Who says a projector has to be the output?
For decades now, average musicians have easily controlled instruments via MIDI, from drum machines to pianos. Now, software makes it easier than ever for users to do the same with color and lights. The latest entry is the excellent visual timeline app Vezér. As of 1.3, it adds some very powerful new tricks:
- Control lights over Ethernet. Via Art-Net, you can connect to DMX-compatible lights. What you need to know: that includes robot lamps, moving heads, and LED strips. See below.
- Light control. To make that support work, Vezér now includes a DMX Monitor, Master Fader, and other dedicated Art-Net facilities.
- Send colors over OSC. A new color track sends colors in various formats to other apps – see the image, top. Plus, you can –
- Import color swatches from Adobe.
- Import MIDI files.
What about color? As it happens, color is part of the OSC spec, and has been since 1.0. Read about it in the spec. VDMX supports it, and … well, nothing that we could find, but you can easily support it yourself! (Devs, anyone else out there want to chime in? Or get on this?)
Working with LEDs is a new skill, so Friends of Vezér are playing with the possibilities in a new workshop series. Behold the results – and this makes a good indication of what you can do.
The V from Reka Harsanyi on Vimeo.
More details and demo videos, plus a full changelog, on the official site:
VEZÉR 1.3 RELEASED – LIGHTS ON!
“Interactive architecture” has long been a phrase, a future echo – something coming – but it’s been tough to say what it would look like when it arrived. In the collaboration of Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin this month, we see one form it might take.
Koblin and Echelman joined forces to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the TED Conference in Vancouver, in a massive 300-foot literal web (and Web) hung high above the water. Koblin is the well-known digital artist, now at Google, but the material of the work is rooted partly in old-world technique. Echelman – here sponsored by Autodesk – uses West Coast net-making knowledge to produce her sculptures in textiles – some 860,000 hand and machine-made knots and 145 miles of braided fiber, the studio says.
Koblin’s contribution is in setting that textile canvas into motion, via light painting in kinetic projections made by onlookers with mobile phones. As their fingers trace brightly-colored pathways across the surface, there’s a resonance with his landmark visualization “Flight Patterns.” There, the pathways of unknown aircraft was anonymous, faceless – images of planes flying through the night with perhaps tragic associations this month.
“Unnumbered Sparks” is itself a reference to anonymity, even in public participation. But the ephemeral performances of visitors in light is anything but faceless. People are simply delighted by their ability to make splashes of color from their pocket phones, as if someone has just given them a building-sized paintbrush or let them design a fireworks show. And this is the presumed magic of interactive architecture: the visuals themselves not only disrupt the monotony of the everyday, but involve the public in large-scale re-imaginings of that environment.
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Sounds and images need not be synthesized from fancy gear. The snap of a bra strap or the rustling sound of silk can become musical materials.
That’s exactly what happens in Faces of N., an EP and series of music videos made from the sounds of clothing, micro-edited into visual/sonic sequences. The project is the work of Gabriel Shalom, an interdisciplinary artist whose work often treads across media, and who has fused visual and sonic content before, treating each as a single material to be manipulated.
The first video is out this week, with five more to follow – one for each separate outfit, accompanied by separate tracks. And somehow, all of this fits into his theory of hypercubism, melding perspectives in cinema – see our previous write-up on his aesthetic theories there. But for now, it’s fun just to watch and take it in. We’ll have to see how this is spun into a complete album over the coming weeks.
Let’s look: Continue reading »
Okay, After Effects fans –
Yo Dawg, I hear you like Syphon, so I put Syphon in Your After Effects. Or something to that effect.
Say what? Well, Syphon, for those of you who have, um, never read this site, is a technology for connecting textures between apps on the Mac. And that includes tools like the wildly-popular MadMapper. There’s not only one use case for having a Syphon plug-in in After Effects, but one clear use case would be making adjustments to an animation in After Effects, live, while you test projection mapping (or other display mappings) in MadMapper.
It’s labeled an “experiment,” but the implementation looks very cool. A free trial is available; US$20 payment unlocks more resolutions if you like it.
Time to launch the Superior Danish Engineering hashtag.
Light Installations Show Reel 2013-2014 from Licht.Pfad Studio on Vimeo.
Seeing the future of light in performance, installation, and clubs doesn’t necessarily mean waiting around for some fantastic, new kind of lighting instrument. That requires big manufacturers making mass-market products, and their priorities don’t always align with artists.
Instead, what we’re seeing is often traditional lighting technologies, choreographed in spectacular new ways. With elaborate computer control, the lights themselves form architectural patterns, dance, and come alive.
Licht.Pfad have actually been behind a number of projects covered on this site. Using the visual development tool TouchDesigner, they’ve built their own tool for shows and installations, transforming lighting into responsive architectures that sometimes almost seems to breathe.
You can get a feel for what expressive range that can have in their show reel. Below, they walk us through their different projects.
And yes, this is yet another studio that has set up shop in Berlin. I think the implication is clear: even though the clients are now increasingly global, artists combining tech and expression are keen to find a location close to collaborators. The development process is in the backyard, even if the venue is often elsewhere (you’ll notice the clients are around “Europe” in a broad sense, but not Berlin).
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This shouldn’t work.
A video full of lasers, mountain ranges inexplicably floating through space, and endless shots of cats should seem a cloying, annoying play for eyeballs.
And yet …
Can’t … take my eyes … away … somehow. (And I’m a dog person, darnit.)
Thank Immo König. The solo director / motion graphics house did the visual production to the hypnotically-chilled rhythms of Phon.o in a matchup for the label 50 Weapons. König’s one-man band approach shows in a creation that’s inventive, but also tightly directed and paced. And he’s been doing this a while, in case you hadn’t guessed, a veteran compositor and effects and motion artist. (Listed on his site, only “Autodesk Flame, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Nuke (Basic).” Okay, then. Guessing we’re getting all After Effects here.)
With dark, warm synths quivering against the lone beat and vocal loop, all the motion silliness seems dreamy, not camp, the afternoon reverie of a child instead of the mad ramblings of the Interwebs.
But a lot of this is the lovely music, including Kit Clayton – you’ll know him as a key figure behind Jitter (of Max/MSP Jitter). Yes, those are even his spectacles on the nose of a cat in the old Jitter image.
From the EP “Cracking Space Pt. 1″
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Anyway, if you don’t like it, blame this entire post on some cat mind control tri–
Hey! What did happen there?!
Download the track from XLR8R.