Forums > Misc

First blush

September 16, 2013 | 7:27 pm

Ok, I only heard about Max tonight and am fascinated but lost. Unable to watch the intro vid so the terminology, extras, addins etc don’t make a lot of sense. The scope of this technology is a little overwhelming at first blush.

I am seeking a more detailed overview. Something that may give me a better feel for uses, and more specifically how much actual programming experience is required. Java, Javascript, and others platforms. Do I need to learn this as well to get really proficient.

Any feedback, suggestions, links, most appreciated.


September 16, 2013 | 8:32 pm

Max is a great language to start off with. It was my first language. There have been several threads about where to start in the forums, so I’d encourage you to check those out.


September 17, 2013 | 2:57 am

Hallo,
If you have a few dollars/pounds/euros to spare, then (dependent on your own background) I think Maurizio Giri’s book is a good place to start:

http://cycling74.com/project/maxmsp-book/

Very accessible, with a gentle curve, and explaining related concepts and practice too. It is true, however, that there is a wealth of free stuff out there too.

Brendan


September 17, 2013 | 11:07 am

Thanks for the posts. I am continuing my voyage of discovery. Lots of good reviews but everybody says the same thing…steep learning curve. I have to evaluate whether it will be worth my time and effort to get there..I believe the answer is yes, but still have questions.

A little about me. I own a recording studio, do live productions, am a musician/video editor/producer and am well connected to the local underground music and arts scene in my city.

I have been working on a complicated midi/audio/video system for a bunch of years. A list of some of my gear includes:
Native Instruments Komplete
Ableton Live
Adobe Production Suite
Couple of HD cameras
couple of LCD projectors
Many computers/laptops
MPD 32
Trigger Finger
Full quality PA system including a presonus studio live 24, mics subs etc…
Motu midi express XT
Roland GK3
Axion/Roland GR50 guitar synth
Band in a box
ipad control of the presonus and a wireless DMX lighting system

The list continues, but you get the idea.

Discovering Max has rebooted my entire though process about how to accomplish my final end. Projector mapping, audio triggering video, interactive displays – this is where I was heading, and Max seems to do it all, and solve a lot of control issues that I have run into.

My largest concern is if I need to have Java and Javascript in my arsenal of tools, cause I can do a lot of things, but programming ain’t one of them. So how far can you go without coding? This will be the deciding factor. Initial feeling is that you can go pretty far.

I have downloaded the 30 day demo and will start working with Max tomorrow.

Any feed back about coding would be most appreciated.


September 17, 2013 | 1:36 pm

Java and Javascript are nice extras, but you can work in Max for years without needing them.

If you’re already using a complex studio setup, then learning Max is definitely worth your time.


September 18, 2013 | 12:05 am

I just started using Max at the end of May. I am absolutely astounded by what I am now capable of creating… all 100% Max.

No piece of software has ever had the impact that Max has had on my creativity… so much so that it’s not possible for me to overstate it. It has changed my life.

Though I will say that my interests and background are fairly diverse… (music, painting, sculpture, fabrication, etc.) and I have always enjoyed puzzles, logic, problem solving, etc. so it hasn’t been a problem for me to stay interested when most people bail. If I had approached Max with the sole agenda of building some fancy music or video application, I might have given up.

You have to start small. Connect a few things together. Watch how it all flows. It’s like life. Learn to appreciate the simple things, and you will never be bored. Do it everyday, and you will get good at it. Also, (as if I haven’t spouted enough fortune cookie aphorisms).. Don’t just learn to make it do something. Learn from what it does…


September 18, 2013 | 7:40 am

Max is a programming language in itself (yes it is ! :p), but compared to other programming language, the learning curve is very very gentle. And interface is very beginner friendly. Besides, if you get acustomed to patch together pieces of examples from everywhere, you can accomplish trivial-but-non-basic tasks (like a lighting console maybe) in not so long time (you’ll need to understand the basics first obviously ;) but my point is that it’s often easy to reuse pieces of code from anywhere, as max community often shares and there is a bunch of things already in the max installer, and it’s quite easy to reuse pieces of patches – depending on the pathcing style, for sure, but usually it’s possible…)


September 18, 2013 | 11:48 am

>Java and Javascript are nice extras, but you can work in Max for years without needing them.

I’ve seen a lot more examples of javascript and java in max that mess up things and make things really complicated, than I’ve seen actual *solutions*, to be honest. And I’ve only had regular interactions with one thing that used a java widget, and that was the bjorklund euclidian rhythm generator, which could be patched, too.

>I think Maurizio Giri’s book is a good place to start
I disagree. I think it’s a great academic piece, but I think that for an absolute beginner in max the built-in tutorials, followed by or supplemented by Darwins "20 objects" walkthrough are an absolutely sublime combination; best documentation for any software (or hardware) I’ve ever seen.

http://www.darwingrosse.com/20Objects/index.html


September 18, 2013 | 11:54 am

Thank you all so much for the input. I am sold and will be purchasing the package before end of week. I want to look at the extras available and see if they are worth getting at the same time. Still not totally sure what Gen is..

And thanks for the training tips. Bookmarked and ready to get started. Just need a little sleep first.


September 18, 2013 | 12:14 pm

@Andreas
There is an important proviso in my recommendation that you missed: "dependent on your background"; I was careful to include this because, as a relative newcomer to Max myself lacking the fundamentals of computer science or DSP for audio, I have found that the built in tutorials, while comprehensive and practice-based, do assume such knowledge in terminology and concepts, whereas Maurizio’s book (although somewhat academic as you say) makes no such assumptions.

Jus’ sayin’

Brendan


September 19, 2013 | 1:51 am

For now, don’t worry about Gen or even Jitter. When first starting out, focus about 80% on Max and 20% on MSP. That ratio can change pretty quickly but really focus on Max at first. Max is not only easier, but if you learn how things flow in Max, you only need to learn how other objects differ… not to mention that many of the principles carry over to MSP and Jitter… and Max is still needed within those other environments.

Also.. I’m not saying Wetterberg is wrong, but as a beginner, I have found Ciprani and Giri’s book immensely helpful. It’s a fantastic book. Extremely clear and very well-written. Having it translated (by a good translator) who really knows Max seems to have made for a book that is even more articulate than many books that were originally written in English. That said… it was about a month of immersive study of Max.. probably 4-6hrs a day (at least) that I started benefitting from the Giri book. Definitely not the best choice for day 1.


September 19, 2013 | 1:56 am

Now I can’t tell if by "academic" Wetterberg meant: "of or relating to education and scholarship." or "not of practical relevance; of only theoretical interest."
What I like about it is how theory is mixed with so many practical examples and exercises.


September 19, 2013 | 3:09 am

@metamax

I would guess that Andreas meant the former, as a pedagogical resource. I certainly use it a lot in that way.

Brendan


September 19, 2013 | 3:18 am

ps @Wetterberg

Where did you find Darwin’s course, what a great find!

Brendan


September 19, 2013 | 8:41 am

The 20 Objects course DDG wrote is now maintained on the wiki

http://cycling74.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:20Objects

Free free to jump on in

-A


September 19, 2013 | 9:15 am

Similarly, there’s an "alternative" MSP set of tutorials that more closely track the organization of the Max tutorials on the Wiki, as well:

http://cycling74.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Teaching_Material

Lots of choices, huh? You should be able to find things inside of your comfort zone from what’s here, I hope.


September 19, 2013 | 10:49 am

Again, thanks for all the posts. Can anybody provide the ISBN numbers for these books? I am going to start working with the demo program first as I have to resolve an issue. To spend that much time working on a program I’ll have to install on a laptop so I can take it home with me. I will install the full program in the studio where I’ll be using it.

More advice. I am a PC guy. But for this am willing to go Mac. Please, no fighting over what’s better, I know all the arguments. But for this program, what is the consensus, more stable on a Mac vs PC, or the same? Most users on Mac?

Thanks.


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