Creating Images from Audio Files

sound-form of baby's heartbeat
Recorded sound: Fetal heartbeat – magical and memorable
The expectant mother captured this moment in the doctor’s office.

“A sound-form makes the audible, visible.”

Science class taught us that sound is defined by mechanical vibrations which can travel through air, water and other mediums. These vibrations cannot be seen by the human eye. It’s basically something we can only hear, but never touch nor visualize. Perhaps we have an idea of how it could look like if sound had an accompanying image, like those lines in a heart monitor or the visualizer of your iTunes program.

But what exactly does sound look like?

That’s where sound-forms come in. For instance, it transforms the sounds we hear while hailing a cab on the streets of New York into art. A couple from the Bay Area created Born of Sound, enabling users to create and share special moments of sound through this new and original art form called a sound-form. You simply upload a sound you’ve created or recorded to transform it into a sound-form.

grayscale sound-form
Recorded sound: The vroom-vroom of a cherished restored car
Start your engines and record a rev & rumble

Sound enthusiasts and husband-and-wife team Ashik and Jenelle Mohan thought of sound-forms when they were testing their microphone and saw some digital waveforms on audio software. After wondering how their voices actually looked like, they decided to come up with Ashik Mohan’s background as a biomedical engineer helped with their attempts at applying different theories of motion in the environment to mechanical vibrations or sound through something we call “biomimicry” which is centralized on the scheme of nature’s codes applying to art, graphics, design and possibly architecture.

Try and imagine a strong wind blowing across a huge body of water, creating ripples and waves and tides. That’s pretty much how a sound-form works and looks like. It’s really showing the user the feel of the sound.

blue sound-form
Recorded sound: I love you in Mandarin (我愛你)
Love looks and sounds lovely in any language.

Sound-forms bring to visual life every aspect of a sound and turns it into a three-dimensional graphic, heavily detailed with lines, shapes and angles which depict the sound’s dips, curves, expansions and compressions. It shows you how the sound looks like as it crosses the medium towards your ear.

After posting and creating your sound-form on Born of Sound, you will be surprised to see an image rich in color and texture. The Mohans made sure to make their art special, as it does not simply portray the usual frequency and amplitude we see in wavelengths but it even shows air turbulence and its density.

violet sound-form
Recorded Sound: The words “Imagination Welcome ”
We make each recording into a one-of-a-kind artwork.
red sound-form
Recorded sound: Popping a cork and pouring a glass
It’s a ‘Pourtrait,’ like liquid poetry in motion.

You can create your own sound-forms after uploading on their website and choosing a size (12×24 inches to 4 feet).

Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.