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Image Sound -- Conversion of B/W Images into Audio


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#ImageSound: #Conversion of (Black/White) Images into Audio

ImageSound is a collection of command line tools for creating sound files from image files, pixel by pixel. ImageSound only considers brightness, but ignores any color information (hue, saturation) in the image input. Support for colors is considered in successor projects.

Most of the code is written in Java. The core synthesis has additionally been implemented in C (via the JNI Java Native Interface) to speed up conversion time. Nowadays, with JIT compilers available all around and garbage collector performance penalty being mitigated, one probably would no more implement a JNI version of the synthesis. Yet, the code shows the basics of synthesis in both languages, Java in C.

This project has been abandoned in 1998 in favour of successor projects. It might pose a challenge to get the code running out of the box on up-to-date systems without various updates in the sources. Still, I put here the original sources as of July, 1998, mostly for documentation purposes and as basis for other projects. The source also documents the origins of successor projects such as SoundPaint, the SoundColumn or the ColorMovesSound project.


First experience with this toolkit resulted in two sound collages: “Studie: Klangformen” and “1848/49”.

“Studie: Klangformen”

“Studie: Klangformen” (“Study: Sound Shapes”) consists of a collection of small images with various basic geometric shapes applied to the ImageSound image to sound converter. This collection of images was used to get a first feeling for the capabilities and limitations of ImageSound and were subsequently used to create the “1848/49” sound collage.


“1848/49” is a sound collage that I created in 1998 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Badische Revolution, a historical event of the years 1848/49. Actually, this event was the motivation for developing a small command line tool in Java for transforming paintings into sound collages. The capabilities of this tool are somewhat limited. It only supports grayscale images on the basis of a purely sinoidal synthesis. Moreover, the complexity of the command-line parameters grew quickly such that the program became difficult to control. Therefore, in late 2003 I started a new try called, based on the experience with ImageSound. Still, I have here the sound collage and the images that I originally fed into the old program. The images serve quite well as an aural score.


Image Sound -- Conversion of B/W Images into Audio







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