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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Using a Step Sequencer to trigger media clips

Along with being able to control any standard UI elements like sliders, buttons and color pickers, tracks in the step sequencer plugin in VDMX can be used to automate the changing of the media files playing back on a layer and create visuals rhythms. This general technique can be useful for a lot of projects such as VJ performances and building interactive video installations.

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How to build the Waveclock Demo template

In this tutorial we'll be looking a closer look at using automatic BPM detection for syncing up the timing of visual events with music by recreating the core parts of the Waveclock Demo template that is included with VDMX.

The approach we'll take is to create a virtual video instrument in the form of a Quartz Composer composition and animate its interface controls with Step Sequencer and LFO plugins. Presets for patterns in each plugin can then be saved and switched to match the energy level of the music while VJing during a live set. 

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Automatic BPM Detection in VDMX using Waveclock

By enabling the “Waveclock” beat tracking feature in the VDMX Clock plugin, the music from a microphone or line input can be analyzed to automatically handle the adjustment of the BPM and measure position to ensure that the timing of changes in your video are perfectly in sync with the bands and DJs that you are working with. 

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Recording a demo reel from a Quartz Composer composition or other video generator to share online

It kind of goes without saying that these days, posting your work online is a great way to promote yourself as a VJ or creative coder, and to make new contacts for future collaborations. Along with a studio or live mix of your visual work, including some of the original resources that were used during the making of your process for other people to learn from is another way to make your mark on the community. 

For this technique tutorial we'll be looking at recording a demo reel that shows off the different ways that your generative compositions can be used in a live setting by using different sets of control data to drive its parameters, such as time based LFOs, MIDI / OSC control, and audio analysis data-source providers. Once we've finished creating the sample movie, we'll also walk through how to share the files using the videopong.net website where they can be hosted, downloaded and remixed by other video artists for free.

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VJ Spain Guest Tutorial 2: El plugin Step Sequencer + Ableton Live

nce again in the lead up to his VJ Spain workshop later this month we are joined by guest poster Marcos Prack with another Spanish language tutorial: "Segundo tutorial de VDMX, esta vez os cuento una forma de utilizar el plugin Step Sequencer, que es usarlo para disparar los clips del Media Bin a través de diferentes presets. Todo esto utilizando Ableton Live que a través de notas MIDI activa Presets, FX y dispara los clips."

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Step Sequencer Color Tracks

In addition to standard number values, VDMX supports the special OSC color type for quickly passing around packed RGBA values between data senders and receivers. This is particularly useful in the Step Sequencer plugin which has a color option for tracks, making it easy to automate changes and fades between colors for generators and FX that use color swatch UI items. Read More