Generative art, visuals and similar with Isadora

  • Hi All !!  for a long time ive been wondering if it is possible or doable to do something similar like the visuals made with processing for instance. what type of visuals? like the one on this link
    Simply they are art pieces to me... For the ones that Code its impossible I would like to know how close -or far- we can get using Isadora. Have you tried? what possibilities ? etc etc
    Thank you very much !! as always...
  • Tech Staff

    There are many possibilities within Isadora for generative art.

    For some types of generative art it is common to create X instances of an object that acts in a described way..
    In Isadora creating this spread of X copies is more difficult, generally you will need to link via patching a defined number of copies. The new Javascript actor expands on the generative capabilities of Isadora, but does not yet offer a method of branching to an arbitrary number of instances.
    This said, user actors make it much easier to create multiple copies of complex behaviours, and can be embedded and copied deeply within a patch allowing for similar effects.
    It would even be possible to 'dynamically' link 999 parameters from 1 Javascript actor (running the logic) to 999/X user actor instances to create a rich generative spread (the X instances would have to exist as 'actors' in the patch).
    Isadora is becoming more and more capable of these types of compositions, it would be great to see more people take advantage of these new capabilities.

  • Now QC integration may allow you to do some of that stuff in Isadora. From existing QC actors Tracer is fun to play with.

  • And you have also the possibility to send orders and parameters via OSC from Isadora to processing and send images via syphon from processing to Isadora, it works.

  • Thank you guys !! So DusX what you say is to create an object, then replicate it with progressive variables. ? If that's correct just to think a simple idea: a possible object could be a rect line that slowly becomes to ondulates, then the ondulate continuos but in a segmented Way like a snake. OK if i'm thinking and aproaching it in a correct way i have 2 questions (or correct me please) 1- have to start with the lines actor? Just simple like that? 2- how to create the motion efect? I mean the sense of continuity beetwen replications and progressive evolve? Thank you very much .Exited to think this possibilities !!

  • Tech Staff

    Really, I think its a matter of playing with the system, and finding your perferred methods.

    however the 'smoother' actor is a nice way to ensure that passed parameters are morphed/transitioned between values.
    an example of a simple project to try might be something like what I have done here: its 4 lines (lines actor) and 4 squares (shapes actor) with there XY positions being control externally...
    Then some feedback effects etc...
    So in the case of this example... I have a User actor (named drifter), one for each XY (so 2 x 4, * in total).
    Each X or Y parameter is connected to both the X or Y of the Square, and either the start or end  X or Y of the connected line.
    Running the output of this basic effect (after being mixed, see multimix) allows you to add feedback, or run it into a Tile effect (pretty fun.)
    Hope that gets you started... there is a tone of realtime generative possibilities.

    ps: I used pretty much the same method for this test clip:


  • @maxiwille  To be honest, in my opinion Isadora is not yet ready for generative visuals. I dont mean to bag Isadora, it handles a lot of tasks amazingly, really ahead of many of its competitors. There are ways to do generative stuff, but it will really be a pain and the results may not be as polished as other platforms. As jhoepffner  said, you can also use isadora as a control and display system instead.

    The main reason that Isadora falls behind in this field in my opinion is it does not have the ability to programmatically add and remove actors (or objects). This is a fundamental function for generative visuals. Although there are ways around this limitation the output is not amazing.  Here is an example someone made recently with the javascript actor.
    There is another thing to take into account, generative visuals are hard, generally they are made using coding, you mention that you are looking for a solution where code is not needed, but I think you will need to do a lot of learning somewhere to achieve this kind of thing. technically you can control Unity 3D without code, you can make something reactive and generative and control it by OSC, but this is a difficult platform to learn. 
    There is a lot of examples and tutorials from processing and openframeworks that will be a lot more satisfying that trying to do this with Isadora. I have one little bit of advice, dont be scared of code, it is not that hard, once you understand some very basic principles you will be fine (you are already making code with Isadora, you just have a different interface!). These tools can also all work together so you can keep using Izzy for all its wonderful advantages. In the end if and when Isadora does get this kind of functionality, it will surely be a code based solution as there are too many inherent limitations of node based systems to do this elegantly. So anything you learn about generative visuals on another platform will be useful knowledge elsewhere later.
    Here are some other resources
    have fun!

  • @maxiwille. I totally agree with Fred, generative art IS coding. If you try, for example in Isadora, to do a very simple task like a pondered random search, it could be very complicate with some feedback. With some lines of javascript it's much more easy. So I really push you to learn Processing coding, it's fun, easy and it's probably the most documented generative art you can find.

    The only problem problem is the way Syphon is included but when you understand it, it's very easy. Learning Processing you will be fluent with Arduino, a cheap and wonderful platform to make sensors and actuators.
    My final words: don't fear the code, it's your friend!
    For me the strength of Isadora lays in video, speed of writing and quality of interface. It's not a generative software.
    I prepare an easy example of Isadora/Processing collaboration, it will be posted next week.

  • Re-Hello,

    I have a sample for Isadora/processing in my files that I can share with you.
    You need to download processing to use it (I can make an standalone app, but it's 99Mo…)
    You open the Processing patch and run it
    You open the Isadora patch (with Isadora owning the 1234 OSC port)
    Normally, it works.
    I tried to comment all the interesting parts.
    Enjoy it

  • I am also preparing a tutorial to interface Isadora and Blender game engine, unfortunately no syphon from Blender, only independent full screen but full of potential and free.

  • Thank you very much Jacques and Fred !! For all you' ve write down. I totally agree about code I need the last push to dive in it. Thanks for energy ¡!!! Maxi

  • The beauty of OSC and Syphon means that no application is an island and can easily be extended or used in a pick n mix variety bag of Apps.

    I've been learning VUO and Max 7 to develop generative work and it's been trivial to get things working together with Izzy and VDMX.
    I've also begun exploring the potential of Unity (Free) with a Syphon plugin to produce live 3d visuals with OSC data from various sources.
    There's almost an overwhelming amount of possibilities with the addition of a couple of helper applications to Izzy.

  • @unfenswinger, Do you succeed to use Syphon plug-in with Unity (free), I had understood that's reserved to Unity (pro)?


  • The latest free version of Unity works fine with Syphon.


  • Yes, I just tried it yesterday and it works fine with Syphon and OSC.

    Huge possibilities!