Spherical Glow

Portland, Oregon 2022-02-05


Spherical Glow is a particle simulation created with Unity’s Visual Effect Graph. It is based on the “Spherical Harmonics” visualizations described by Paul Bourke. Like the Superformula, this approach involves applying a relatively simple formula to coordinates on the surface of a sphere. Animating the formula’s parameters over time while rotating the sphere creates the morphing effect.

WebGL Version

I also created a simplified three.js version of Spherical Glow using geometry instead of particles. The aim was to allow it to run on a low-end Android tablet as a framed piece of wall art.


Spherical Glow began as a study created during my time as Technologist in Residence at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. It was part of a larger exploration of radial symmetry, which was a central theme of the residency. This work was first shown publicly as part of the Portland Winter Light Festival in 2022.