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Hey knob-twister: So you're unloading the van for your first big show at Greenpoint's new secret club in that abandoned doll head factory, but something's missing. Dude, you forgot your synthesizer back at your practice space in Williamsburg and your songs are all but dead on arrival without those big synth washes. Dude, what are you going do?Draw one. That's right, draw one. C'mon, you can do it. Put your Oberlin bachelors degree of fine arts to some use.
Now thanks to Carnegie Mellon student Billy Keyes who created SketchSynth anyone can sketch his or her own control panels using a webcam, a piece of paper and a marker.
"Once drawn, the controller sends Open Sound Control (OSC) messages to anything that can receive them; in this case, a simple synthesizer running in Pure Data," Keyes writes on his website. It’s a fun toy that also demonstrates the possibilities of adding digital interaction to sketched or otherwise non-digital interfaces."
The program is designed to recognize three basic symbols. Draw a circle an you've got a momentary button. Sketch a rectangle and you've got a toggle switch. If you want a slider control, simply draw a long line with shorter perpendicular lines at the end, kind of like a letter "H," only stretched out.
"While the program is designed to recognize these symbols, it doesn’t reject all other marks," Keyes writes. "If you like, you can draw anything and see what it is interpreted as."


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