Spline is not really the name of an effect but more of a shape. A bit like the donut, this effect can indeed be displayed in different ways : it can be made of  dots, bobs, cubes, lines and so on. As for its shape, it’s nothing but a curve calculated from a mathematical formula and I hope you will forgive me for this easy shortcut. 🙂 But have a look at it by yourself right below :

This is a spline, made of  unlimited bobs but to be honest there are way more interesting variations ! (2004)

In my humble opinion the real difficulty doesn’t come from creating a spline as you « only » need to apply a mathematical formula. Yet a basic spline won’t be enough to keep viewers entertained. Coders and graphicians have to come up with good ideas in order to put this effect on stage as good as possible.

Here we are announced that more than 17 000 dots are used to display this spline !

The screenshot above comes from 1993 Ecstasy demo by ICE and even if the presentation is basic, the spline is pretty complex and made of thousands of dots. You need to see it move to appreciate its true beauty !

A simple spline but a lot of design courtesy of  Dune.

One thing is sure with demo crew Dune : style is never forgotten ! The spline shown right above and taken from 1999 Paradise demo features a mirror effect, motion blur and last but not least an awesome looking logo. Perfect !

More kudos go to  Dune for this other example of a spline moving frantically while trapped into a rotating square. Once again the flawlessness of that screen taken from 1994 Faith makes it a very pleasant effect.

Maybe not impressive but undoubtedly very nice looking!  !

Demo crew Dead Hackers Society gave us their vision of splines in 2010 Appendix demo with a curve made of an awful lot of dots AND a vertically moving background. Maybe not the best looking result yet quite impressive.

Ok, go and try to count them all, do it  🙂

Seemingly both demo crews Dune  and Sector One love splines as several of their demos feature that effect. Yet I won’t say I dislike the idea since they always come with new visions and original design. Their latest demo called Antiques (2011) won’t go against that statement. For most of it, that demo only uses shades of grey and it brings the whole thing a very unique style that I truly love !

antiques
Grey shades and a polished screen. Don’t miss the video at the bottom of this page, it truly rocks !

As I hopefully showed you, this effect, born maybe two decades ago, can wear many forms, according either to the coders skills or to ideas of graphicians. Thanks to these many « faces » this effect can still appear in modern demos and look gorgeous. To speak the truth I cannot wait until we meet another kind of spline in the forthcoming demos ! 🙂

Let’s now have a look at some videos, first with the nice Yanartas demo by Checkpoint  (2014) :

Then with the Antiques demo I just told you about :

And for our last excerpt we stay with Dune, in collaboration with Sector One, who offer us two very original variations of a spline ! The first one is somehow seen as if it was displayed in 3D (or better said with depth) and it looks stunning !

The second spline may actually not be a real spline (well it depends on the curve and if it follows the mathematical formula mentioned at the beginning of this article) yet I LOVE it as it is a lovely ending sequence to 2012 UFO, I want to believe demo. Sorry if I am out of topic here but I will bear my responsibilities. 🙂

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