Electronic musicians have known for some time that the ability to get hands-on control can make something feel live – and alive. It’s just as true for real-time control of animation. At last, animation is getting that real-time, performative feel in the newest generation of software.

For fans of the 3D tool Cinema4D, that makes the arrival of OSC big news. (OSC stands for Open Sound Control, though here, that’s a misnomer – sound doesn’t need to be involved.) With the Camera GripTools OSC XTension now available, you can open up this production powerhouse to input from iOS and Android touch apps, monome hardware, other applications (visual and musical), sensors, or really anything else you can find that supports OSC. (The vendor also makes HID and joystick add-ons.)

I could talk about what this means, but it’s best to see it in action: have a look at the demo video above, and setup how-to below. It’s especially nice seeing the possibilities of OSC Physics or the audiovisual experience of the lovely Musix, two nice iPad apps.

Provided you have a copy of Cinema4D, you can also try it out yourself, free. The demo version still supports a couple of OSC buttons and three axes. If you’ll like it, you’ll want the full version with lots of controls and keyframe recording. That’s US$199, Mac only. (There are MIDI, HID, and joystick add-ons, too, for less – and with Windows support – which also look like fun.)

All the details:

And for more on OSC – with lots of other applications, many of them free:

Updated: on a budget? Creator Jan van Akker notes:
“The free OSC demo Xtension can even be used running on a free demo C4D version (no recording, no saving etc). And… we have an educational discount of 50%.”