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Ray-Traced Graphical User Interfaces for Audio Effect Plug-Ins

On the computer, effects and software-based music synthesizers are often represented using graphical interfaces that mimic analog equipment almost photorealistically. These representations are, however, limited to a fixed perspective and do not include more advanced visual effects such as polished chrome. Leveraging the flexibility of the audio plug-in programming interface, we have created software that equips a broad class of synthesis and effect plug-ins with interactive, ray-traced 3D replicas of their user interface. These 3D models are built automatically through an automated analysis of each plug-ins' standard 2D interface. Our experiments show that interactive frame rates can be achieved even with low-end graphics cards. The methods presented may also be used for an automatic analysis of settings and for realistic interactive simulations in the design phase of hardware controls.

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