Welcome to
StelligerNox
by bitSplit™ Enterprises         <--- check it out! ---
Overview
How It Works
Viewing ,
Editing , ,
Main Controls
Sets
Settings
Privacy & Data
Appreciation
Contact


Overview   top

StelligerNox (Latin for 'Starry Night') lets you contemplate the infinitissitude of the universe and your imagination. Draw simple lines on up to three layers which will be composited to form a mesmerizing, ever-changing display of flickering galaxies, streaking comets and patterns in which to lose yourself!

       

How It Works   top

The app simulates the effects of an actual device I once built. A bright light source shines through two panes of glass which are stacked on top of each other. The panes of glass are painted black. Each pane has squiggly lines on it where the paint was scratched off. Now switch on the light and slowly rotate the top pane - wherever two lines intersect they will let the light through as a star-like point. When two almost-parallel lines intersect you get a streak of light. The effect is quite beautiful and mesmerizing.

In the app the display consists of three layers which are drawn on top of each other. At the bottom is the background layer, , (the light source) which determines the color (white by default.) The next two layers ( and ) are the panes of glass. They are solid black until you draw arbitrary lines on them. The lines have a transparency; this means they will let through some (gray) or all (white) of what is underneath.

And that is all there is to it! Software being soft you can easily vary all sorts of parameters which must be fixed in a physical device. You can give the light source different colors at different spots on the display - simply draw colored lines on the background layer. You can also change the transparency and thickness of the scratches on the glass - simply draw the desired lines on the foreground layers. And lastly, you can rotate all the layers at different speeds. This makes for a very large number of interesting effects.


Viewing   top

Inspection
Inspection mode gives you some idea of how the layers interact to achieve the effects you see. Use it to experiment and find line combinations which do wondrous things. Build yourself a toolbox of tricks.

Enjoyment
Put on some Pink Floyd, Eloy or Symphony of Science; turn up the brightness of your display and relax! Let your mind wander through a universe of your own creation...

This mode shows the final result. Tap on the bottom left to show the parameter controls. Each of these is a custom control which acts like a slider. Tap anywhere on the row of a value and drag left or right. The maximum value corresponds to the right side of the screen, the minimum value corresponds to the left side of the screen. For finer control, leave as much space between the tap and the maximum value as you can. Double-tap to set to the default value.

 Background Speed (-10.0 to 10.0)
the direction and speed of rotation of the background layer. If you switched on color animation, then this sets the speed of the color changes.
 Layer 1 & 2 Speed (-5.0 to 5.0)
the direction and speed of rotation of the two top layers. Rotate the layers in opposite directions (or not; but for best results give them different speed values.)
 Master Speed (-10.0 to 10.0)
the direction and speed of rotation of the whole image.
 Thickness (0.3 to 2.0)
a scaling factor for the line thickness in the top layers. Use your retina display to full effect by setting the thickness to 0.7 or lower. Since not as much light shines through you should turn up the display brightness or be in a dark environment.
 Scale (0.5 to 1.5)
the magnifaction for the whole image. Since the image rotates it does not fit onto the rectangular screen unless you scale it down. This control lets you do that. The line thickness is unchanged.



Editing the Layers   top

The layers are simple drawing canvases. Since the final display will rotate, all layers are circular, and since the screen is rectangular, not all drawing will be visible at all times.

The shaded arc on the upper right of the draw area shows the amount of paint strokes consumed. If you use a large number of strokes the animation will slow down due to the drawing complexity.

You can switch to one of the viewing modes at any time to see the result of your efforts.

The top bar holds the Clear, Undo and Redo commands. Undo and Redo apply to whole paint strokes. You cannot just tap on the screen - you must stroke it :-) To reduce the drawing complexity you must move at least 10 pixels to register a paint stroke.

Background Layer
This is the 'light source'. It can be left white or you can draw colored lines of varying size on it.

On the right side you can choose one of twelve colors. Below that you can choose one of four line widths. The fourth one is a special very large one to color the whole background with a single color and a minimal paint stroke.

The last option - the color wheel - toggles color animation on and off. If on, the paint strokes will be ignored and the background layer will cycle automatically through the whole spectrum of colors.

Layer 1
This is the middle layer (the bottom 'pane of glass'.) Choose one of four line transparencies and one of four line widths from the palette on the right. The 'no-transparency' option (black) is meant to be used as an eraser along with the fourth (large) thickness. If you draw lighter lines at that thickness the 'stars' will get too big. You can draw any kind of squiggles. Experiment with half circles, spirals, non-parallel straight lines and the like to see what kind of effects you can achieve.

Layer 2
This is the top layer (the top 'pane of glass'.) The tools act the same as in Layer 1. In addition you can explicitly switch Layer 2 off with the X button. This will give you a different kind of display. It looks a bit like colored liquid running through thin plastic tubes; check it out, but this is not the primary effect we're after.

If Layer 2 is left empty (and enabled,) the app will automatically use a mirrored copy of Layer 1. This is convenient and gives symmetry to the display which has its own appeal. To see what it looks like, push Copy Other Layer. This will perform the mirror operation on Layer 1 and copy it to Layer 2. (You can also copy Layer 2 when editing Layer 1.)

Tips

• use color sparingly with short strokes (more like blobs.) Don't make it look like a garish ad. Aim for tranquility.
• in Layers 1 and 2, start out with some thick dark gray lines. These will apppear as fainter 'stars' and lend some depth to the display. Then add thin white lines for a crisp and beautiful night sky!
• throw in some straight lines to achieve a 'shooting star' effect.
• a few black lines or dabs on the background add a bit of sparkle; no 'light' means the stars wink out.
• you can load each layer separately from any stored set.
• you can also use a two-finger tap to show or hide the controls (and skip the 'touch' delay.)


Main Controls   top

A tap in the lower left corner of the screen will show or hide the control bar at the bottom of the screen and additional controls depending on the mode you're in (editing or viewing.) In viewing mode the controls will be automatically hidden after about seven seconds.

The commands available in the bottom bar are:
• hide controls
• switch to background layer editing
• switch to layer 1 editing
• switch to layer 2 editing
• switch to inspection viewing
• switch to enjoyment viewing
• save current layers and settings as a set
• show additional pages

The editing and viewing controls are explained in the respective sections.

A tap in the lower right corner of the screen will curl up the current screen and show a set of additional pages:
• Settings
• Sets
• Info (this page)


Sets   top

The Sets page lists all saved sets in reverse order of creation. Swipe across a row to display the 'Delete' option. Deletion cannot be undone. Each row displays the three layers, the parameters and a screen shot of the result. From the viewing screens you can load complete sets, from the editing screens you can load only the corresponding layer so you can easily combine different layers into new sets.

Note that the current set is discarded without warning when you load a new set. Make sure you save it first if you want to keep it. You can also use Undo on each layer to restore its previous appearance.

Use Save in the control bar to update the last loaded set or to save a new set (which then becomes the last loaded one.)


Settings   top

Cycle Through Sets
You can optionally cycle through all your saved sets manually by giving your device a quick shake to advance to the next set or in slideshow fashion by choosing a time interval for switching to the next set. Don't forget to switch this off when you edit or your work will be replaced by the next loaded set!

Sound
StelligerNox produces some sounds to indicate success or failure of a task or to grab your attention for an alert. You can switch the sounds on or off.


Privacy & Data   top

StelligerNox does not collect any private data! Where or who you are, what you do, watch or buy and who you know is your business. Any information that you provide via e-mail, purchase or by any other means will never be shared with any third parties.


Appreciation   top

Thank You to all the people who share their knowledge on stackoverflow. Your help is invaluable.

Some graphics found on openclipart. Thank You to the artists. Copyrights remain with them.


Contact   top

Thanks for checking out StelligerNox!
Comments, questions, suggestions? Please let me know and send me an e-mail.
Copyright ©2013
Christopher M. Knox
d.b.a. bitSplit™ Enterprises.
All rights reserved.

Last updated March 8 2013