News: Guru Session on Summer Holiday, Features Heading into the Fall, and Big Sur

  • Dear Community,

    Having entered July, I want to make a few announcements about what's coming up for Isadora and TroikaTronix.

    Guru Sessions + The Pandemic

    First, I'm going to take a break from the guru sessions, probably until the end of the summer. As much as I love doing them (and I do!) I need to get back focused on the core Isadora features. I think the effort to produce live broadcasts that brought the community together during as the pandemic grew were a good place to put our energy as a company. But, for me specifically, doing this takes time away from actual programming, and I now need to focus on the features we put on hold for the next three months.

    I'll just throw in here: it's clear, a huge percentage of artists and designers have been out of work and, I won't lie, sales have been slow. It's been tricky to manage that, not to mention the jump to working remotely, and the psychological ups and downs we all have encountered in this time of isolation. Even with all of that, we're still here and we intend to continue to make a great product. But if there was ever a time to share your enthusiasm for Isadora with users who might join our community, now would be that time. A personal recommendation is often the most important thing that might influence a potential user's choice. We would appreciate it if you shared the incredible work you make with Isadora, and let people know it is a tool that helped fuel your innovation.

    Back to Basics: Upcoming Features in Isadora

    We will deliver the new audio features, which I've teased on Facebook and which the beta testers have experienced. In addition, even though money is tight for us (as it is for every company right now) I've engaged an awesome Windows programmer to improve the efficiency of the Movie Player, live video capture, the capture stage to disk functions, and multi stage output. In tandem with this, I will attempt similar improvements to the Movie Player on macOS. In the movie playback realm, our goal is not only improved efficiency but truly seamless looping and improved responsiveness to interactive input.

    I also feel the decision we made to prioritize the creation of or improved tools to facilitate remote performance were well placed. I take yesterday's sad news that all broadway theaters in New York will remain dark until 2021 as an indicator that the importance of developing even more ways to support this kind of online collaboration is something we must continue to do. I am still coming up with a plan about what these features might be. If you have suggestions or ideas about this, start a thread and let's talk about it.

    In additional, we feel that the OpenNI Tracker for Kinect v1, Kinect v2, Orbbec Astra and Intel Realsense has stabilized to the point we can make really make some noise about this in the fall. Even though the kind of tracking offered by the Kinect and it's cousins is more than a decade old, it remains one of the key ways to acquire movement information from a human being. Given that other players in this field seem to have dropped out, touting this feature is something I hope will bring additional users to the fold.

    The big news for this release will be the audio features, but these additional improvements to efficiency and usability will be something that will help you all as you hopefully get the chance to start working again this fall.

    Big Sur

    Obviously there are massive changes afoot for the future of macOS. While the new ARM based machines are still a ways away, the developer release of Big Sur -- the operating system that will work with those chips -- is available now. On this topic, I have some good news and bad news. The good news is that all of the basic functionality of Isadora seems to work perfectly. The bad news, is that the stage is entirely black. ;-) All of the OpenGL calls used by Isadora are in fact still supported by Big Sur on Intel machines. I believe this issue to be something simple and I will be investigating this during the coming week. But for the moment, you cannot use Isadora 3.0.7 with Big Sur.

    That said, I cannot yet say anything about what it will take to move Isadora to the new ARM chips. Apple is offering a developer kit that is essentially a macMini with the same ARM chip inside that runs an iPad Pro. (That is a temporary thing; they will put something more powerful into an eventual ARM based Mac Book Pro.) We'll be acquiring one of those once we get the fall release out, and we'll see what it all means. But, I think all of us professional users who use macOS have to do some serious thinking about whether or not that's the platform we want to be on in the future. You cannot say that Apple does not push innovation. But their path to accomplishing this often seems to leave both hardware and software in the dust. In contrast, Windows programs never seem to stop functioning because they seem to strongly value backwards compatibility, and we all know that Windows machines are cheaper and perform better when it comes to graphics.


    That's the news for today. I really thank all of you who shared your good energy and camaraderie during the guru sessions and in your forum posts.

    Best Wishes,

  • @mark

    Dear Mark,

    thank you for the precisions about the future and for all your time and work for the Guru sessions. It was wonderful but I understand that you want spend your time for the development.

    I wish you (and also us) great success.

    best, Jean-François 

  • Dear Mark:

    Thank you for all you have put into the Guru Sessions over these last 3 months.  I've learned more in the last few months, than I had in the couple of years I've used Isadora at work. Sadly, I've had to use the demo version here at home(I voted to buy a copy, My wife voted to pay the rent.  And she gets more votes!!), These sessions have turned me into a true devotee.  I look forward to all the improvements you mention that are coming months.

    Keep up the good work.  Stay safe. Happy summer.

    Sean K. Burke

    Izzy3.Demo  HP Windows 10 Radeon 12GB Ram 4G VRAM

  • Hey @Mark,

    Thanks for the update and all your hard work, and that of the team. The guru sessions are fantastic and I, for one, have been over some of them more than once.
    Super excited about the future path and especially about the Windows development side!

    Hope you're both well and I look forward to seeing you sometime.



  • Tech Staff

    Hi there Mark, 

    Amazing news :) Really nice that you found a second programmer to give you a hand !

    Regarding the Guru Sessions:

    Loved your input and showing us around the program. Means a lot to see others teach Isadora so that I can learn from that for my own practice. Perhaps it is time that we do summer sessions with some members from the community and show our complex patches / show our shows behind the scenes / build some patches live on YouTube ?

  • Dear Mark, I want to join the thanking ( is that really english? ) about your Guru sessions. I have followed many of them with enthusiasm, since it was like you just choose the topics following all my dreams and near future needs :-) : GLSL, NDI, 3D, Midi, and many others that make me learn some new ways of building a project, after… around 12 years using your great software in most of my work! It was also a real pleasure, as a french guy, to listen to your very clear english...
    I wish you the best for the future and look forward to the future Isadora wonders!

    PS : I also will continue to promote Isa around me in theaters, as I alway do, specially when they start to speak about this M.....n software I dislike! :-))

  • Dear Mark,

    The guru sessions have been fabulous!  Thank you.

    I promote Isadora to everyone.


  • Tech Staff

    @juriaan said:

    Perhaps it is time that we do summer sessions with some members from the community and show our complex patches / show our shows behind the scenes / build some patches live on YouTube ?

     I'd love that

  • Beta Platinum

    @juriaan Great idea 😍 Following 

  • @mark , thanks so much for the update and all the great guru sessions.. we have plenty to be inspired by:) glad to hear about the updates in the works. For me as a longtime user of isadora since 2007 one thing I value most is backward compatibility. I have spent many years developing on isadora and really need my creations to continue to function through the new versions more than any thing else. New features are much desired but if previous functionality cease to work or become unstable that is a real killer. I am loving all the recent improvements and looking forward to the planned ones and will continue to spread the word to other artists out here in LA. I just really hope my creations relying heavily on CI and QTZ won't have to be abandon but I understand apple moving to ARM is a huge unknown and will be a major hurdle. thanks again. D

  • Beta Platinum


    Hi, Great idea! I would love to learn more from users willing to share their processes, patches and prowess!

    Best Wishes


  • @demetri79 said:

    I just really hope my creations relying heavily on CI and QTZ won't have to be abandon

    Quartz Composer (QTZ) was deprecated for Catalina, meaning Apple intends to remove it. My understanding at the moment is that Quartz Composer is removed from Big Sur. I am not sure about Core Image. I should be able to find out once I get the main Isadora app to produce images again in Big Sur.

    Best Wishes,

  • Thank you so much Marck for all these inspiring Guru sessions. If there was anything good about this confinement, it was the possibility of learning so much about Isadora and its infinite possibilities.

    Health and luck for everybody!Daniel

  • Thanks so much for the wonderful Guru Sessions. I've learned so much and they have helped to save my sanity. Thanks also for anticipating the need for a remote performance platform. Building out my version of that has also saved my sanity and allowed me to sustain the collaborations that are at the heart of my work. I'm always bragging about Isadora. Hopefully that has brought you a few new customers. Good luck and have fun with all the new programming!

  • Tech Staff

    @demetri79 said:

    I have spent many years developing on isadora and really need my creations to continue to function through the new versions more than any thing else.

    If you have work that depends on infrastructure is using old (essentially Isadora 1) features like QC and CI actors which are not terribly efficient, it's best to create a computer setup that's "frozen in time" that you know works for that old setup. Using QC and CI actors really isn't really the recommended workflow anymore unfortunately. 

    @Demetri79 said:

    New features are much desired but if previous functionality cease to work or become unstable that is a real killer. [...] I just really hope my creations relying heavily on CI and QTZ won't have to be abandon but I understand apple moving to ARM is a huge unknown and will be a major hurdle. 

    As you yourself said, we can't control how Apple (and Windows) develop, we can only work with that they give us. It's the same reason that Isadora 3 can't support the old 32bit FF plugins. Isadora 3 had to be a 64bit application because Apple has indicated that they are going to, or have already, dropped support for 32bit applications in their newer operating systems. This means that Isadora 3 can't use 32bit plugins (like the old FF plugins). Please understand that QC and CI are essentially Mac-native 3rd-party plugins that we've given Mac-users access to; they're not truly-native Isadora plugins (otherwise they'd be available to Windows users as well). The longer they sit untouched by Apple while Apple continues to develop new OS's, the more and more likely it is that Apple will eventually break or remove our ability to use them (as Mark essentially said). This is why I recommend the "frozen in time" method, because we cannot guarantee that these non-standard, 3rd party plugins will continue to work forever because it is likely that Apple will eventually decide that they've reached end-of-life and drop them as they are becoming more and more outdated.

    All that being said, looking for GLSL/ISF Shaders/64bit FFGL plugins, learning how to write GLSL/ISF Shaders/64bit FFGL plugins, or paying someone who can create GLSL/ISF Shaders/64bit FFGL plugins that could replace your most essential QC and CI actors are three avenues I highly recommend that you explore. Once we have an SDK available for Isadora 3 it will also be possible for people with coding experience to attempt to replicate QC and CI actors, so there's another possibility to explore. If these video effects are integral to your artistic practice, I would say it's worth investing the time in learning to write shaders/FFGL plugins/code or investing the capital to hire a programmer to replicate the plugins for you as shaders/FFGL plugins/custom Isadora plugins.

    Best wishes,


  • @Woland @mark thanks for the feedback and I know you guys are doing the best you can with a changing hardware and software environment. The frozen in time method is exactly why I'm on a 2012 mac pro maxed to the gills.. but yeah i absolutely would like to find new more efficent ways to recreate my patches.. the concepts are not that difficult I dont think. I'm a musician and audio engineer by day so video software/plugin coding isn't gonna be my wheelhouse. I would like to hire someone to help me.. I think it could probably all be done with GLSL shaders, and some simple 3D models.. I posed an add about a year ago here on the forum to hire someone but no one was interested at the time. I guess I'll try again. If anyone is interested please let me know. thanks, D