Creating a Vizzie Effects Module

Ever thought about making your own Vizzie modules? With Max 5.1.8, you get the Vizzie Kit and below you will find detailed instructions on how to use it, including how to make existing patches into a Vizzie effects module.

The response to the appearance of Vizzie has been really exciting and rewarding – people all over the place are finding it to be a quick way to start working with Max, and more seasoned users have found it a useful source of “quick-start” modules they can plug into their regular workflow. We’ve even had the occasional tale of live performances rescued after some horrible patching disaster by a judiciously linked set of Vizzie modules, as well. (Don’t worry. Our lips are sealed – you know who you are….)

Download the incremental update in addition to Max 5.1.8.

Several users have asked about how to go about creating their own modules. Since there are people out there who aren’t necessarily “power users” who’ve expressed an interest in module creation, we’ve tried to make these tasks simpler for you by creating the Vizzie-Kit – a collection of Max patches intended to simplify the process of creating your own Vizzie modules.

The Vizzie-Kit consists templates for Vizzie effects, generator, and controller patches that contain commented examples of nearly everything you’ll normally need to do when creating a new module. In addition, the patches also contain user interface objects pre-colored to match the Vizzie color scheme that you can use when creating your module’s front panel. You can find the folder (VIZZIE-KIT) that contains the Vizzie-Kit template files in the VIZZIE-EXAMPLES folder, located in the max-examples folder in your Max application folder.

For this tutorial, I’m going to take a Jitter patch and using it as the basis of a Vizzie module. The patch you use doesn’t have to be anything particularly complicated – in fact, the source for the module I’m going to make in this tutorial is a Jitter help file. Jitter help files provide a good starting point because they’re clearly labeled and they also show the basic messages that the object uses. While I could probably choose one of any number of Jitter externals and make Vizzie effects modules from their help files, I’m going to create something I’d like to have – a color mapping effects module. When it comes to creating interesting color mappings in Jitter, nothing beats the jit.charmap object.

The jit.charmap object lets you replace the standard linear mappings used for the colors in a frame of video with a different set of values in the same 0-255 data range. You can replace the linear map with a list of random values, or different kinds of mapping functions to create interesting effects.

The helpfile for the jit.charmap object shows how this looks in action.

You might want to take just a minute to fire up Max, open the jit.charmap helpfile and play with it a little. Draw your own curves, and experiment with different mapping functions using the umenu object in the upper right-hand part of the patch.

This tutorial will use the Vizzie-Kit’s effects template patch (effects-example-patch.maxpat) as the basis for our module. Before we open up the template patch, let’s take a look at the Max help file patch we want to use as the basis of our module.

Note: Instead of providing a downloadable file from which to begin when constructing a Vizzie module, this tutorial uses a file you already have – the jit.charmap helpfile – as a starting point. If you’d like, you can download a zip file containing a finished and fully functional version of the device described in this tutorial .

To follow along in this tutorial, open the helpfile for the jit.charmap object, unlock the patcher file, copy its contents, and save them to a new file that will be the basis of your work – you don’t want to edit the original help file!

Creating a Vizzie Effects Module

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