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Music to your eyes

Music to your eyes

The guys over at SoundSpectrum--originally WhiteCap Technologies, the pioneer in audio visualization software--were kind enough to hook me up with a free license to G-Force Platinum, then treat me to an in-depth walk-through of this trippy visualization software. It's $30 for the rest of you, or you can download a free version. I still can't say that I fully understand the inner workings of this eye candy (there's a reason I chose writing over math), but allow me to try my hand at explaining it and perhaps enticing you into checking it out.

The computer-generated visualizations that make G-Force what it is are defined by mathematical algorithms that are designed to respond to the sound waves of music in certain ways. In G-Force, there are three main categories that dictate what a visualization will look like--WaveShape, ColorMap, and FlowField--and each one of these categories has a plethora of variations from which you can choose; the Platinum version allows for full customization of these settings. For example, the WaveShape category offers Melt O Rama, Bat Signal, and Edgy Circle; ColorMap selections include Sunset on a Lake, Firestorm, and Green Menace; and FlowField offerings include Phantom Flame, Flamin Ice Cubes, and Inca Turtles, to name just a few. Each of these individual settings operates based on its own mathematical algorithm; all told, there are more than 23 million possible combinations. In other words, you'll probably never see the same visualization twice if you have every option on shuffle.

So you're probably wondering, "When would I ever really use this software?" Chances are, you're not going to be staring at a visualization while listening to music on your computer--unless, that is, you can work and have a little eye candy off to the side somewhere. This is precisely what G-Force's newest feature, the V-Bar, addresses. The V-Bar is an adjustable window that docks on the side of your desktop and allows you to work in other apps while still keeping the visualization visible. Interestingly, you'd think this might be distracting, but SoundSpectrum has actually received feedback that the V-Bar helps people concentrate--I suppose by keeping their heads turned toward the computer. Another enticing application of this software applies to people who have integrated their computer systems with their home entertainment setups. Play digital music on your computer, and you can have constantly changing--and corresponding--digital art on your TV screen (this apparently looks killer on a plasma). For more information about G-Force and to see the difference between the free, Gold, and Platinum versions, visit SoundSpectrum's Web site.