Fluid Automata is a visual instrument for the iPad and iPhone. With this application you can touch and interact with a field of colored fluids to make dynamic abstract animations.

Fluid Automata is available at the iTunes AppStore by searching for "fluid automata", or by clicking on the Fluid Automata preview page on the iTunes Preview website.

Fluid Automata currently has a 5-star rating on the iTunes AppStore, where it was selected as a New & Noteworthy application.




More images on my Flickr page.




A multi-user installation of Fluid Automata was accepted to the VisWeek 2011 art show at Rhode Island School of Design.

A series of hi-resolution prints created with a version of Fluid Automata was shown as part of the "Keeping an Eye on Surveillance" show in San Francisco.

A live performance based on Fluid Automata was accepted to the Understanding Visual Music conference in Montreal on August 27th. (Unfortunately I had to cancel my appearance at this event).

A write-up of Fluid Automata was featured on one of my favorite websites, CreativeApplications.Net.

An article on how Fluid Automata "premits experimentation of the senses" appeared in the Spanish site AppleWeblog.

interactivedesign.it posted a link to some of the Fluid Automata videos.

An interesting aggregator called "FF3300 Fuel for your mind" reposted the CreativeApplications write-up.

Fluid Automata was showcased on overlapps.com.

Fluid Automata was selected by One Day One App as their app of the day on June 24th, 2011.

Fluid Automata was mentioned on the iSmashPhone website.

A video describing the multi-user version of the project can be found here.

A short demo of the video manipulation capabilities on the iPhone/iPad can be seen here.

Kiyomitsu Odai and Angus Forbes used Fluid Automata for a multimedia performance, Study on Brownian (*F) Motion, at the "Questionable Utility" group show.

For news about Fluid Automata, or to leave comments, visit my blog.




To begin using Fluid Automata, simply start touching the screen. Creative control of the fluid system is available through a set of pop-up menus and a set of ten slider. You can adjust the color palette by loading in a photo, by turning on the front or back video camera, by choosing a texture of random colors, or by choosing one of the many presets. Once the main color palette is loaded, use the left sliders to adjust the contrast, the brightness, the saturation, and the amount of blending between the original colors and the colors swirled around by the fluids. You can use the right sliders to control various aspects of the fluid itself. Below are images of the main user interface, the color and fluid sliders, and the popup menus accessible from the toolbar. The toolbar and sliders can be hidden at anytime by double-tapping anywhere on the screen. To bring back the controls, simply double-tap the screen again. Detailed instructions are always available by pressing the "?" button on the left hand side of the toolbar.





Fluid Automata uses a custom technique to simulate the propagation of energy through a fluid dynamics system. These fluids are then visualized using an image-based, GPU-accelerated version of Line Integral Convolution, as first described by Cabral and Leedom in the paper, "Imaging Vector Fields Using Line Integral Convolution," published in the SIGGRAPH proceedings in 1993.




Fluid Automata works for the iPad 1, iPad 2, and iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2 or higher. It does *not* work on the iPhone 3GS since the 3GS doesn't support the custom graphics pipeline via GLSL shaders (Thanks to Bill for pointing this out). Functionality is the same for the iPad and iPhone, however the toolbar and menus are smaller on the iPhone. The resolution of the fluid system and visualization system is doubled on the iPad 2, since it has a faster CPU and GPU. The video functionality does not work on iPad 1 (since the iPad 1 has no cameras).

If you have any technical or compatability issues please leave a comment on the main Fluid Automata posting of my blog at http://www.mat.ucsb.edu/a.forbes/blog/?p=194.



About the Artist

Angus Forbes is a media arts researcher and practitioner living in Santa Barbara, California.