Visual effects for playing music on the PS3

Written by dirk huds Google
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Visual effects for playing music on the PS3
Some PS3 visual effects move in time to music. (Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

The PlayStation 3 is much more than a games console. You can use it to watch films, access the Internet and listen to music. The PS3 has an application that displays visual effects on the screen to which it’s attached when you play audio files. The application is simple to access and control, and allows for a variety of visual options.


Visual effects can be launched when you play an audio file, provided you don't have any other applications running on your PS3 at the same time. For instance, if you play a music file when the photo viewer or the Internet browser is open, the visualiser will not deploy. The PS3 can play music files in MP3, MP4, WMV, WAV and ATRAC formats, and the visualisation effects will deploy in the same way for each.

Basic effects

There are two basic visualisation effects that display when a music file is played. The first consists of a background colour that undulates -- sometimes referred to as "silky waves.” The second comprises a random pattern of shapes, colours and pictorial images. You can move through the patterns in this second effect by pressing the right-hand joystick on your controller either left or right. Both these basic effects move in time to the tempo of music.

Third effect

PS3 consoles from the 2.10 update onwards also contain a third visual effect for playing music. It is called "Gaia" and consists of a revolving 3D representation of the planet Earth as though seen from space. The visualiser was developed by a technology company based in Kyoto, using data from the NASA Blue Marble Project, which compiles satellite images of Earth. The Gaia effect does not alter its movements to reflect the tempo of a song being played.


When you switch on your PS3 navigate to the "music" menu and choose the file you wish to play. Press "X" on the handset to start the song. When the song is playing, either press the "Square" or the "Triangle" button on your controller to bring up the "Menu" screen and click on "Visual Player." The "silky waves" visual effect is the first to appear. To access either of the other effects, simply press the "Square" button once for the random patterns, or twice for Gaia patterns.

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