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Need help evaluating Max/msp/jitter

Oct 05 2008 | 9:46 pm


I need some help evaluating what can be achieved in Max/msp/jitter in terms of GUI design.

Here’s my problem:

– I’m planning a state-of-the-art 3D GUI, something ordinarily programmed with a game engine. The 3D elements included, their look, shape and behavior, would be directly dependent on, and influenced by, audio and/or MIDI data coming into the system.

– I can’t do this very well with any known game engine, i.e. with one of the software development kits used in the gaming industry, because they’re not built to handle substantive audio or MIDI input, like any sequencer would.

– From all I’ve read about Max and from what I’ve gleaned from the Max tutorials and references, Max/msp is most definitely the environment of joice to handle audio data on a very very granular level. So far so good.

– Jitter – please correct me if I’m wrong – is better suited for video data analysis than for (re)synthesis, i.e. visualization of underlying data. Not that it couldn’t, but if we’re talking top-notch 3D visualization, we’d soon reach a limit.

Now, there’s probably a way to integrate Max/msp with some kind of animation / visualization software, but before I dive into those intricacies, I wanted to hear some Max expert opinions on how far I can take Max and specifically Jitter in terms of GUI design.

Are there any commercial applications out there that use 3D graphics – better still: interactive ones – which were completely (or almost) developed in Max/msp and Jitter?

Know of any applications for Mac or Windows developed in a different environment, but that include particular functions/modules which were programmed in Max?

Many thanks in advance to anyone willing to share some insight!


Oct 05 2008 | 10:13 pm


You may want to check Quest 3D, if you didn’t know.



Oct 05 2008 | 10:22 pm

You can communicate between Max and Processing

I don’t know much about processing but from tinkering around a few months ago I found it pretty nifty.


Oct 06 2008 | 2:35 pm

Oct 06 2008 | 4:24 pm

also check out jit-ogre

Oct 08 2008 | 7:56 pm

hello Robert.

First of all, congratulations for the Jit-ogre project.
I believe it will bring a lot of new possibilities for the 3d/jitter comunity.
Well, but I was no so successful on trying it. But I belive that it has to do with my old and crappy powerbook (ppc-667MgHz).
In fact, I am really looking forward for the windows version of Jit-ogre.
Did you managed it already? could we beta test it? :))

sandro canavezzi

Oct 08 2008 | 11:26 pm :

"Jitter – please correct me if I’m wrong – is better suited for video data analysis than for (re)synthesis, i.e. visualization of underlying data. Not that it couldn’t, but if we’re talking top-notch 3D visualization, we’d soon reach a limit."

Depends on what you want the final result to look like. Without using tons of changing textures at high resolution, you can get a lot of horsepower out of the Jitter/OpenGL connection, and regarding experimentation and development, you’d appreciate how fast and flexible your workflow can be. With textures that don’t change much, or with pure GL colors (which can be gradients between points if you draw them that way), that have full alpha support, your frame rate should be totally respectable even with complex interfaces. jit.graph also provides a fast visualizer of any changing signal like audio, so if you wanted signal monitors, one of these for each channel would work well, plus it has a bunch of parameters you can tweak (color, rendering mode like lines/cylinders, sample window size and refresh rate, etc.)

Jitter can of course also do pretty much anything with video, of course, so depending on how you might want to use prerecorded or live video in your GUI (if at all), it can be used as a texture on a GL shape of your choice.

I think it would be well worth it to experiment substantially with the OpenGL stuff you can do, while getting a feel for how Max works. You’ll undoubtedly come up with new interface ideas and visualization possibilities from your experimentation (since it’s not only about what it looks like, it’s about how it’s designed to be dynamic and interactive, which is a strong point of Max). Then you can gradually refine how it looks and see whether the horsepower is enough, or if you need to go another route. As a prototyping playground to get ideas, though, Max would be a great place to start.

Now, controlling game engines via Max would be pretty amazing. Using a simple interface to send commands to a dedicated, fast engine could create whole new experimental audiovisual worlds, complete with fast rendering of juicy textures and avatar motion/interaction. That jitOgre looks especially interesting!

Oct 10 2008 | 7:42 pm

Guys, Seejayjames, and everybody – thanks so much! You’ve been tremendously helpful.

I’ve checked out Quest3D and could see myself go down that route.

Seejayjames – I think you understand whereabouts I’m headed, I’m pretty excited about those prospect myself.

jitogre could also be worth some exploration.

You’ve defintely confirmed my notion that even if I should hit a dead-end of sorts down one route, the sights and experimentation along the way will have been well worth it.

any nuggets I find – I might just brag about it here. But before that I may come back with more questions.


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