Resolume Avenue 3 Introduction from Bart van der Ploeg on Vimeo.

With a new generation of visual apps, we’ll soon see if software innovation can help live visualism spread through the larger performance scene. One of the tools to watch has been Resolume 3, and it’s a secret no more.

We knew Resolume 3’s release would make a big splash, if for no other reason than its loyal (PC-only) audience. The older Resolume 2 was always a favorite for its streamlined interface and the ease with which it handled live gigs. It had its “legacy” downsides, too, like limited performance capabilities, a lack of 3D hardware support, and support for Windows only. Resolume 3 promised to fix that, but some loyalists wondered if the ground-up redesign – with a new engine and new interface – would live up to the name, or get lost in the avalanche of new VJ tools being developed this year.

Today, Resolume’s creators took the wraps off the new Resolume Avenue 3. The big news: this app could set itself apart with beat-matched, audiovisual mixing, not just video.

In short, think:

  • 3D, multiple screens, OpenGL / FreeFrameGL effects
  • Beat-synced everything, looping
  • Audio in video clips, direct audio file triggering, VST audio effects

We’ve been playing with an early beta, and it’s been a blast — bringing over some of the basic principles we liked in the original Resolume interface, but with lots of fun newness added.

Generational Shift

A number of features in Resolume 3 parallel the trend in live visual apps in general. They’ll be welcome changes. In short, it’ll run on Mac as well as Windows, it’ll run fully native on the GPU for high performance, it’ll fit whatever screen you’re using for the UI, and output will map to any object you want on multiple displays.

Specifically:

  • OpenGL acceleration, with a fully 3D engine
  • 3D compositing, with the ability to map video as a 3D texture
  • A resolution-independent UI that scales to different screen sizes
  • MIDI, OpenSoundControl (meaning we have a number of visual apps ready to receive OSC data, if only one mainstream music app were intelligent enough to send it to them)
  • Video mapping, advanced keystoning, and smart multi-display support
  • OpenGL video effects, applied at the clip, layer, or composition level
  • FreeFrameGL video effects (the new, open format for OpenGL-based effects)
  • Cross-platform Mac/Windows support

Audiovisual Beast?

With just the features above, Resolume could prove a top pick if it nails the UI and workflow and delivers some solid performance. But here’s where things start to get interesting. Resolume also has what may be the most complete, fully-developed set of audiovisual performance tools I’ve seen yet:

  • Audio everywhere: You can play not only video clips with audio in them, but you can directly play audio files, as well, and combine those with video
  • Beat sync everywhere: you can sync “everything” to a global BPM (I’ll be testing this one particularly closely to see just how much “everything” includes)
  • Beat-snap triggering, a la Ableton Live’s clip triggering feature
  • VST audio effects: yes, that’s right, and not only that, but you can sync up video and audio effects for … well, watch the video and drool
  • Cross-fade audio and video
  • Beat-match, loop beats, etc., etc.

Short version: this tool will make it almost obscenely easy to do A/V mixes. I expect some really bad A/V sets as a result, just as with any easy-to-use tool. But I also imagine some people could do something really brilliant with it.

The audio features won’t do everything in the first release. You will be able to open VST plug-in UIs. You won’t be able to forward MIDI, though, which dashes my hopes of playing soft synths inside Resolume – for now. (I’ll naturally be lobbying for this in a future release, because I’m a crazy audiovisualist.)

There is also one catch to all this next-generational transformation, which is that you will need a fairly decent GPU. System requirements, most importantly, don’t support integrated video. That means if you have a non-Pro MacBook, you’ll need to look elsewhere. On the other hand, the CPU requirements aren’t nearly as harsh – that’s the advantage of running on the GPU.

Bottom line, I think Resolume could wind up at the top of the heap as far as this generation of live visual tools. Stay tuned; we’ll have a look at what some of its rivals in this generation have on offer, and we’ll get some hands-on time with Resolume 3.

Resolume Avenue site

Pricing: EUR299 per computer (119 upgrade); limited time EUR229 buys you Resolume 2 plus the free Resolume 3 upgrade

Availability: September

You can be assured of one thing: visual tools and visualism in general are likely to rise in visibility as this improved generation of software starts to hit the scene. And expect some healthy but vigorous competition between rivals as that unfolds.

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    ResAve has definitely been great fun to play with in early form. Bart's video displays some capabilities I hadn't noticed (dropping audio on video = hell yes!). Shifting load to the GPU is great too, with all of the midi and OSC capabilities, I feel like running combinations of software on a single machine isn't so scary any more.

    I'm thinking Ableton+Resolume, or VDMX+Resolume for creating crazy performance interfaces to interact with the tightly integrated AV capabilities here.

  • http://abstrakt.vade.info/ vade

    Does it support Quartz Composer on OS X?

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @vade, I'm not sure of the answer to that, but here's my answer — it shouldn't. I think there's some benefit to supporting cross-platform, open formats like FreeFrameGL. (In fact, I wonder if FreeFrameGL does work out, if someone might try doing a visual patching tool for it someday…) Or the other way to put it is, for Quartz Composer support, VDMX does a very nice job as a Mac-only app (in which case doing QC only makes more sense).

    That's nothing against QC, it's just that I think FFGL fits the cross-platform nature of the tool.

    But, Bart, before I assume it doesn't and turn out to be wrong?

    @Jaymis: I'll definitely be mashing this up with audio. Live, Kore both on the list. (Kore FX will work within Resolume nicely; for actually playing instruments I'll have to go outside the app.)

  • http://abstrakt.vade.info/ vade

    Well, the thing about the FFGL api as I have seen (looking at it), is that it does not really *empower* the end user. Its great for low level coders like myself, and developers, but the power of QC is the fact that anyone can develop, extend, modify and create their own effects without needing to know advanced concepts like pixel formats, APIs, immediate mode GL, FBOs, (the list goes on)….

    Plus it would be nice to have my new plugins work out of the box :)

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    Vade – having looked inside the FFGL api – would it be possible to create a wrapper for QC compositions, so they could work on any Mac, FFGL capable system?

    I'm definitely not a low-level coder. Peter has tried many times to indoctrinate me, but code just doesn't seem to stick very well, whereas I've had much more success with tools such as PD and Max. So, I would love to be able to create my own modifications of plugins which could be easily integrated on the GPU.

  • http://abstrakt.vade.info/ vade

    Yes, you could, and I started looking into it, but, frankly, id rather make pretty things!

  • http://abstrakt.vade.info/ vade

    Yes, you could, and I started looking into it. It would not be fun though.

  • vic

    OMG, this is great and highly anticipated news. I am going to have to get a intel mac now. i put a heavy presumption it will not work with ppc mac. but all the same, i think now the vj/dj paradigm has proper representation, and others will follow suit over competing with resolume's hard work and beta developments/community. this software will lead hardware controller developers in the right direction. is resolume reporting on any leads on relationships with any hardware entities? I have a audio/video live performance boner right now. ffgl yay!

  • http://www.sparkav.co.uk toby*spark

    vade – when i saw bart and eddie give the sneak peak to avenue a few months back in paris, qc was question number one. their answer was its on their list, but they'll be working through all the cross-platform wants before the platform specific ones.

    i hope its not too painful to wrap the image kernel i need for my modus-operandi masking mix mode in a ffgl wrapper, 'cos i sure am interested in a vj app with nice interface and beat tight audio.

    the question i forgot to ask back in paris: what happens to the audio when you scratch the video?

  • http://www.resolume.com Bart

    Thanks for the great article Peter!

    In the first coming Avenue release you will be able to play Quartz compositions by exporting them as quicktime movies. We are very excited about generative content so we will add native support for .qtz-files and manipulating the exposed parameters in the (not so distant) future. Like Toby said, we focus on cross-platform technologies first.

    The question i forgot to ask back in paris: what happens to the audio when you scratch the video?

    When you scrub the audio it will sound like any timeline editor: awfull but usefull because it plays a tiny loop while you hold down the mouse so you can hear where you are.

    We did try to implement a tape-editing-like sound like Sony Vegas has because it sounds so much nicer. It will pitch the audio based on how fast you scrub but so far have not been able to get that running as nice as we hoped ;-)

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  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Bart: Well, if you can't make it sound better, you can always make it sound glitchier — maybe an adjustable grain stretching algorithm? :)

    @vade: yeah, I hear you … actually, this just makes me think, boy, it'd be nice to have some sort of graphical front end that's cross-platform for GL effects that's not as big as Max or Pd. But that's a huge project (and a testament to what Pierre accomplished with QC), because it's not just the UI, as you say, it's working out how to deal with these trickier comments. Oh, well … first step is playing with FFGL and seeing how it's working.

  • http://www.magneticpitch.com john kennedy

    great development for a/v artists! and very glad to see that .qtz support will be developed.
    this made me wonder about the Ableton/Cycling 74 collaboration…i can only assume that they're working on an A/V performance app with very flexible routing/control (and i/o) with a very sleek minimal interface…
    any news/rumors/clues on this front?

  • PRICKIMAGE

    Looking amazing…gonna ask for my money back from a rival software purchase
    Will there be support for VOB video files?

  • MACC

    I think that this kind of programs are but an antecipation to the death of the vjing phenomena as an independent act and will soon provide djs with the tools to become a one man audio-visual show. I'm personally totally against this merge as I believe it's one big step to help vjs become a dying breed in the very near future. It will provide the audience with low quality, repetitive and dull vjing sets performed by djs that mostly have no experience in video and couldn't care less about developing their own footage. If this is already a sad reality among some vjs that solely get their material from footage banks, it will be the -only- reality among the djs turned wannabe-vjs of the future. After all a djs' work starts at a track store (either physical or virtual) fast tracking through musics while a good vj's work starts with hours (days… weeks…) of live footage capture, vector animation, 3d animation (and endless rendering), freezeframe animation, file conversion, framerate optimization, mixing training, etc.

  • http://www.prickimage.com PRICKIMAGE

    I totally understand what you saying MACC and agree with half your argument
    I'd like to think good AV Dj's will collab and commission visuals from Vj's/visual artists
    Image library footage can look great…people respond to original video/animation much more…especially when bespoke

  • unkl3jun

    @MACC: I've been DJ'ing for 21 of my 33 years and I agree with you in that there are a LOT of DJ's who are entering the VJ game and the results are underwhelming at best. I've seen a couple of international and local DJ's recently and their sets are interesting for about five minutes, and then it just all collapses.

    Unless there's creative use of Video and Audio going on, e.g. the work by Giovanni Sample and Lasse Gjertsen, I personally don't want to know about it.

    Personally I'm VERY excited by ResAve because it gives me another option to create music from video/audio sources and perform it live with my Ableton Live/Traktor set. My idea is to sync out from Live into ResAve to create Audio/Visual Loops and to build up a piece of music from there. My mind is swimming with possibilities…

    I believe the only way to properly and professionally integrate visuals into a DJ set is to have a VJ to handle it all. Otherwise, the crowd just stands around watching filmclips that have been ripped at low quality and both the audio and visuals suffer.

    I don't think it'll be the death of VJ'ing since talented and creative VJ's are hard to come by. If anything it's similar to what happened about eight years ago with the boom in cheap DJ equipment.
    Just because you've got the equipment and software doesn't mean you're a DJ – there's so much more to it than that. I believe it would be the same scenario for VJ's.

  • http://www.maccoutinho.com MACC

    Don't get me wrong, I can actually see some great potential for this tool as a solid base for experimental audiovisual performances, I just fear for its abusive use in terms of attempting to combine djing/vjing performances.

    All in all I'm actually excited to try the software for myself as I'm sure I'll be able to give it some creative use though it'll be a very specific one.

  • unkl3jun

    @ MACC – yup, I totally agree with you. It's great that the technology is readily available so both VJ's and DJ's can push the limits of creativity and experimentation, and I agree that it can lead to abuses of the technology.

    I also think about it this way: If everyone has access to the technology, then the playing field is level. It's up to you to become the star player. :D

    I can't wait to get my hands on ResAve.

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  • http://www.thinkvisual.co.uk spunkbubble

    appears to be a cracking leap in the VJ trend!

    Cheerio

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