A question that comes up for modern live visualists is how to best work with footage that doesn’t match the aspect ratio that is being used for the final display. Two particularly common situations are when you may be working with older format video that is 4:3 and in other cases it could be camera phone footage captured in vertical mode. In some cases it is okay to use the basic “fill” option within the composition mode settings so that the imagery is scaled to fill the entire output area when needed, but another useful technique is the “LiveLeak” style effect where a blurry version of the image appears blown up in the background.Read More
Download the completed project file and media files for this tutorial.
One of the most fun visual effects used in live visuals and VJing dates back to the analog Rutt Etra video synthesizer which had many capabilities that have over the years been translated into digital form. Most notable among the digital versions is the v002 Rutt Etra Quartz Composer plugin which was developed by vade along with Bill Etra, one of the original creators of the Rutt Etra system. We’ve included this plugin as an FX, along with several other v002 creations with VDMX for a while now and, over the years we’ve seen a lot of projects that have made use of them… and in this video tutorial we’re hoping to teach you a few new tricks…
Before beginning this tutorial, make sure to use the v002 installer on the VDMX disk image in the Extra folder.
For this demonstration, instead of using the Rutt Etra as an FX, we have a Quartz Composer composition that generates video based on two input video streams. In this case we will create sets of hidden layers that will be used for these inputs: the Video Input will provide the colors for each particle and the Displacement Mask will provide RGB color gradients.
The main technique used here will be using an RGB to XYZ displacement map instead of a luma based displacement map. This means that we both have more flexibility for changing the positions of individual pixels, but we are now also responsible for creating the basic gradients that are needed to draw the basic image in a non-distorted way.
To accomplish this, we included special ISF compositions that are RGB color gradient generators. Each of these sketches includes three different gradients that are combined into a single output. One special feature of the gradient generators is the ability to pass in another video feed as a ‘look up table’ for one of the curves, making it possible to use waveforms and FFTs from audio analysis plugins, or any other image, as data that can modulate the output.
Once the basic setup is complete we can group the layers and add a Two Channel Mixer plugin to mix between different gradient outputs to fade the Rutt Etra generator between shapes and apply FX to the gradient images can create all kinds of different variations in the output. Here we use the VVMotionBlur effect to apply temporal smoothing to images and the Bad TV FX to create ripples.
Tips and Notes:
One of the common types of image filters that are found in the workflow for photo and video editing are LUTs, also know as "Look Up Table" based FX. LUT FX are used to change the color palette of an image to create a different stylized look or feel, or in some cases to mimic the look of different print film types.
In this video tutorial we'll be looking at how to use each of the three different ways to use LUT FX in VDMX and how to add your own ".cube" LUT files.Read More
One of the best things about being a VJ on the Mac these days is Syphon which makes it possible for all of the different tools that are available to work together in countless ways. Within VDMX it is possible to have as many Syphon inputs and outputs as your computer can handle, which allows for it to be used as a source, mixer, FX processor or final output for other software you may want to work with.
In this video tutorial we'll look at a simple use case for connecting several Syphon enabled applications to and from VDMX by creating a two channel mixer that fades between two Syphon sources and publishes back out for other applications to use.Read More
Along with being able to work with more layers at higher resolutions, faster computers and more powerful graphics cards make it possible to output to multiple projectors or monitors from a single machine. In particular, the new 15" Retina Macbook Pro features a combination of a fast SSD hard drive along with two Thunderbolt and one HDMI port making it possible for a VJ to power 2 or 3 different HD displays from a single Mac laptop.
In this video tutorial we'll walk through the basic steps of preparing VDMX projects with a double-wide and triple-wide design to output with separate source layers for each display.
One of the most powerful techniques used to create real-time visuals and computer graphics going back to the early days of video is the use of feedback loops - the method of taking the current output and using it as a source frame in part of the next rendered frame. This incredibly useful process is particularly useful for Mac VJs and other graphic artists looking to find a unique look or style for their visuals, and is easily simulated within VDMX by using layer groups.Read More
To get the best performance out of using the Hap codec within VDMX we also recently added another new feature making it possible to use GLSL shaders to perform composition between layers. While the standard 'OpenGL- Add' and 'OpenGL- Over' modes are the absolute fastest when it comes to rendering, when more complex composition modes such as 'Difference' or 'Multiply' are needed shaders are the best alternative when playing back movie files, particularly when you're not using CoreImage or Quartz Composer based FX on the layer.
In this two part tutorial we'll look first at the basics of adding new 3rd party shaders to the assets folder, and then move on to the intermediate level step of creating new custom blend modes.Read More
While VDMX itself is an application for creating real-time visuals, eventually most VJs and other visual artists have some use for other types of video software such as non-linear editors (iMovie, FCP, Premiere) or motion graphics generators (Motion, After Effects) to create pre-made footage to use during performance.
In this tutorial we look at exporting movies from Apple Motion to use in VDMX and including the alpha channel by using the 'Hap Alpha' codec. The same basic idea can be used with other motion graphics software such as Adobe After Effects.Read More
This video tutorial covers the basics of working with layers in the Workspace Inspector in VDMX.Read More
For more complex projects that have lots of scenes, Workspace Presets can be used to change the entire layer / plugin setup at once. This tutorial covers the basics of creating and restoring these presets.Read More
An introduction to using the perspective correction (quad) mode in the layer composition controls.Read More
Creating fades, auto-fades and transitions between layers with the two channel mixer plugin.Read More
Adding a preview window and setting its source video stream.Read More
How to set the composition settings for a layer including its blend mode, opacity, source and destination coordinates.Read More
Adding FX to a layer and using local FX chain presets.Read More
Built-In Generators are sources that can be loaded directly on a layer without using a media bin.Read More
How to receiving video streams from another application using Syphon.Read More