CoGe 1.0 Beta 2 Teaser and interactive Quad Warp demo from luma beamerz on Vimeo.

CoGe 1.0 is now in its second public beta, bringing this modular, Quartz-Composer-based visualist app to Mac users. 1.0 introduced a new rendering pipeline, new user interface, new UI, and richer Quartz Composer support. Every single element of the visual app — the player, the effects, the mixer modules — is based on Quartz Composer. That means that you can open up any module you see onscreen, and see an accompanying, visual patch you can modify. It really makes for a complete modular experience.

In addition to some of the expected VJ-style features (play, mix, effect), CoGe therefore supports some really unique, cool flexibility and functionality by virtue of being built with the Quartz Composer framework, including:

  • Photoshop PSD layer manipulation
  • Flash playback (in Quartz Composer – really)
  • The ability to modify any portion of the signal chain
  • Modular access to parameters like bpm/beat
  • GIMP palette support (I’m actually really starting to like GIMP, the open source image tool, as it has gradually matured – yes, early versions were awful, but new versions can feel like a faster, more flexible Photoshop)
  • Roll-your-own performance setups, effects and processing (see demos using vade’s plug-ins)

You can see more in the videos on Vimeo; see lumabeamerz’ Vimeo account.

Of course, the use of Quartz Composer does mean this is also deeply tied to the Mac platform, so they’ve chosen to drop 10.5 support in favor of supporting Snow Leopard only, as of beta 2. I think this decision makes sense on QC as a platform. Because improvements are added in conjunction with OS releases, maintaining support for one OS at a time is the best match for this development tool. (Tamas can probably comment more on specifics. vade notes in comments with some – erm, rather colorful words for me – that you can achieve backwards compatibility for QC plug-ins, so this would best be described as an aid to consistent support and testing.) Then again, if you don’t like this and it’s backwards compatibility you’re looking for, I think getting into Apple’s tools is probably not a good idea; you should look to free standards like OpenGL, compatibility with Windows and Linux as well as Mac OS X, Processing, OpenFrameworks, FreeFrame/FreeFrameGL and the like, and consider truly free software. The advantage of the standards approach is greater compatibility across platforms and versions; the disadvantage is, development time can be longer, and you likely have to sacrifice some of the latest-and-greatest features (especially anything OS-specific). Clarification added after a reader comment.

At top, a video look at what’s new.

Full change differences and details, plus a link to donate if you like this, at the official site. You can also grab tons of terrific Quartz Composer-based plug-ins.

When you’re ready to get going, there are plenty of tutorials, starting with this one on workflow.

CoGe 1.0 – Tutorial 1 – A simple worklflow from luma beamerz on Vimeo.

  • "Of course, the use of Quartz Composer does mean this is also deeply tied to the Mac platform, so they’ve had to drop 10.5 support in favor of supporting Snow Leopard only, as of beta 2. "
    Tamas chose to support only 10.6. There is nothing in the API for QC or in 10.6 that forces you to be 10.6 only. 10.6 has lots of new APIs that make working on stuff like this *easier*, but Coge as an app, and QC as an API do not *need* to be on 10.6.
    Your anti-Apple rhetoric and open source bias really get in the way of facts, and tend to over-shadow the actual topic of the post. Just saying, its amazingly distracting especially when its clear to people who know that its just flatly false.
    But more importantly, Tamas is doing really great work with Coge, so this is wonderful to see him get credit and spread the word.

  • the interesting part of this story that could turn an announcement into a real article is something you just touched on, before the aforementioned clanger (yep it is distracting, and weird). if it is a modular vj app, and if every meaningful part to the user is user-modifiable using high-level non-code tools that ship with the OS it runs on, then that, there, is likely the biggest way in for content people to a roll-it-yourself world. and without that step having been taken, any free/open vs commercial/closed debate is largely moot.

  • …steps off box…
    now, i wonder in a world of hard data, what effect vdmx and coge even more overtly have had on people's inclination to not just accept the setups they obtain as-shipped.

  • Peter Kirn

    Read the clarification. I fleshed out the post. It's a modular app, so the building blocks on which it's built matter. Is the newest QC back-ported to 10.5? If you build on OpenGL generically and write in platform-portable code, then you can be independent of OS, hardware vendor (even processor architecture, potentially), etc. If you build on QC, then you are tied to that toolchain, and indeed may need to remain in sync with a specific OS cycle in order to support certain features.
    How is that not relevant?

  • Peter Kirn

    @toby*spark: can you elaborate? You mean that the first step is to get "content" people to roll their own stuff?

    I would tend to disagree that "code" isn't a good way to get people started, though. On the contrary, having taught both patching and code environments, sometimes code – depending on how it's presented – can be friendlier to newcomers than patching. Patching is great, too — I touched a Moog modular before Processing — but it's not the only route. Erm, pardon the pun.

  • Well, your original article was about 55% non factual tid-bits about 10.6 / QC and 45% Coge announcement and general setup.
    Your updated post (which is not what I had responded to in the first place by the way) is not as much of an issue. The issue I had was that the main paragraph, in my terminology, basically shat on the decision to use QC, when its just about the best of breed API/technology out there to *actually build VJ applications with* (note I am not talking about patching environments, new media one off art  installation environments, im talking, real. fucking. application. design.).
    Anyway, to the point:
    10.6 QC adds a few things that stand out: 1 – OpenCL compatibility / meshes data type – 2 a very optional api method for lazy evaluation to optimize the runtime and cpu usage. None of that is a requirement for Coge or anyone writing QC powered apps.
    If you make a composition in 10.6 QC, you can *easily* make sure it works in 10.5 QC – I do this all the time. Making a document in 10.6 QC 4.0 does not mean that it is inherently incompatible with any previous versions. In fact, QC 3, and 4.0 have a run time testing system built in to the editor and can even notify you when you use unsafe or unsupported patches that will break in an older runtime. Backwards support is built into the framework.
    Now as far as Applications are concerned, any Application written against the QC 3.0 API *automatically* can load QC 4.0 comps (say things it never had intended to use, like OpenCL/Meshes/DAE loading etc), and it will *just work* because the framework handles it. As to why Coge uses 10.6, Tamas can answer best,  I suspect ease of use and ease of development (App Kit and Cocoa have lots of 10.6 specific additions that are *really lovely* and makes a devs life easier), copatibility with lots of fun 3rd party plugins, lack of older PPC support and greater GL support for technology Coge uses that IS NOT QC driven, like EXT_FRAMEBUFFER_OBJECT aka FBO support, which not all of 10.5 PPC machines have – and all 10.6 machines do have, which Coge uses internally for render to texture phases (I know, I helped Tamas early on with some of that code).
    Your point about toolchain is valid for any programming environment ever. Breathing requires air, writing a real powerful application requires API/Toolchain decisions – its just part of the process.

  • As Vade said, the 10.6 only support was my chose, it's just because i have no time to spent on 10.5 compatibility.
    "In addition to some of the expected VJ-style features (play, mix, effect), CoGe therefore supports some really unique, cool flexibility and functionality."
    This functions not CoGe functions, "just" plugins for Quartz Composer, so this functions could be used in CoGe, as all other Quartz Composer Plugins, like vade one's 😉

  • z3x

    ouch vade, the daggers really came out there for a second… OS opinions aside, I am just glad to see Peter posting on this.  I have been a fan of CoGe from the start, and have followed luma beamerz for even longer, and can say that this application has me questioning my own habits and workflow.  I'm a seasoned VDMX user and am really hard pressed to move away from it, but as I find myself trying to tweak my presets to be more like CoGe, I am thinking of making the switch over to using it for a live show or two just to see how it goes.  Honestly, the fact that they have developed something that is so appealing to those of us who use the modular apps is exciting in itself, since this has always had the feel of being 'by the community, for the community' and visualists need a whole lot more of that going on in the scene.   For anyone who is a VDMX user/fan who hasn't played around with CoGe, I suggest you give it a try.  Like all modular apps you have to get your footing for how to work within the framework, but once you get going it's very fun to use.

  • Peter Kirn

    Anton, it was *two sentences*. I just checked the original draft to make sure I hadn't lost my mind.
    I appreciate the greater detail about QC4 vs QC3 development and testing, however. If you'd ever like to write up your experience working with this environment, of course, you're absolutely welcome.

  • If someone as level headed as Toby noticed it, I am standing by my comment 😉 It was two long, inaccurate sentences that added little and got in the way of the point, which is Coge as a viable open, modular VJ app. Anyway, this no longer an issue, the article is updated and i've made my point. Fin.
    Tamas, keep up the Coge work, its awesome stuff!

  • Thanks Vade, and thanks for your help from time to time 😉

  • Peter Kirn

    Yes, just to return to the application, I think it looks fantastic. I just intended to kick off some discussion of it – now that we've hit beta 2, I hope we can cover this more regularly. So anyone using it, working on trying your own QC creations with it or just firing it up and using it in shows, we'd love to see what you're doing – even a casual "VJ gig log" could be interesting. And while I'm not the person to do it, I hope we can cover the QC framework generally in more detail, along with some of those underlying, enabling technologies like OpenGL.

    And, anyway, at least we have an active comment thread. Watch for other improvements; I know there are some significant template issues to iron out – those are waiting on more significant changes, which is where we're spending our time.

  • Anyway, there is a built-in snapshot creation feature, if anyone create some images, please put to the CoGe Flickr group: <a href="” target=”_blank”>
    And for videos, check/put stuff to the CoGe Vimeo group: <a href="” target=”_blank”>
    I've many planned features – lots from the users – , and feature requests are very welcomed.

  • Interesting conversation going on here and its not entirely beside the point…
    Further down in my post are some results with CoGe Beta2 from yesterday night 🙂 … but first a little recap of my story because its all coming down to "how patch programming is influencing the way people think about their setups"
    I started VJ-ing some years ago with a testrun through every software that was officially available like modul8, resolume and Grid 😉 and, thankfully, SALVATION (nomen est omen in my case). Salvation is a patching environment that is especially great for VJ-ing and it changed my life … suddenly I wanted to get more behind things and learned to see programming in a great new way. With Salvation I built a mixer for live VJing that was used many times over the years.
    Then I saw the first things people put out there with QC …. I knew I had to get onto the train … if it was only for creating my own effects! The problem is there is (was) no way to take all those QC Patches and perform live with them. Except probably VDMX but after all this time when I used my own setup, I just couldn't give up the freedom and control over the performance that it brings (besides VDMX doesn't like the greater part of everything quartz I feed it, may it be using multitouch input or a camera, etc.) Add the cost of VDMX which is even with an academical discount at 180EUR and you know why I love CoGe so much:
    – the developer seems very open and has done some serious work to make this great software
    – its FAST!
    – The "simple" interface is not cluttered at all and stripped down to the absolute minimum without giving up deeper level control (patch programming)
    – its FREE!
    – I can make all kinds of experiments and delve deep into a very strange space with QC and use it all on-the-fly live
    – its rock solid 🙂 … at least for me it was yesterday night when I had it running at a Trance Party @FLEX, Vienna (best club in town IMHO and great party 300+ people). I used it continuously for 7 hours and had not a single crash, even though I was running wild and experimenting a lot with all kinds of inputs, videos and patches. You can check out a video at:
    and the links by .lov. above … thanks for all the great work guys and I mean all of you writing and commenting here … if it wasn't for, Rutt-Etra and CoGe my interest in the visual world wouldn't burn as brightly as it does

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  • I'd just like to know how to use it.  I've been messing with it all day and I can't get it to do anything but show me the frame rate.  I can load files into the media slots, load players, fxs and set keys and midi, but it does nothing. Is there any documentation other than how to install things in the forum?  I'm very interested in using this app, but I need a quick and dirty "how to get started."   Thanks.

  • I figured out what I was doing wrong.  I think it would help if it came with a simple setup ready to load and play with.

  • Could you tell me what did you doing wrong? It would help me to when creating documentation. Thanks!

  • I was not selecting the right mixer in the master.  Also, I have discovered that QT files that are not flattened do not play.  I was trying to use a bunch of movies made in an old version of Artmatic and I had to open them up in QT and Save As to flatten them.  They work now.
    This is a fantastic application.  Just what I wanted.  I have a question.    Can the patches that come with this be modified to work in GVJ too?  I ask because my setup uses 2 Intensity pro cards in one computer and I route 2 other computers into it.  This gives me lots of  layers of video on 3 computers all running at 720p and I would like to double up on some of these QC fxs.
    I tip my hat to all involved.  Keep up the good work, you will definitely be getting a $ donation form me soon.

  • I never used GVJ and don't know anything about it, but if QVJ has QC support, i think you can 'port' the patches to work with GVJ.

  • CoGeQuicklook – A QuickLook Plugin for previewing CoGe Files now available to download: <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  • All the most pertinent objections have been raised for the most part, but what is with the idea that Processing or OpenFrameworks is less subject to methods breaking? I have tons of Processing sketches that no longer work, that were developed with older versions. The fact that it is open source is in no way any advantage.
    It's not like QC can't be disassembled either…

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  • vdgagamba

    Hi, any hint hoe to get the thing running?

    Error message

    Process: CoGe [1663]
    Path: /Applications/CoGe Beta 3 V2/
    Identifier: com.lov.coge.pb3_final
    Version: ??? (???)
    Code Type: X86 (Native)
    Parent Process: launchd [143]

    Interval Since Last Report: 19919218 sec
    Crashes Since Last Report: 23
    Per-App Interval Since Last Report: 0 sec
    Per-App Crashes Since Last Report: 13

    Date/Time: 2010-08-26 07:22:32.845 +0200
    OS Version: Mac OS X 10.5.8 (9L31a)
    Report Version: 6
    Anonymous UUID: 3D1ADD16-3400-4C75-BCB6-E19E3EE201CD

    Exception Type: EXC_BREAKPOINT (SIGTRAP)
    Exception Codes: 0x0000000000000002, 0x0000000000000000
    Crashed Thread: 0

    Dyld Error Message:
    unknown required load command 0x80000022


    Model: iMac8,1, BootROM IM81.00C1.B00, 2 processors, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.4 GHz, 4 GB
    Graphics: kHW_ATIr600M74Item, ATI Radeon HD 2400, spdisplays_pcie_device, 128 MB
    Memory Module: global_name
    AirPort: spairport_wireless_card_type_airport_extreme (0x14E4, 0x8C), Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (
    Bluetooth: Version 2.1.9f10, 2 service, 1 devices, 1 incoming serial ports
    Network Service: Ethernet, Ethernet, en0
    Network Service: AirPort, AirPort, en1
    Serial ATA Device: SAMSUNG HD103UJ, 931,51 GB
    Parallel ATA Device: MATSHITADVD-R UJ-875
    USB Device: Built-in iSight, (null) mA
    USB Device: hub_device, (null) mA
    USB Device: Officejet 5600 series, (null) mA
    USB Device: Keyboard Hub, (null) mA
    USB Device: Apple Optical USB Mouse, (null) mA
    USB Device: Apple Keyboard, (null) mA
    USB Device: IR Receiver, (null) mA
    USB Device: BRCM2046 Hub, (null) mA
    USB Device: Bluetooth USB Host Controller, (null) mA

  • It's because you are in 10.5 – CoGe is 10.6 only.