All the world is a stage…and a canvas
The merging of computers, digital art, animation, projection, music and interaction has opened a world of possibilities and careers for budding creative artists. The software programs come from all over the world, Smode from France, VVVV from Germany and TouchDesigner from Canada.
My optimism for these game-changing mash-ups notwithstanding, in this case the allure of the “next thing” is justified.
To make the next thing special, and of lasting value, it has to succeed and provide unimagined benefits, like the democratization of knowledge with the creation of the printing press and in our age, the instantaneous world-wide communication made possible by the creation of the internet.
Smode, VVVV and TouchDesigner, through the awesome combination of maximum capability and minimal cost, open new worlds of possibilities for artists to create media that exist and interact with the environment, breaking free from the confines of a canvas or a screen. In this case the greatest revolution just might be the explosion of possibilities you and your students discover.
Smode Studio is the free edition of Smode. It is fully functional and has most of the features of Smode Station, minus the commercial license. Find extra resources from Smode on their website, Facebook, and Youtube.
For visual artists, VJs, performers, motion and content designers, Smode enables the assembly of dozens of graphical elements easily into powerful live visuals, defined as compositions mixing 2D, 3D and generative techniques. Those live visuals can be controlled through Audio, MIDI(Musical Instrument Digital Interface)and OSC (Open Sound Control) and displayed in HD either directly out or through a 3rd party application using Spout.
Created with Smode
VVVV is a hybrid visual/textual live-programming environment for easy prototyping and development. It is designed to facilitate the handling of large media environments and physical surfaces, real-time motion graphics, audio and video that can interact with many users simultaneously.VVVV is free for evaluation and non-commercial use. Find resources and tutorials on their website, blog, Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube.
Created with VVVV
TouchDesigner is a visual development platform that equips you with the tools you need to create stunning real-time projects and rich user experiences. Whether you’re creating interactive media systems, architectural projections, live music visuals, or simply rapid-prototyping your latest creative impulse, TouchDesigner is the platform that can do it all.
Created with TouchDesigner
Benefit: The learning never needs to stop. Being free, the students can download the program for use at home.
OK, I admit these tools and the creative capacity they create could be overwhelming. There is an intermediate step before you and your students tackle Smode, VVVV and TouchDesigner and still want to experience the magic of projected interactivity.
Try Phillipe Dubost’s, who happens to be a TouchDesigner master, totally cool interactive magic keyboard. All that is needed is a computer with a web connection, a keyboard, and a projector.
Here is Connecticut Public’s installation in the Learning Lab being used by our HR Director Sonja Pasquantonio.
I hope this article revealed some next steps for you and our students. Tell me what you experience and as always, look to CT Public Learning for impactful ideas and new best practices.