The other night, Gentleforce invited me around to help with the audio/visual collaboration between himself and Julapy, for his upcoming album launch performance(s). Gentleforce will be performing with Ableton Live, so it was a bit of an opportunity to start working with Max For Live, to get his computer talking to Julapy’s excellent live openFrameworks based visuals.
I don’t know a great deal about openFrameworks (other than it quickly becoming the tool of choice for many live/interactive visualists), but it does seem to have much in common with Processing, so whatever I work on should port fairly simply to openFrameworks. I’m still finding my way around Max For Live, so the wonderful (and free) Live 2 Processing plugin by Wiggle was a perfect place to start. It wasn’t long before Julapy weaved his magic with openFrameworks and was receiving peak audio values from Live via OSC.
Although these values are useful, we chatted about the possibility of also sending controller changes and other data that might be handy from Live. Whilst those two work out between them what messages they would like to communicate to each other, I was encouraged to take a look at what I was getting myself into and decided to have a bit of a dig.
Using the Live 2 Processing plugin as a jump-off point, I first of all took the peak values to alter the fill colour on the left and right of the Processing sketch, dependant on which channel the sound was coming from. Then I added some of Live’s ubiquitous dials to control the height value of small boxes in the sketch. These are a great interface tool, because they will be familiar to anyone using Live, whether they’re a Max For Live guru or not. Finally, I created a second Max patch to listen for incoming MIDI notes and used the velocity values to change the height of several rectangles…
The patches are far from perfect and are just a starting point, but by all means – if you have Max For Live and Processing (or any other program that can accept OSC messages), feel free to put them to use. If you come up with something interesting, I’d love to see a link in the comments.