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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Using LUT FX in VDMX

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.

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Video Fundamentals – Part 3 – Visual FX

Once a video is playing, the next step in the process of visual performance is to apply real-time FX to each frame to change the way it looks before it is shown to the audience.

In some cases the FX being used are in a utility function, for example a Color Correction filter makes it possible to adjust the contrast, saturation, and brightness levels when calibrating projectors. Others are designed to stylize the image to match a particular aesthetic such as glitch or film.

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More Fun Audio Analysis Techniques

Using individual plugins to directly automate the control of different aspects of a video performance or interactive installation can create some pretty awesome results, but one of the most powerful capabilities of VDMX is the ability to connect these plugins to each other to create more complex behaviors and visual effects that can be switched between during live VJ performance.

For this set of tutorials we'll look at a few ways that the Audio Analysis plugin can be used alongside the LFO plugin and standard interface controls as a demonstration of this technique.

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Creating and Installing ISF FX

An ISF, or “Interactive Shader Format” file is a GLSL fragment shader (.fs) that includes a small blob of information that describes any input controls that the host application (such as slider, button, and color picker controls in VDMX) should provide for the user when the FX is loaded for use, as well as other meta-data including the authorship, category and a description.

In this two part tutorial we'll cover the basics of applying ISF based FX to layers in VDMX and how to install new example ISF files you may download from the Internet, followed by a quick introduction to creating your own image processing GLSL fragment shaders.

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Using a mask to apply an FX to only part of a layer

In this guest tutorial we're joined by the Rockwell Group's LAB division who work as an interactive design team within a larger architecture firm where they focus on projects that blend physical and virtual spaces.

For a recent projection mapping installation in NYC, one of the techniques used by the LAB was to apply a real-time video FX on to a specific portion of one of the pre-rendered movies so that part of the image was left unprocessed in the main output while another section was color shifted to match the lighting effects in the room. Today we'll show you how that was accomplished.

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Installing and Using the v002 FX plugins with VDMX

One of the most useful sets of open source FX plugins for Quartz Composer are the v002 collection maintained by Vade and Bangnoise, which are now included as an optional separate package along with VDMX. Included are the v002 optimized fast blurs, “film” image filters, analog / digital glitch, and the Rutt-Etra analog video synthesizer emulator, along with QC based FX ready to use in VDMX or your own QC compositions.

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Making custom face tracking video FX and data-sources for VDMX with Quartz Composer

For this quick technique tutorial we've made two basic Quartz Composer compositions using the “Detection” object that can be loaded into VDMX to perform basic face capture and replacement FX that can be connected in a variety of ways. You can also use these example patches as starting points for your own patches that perform more complex behaviors like tracking multiple faces within a single frame or publishing additional control information.

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Creating Gesture Based Controls for VDMX using the Gestrument Kinect MIDI controller app

Last week featured on CreateDigitalMusic we noticed the beta release of Gestrument Kinect, a  simple Mac app that can be used to convert the camera depth data from a Kinect to MIDI for controlling music and VJ live visuals. Since it sends of standard MIDI, it only took a few seconds to connect it to VDMX for a quick demonstration on how it's data can be converted into gestures used to trigger movie clips and adjust video FX parameters.

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DJ Mixer EQ Style Masking FX for VDMX (with bonus X-Session Pro template)

In this technique tutorial we'll focus on two different ways the idea of a DJ style low, mid, high EQ control can be interpreted in the world of video as FX in VDMX as a means to mask out or adjust the gain level on separate discrete parts of a video stream for the purposes of blending video layers together.

The first example exchanges the low, mid and high levels for the individual RGB channels of the image for raising or lowering the intensity of each independently. The second qcFX uses a similar concept to a 3-band equalizer, breaking down the image into three different sections based on the luma (brightness) level of each pixel instead of its frequency ranges.

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Using Max/MSP/Jitter as an external FX send and data-source provider for VDMX

​Eventually when creating live visuals, particularly for a high profile event or tour, you may find the need to add to your setup some kind of very specialized custom image processing, source generator, or information feed that really sets the show apart with its own unique style or effect.

For this set of video tutorials we'll be taking a look at how to use one of our favorite languages, Cycling74's Max/MSP/Jitter which has been around for over 20 years as the tool of choice for creative coders experimenting with music and visuals.​

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Making a customized version of 'Grid Pro' in VDMX

Building on the previous template and tutorial on recreating the classic VIDVOX Grid using VDMX, ​in this video walkthrough we'll show how to turn the basic triggering and scrubbing app to it's big brother Grid Pro, which added a number of powerful features like transitions for fading between clips, image FX processing, audio analysis, a text generator layer and direct to disk movie recording.

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Creating Video Feedback Loops on a Mac with VDMX

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.

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Chroma Key Basics

Chroma Keying is an image effects technique for compositing multiple video streams on top of each by applying a hue based masked to the foreground images. Commonly a blue or green screen is used in production for these purposes.

Within VDMX, using the 'Chroma Mask' FX on a layer will create a color-based mask that is applied within the FX-chain. Pixels in the input that are within the tolerance range are set to become transparent through the usage of alpha channels.

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Assigning A Custom FX-Chain to a Clip

Using the File Inspector section of the Workspace Inspector individual clips can be tagged with attributes that override the source, FX, and composition settings of the layer that they are triggered on to. In this walkthrough we'll focus on the basic task of previewing a clip in the inspector and setting it to use a custom FX Chain.

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