eMotion – Basic particles tool example from Adrien Mondot on Vimeo.

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.)

eMotion on stage from eMotion for Animation on Vimeo.

More videos, including screencasts on features like forces and Quartz Composer:

Vimeo screencasts

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.