It’s no secret: the once wildly-popular ArKaos VJ software has been looking a bit long in the tooth lately. And upgrades only get you so far: sometimes, as software matures in its life cycle, you have to redo the foundations. That’s what ArKaos has been working on, and the results, renamed GrandVJ, are due out soon (quarter 2). The new version emphasizes a re-worked, cleaner interface, multi-threaded graphics, and lots of effects and generators.
It’s up against some stiff competition. There’s the ground-up rewrite VDMX5, with some powerful semi-modular capabilities, the beefed-up Livid Union 2.5, Modul8, Resolume, and new generative app 3L. (See why 2008 will be a big year for VJ software.) That said, of these, only Union is cross-platform.
One differentiating feature in GrandVJ, as partly inherited from ArKaos VJ before it, is its “synthesis mode.” This maps sources onto a virtual music keyboard; combined with effects and generators that could retain ArKaos’ place as an easy, instrument-like visual tool.
The generative idea is nice, as well, but even with Flash support, I wonder how ArKaos will hold up to other generative competition. 3L has powerful tools for building 3D graphics in the software, Processing is gaining support among coders, Quartz Composer has native support in software like VDMX for custom patches, and Salvation has its own generative tricks, to say nothing of Jitter, Flash/Flex, and vvvv. On the other hand, ease of use can make a big difference in the market, and ArKaos’ interface is uncommonly clean. And then there are the ArKaos loyalists, who could find a compelling, friendly upgrade. (If you buy ArKaos now or bought it after March 1, the upgrade is free.)
We’ll have more details when this ships.