We saw eMotion last year — it’s a Mac OS-based 3D tool for particles and visual effects, with physics modeling, Wacom tablet control, input from sensors and OpenSoundControl, a text engine, and integrated Quartz Composer support. In other words: it’s a friendly tool for making pretty motion imagery, designed to be usable by performers.
Creator Adrien Mondot has new videos up and a beta available for download. (An Intel Mac running Leopard is required.)
More videos, including screencasts on features like forces and Quartz Composer:
Details on the software and a download link:
The description is a bit hyperbolic ("a new way to define movement"?) given that a lot of this is indebted to 1970s "augmented reality" research by Myron Krueger and physics simulations by, well, a lot of people. (Particle systems were specifically invented by Bill Reeves of Pixar in the early 80s. Ahem — Khaaaaaaaaaan!) I don’t think that takes away from the coolness of this — on the contrary, I think acknowledging historical lineage helps demonstrate why the new, accessible, personal rendition of that is valuable. But there is a lot here that’s done very well. It’ll be fantastic to watch it develop.
Likewise, it’s interesting to see these tools (and vvvv, also mentioned today) working with proprietary, platform-specific technologies. There are certainly some advantages to hooking into the Mac’s Core Image and other app development tools (see Quartz Composer, VDMX, etc.), or Windows’ DirectX (as with vvvv). I think the challenge for people interested in open, cross-platform development is to make things just as usable and visually consistent with OpenGL and cross-platform APIs.