Karan Mhatre

2022 - Art Project - Personal

Creating Album Art using Shaders

Thumnail for creating album art using shaders

The Project

Timelines: January 2022

Project: Making colorful shaders to be used as Album Cover Art

Team: Solo

Tools: p5.js, GLSL Shaders


I wanted to go for a colorful gradient look. I looked at some album art online and created a moodboard. I kept a varaity of looks from grudge/noisy to plane gradients.

Moodboard of album art Moodboard of album art

Also I don’t think I quiet stuck to these styles, these provided a good starting point for my creations.

Simple Gradients

I started with simple shaders that created some interesting gradients. It manipulated the color of each pixel based on its location.

I selected some random starting values for RGB, and then applied formulas to adapt these based on the (x,y) co-ordinates.

Simple Gradients as album art Simple Gradients as album art

Adding Sine Waves

Next I introduced sine waves in the shader to create some lines and interest points.

By varying the amplitude and frequency of the wave I was able to create some interesting pieces.

Sine wave album art Sine waves as album art

These turned out far more interesting than the simple gradients.

Multiple Sine Waves

If one sine wave works so well, why not try multiple sine waves interacting in the plane.

The last two looked like sunrises on distinct planets. You can click on the sketches above to see them animating in and out.

Multiple Sine waves as album art Multiple Sine waves as album art

Adding Noise

While sine waves produce interesting results, they are fairly linear and don’t have any unexpected variations.

Welcome, noise - Perlin, Simplex, anything.

Multiple Sine waves as album art Multiple Sine waves and Noise as album art

Random ones that I didn’t like as much

Below are all the ones that didn’t make the final list. They are experiments and trials that produced odd results that i didn’t quiet like asthetically.

Random shader sketches Random shader sketches


Working with shaders is a lot of trial and error. Despite knowing the theory the results are always quiet unpredictable.

I felt like a photographer waiting for the right time to capture the image while the shaders animated.