How to code live art – Advanced

This is the follow on to How to live code art – Beginners.

We will now show you how to adapt your live code art so you can try different effects, integrate live webcam feed, and work collaboratively across a shared server. This will allow you to improvise, collaborate and structure your visuals to make it more interesting and complex.

In our beginner’s introduction you used ‘osc’ (oscillator) to produce visuals. Now we are going to look at two other effects you can use.

Once again using Hydra, copy and paste / type noise(10,0.1). On the next line close the code with .out(o0). Click play.

  • the first number sets the scale (higher than 10 = more zoomed out)
  • the second sets the speed (higher than 0.1 = faster)

Add .color(1,0.5,1) above .out(o0). Click play to see the changes.

The three numbers represent red, green and blue. By making a number less than one we reduce that colour. So less green gives us a purple colour because red and blue makes purple.

Try reducing different colour values.

You can also invert colours by adding a minus in front of the colour value. For example .color(1,0.5,-1)

Try inverting different values, and adding some effects from How to live code art – Beginners such as;



.colorama (1)

Delete all your code so we can use another effect, voronoi(5,0.3,0.3). Remember to put .out(o0) at the end.

  • the first number sets the scale (higher than 5 = more zoomed out)
  • the second sets the speed (higher than 0.3 = faster)
  • the third sets the blending (higher than 0.3 = shapes dissolve more)

Try changing the voroni values, adding colour and adjusting the brightness.

You can lower the brightness using .brightness (0.15)

Less than 1 lowers the brightness, and more than make makes it brighter

You can make them spin around using .rotate (1,0.3)

  • the first number sets the angle
  • the second sets the speed (higher than 0.3 = faster)

Experiment with changing the values in your code

To initiate camera/webcam use the following code in a blank Hydra terminal;




Experiment with using different coding commands from our beginners and advanced tutorials to add effect to the live feed. In this example .colorama(1) has been used.

You now have the advanced skills to develop your coded art further. If you would like to find out even more about how you can use Estuary to try other coding or even to collaborate with others, there are helpful tutorials on the main page.

As with most things, it’s best to explore your digital art creativity now that you have a few live code tricks to use. As a learn’d live code performer once said, this process is for

artists who want to learn to code, and coders who want to express themselves“.

With big thanks to David Ogborn for creating Estuary which enables enquiring minds and coders to explore the vast possibilities of creative code.

And with just as much thanks to Antonio Roberts for devising and delivering step by step live music coding workshops for our young people during BOM’s 2021 PULSAR summer camp.