At its simplest form SonicWireSculptor is a novel 3D drawing tool and a unique musical instrument, but perhaps most important – its just fun to play with. The project started out as a personal instrument for Pitaru to perform on. During concerts, audience members often inquired whether they could experience the tool first hand. This encouraged Pitaru to transform the software into an immersive public installation. The installation included enhancements to the original work, allowing a wider range of users to intuitively interact with the environment. Gallery visitors would enter a dark room with a surround-sound system, a projection and a unique drawing station. Opening nights for these exhibits would often double as performance and workshop events where the audience and Pitaru explore the tool together. Participants would be encouraged to add their work to a steadily growing collection of beautiful and surprising sonic-sculptures. Today, this collection includes work from professional illustrators, poets, 9 year-olds and their parents, musicians of various genres, as well as Pitaru’s own personal compositions (which he considers to be the least interesting in the collection).
The software was designed and optimized to work at 120fps (or better) on a regular household dell and a home-theater 7.1 surround system. It was important to have the system deployable as small koisks as well as fully immersive surround-sound environments. To do so, the software was written in C++, using OpenGL for nVidia/ATI optimization and the FMOD sound library with optimization for the Audigy sound cards. A Pressure/Tilt sensitive Wacom Cintiq driver was written as a preferred input device, although a regular mouse can be used as well. A RF telecommunication API was written for enabling gallery attendant to save audience work with a touch of a button via remote-control. All code was then ported to Mac OSX for flexible deployment.
3D matrix math was written at a low-level to allow the novel interactive experience of the tool. This interaction method has proven efficient in several other applications, including medical imaging and commercial 3D modeling tools.