Image: Licht Pfad.

TouchDesigner 099 does everything with live visuals – now on Mac, too

It makes things look prettier, with something called “physically based rendering.” It has crazy compositing and capture powers. It’s networked with Web support, talks to DMX gear, and intelligently handles all your MIDI gadgets and capture cards and everything else. It handles VR with HTC Vive. And that’s just a few examples of what is new or improved in version 099. TouchDesigner is a name you’ll see coming up regularly mentioned in projects. It’s an all-encompassing visual development environment, using a patching (or “dataflow”) metaphor, like Pd, Max/MSP/Jitter, vvvv, and others. That interface is one of the best looking zoomable …

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Witness the stunning immersive lasers for a canceled Moscow festival

Russia has a rich history of transmedia work, from the classical to the electronic. And a new generation are building on that legacy, one of the best being St. Petersburg’s Tundra collective. Assembling a team of multimedia artists, Tundra have specialized in visceral combinations of light and sound, especially focused on beams of color arrayed in space. Even conventional theatrical lighting instruments can take on new meaning in immersive, spatial compositions. Their 2016 masterpiece, though, didn’t get a chance to be seen by the public. Slated for Outline Festival in Moscow in July, the work was thwarted when authorities unexpectedly …

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Andrew Quinn / Nikolay Popov AV performance.

How one community was mapping the future of visuals this summer

There’s a shift on in the worldwide community of visualists, of the growing field of people using electronic visuals as a medium for performance, art, and inquiry. As these media become more mature and more international, there’s a renewed sense of closeness among practitioners. While big media festivals focus on novelty and show, these maker-to-maker events emphasize something else: craft. This summer seemed a particularly historic moment for not one but two tools – each of them built by small teams who make art themselves. We already covered the Berlin gathering for Isadora, the visual performance tool that has rich …

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Watch a breathtaking fusion of laser light and sound in the Deep Web

In the audiovisual field, it’s hard to top the virtuosic collaboration of Christopher Bauder and Robert Henke. Robert Henke, known to many as Monolake, has himself taken on lasers as visual instrument alongside his signature electronic sounds (controlled in Ableton Live, the software he co-founded). But pair him with long-time collaborator Christopher Bauder (of WHITEvoid), and you have an epic duo.

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Push Pixels Harder: Open Hap Video Codec Now on Windows and Mac

So, you’ve got a laptop and you want to play multiple video streams. And maybe it’s not a super-fast laptop – maybe it’s just a kind-of normal laptop that you’ve upgraded to an SSD. Or, wait — you’ve actually just gotten the dream job media art gig you always wanted. And they’ve assembled 52 projectors in the budget, and want 26 layers of video. And you need to deliver that efficiently. And they didn’t budget for some high-end media server. Either way, Hap is for you. It’s an open-source, GPU-accelerated video codec. The idea: go easy on your CPU by …

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The Dazzling, Futuristic Lighting of Licht.Pfad, Transforming Clubs and Beyond

Light Installations Show Reel 2013-2014 from Licht.Pfad Studio on Vimeo. Seeing the future of light in performance, installation, and clubs doesn’t necessarily mean waiting around for some fantastic, new kind of lighting instrument. That requires big manufacturers making mass-market products, and their priorities don’t always align with artists. Instead, what we’re seeing is often traditional lighting technologies, choreographed in spectacular new ways. With elaborate computer control, the lights themselves form architectural patterns, dance, and come alive. Licht.Pfad have actually been behind a number of projects covered on this site. Using the visual development tool TouchDesigner, they’ve built their own tool …

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GRID: Kinetic Lighting, in Massive Array, Form Audiovisual Masterpiece [Bauder + Henke]

GRID – teaser from TETRO on Vimeo. Christopher Bauder (White Void) has built a rich body of work developing the medium of kinetic lighting, sending aloft lit orbs and balloons, in dazzling arrays of moving objects. And some of the best collaborations have been with master electronic composer Robert Henke, not only synchronizing sound but aligning process and pattern in each. GRID, the latest Bauder/Henke work, takes the scale of these investigation to a new peak. Some 150 light bars, each of them a custom-built LED fixture, are hung in a triangular grid and are suspended by motorized winches. Using …

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Jumpgate Chic: THE VOID Absorbs Viewers Into Stunning Panoramic Projections

THE VOID (audiovisual installation) from TUNDRA on Vimeo. This probably isn’t an installation you’ll enjoy if you’re easily disoriented. In dazzling 360-degree surround, a group of Russian artists create an abstract wonderland that seems to suck the viewer into an abstract-patterned, yawning chasm of space. Built by TUNDRA of St. Petersburg, powered by TouchDesigner, it’s projection candy for all the senses. French-language writeup, on Fubiz Full project description in English and Russian:

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Not Just Mapping, Reshaping: VVOX on Projection for Personalizing Architecture, Space

dd:OUTPOST _ Personalized Environment from volvoxlabs on Vimeo. Light on its own can be a powerful medium for transforming a space. When that light is formed into an image, the customization is as fluid as pixels on a display. So, there’s a reason we hear terms like “responsive architecture” or even “interactive architecture.” We may see environments become as changing as the computer before our eyes. The question is, how, exactly? VolvoxLabs, a Brooklyn-based design house specializing in visual effects and projection design, showed one vision of how this might work, for Digital Dumbo (in partnership with Bing). The ingredients, …

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Box: Robotically-Manipulated Rectangles Become Projection-Mapped 3D Illusions

Big robots, subtle effects. That’s the result in “Box,” a mesmerizing set of etudes on three-dimensional projection-mapped illusions. Spun and levitated on two robots – the type you’d normally see in auto manufacturing and the like – rectangular projection surfaces transform into three-dimensional spaces for a wide range of effects. Each basic element of technique here is familiar, but as we reach an apex of neo-baroque digital experimentation, those techniques fuse into magical illusions, each more dazzling than the last. It’s filmmaking, but everything is captured in-camera. (It should still be reasonably impressive in person, though the parallax effects require …

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