Forums > MaxMSP

Converting images into sound?

December 19, 2011 | 10:04 pm

Hi everyone, Im trying to create a patch that will read and convert images (in this case pictures of the london riots) into sound. The idea is that the patch will display the images I’ve collated randomly, that will then trigger sounds from a sampler or some sort of synth. I am a complete novice with Max MSP and don’t really know where to start, I’d really appreciate it if someone could help me. Are there any patches i can play around with, any tutorials i can watch?

Any and all advice is welcome!

Thanks and happy Christmas. x

December 19, 2011 | 11:20 pm


I don’t know why I attempted to reply……..

December 20, 2011 | 12:57 am

Ok, I’ll give it a try ;-)

As you might be aware, these kind of questions can’t be answered easily if at all.
Technically speaking, the learning resources are available. Max is full of tutorials, help files which show you each object working in a practical context, example patches and reference manuals. But I think there’s a more important step that needs to be taken first and foremost:

Think at a "lower level". Try to specify what you really want to achieve conceptually in order to be able to program it. For instance: you wrote "convert images into sound". You have to do better than that.

1. What image parameters would you like to obtain in order to control the sound? Global hue or brightness? Colour diversity? Amount of contrast? …
Search for the feasibility of the intended approach(es) exploring Max/Jitter built-in resources or with the help of external libraries like cv.jit (

2. To which sound/musical properties in particular are they supposed to be linked? Pitch? Amplitude? Timbre? Tempo? Compositional style?

3. To map different kinds of information with different ranges, objects such as [zmap],[scale],[pack],[unpack] can be very useful…

Just my one cent…

December 20, 2011 | 1:29 am

@Pedro Santos Thanks for taking the time to reply, what you said was very helpful.

Ok maybe if i explain my concept that might help. The concept is ‘A Soundtrack To A Riot’. I have collated photos of the riots that took place in london and some audio samples of the news coverage of those riots. What i would like Max to do is display the images i’ve collected randomly (like a slideshow) those photos would trigger samples assigned to a colour in that picture. (i.e bluey colours would trigger one sample and greens another etc.)

Is that a bit more clearer? I’m just not sure on what image parameters i should use and how.

Again thanks for taking the time to help.

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