After twenty years or so of music software, you’ll often find that what you need to do is creatively satisfied by what’s available in pre-built tools. But video is often another matter: even if a VJ tool does what you need some of the time, there are times when you need something that doesn’t exist (or even something simpler, to perform a specific task). You might not be ready to invest hundreds of dollars in Max/MSP/Jitter to do that, of course. Enter Pure Data, Max’s free, open-source cousin. Like Max, it lets you quickly build custom tools by visually “patching” objects on-screen — ideal for modular video tools. But unlike Max, it costs nothing, it runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux, and because of the rich Pd community and a good relationship with the Max community, it has some tricks of its own.

Beau, aka DJCypod, writes to share his excellent video tutorial on building a simple 2-way mixer in Pd. Beau, if you ever need a second career, I think you could do relaxation recordings; I felt my blood pressure dropping. Next time I have students getting nervous about Pd or patching, I’m sending them to this video. (Well, and also because it’s really easy to follow.)

Totally beginner-friendly, so newbies will get rolling fast. And as a long-time Max user, it served as a nice introduction for me, too.

Pure Data Video Mixer: YouTube, Internet Archive

You’ll also need the Pd Extended Release; see our previous story

I’ll be building some Pd software mixers this month, so I’ll be sure to report back! (Any requests, or tips from those of you who know Pd better than I do?) Now, if only I could easily integrate Processing with Pd, as you can with Max. (At least Pd does have Java support of its own.)

  • Hum, as a matter of fact, you can integrate Processing with Pd quite easily, with osc. The oscP5 library for Processing is a good way to communicate with pd.

  • I posted the the PD list a version using shaders, so you can get more than one blend mode đŸ™‚

  • @clr: Yeah, that works, but the integration everybody wants, of course, isn't just data I/O — it's the ability to put an actual Processing sketch in the same render pipeline, so you can mix Processing work with Pd patches, etc. It should be possible in Pd just as in Max, though not an easy thing, necessarily. But yes, with multiple computers, using network communication is fine (even udp, not just osc).

  • miguel

    there is something wrong with gem on my pc… When I press create I get a window that never closes, and is quite buggy. When I try to resize it like in the tutorial, it appears the same size, and with nothing on it. It's just a black, crashy window..

  • miguel

    fixed.. I added this from someother place, don't know what it does, but it makes it work.
    0, destroy

    create, 1

  • martin

    please can some one give me a link to get the Like Max software. thanks martin

  • @Peter – how is it possible to put processing in the same "render pipeline" without just making a custom object java (which, I presume, both PD and MAX could do equally well)? I've been doing max and processing stuff for a while, and by no means have I found an easy way to integrate processing save creating a separate window for processing using mxj … that is, I've never heard of someone successfully putting a processing sketch IN a max patch …

  • Well, Jesse Kriss' MaxLink did exactly that:

    …although I haven't tested it yet in Max 5. I think it should be possible to then do some graphics card trickery that lets you continue to manipulate the Processing render context, in Max, Pd, whatever…

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