Luz is a promising, surprisingly-powerful tool with a clean UI that lets you connect a huge range of inputs and generate visuals. It’s fully free and open source on Linux – possibly reason to try a Linux dual-boot for experimentation, even if you’re not a regular user. And now, a new release adds DMX support.

Working with actors and dynamic parameters, it looks extraordinarily easy to create quick visual effects. And it’s especially nice to see a tool that focuses on generative modules rather than emphasizing video.

For input, connect MIDI (notes and controls), gamepads, joysticks, Wii remotes, Wacom tablets, or any OpenSoundControl input, or set up Luz to react to audio signal (via adjustable spectrum). For output, you can produce simple geometries, images, GIFs, type, paint, and effects. For abstract work, it looks really stellar (and even gives me some ideas for how to reconfigure some of my Processing sketches).

DMX is a major new addition. Using those same inputs, you can now output DMX control to lighting and other gear. The same elegant approach to parameters applies to DMX, too, as in this screenshot from the blog post on DMX (linked below):

There really aren’t a whole lot of choices with this range of features for money, let alone one that’s free without any coding. The project encourages donations, including at the absurdly-cheap rate of a dollar a month.

Hold my calls, clear my schedule, so I can go play with this?

Here’s a rough example of playing with using the projector together with DMX lighting:

More on the DMX addition:
Luz gets DMX lighting control [GNOME Coder]

And tutorials and more on the official project page:

Thanks to Ian from GNOME Coder for the tip!

  • deb

    whoa. what? wow!

  • Oh wow, I've been doing things sorta like this with a bunch of short black and white video clips multiplied over a MIDI-controlled full-frame single-color Quartz patch in VDMX (phew) but this looks so much more flexible and fun. Holding my breath for an OS X port!

  • bilderbuchi

    they should team up/integrate with other linux vj software, like e.g. vsxu 🙂

  • This looks awesome!

    And bilderbuchi, thanks for that link, been looking for some linux vj software other than VeeJay

  • This looks absolutely fantastic! I've been trying to move more and more of my workflow to Linux, and this is exactly what I am looking for! 

  • just wasted most of day on stupid ubuntu trying to get nvidia drivers to go above 640×480, turns out you need a computer science degree to get this to happen (actually, I even HAVE a computer science degree, maybe I can't get it to work because I only got a 2:2?)

    Just so I can get this to work, because it looks great. I now hate ubuntu. Any other versions of linux you'd recommend to use with this?

  • Peter Kirn

    @Michael: Tried running Windows without drivers?

    I'd recommend doing this:
    Install the proprietary NVIDIA drivers from hardware settings. Let Ubuntu do the installation – it sounds like maybe what you did was to try to manually install the binaries from NVIDIA's site, which is a more involved process.

    It shouldn't be difficult at all. It's generally a one-step process – install, reboot. I use NV drivers on my system all the time. But you do need to allow Ubuntu to install the drivers for you.

    If it's not using the right display resolution, launch the NVIDIA control panel that was just installed with those drivers and it should see the setting.

    Any other details about your setup? Output, specific GPU model?

    It really isn't hard; it should take about 5 minutes. That tells me that you may be doing things in some other way, like manually installing rather than allowing it to do it the automatic / easier way.

  • Thanks for your reply. Sadly that's what I did in the first place. I'm using an 8600 gt with a lacie electron blue 22" CRT. Seems the drivers are very conservative at detecting monitor resolutions (seemingly a very common problem – there are lots of hits on google for it) so you have to go in and edit some config text file,

    e.g….many variations on this post…

    and the first time I tried doing one of those solutions it completely broke the OS and I had to reinstall from scratch.

    This appears to be a more definitive list of how to fix it. Now come on…all this just to change your screen res??

    I think I'd rather destroy the cursed thing forever, thanks.

    Meanwhile ubuntu broke my win7 boot loader so I can't boot onto that right now either. Meaning yet more time wasted messing about fixing that etc. Lucky it's a spare machine.

    As first impressions of OSes go, it doesn't get much worse than this. At least windows 7 generally "just works" these days. (heh…*ducks* 🙂

  • Jose Fotografia is an excellent free tool to create motion graphics. You can upload your videos to youtube