Patchblocks: Modular Synth Units, Programmed Visually [Sounds, Gallery]

Patchblocks’ creator says he wanted this hardware sound construction set to be like a combination of Max, Arduino, Moog, and LEGO. And in a novel, crowd-funded project, you get a set of units that seem very much like that. “Modular” is the angle, like a variety of hardware we’ve seen lately. And the Patchblocks satisfyingly snap together via puzzle piece-shaped interlocks in acrylic. But perhaps the real story here is that each of these “blocks” can be programmed to do what you want, not in code, but using a Max/Pd-style visual patching interface. With just one block, in fact, Patchblocks …

READ MORE →

Add Gestures to Visuals, Fast: Leap Motion Meets Vuo

Making interactive Leap Motion compositions with Vuo from Vuo on Vimeo. Leap Motion has been touting the possibilities of making things happen with the wave of a hand. But that gesture only becomes meaningful when something happens. Imagine if that “something” could be anything you wanted. For that, you need an open-ended interactive environment. Enter Vuo, the live interactive multimedia composition tool that last month hit beta. Among the functionality Vuo has been adding is native support for Leap Motion. See the video at top for what that means. Vuo isn’t the first environment to support Leap. But seeing the …

READ MORE →

TouchDesigner 088 Adds Crazy-Awesome Savvy in Mapping, Scripting, Sound and Music, More

Eye Vapor EEG Sonification 1 from Derivative on Vimeo. Smart. Even smart enough to visualize and sonify EEGs. TouchDesigner is not well-known in general circles, even after long-running availability. It’s Windows-only software for specialists. But there’s only one thing you need to know about it: it is consistently used in some of the best work artists are doing right now in multimedia. And in one go, the deceptively-named “088” is adding some massively-important stuff. Little wonder we’re hearing from a number of readers who are already excited. And there’s now a non-commercial license, too, fellow impoverished and overworked but lovable …

READ MORE →

Android Gets Patchable Audio Everything: Free Patchfield Architecture [Video, Resources]

Android audio users, developers, patchers, and musicians just got a huge gift. Patchfield is, as the name implies, a space in which you can connect synths, effects, and sound modules in an open, modular environment. It’s a free app you can use on its own, as well as a free architecture developers can use in their apps. For DIYers and developers, it’s already looking like something you’ll want to try right away. (End users may want to wait for now, but the idea remains cool.) Inside an app (as a service), Patchfield provides a set of tools developers can use …

READ MORE →

Vuo, Multi-Platform, Open Visual Programming, in Beginner Tutorial and Opinion

Vuo Quick Start — The Basics from Vuo on Vimeo. Vuo attempts to do what other visual programming environments haven’t. It aims to be easier, free and open source, omni-platform, and faster, a tool for sketching new visual ideas using patching metaphors that isn’t held back by some of the restrictions that has tended to entail. To get there – and to fund what will eventually be an open source project across desktop and mobile – it currently uses a paid model, and is in active development. From the developers of Kineme, it builds on a lot of what VJs …

READ MORE →

Fractals, Bots, Nodes, and Patternists: Onyx Ashanti’s Cyborg Music Meets the Ensemble [Guest Post]

Get ready: from one more-than-human musical cyborg, a robotic horde of beatjazz artists. Onyx Ashanti isn’t satisfied just augmenting his own body and musical expression with 3D-printed, sensor-laden prostheses. He’s extending that solo performance with bots that crawl around and gesture for feedback, then – inspired by the organic beauty of fractal geometry – is binding together performers with his system in a networked system of nodes. Just don’t call it a jam session. Call them patternists. If this sounds crazy, it is: crazy in just the way we like. But amidst this hyper-futuristic vision of performance, Onyx also writes …

READ MORE →

With Pop-Up Store, Party, and … Rectangles, vvvv Celebrates 10 Years of Visual Power [Gallery]

It’s hard to believe – especially as the software remains at the bleeding edge of what you can accomplish with a GPU – but visual programming environment vvvv is now one decade old. It’s one of a handful of tools that has powered the most eye-popping projects of those years, and so it’s little surprise that users and artists around Berlin would pack a developer-led event on Friday to celebrate its birthday. This was no ordinary party. The big reveal for vvvv users: full DirectX 11 support is coming around Christmas – stay tuned for that. (The DX11 implementation is …

READ MORE →

How-To: 3D Camera Tracking Tutorials, No Pricey Software Needed [Voodoo + vvvv, Blender]

Matching a 3D scene to video footage with a moving camera — it used to be that performing tasks like this required expensive commercial tools. Now, you can use vvvv – free for non-commercial use – and a free research project called Voodoo Camera Tracker. Or, on the open-source side of the coin (including commercial use), you can use Blender. vvvv we’ll talk about more this week, as the visual programming language just celebrated its 10th anniversary with an arty party in Berlin. Voodoo Camera Tracker is worth mentioning, too – the work of the Laboratorium für Informationstechnologie, University of …

READ MORE →
Audulus, looking quite nice on iPad. Click for the full-sized version. Courtesy the developer.

Patch Anything: Audulus Could Be Killer Modular for iPad [Exclusive Video]

Sometimes, it can be quicker and more expressive to simply patch together what you want from basic building blocks, rather than wrangle with something built for a specific purpose. And that explains the ongoing appeal of modular software environments. Audulus is an elegant, efficient modular environment on the Mac. It’s not as deep or broad as some alternatives, but it does bring a range of ideas to making these features easy to use. And now, it’s coming to the iPad. That’s significant for several reasons. First, it could be one of the nicest modulars to grace the iPad, for people …

READ MORE →

If a Computer Were a Chanting Monk: Crazy Live Sounds from Kyma + Gametrak

If a computer could throat-sing, meditating on numbers, it might sound something like this. Electro-acoustic composer Jeffrey Stolet is Professor of Music and Director of the Intermedia Music Technology at the University of Oregon, but “sonic shamanism” might apply as well. Mysterious sounds emerge from his laptop as he tugs and pulls on a controller, as if extracting sounds from within. (The hardware in question is a Gametrak game controller – a toy game device that has become an affordable 3D music input. Apparently some 300,000 units were sold by 2006, but the controller never caught on as a mainstream …

READ MORE →