Ilias Bergstrom has created a tool for mixing Processing sketches live in performance. (Thanks, Bart!) The resulting tool lets you cross-fade between sketches and easily host a series of sketches in a gig. The process is pretty straightforward:

1. Use the included Foetus library with your sketch to prepare it for use (your sketch needs to use the OPENGL renderer, but I generally find that to be the best route, anyway)

2. Initialize your set for use in the code, setting it up to respond to input if desire (which is the whole fun of it, of course)

3. Put all your sketches together in a folder

4. Configure a text INI file to set up your OpenSoundController, so you can control your sets live with OSC-ready hardware and/or software

5. Play your sketches as “synths,” complete with cross-fading!

Put it all together, and you’ve got one bad Mother (watch your mouth!) The first release came out a bit earlier this fall. It comes with the library and some examples built in Max for control. Everything’s GPL v3 open-sourced.

Onar | 3D blog

processing-mother @ Google Code

Ilias and Beau Lotto have also written an academic paper on the tool.

Of course, once you start down this road, you could naturally come up with a lot of other potential features – and it’d be really, really nice to have this basic playback capability in a full-blown VJ host, so you could go back to some traditional clip mixing.

I haven’t had much chance to play with this, so anxious to hear feedback.

Do you play live with Processing? How do you do it? We’d love to hear how different people are working.

You can go hear Onar3d’s music on Something else to listen to while you code.

Updated: PC only for now, but a Mac version is in the works. (Could also be nice to test this on Linux…)

  • Ilias Bergstrom (Ona

    Thank you for featuring my work!

    The only thing I want to add is that currently Mother is PC only, as I do not have a Mac to test it on, and the version that is up for download works with Processing-0135 only.

    I have litteraly just yesterday finished making Mother compatible with Processing-0156, which will be released shortly, featuring additional improvements. We are currently also working with a friend to test if we can make it work on the Mac.

    I was planning to tell you about Mother when this work was completed, but you beat me to it :)

    Ilias B.

  • Bill Van Loo

    This is very exciting – can't wait to see the Mac version! This will really open up a LOT of possibilities for live visual performance for me.

    The last performance I did, we used a bunch of video generated from Processing and exported as video clips, which I then just played back. Having the ability to load multiple Processing sketches and move through them in performance, including features like reception of MIDI/OSC data, audio reactivity, etc, would be fantastic!

    Here are some pics & video from the show I mentioned:



  • http://http// Danger

    if you need any help testng and codding on mac/linux i can give it a try

  • Bart

    I'm curious to hear from any Prcessing gurus if the mandatory openGL renderer is a potential problem for them.

  • Peter Kirn

    It's certainly not a problem for me. You know, based on conversations I've had with other folks and seeing what students have done, I'd be very surprised if it's an issue for anyone. More people would *want* OpenGL rendering than not. But I suppose it could be an issue for people wanting specific anti-aliasing features of the 2D renderer for 2D drawing… still, OpenGL gets a whole lot of people and seems a good place to start.

  • Ilias Bergstrom (Ona

    I have just uploaded version 0.2 of Mother to the google code download page.

    Besides now working with Processing 0156, I have also added a new feature that allows processing incoming OSC values using spline interpolation, thus allowing for better animation.

    I have also included updated examples for getting started, and updated documentation.

    Give it a try and let me know what you think!

  • piekid

    This is the most unhelpful tutorial ever.

    • diego


    • onar3d


      Just to let you know that there’s now a beta of Mother for Processing 2.0 up:

      I have done my best to make it much easier to use than the previous version, if you’re curious to give it a go.

      None of the steps mentioned in Peter’s post are necessary any more, all you need to do is start two example sketches from within the Processing 2.0.1 IDE and you have the program up and running.

      And of course do get in touch if you run into trouble! My email is in the pdf accompanying the library.


    • onar3d


      Just to alert you of the comment below in this thread, in case you’re still curious in trying it out.