Isadora has a loyal following among visualists and live visual artists, thanks to the fact that it strikes a balance between modular, interactive programming and ease of use. Its killer feature: written by someone who actually does live performance, it allows you to structure your live set in a linear way with scenes. (That feature, incidentally, impressed me many years ago when I used Mark’s first app, Interactor, especially as I was learning the blank-slate Max/MSP and struggling with its lack of a usable timeline.) I’m not really an Isadora user, but I respect it nonetheless. And how it is that no other app seems to have tackled this basic issue still amazes me.

TroikaTronix has posted a series of tutorial videos if you’re interested in learning the program.

The series:

Tutorial 1 – The Basics

Covers the basics; after an introduction to the main editing window, learn how to play and view movie by adding actors to a scene and linking them together.

Tutorial 2 – Compositing Images

Builds on tutorial one by showing how you can quickly resize, reposition multiple movies on the stage. Includes tips on the most efficient ways to change values to get the results you want, and using the mouse as an interactive controller.

Tutorial 3 – Using Scenes

How to use Isadora’s "Scenes" feature to organize and structure your performance, how to transition from one scene to the next, and how to use keys on your keyboard to trigger those transitions.

Tutorial 4 – Performance: Best Practices

Important tips on getting the best performance out of Isadora.

Tutorial 5 – Using Effects

How to use video effects to manipulate images within Isadora, how to interactively manipulate those effects, and how to chain one effect into another.

Tutorial 6 – Value Scaling (Part 1) | Value Scaling (Part 2)

Fine-tuning the way values are scaled as they pass from one actor to another is the key to sophisticated control over media with Isadora, especially when creating interactive environments. These tutorial sare required viewing for those who wish to get the most out of the program.

Tutorial 7 – The Self Generating Patch

Reinforces your understanding of Value Scaling as presented in Tutorial 6 with a self-directected exercise that features two key actors: the Wave Generator and the Envelope Generator.

There’s also a new update for Isadora, which offers some interesting features, including improved integration with two other patching environments on the Mac, Quartz Composer and the also-underrated audio and multimedia tool Plogue Bidule. It’s in prerelease now, but on its way to version 1.3 for both Mac and Windows.

You can read about all the updates there, but some of the key ones are: eight serial ports instead of four, new actors to manipulate text, better Quartz Composer support, and, for those using the Core version on Macintosh, compatibility with the Plogue Bidule audio environment.

It turns out there’s nothing special about the Bidule support other than a fix for Audio Unit hosting, since Bidule (on both Mac and Windows) can run as a plug-in.

Isadora users, let us know how this works for you.

Previously featuring Isadora here:

Ableton Live + Isadora: Slicing, Syncing Audiovisual Tutorials

  • Ill have to test my plugins under isadora and make sure things work as expected 🙂

  • I just bought a license last week to work on some new installation work I'm doing, and not having a clue about any form of coding or scripting, I was quite comfortable building complex patches in it within a few hours. Def worth a look at if Max/Jitter scared the heck out of you as it did me.

  • I use Isadora since a couple of years for pretty much all of my stage performances. This software is absolutely amazing. Its very easy to get started with. Isadora allows for complex and intricate multi screen playback, show control, prompter and cueing systems to be designed and implemented in very short time. It is very stable and the price and licensing system is extremely generous. Thank you Mark!

  • Great ! i thought isador's develoment was dead.

  • VDMX vs isadora ?

    How do you think they compare ?

  • No, Isadora is very much alive. 🙂

    That's actually a tough question, as I think about it… Isadora really feels more like an open-ended modular environment; VDMX more like a semi-modular VJ environment. VDMX doesn't have anything like the scenes in Isadora, per se, but then Isadora isn't as convenient when it comes to throwing together a bunch of video files, navigating them, routing them through effects, and the like. VDMX has lots of modulation ready-to-go; you would most likely do patching in Isadora ahead of time, but VDMX is something you can use and modify onstage. Isadora is a little more agnostic about being an open multimedia platform than VDMX, however – like integrating audio.

    Hope that helps. Now I'm back to seeing what I can assemble in Processing. 😉

  • Thanx for the comparison, i tried isadora a while ago and it didnt hook , me the UI looks well , not nice, altought i know its not too important how it looks but how well it works.

    but i really love when an application has a nice UI

    anyway , i maybe give it another try.

    By the way are any of the processing tutorials coming soon ?

  • I had to build a whole live setup, synchronized to a midi sequencer, and I was able to finish it in 3 weeks, on schedule. It is really powerful and clear.
    I organize my pieces with scenes, and this adds variety, as you can fade into a completely different patch.
    It's a really good option to build complex stage visuals.

  • My three branches are VJing, video installations, and creating visual instuments. Isadora was my first love, but I moved to VDMX for Quartz Composer (mostly for vade's screen capture) and low interface learning curve. When I first got into VDMX, I was hoping the Presets would perform just like Isadora's Scenes.

    I still use both, but I lean towards VDMX for VJing and Isadora for video installations/instruments.

  • How does isadora compare with vvvv? I've been using vvvv for live theatre shows, doing multiscreen video and running the dmx lighting off as well. It does have a timeline and it's amazing for its flexibility but there are all kinds of quirks…