Last week, Siggraph 2008 took over the Los Angeles Convention Center, and Cycling '74 was there to bravely represent Jitter to a huge crowd of CG enthusiasts, production professionals, and academics. For anyone who hasn't been to a Siggraph show, it is a huge, over-stimulating event for the computer graphics community, complete with academic talks, screenings, an exhibition hall, an art show, competitions, and a job fair.
Recently, CNMAT at UC Berkeley held their annual MaxMSP/Jitter summer school classes at their beautiful Arch St. facility just off the UC campus. This year, for the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of teaching the Jitter Night School - a 3-night intensive of focussed tutorials covering a variety of Jitter topics.
Last time out, we created the LFOur, a generative patch composed of a quartet of synchronized LFOs whose output we can use to make noise. While it's interesting to watch how the different LFO configurations make combinatoric waveforms and it's restful and instructive to watch the sliders flick and rock, it would be nice to have something to connect it to. This tutorial includes some patches that will do just that.
In addition to an unprecedented number of configurable settings, Max 5 also provides a more navigable structure for making choices about your environment. In this article we'll discuss ways you can tweak the settings in various places to make your time spent in Max 5 more comfortable and fulfilling to your aesthetic requirements.
In an earlier article, Andrew Benson and Ben Bracken went through the process of connecting a guitar to a Max-based processing system, and creating a few guitar-oriented effects patches. In this series of articles, I will be building a Max-based guitar processing "rig", and will give you the opportunity to look over my shoulder as I design and implement this system.
It's great to see the way that Max/MSP crosses musical genres and also allows people to repurpose available (and maybe not so available) technology. Owen Grace has a band called The Guitar Zeros. He took the guitar controllers used for the Guitar Hero video games and wrote a Max/MSP patch interface that allows him utilize them as an expressive and innovative, stand alone instrument. The Guitar Zeros band currently has four players, a guitar controller player, a bass controller player, a 'real' drummer and a vocalist.
I'm personally a lot more interested in the ability to synchronize processes in Max using time values that resemble musical note values to create control structures that can be easily time synced. This tutorial is about making one of those kinds of modules - a quartet of synchronized LFOs whose outputs I can sample individually for several kinds of data (triggers for waveform start, LFO outputs that I can sample at variably synchronized rates, and a nifty summed waveform I can use for more exotic kinds of control).
When we left off in the last article, we had created a new color scheme and layout for our old patcher using presentation mode, translucency, improved color controls, and embedded hints. We could certainly leave this patch alone, but we're going to take the interface to another level, making it a little more interactive and interesting, while providing more intuitive controls. The techniques discussed here should open the door to much more fun and useful interface designs for your patches.
As exporting plug-ins is not currently available for Max 5, we will look at another alternative in this article based on a new feature of the poly~ object, which allows you to dynamically load new abstractions without recompiling the DSP. To help users explore this new alternative, we will demonstrate different ways to convert a Pluggo-ready patch made with MaxMSP 4.6 into a patch that you can load as a poly~ abstraction.
I have to confess that I always found UI design in Max 4 to be a little too cumbersome, and would almost always wait until a patch was completely written and debugged before bothering with any layout of UI elements and color.
In addition to the smoother look and feel of Max 5, there have been a number of enhancements to the user interface that will help you to maximize your creative productivity and minimize the time spent performing repetitive and annoying tasks. In this article, I'll talk about a couple of the features that have really improved my patching workflow.
This year, we decided to set up shop at the 3rd annual Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. Last year, Cycling '74 shared a little corner of a booth with the nice people at MakingThings, and that was enough to get us hooked on this crazy annual celebration of all things DIY and electrified.
Some of us listen to many different types of music and are open to experimentation but, correct me if I'm wrong, sometimes the music that comes out of academic circles can be cold and dry. DR.OX is a welcome change. I had the pleasure of interviewing one half of DR.OX, Natasha Barrett, and I found her focused, enlightened and outspoken.
I've teamed up with Ben Bracken for this series of simple tutorials that will get you shredding your shreds faster than you thought possible. This first article will address the essential hardware concerns and introduce some basic concepts in designing guitar effects in Max. Future articles will address different controllers, more advanced effects, automation, and other techniques to get the most out of MaxMSP in your live rig.
Brian Crabtree (who performs under the name tehn) and his partner Kelli Cain are collectively known as monome. They design what they call adaptable, minimalist interfaces. The musical instrument industry calls them alternate controllers. There are currently three models that interface with a computer. There is no hard-wired functionality; interaction between the keys and lights is determined by the application (such as Max/MSP) running on the computer. Basically the monome units can do whatever you program them to do and serve as alternate controllers for not just music but games, lights, video etc. Monome is fantastically successful. I found their story inspiring and exciting -- they represent a new breed of creative entrepreneurs who are environmentally and socially conscious.
Recently I bumped into composer and performer Pauline Oliveros (PO) in San Diego. We got to talking about one of her current projects, the Adaptive Use Musical Instruments for the Physically Challenged. This project introduces software designed to be used in therapy sessions to give children with limited motor skills the opportunity to participate in music, and offer them an outlet for musical expression. I arranged for a follow-up interview by email so that we could learn more about what this project involves. Joining us is Zevin Polzin (ZP), the technical lead in the project.
The ReWire concepts we've discussed in the previous ReWire articles were based on the typical needs of most users -- piping information between Max/MSP and a ReWire host or client application. However, ReWire can also be used to take otherwise upstanding audio applications and use them for unconventional purposes. The key to this is the hostcontrol~ object, which allows a Max patch to exert control over the transport of the ReWire host. Combining this with some common Max techniques can turn the most staid audio app into a subservient audio zombie. Read more...
Sometimes when you are programming, you need to be able to configure some information about how your computer will do its job. Over the years, programmers have come up with a number of different terms for these little pieces of information -- parameters, properties, fields, etc. In Max, we call them attributes. Attributes were first introduced in Jitter, where they make it convenient to manage the state of complex objects such as jit.qt.movie. In Max 4.5, a few Max objects such as pattr (which is short for "patcher attributes" by the way) and js began to make use of attributes.
As a guitarist, I was looking for a simple hands-free controller for Max. Rather than buy an expensive pedalboard and MIDI interface, I decided to build a simple USB footswitch. It’s ridiculously easy to make and costs less than fifty bucks. Here is what you will need to do...
A quick video-illustrated look at Max5.
Some of you may have heard that major changes are imminent in the Max world, and there is a lot of speculation about what those changes might be. On the eve of our first public exposition of the new version of Max at the AES convention in New York, I thought it would be appropriate to offer some details on the product.
Daevlmakr sells a suite of plug-ins created in Max/MSP. I was able to spend a lot of time with Vlad Spears for this interview because he lives nearby in San Francisco...