PlayBox and PlayLive: Multitouch Control of Ableton Live and Beyond

As computer music practice – part composition, part instrumental play – spreads, the idea of software interface as performance tool is becoming second nature. Putting those opposable thumbs and sensitive fingertips to work, multitouch controllers are growing in number, variety, and sophistication. Berlin-based artist Marco Kuhn shows off his beautiful creation, the PlayBox multitouch hardware, and its first app, PlayLive. That first software focuses on Ableton Live performance, but Live could be just the beginning – Marco has worked with Pd in the past and promises other apps to come. He’s interested in selling this device in the future, and …

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Eigenharp Details: MIDI, High-Res Protocol, and Open Source Plans for the Space Bassoon

The Pico model may lack the impressive array of keys on the flagship Alpha, but when it ships next month it’ll cost well under a grand. And even the Pico promises high-resolution touch, velocity-sensitive keys that you can “bend” as well as press, and high-resolution breath input. The “space bassoon” Eigenharp seems to have landed from another planet. Today, I’ve got good news: it’s bringing alien gifts with it. By next year, both the software and the high-performance protocol the instrument uses will be open source. Taken together with other advancements in the open source community and with protocols like …

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Free Pyppet for Blender Maturing Fast; Animate 3D Characters, Video, Use Wiimote

Blender, the insanely-powerful free 3D modeling software (and compositing software, and animation software, and game engine) is finally coming of age. And with it, so, too, are some of its plug-ins. Witness the sophistication of Pyppet, a “digital puppetry” plug-in for Blender. It allows you to take 3D models you’ve created and “perform” them in real-time using a variety of inputs, including the lowly mouse, gamepads, microphone audio input, and even the Nintendo Wii remote. In case you’re not a talented 3D character modeler (cough, okay, as I certainly am not), you’ll be especially interested as visualists in the addition …

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Stop Motion as Performance? Toon Loop, Free Realtime Tool; Plus a Modern Milkmaid

ToonLoop Remix from Society for Arts and Technology on Vimeo. Yes, you read that right: realtime stop motion. While stop motion is, by definition, associated with a painstaking process of creating animation frame by frame, a free and open source tool takes a different approach. ToonLoop provides the usual stop motion tools for creating loops, but takes a live performance approach to the recording and playback process, so you can turn your stop motion into a performance. The creator brought up the tool Saturday at the Open Video Conference in New York and got just the reaction you’d expect – …

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Multitouch Evolution: Free PyMT Framework, in Action

Puddle of Life – Darwin Exhibit from Tiago Serra on Vimeo. Here’s a really elegantly-designed multi-touch table. It uses two really key pieces of open source technology: the Community Core Vision (“CCV”) tracker, formerly known as tbeta, and a lovely framework for coding visuals called PyMT. PyMT, as the name implies, is a Python-based framework. I’ve gotten to know Nathanaël Lécaudé, a talented artist and coder who was nice enough to put me up a couple of nights while I was in Montreal; he’s one of several core coders. They’re doing a lot to really encapsulate functionality in widgets in …

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Blender Game Engine Developing Fast; Nokia Control

Blender, the free and open source 3D modeling tool that’s also a real-time game engine, promises real-time visual performance possibilities, and is even a video editing tool, continues its march toward the long-promised, insanely powerful 2.5 milestone. (“Point five” doesn’t really begin to cover it.) 2.49 is now stable. And boy does it have a heck of a lot going on. There’s nodal texture editing, multiple streams of video playback in the Game Engine (making this especially appealing to visualists), 3D painting, real-time dome rendering in case you’ve got a planetarium gig, faster Game Engine performance, Bullet physics improvements for …

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Field: Digital Movement and Visual Expression, a Rich Open Source, Code + Visual Framework

What if one environment blended the code goodness of Processing with visual programming metaphors and patches, creating a single world for high definition video and OpenGL-powered 3D, with friendly-looking HyperCard-style inspectors, live coding, extensible graphical elements everywhere, an open-ended canvas, drawing with splines and images… In other words, what if you could make anything, more easily? That’s the vision of Field, a new authoring environment built on Java and Jython (Python on the Java VM). It’s Mac-only, with other platforms possible in the future (the underlying libraries are largely cross-platform, and apparently there’s the beginnings of a Windows build somewhere). …

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TUIO Multitouch for iPhone: Browser App Hack Replaces Rejected App

MSAFluid for processing (Controlled by iPhone) from Memo Akten on Vimeo. TUIO is a simple but powerful emerging protocol for multitouch control for live music and visuals, as used on the powerful live tangible synth reacTable. Apparently no one told Apple, however. While the App Store rubber-stamps useless toys like fake cigarette lighter flames, they bizarrely rejected a powerful application by a leading digital artist that would enable standardized TUIO control – for free. (More back story below; see an example in action above.) As a blogger, my reaction is usually to whine and pontificate, for better or worse. The …

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TUIO Multitouch Control on the iPhone: Now Via a Browser Hack, Since the App Was Rejected

MSAFluid for processing (Controlled by iPhone) from Memo Akten on Vimeo. We can continue to ponder how to convince Apple to let Memo’s simple but powerful-looking MSA Remote multitouch app on the App Store. But in the meantime, a resourceful developer has tried simply writing a quick app for the Safari browser. This is doubly promising to me. I love full-blown apps, and they typically allow access to some of the powerful sensor and location features of mobile devices. But that’s not to say browser apps won’t also have a place for quick prototyping, live performance, and installation. WebKit browsers …

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