Download the project file and media files for this tutorial
In this technique tutorial we’ll be looking at minimalism, one of the most popular styles used by live visual performers and VJs. Like the minimalist movement in painting and photography that was developed in the 1960s, this form is marked by its usage of geometric abstractions, negative space and mostly monochromatic color spaces. For live visuals, particularly when accompanying music, these ideas are often further extended into the dimension of time.
Tip: Also check out the Pixel Spirit Deck Table post for another example of minimalist design with shaders.
How can we achieve these styles within VDMX? Some tools that can be used from VDMX include:
Using visual generators (shapes, lines, noise)
Difference blend modes
Glitch, Geometric, Halftone and Stylistic FX
Masking and overlaying
Audio waveform / FFT visualization and reactive FX
As it already has a deep history, we can start by asking, what are some of the signature styles of minimalism in live visuals?
Mostly black and white, color used sparingly, often one color, shades, or complimentary
Designing with a grid (visually and temporally)
Negative space (visually and temporally)
Gestalt principles (closure, proximity, continuation, similarity, figure / ground)
Usage of both symmetries and asymmetries
Heavy use of geometric such as shapes, lines and points over photographic imagery
Inversion / strobing / glitching
Relationships between sound and visuals
We begin this lesson by loading the 4 Layer VJ Starter template then loading in some of the built-in video generator sources for basic shapes, lines noise and other types of geometric patterns that will be the basis for our minimalist designs.
Parameters such as the random seed, offsets, rotations and other FX controls are then automated using Step Sequencers and LFO plugins. The Color Controls FX can be used on the main output to remove colors by desaturating the video as a means to always provide a black and white output, or the Color Desaturation Mask can be used to limit the output to a single color. The Shape Mask is applied to layers to add an extra level of geometry and composition control within the output.
To test the setup against actual music we load the YouTube royalty free library and use SoundFlower to pass the audio stream into the Clock plugin for BPM detection and to create audio visualization as a layer generator.