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.