My final project for my independent studies course in Jitter was to revisit a dance piece called “Hello World” that my wife, choreographer Jacque Bell, and I created back in October of 2012 for Repertory Dance Theatre here in Salt Lake City, Utah. (You can see an entry with still image and links to reviews here or another with a video of the performance here.) My major goal for this project was to explore the possibilities of Max/MSP/Jitter (with an emphasis on the latter…) for use in future dance and technology pieces, especially Dance Loops, the major project that Jacque, Nichole Ortega, and I are working on for this year and next.
I did two major things for this Jitter project:
Worked with several different visual effects within Jitter (as facilitated by the Vizzie modules); and
Experimented with using a hardware controller – a Korg nanoKONTROL2, in this case – to manipulate video in real time.
Overall, it was a lot of fun and I think there’s a lot of potential there. I’ll spend the next several months learning ways to work out the kinks in the patch, as not everything worked reliably, and learning how to use other hardware, such as my Kinects, Novation Launchpads, Akai APC40 and 20, KMI Softstep and QuNeo, as well as the projectors, etc. (That’s the nice thing about grant money – you can get some excellent gear!)
The major lesson is that it is much, much, much easier to do a lot of this in Max/MSP/Jitter than it is in Processing, which is what I have been using for the last two or three years. The programming is easier, the performance seems to be much smoother, and the hardware integration is way, way easier. (I find it curious, though, that there are hardly any books written about Max/MSP/Jitter, while there are at least a dozen fabulous books about Processing. Go figure.)
I’ve included a few still shots at the top of this post and a rather lengthy walk-through of the patch (where not much seems to be working right at the moment…) below.
In the spirit of the 20Objects lessons that I mentioned in the last post, Cycling ’74 also created (well, partially, in any case) a second series of tutorials called “20Concepts.” Perhaps the most important difference, aside from the fact that they’re not actually finished, is that they start not with the simplest object in the Max/MSP/Jitter universe – the button – but, instead, they start with one of the most complex – the Vizzie modules for video manipulations. Actually, I think it makes great sense, as it’s much more engaging to start with the big pictures. And, besides, the Vizzie modules are fun!
Here’s the complete list of (intended) tutorials in the 20Concepts curriculum:
20Concepts Curriculum Overview (Done)
01: Vizzie Part 1 (Done)
02: Vizzie Part 2 (Done)
03: Messages Part 1 (Done)
04: Messages Part 2 (Nonexistent)
07: More About Numbers
10: Presets and The Pattr Object
11: Audio Generation
12: Audio Filtering
13: Audio Levels
14: Audio FX
15: Jitter Input
16: Jitter FX
17: Jitter Compositing
18: OpenGL Part 1
19: OpenGL Part 2
20: Max Output
As with the 20Objects tutorials, these look like they might be short but, when you actually do all of the exercises, they are veeeery time-consuming. So far, I’ve only gotten through the first three, but they have been very, very helpful so far. I look forward to the rest!
Here are video walkthroughs of the lessons that I’ve done so far.
Cycling ’74 20Concepts, Lesson 00, 20Concepts Curriculum Overview; Lesson 01: Vizzie Part 1; Lesson 02: Vizzie Part 2, and Lesson 03: Messages Part 1 (13 exercises)
Lesson 04: Messages Part 2 is empty on the web page
Well, I’ve finished VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music but, in the true academic fashion, it served mostly to let me know how much I don’t know. (And that’s a compliment, VJ!) And so I’ve decided to start working on the tutorials that Cycling ’74, the creators of Max/MSP/Jitter, have on their own website. I’m a linear kind of guy and I like to start at the very beginning, so I took at look at their “Quickstart” page on the fabulous Vizzie objects. Here’s my first take at what they offer.
Chapter 10 “Working with Time” of VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music is a busy one and a lot of fun. The most important parts for me were that we learned how to create user-controlled loops (of MIDI files, not audio) and how to create a simple step sequencer. Now I realize that it’s probably much easier to do both of these in Ableton Live (which my grant at Utah Valley University got for me) and other, more specialized programs, but it gets to the heart of the things I want to do with Max/MSP/Jitter. (Well, some of the things, in any case.) But it gets much closer to the music making part that I’m interested in.
By the way, it occurs to me that it would be great if the fine people at Cycling ’74 (you know, the people who gave us Max/MSP/Jitter) could take the example of their Vizzie modules, which are preassembled, easy to use subpatches for working with video, and did a similar things for MIDI and/or audio files. I’m just sayin’….
Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 10: Working with Time (18 exercises)