Animating Properties of GLSL Shaders in VDMX

When writing GLSL shaders that run as generators or are used as image filters, one of the most fun parts of the process is playing with different control functions to animate all of the various variables that you've created in the composition. Using the ISF specification, GLSL shaders can publish their uniform variables so that host applications can provide user interface controls that can be connected to MIDI, OSC, DMX or other data-sources for automation.

In this tutorial we will look at adapting an existing GLSL shader into ISF, publishing some of its variables as uniforms, and loading the composition into VDMX where we will animate its properties using a variety of different plugins and MIDI input.

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Introduction to Connecting VDMX and Processing with Syphon and OSC

While VDMX offers many ways to extend its capabilities with code by Quartz Composer, Vuo and writing your own custom interactive GLSL shaders, there are times when you may need to use a video generator, image processor, or data controller that for whatever reason require using another most extensive programming toolkit for some aspect of your live performance.

One of the most popular creative coding languages being used today is known as Processing, a free, open-source development environment with an extensive community of artists and technologists around the world. You can look online to find hundreds of examples and they provided wonderful educational materials to help you get started with learning how to write code to make art.

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Blair Neal's Survey of Alternative Displays

For anyone currently working in the field of live visuals, one of the most exciting areas of bleeding edge technologies is on the side of displays – the place where people look at to see the amazing imagery coming out of our computers. There are a lot of new – and ancient – techniques to learn about and along with that a lot of new information to take in – all of which our good friend Blair Neal covers in his recently updated blog post “Survey of Alternative Displays

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Loops – Performance, Production, and Progression

The heart of almost every VJ / Visualist performance is the loop. There are lots of techniques and training for the production of loops, but there are some common approaches and methodology of creating a “pack” that are explored in this guest tutorial by Colin Evoy Sebestyen. To demonstrate these ideas Colin breaks down a project he created with musician Nonagon for a performance series at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

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How to create a retro Halloween visual style in VDMX

Creating the right look for Halloween and other spooky themed events is one of those tricks that every visual artists needs to have in their go to bag of tricks. There are lots of different techniques that can be used and in this guest tutorial we are joined once again by Colin Evoy Sebestyen for a demonstration of how to use a combination of LUT based FX, real-time video generators and logo images to create a retro horror film graphic scene in VDMX. In particular this look is inspired by intro sequences like the one from The Gate and more recently Stranger Things.

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Kalma Shows How To Get Started With VDMX

One our favorite questions for people who have been using VDMX is to ask them how they would show it to someone who has never used it before and we are especially excited to see how teachers are introducing the software in classrooms and workshops. Everyone learns best in a different way and it is always helpful for us to see new approaches to VJ techniques.

For this guest video tutorial we are joined by Kalma who has been organizing workshops in Europe on topics including VJing and 3D Mapping, covering a wide variety of software including VDMX.

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Mixing, Adjusting and Generating Complementary Color Data-Sources in VDMX

While Quartz Composer is mainly used for creating interactive video sources and FX, one of of the other powerful ways it can be used in VDMX is to create your own custom plugins that can generate values or manipulate data-sources that can be used to drive other parameters in your setup. Another great thing about this feature is that once these compositions are created they can be shared and easily installed on different computers so that other people can take advantage of the new functionality.

For this tutorial we'll be looking at three very simple Quartz Composer compositions can be used within VDMX for manipulating color data-sources in particular.

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Using Display Capture as a Video Source in VDMX

One of the common problems that visuals artists working with software for real-time video is how to connect the output of one application into another. In the best case scenario every application you use would support Syphon for sharing video streams, but since that isn't the case there are a few other useful techniques that can be used in VDMX.

In this tutorial we will be looking at using the Display capture feature that makes it possible to use the entire contents of any screen as a video feed.

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Using Ableton Link in VDMX

One of the common questions for VJs working alongside musicians is what is the best way to keep the tempo of all of the software being used by the different performers perfectly in sync. Ableton Link is a new technology developed by Ableton that answers this by synchronizing musical beat, tempo, and phase across multiple applications running on multiple devices, including VDMX.

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How to do a NYE Countdown

One of the biggest nights for live visual performers is New Years Eve and in particular there is responsibility in particular that can be unexpectedly tricky to get right. That is handling the countdown to midnight. Often it can mean coordinating with other performers or workers at the venue. Depending on what is required of you during the show there are a few different approaches you may want to take when setting up your projects. It also helps to have an idea in advance of what your options are for running a visual countdown.

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Introduction to The Timecode Plugin

When designing preplanned shows and working alongside other software, one of the common tasks is keeping the timing of everything in sync. Within VDMX there are two main ways of working with time – the Clock plugin which is used for working in measures and beats and the Timecode plugin which counts in SMPTE time.

In this set of tutorials we'll cover the basics of using the Timecode plugin which publishes several data sources in VDMX, and is capable of both receiving and sending SMPTE timecode in a variety of formats.

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