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Light synthesizer

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Light synthesizer

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A light synthesizer is a computer program, or other piece of hardware, designed to create attractive animated abstract visuals. The term was coined by Jeff Minter in the eighties to describe his programs Psychedelia, Colourspace, and Trip-A-Tron.

A light synthesizer is distinct from a "visualiser" - as present in many modern media centres - in that it takes all its input directly from the user. Although light synthesizer displays are often accompanied by music, the synthesizer program performs no analysis of the music; indeed, the early light synthesizers mentioned above ran on computers which were not capable of inputting sound samples. The entire show is directed by the user, who "plays" (or "flies") the light synthesizer using the keyboard and mouse to trigger and guide effects; typically, the user will also need to configure the synthesizer in advance of the show by setting up effects that they wish to have occur.

The most recent light synthesizer produced by Jeff Minter is Neon, used as the media visualiser on the Xbox 360 (and due out on the PC in 2006). Although Neon does construct displays automatically in response to music, its operation can be completely overridden by the user who can then take complete control of the images produced. However, the number of inputs is so substantial that doing so requires use of four Xbox joypads at the same time; thus, it is usually controlled by multiple people.


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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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