies is not an equalizer or "EQ" as it does not adjust or.. equalize the values, but it does look like one so we will refer to it as such.

Typical Equalizer

The values of the EQ must be recorded for the entire song in order to accomplish a final image. The Audio Iris accomplishes this by essentially exposing the EQ to a rotating image layer. As the image layer rotates the values (brightness) of each of the samples in the EQ is added to the value of the image (which starts as black). As time progresses the IRIS fills up. The program actually takes into account the total length of the song, and rotates the underlying image according to the progression through the entire file. The result looks very similar to a typical audio spectrogram, but recorded in polar space.

Audio Spectrogram


The program has a ton of potential for visual entertainment; live or otherwise.
While the process of creating each Audio Iris is interesting, visually it can be unclear what exactly is happening. Emphasizing the current EQ state as it is being etched into the mandala helps to both clarify what is happening, and make the whole process more visually enticing. This emphasis is achieved with a few different effects.

  • Bright Equalizer
  • Equalizer Lens Flare
  • Mandala Brightness Falloff


Being able to see each song as a single visual object opens up some very interesting opportunities for accessible and objective critique. The structure of songs translates to different visual aesthetics. Short simple songs achieve a kind of geometric or even abstract simplicity, while longer longer more complex songs become incredibly detailed tapestries full of texture and nuance. Bold choices in intos, outros, and breaks become defining marks across the face of the underlying compositions. Even the word 'composition' comes to bear both its visual and musical meanings.

Megan Thee Stallion - Savage

DaBaby - Rockstar

Donna Lewis - I love You Always Forever

Chromeo - Fall Back 2U

Doja Cat - Say So

SebastiAn - Thirst

Train - Drops of Jupiter (Colorized)


Upon seeing the results, this project in particular really lends itself to the commodification (See Consumerism Disclaimer below). I love the patterns, colors, and aesthetics so much I would love to have them on clothes, comforters, notebooks, etc, and I'm sure others would as well. So I will be making Audio Irises of various songs available on a selection of products, first on Society6 and eventually elsewhere. Follow this link:
The greatest selling points are the content and customization. Everyone loves music. We search through thousands of songs and internalize the songs that resonate most with us. Though we use music to manage our emotions, we are using the music made by others as a tool of expressing ourselves. Expressing our music favorite music visually on our possessions is an extension of this expression.


I typically don't develop my projects or art with an explicit commercial application at the forefront of my mind (although it usually factors in somewhere in the process). Additionally I don't support the irresponsible dedication of material and labor resources to the venture production of trinkets, chachkies, knickknacks, dust collectors, or crap (see most consumer 3D printing applications). Please note that I said VENTURE production, meaning producing goods with the assumption they will sell. While the products I make available are only created upon request (preventing unnecessary waste), their availability and reasonably timely delivery relies on the venture production utilized by Society6. While I do not wholly condone all of their business practices, including the sourcing of their material and labor, I will be using their services until I find a suitable replacement that uses domestic / humane / environmentally responsible materials and labor.

Audio Iris

Artist, Programmer
Visualization Art
June 2020