Notch is a wonder – another example of how real-time visuals continue to advance to the point of being as expressive as instruments. And the latest update makes it more capable, from input to keying to streaming.

The version number is boring – 0.9.23. (Yeah, really “point 23” is the release.) But as with other updates in this category, like TouchDesigner and vvvv, those little point releases deliver studios full of capabilities.

Wait, what’s Notch? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:

Notch, endlessly parameterized visual tool, explained and reviewed for mere mortals


There’s a GPU-powered chrome keying tool. (That’s what puts that face inside that airplane cockpit.) This is not the lo-fi, broken thing you’ve been watching in fake backgrounds in Zoom (not that I don’t enjoy watching my hair wobble like it’s being sucked into a wormhole). In fact, Notch’s new keyer can handle things like high-detail hair, transparency, liquids, and other complexities Notch scenes might have.


There’s streaming, which works not only via RTMP (for Twitch, etc.), but also on Windows to DirectShow apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts.

Translation: you can make Notch environments for business clients, sell it to them, then use the money to do whatever the hell you want as an artist. (I’ve often noted that business model lends itself to creative expression!)

Here’s RMTP, which is what Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch use:

But here’s how to use the viewport for business streaming:

Interact, ray trace, more

There’s also a ton of new interactive stuff, from 2D LiDAR scanners to updated SDK support for Kinect Azure. Ray tracing is improved. There’s a lot more.

Bottom line: there’s no reason we have to limit ourselves to boring webcam shots, whether in Notch or other leading tools. And that’s definitely a relief – not only for the COVID era, but looking beyond it.

It’s the summer of COVID more than summer of love, yes, but – all the more reason to use that time to learn live visuals.

Notch’s makers say .24 is right around the corner with more, so stay tuned.