VPT 5.1 available

After nearly 2500 downloads of the first version of Video Proejction Tools VPT 5 released in december 2010, I am happy to announce the new version 5.1, partly based on feedback from workshops and the VPT forum.

The release focuses on all the possibilities to expand and customize VPT to be the right tool for your particular project.

This includes a vastly improved controller section, making it possible to control almost every feature of VPT from another application (like maxmsp, processing and PD), computer, sensors through the arduino microcontroller, midicontroller as well as built in lfo controllers for automating control and software sliders and buttons. This comes on top of the already existing built-in preset and cuelist system for playback. Through OSC, VPT parameters can relatively easy be controlled by gestures, using camera or kinect tracking.
You can easily set up VPT to control simple projector shutters by controlling servomotors using the arduino module.

Templates are provided with the download for exploring OSC on maxmsp and Processing, PD will follow later. Arduino templates for input/output as well as a servo example is also included with the download.

VPT can be used with multiple projectors using Matrox Triplehead2go, and the latest version also includes support for multichannel sound: The movie sources can be individually routed to up to eight channels, depending on your sound card. Using the provided maxmsp template it is possible to process the sound further.

VPT 5.1 includes a new possibillity of processing the sources using the FX bus. The FX bus consists of eight FX chains, modules which contains shader based effects. New FX chain modules can easily be made using the provided maxmsp/jitter template, and can be dragndropped onto the existing FX chain to replace it, making it easy to customize the effects to your particular need.

Three new sources have been added to VPT: A solid (if you just want a colour in a layer), a noise texture generator and a text module which can either use text from file, osc or typed text. A maxmsp/jitter template is also provided if you want to create your own source.

Read more about VPT 5.1 and download it here

Read the online manual

Visit the VPTforum

VPT templates and examples for maxmsp/jitter, PD, Processing and Arduino

VPT is a free multipurpose realtime projection sofware tool for Mac and Windows developed by HC Gilje. Among other things it can be used for projecting video on complex forms, adapt a projection to a particular space/surface, combine recorded and live footage, or for multiscreen HD playback.


Light on White at Oslo Lux

Last week the symposium Oslo Lux took place at the School of Architecture and Design in Oslo, organized by Anthony Rowe and Ståle Stenslie.

It was a one day event with speakers from art, architecture and design discussing uses of light in different projects. I spoke at the seminar, created a snow projection and gave a 2 days VPT workshop so it was a very intense but interesting week.

The keynote speakers were AntiVJ and UVA. The list of speakers  also included Timo Arnall who had a very interesting talk on light painting, presenting work of people which I felt I should have know about already (Gjon Mili, Michael Weseley, Eric Staller). His second topic about visualizing the RFID and wifi networks range was also interesting. In fact the mix of speakers and topics made the day go by really fast!

I went to a separate event at Atelier Nord earlier in the week where Joanie and Simon from AntiVJ gave a 2 hour enthusiastic talk about their work. They were very excited about real-time software, and it reminded me a bit of the same energy which I experienced ten years ago with realtime video software like Imagine, nato and jitter.

White on Light video:

I was part of the exhibition and decided to do an outdoor snow projection. Unlike my previous attempts on working with snow I decided to not try to build anything with the snow, but instead cut out a piece of snow and work with the top curvy surfaces and the edges. It seems I am unable to make anything but slow meditative pieces nowadays, but the result wasn´t that bad, really.

More images from the projection at flickr.

The two day VPT workshop at Atelier Nord was fun, a very focused and eager-to-learn group, and several of the participants have already started doing their own projects with the software, which is exciting.

VPT 5 documentation

The new version of VPT just passed 1000 downloads after less than a month, which is pretty good. I decided this would be a good time to make some more documentation.

There are now some basic video tutorials (not very exciting but gives you an idea of how to handle the interface) as well as the missing manual, which will be updated (ir)regularly. There is also lot´s of useful help built into VPT, not to forget the VPT forum.

Get updates on VPT5 on Twitter by either searching for #vpt5 or follow @hcgilje

Fuglane-behind the scenes

I have uploaded some images from the process of constructing the landscape for the Fuglane scenography, you can see it here as a slideshow.

I started off with a plastelina model (which I don´t feel like sharing with the world), and then continued with a google sketchup 3D model.  I  then got the model milled in styrofoam to use as the presentation model of the scenography. Later the 3d model was converted into technical drawings used by the skilled carpenters at the theatre to build a full scale version (about 10mx7m, the highest top about 1.6m). It was then covered by a material to make it more suitable as a projection surface.

I used a total of 4 projectors, two from above, one frontal, and one for the back wall. I used two macminis with matrox dualhead- to-go splitters and a customised version of my projection software VPT (not unlike the upcoming release).
Everything was controlled from the lighting console of the theatre, using an enttec dmx usb pro interface combined with Olaf Matthes excellent max externals.

VPT workshops

Well, it´s no secret that a shiny new version of VPT is just around the corner.

The first people who get to try this version are the participants of the upcoming VPT workshop in Bergen, hosted by BEK.

The workshop takes place December 6th-9th.
Sign-up information.

As part of the Lux festival in Oslo I will give a workshop hosted by Atelier Nord January 22nd-23rd 2011.
Sign-up information.

In april 2011 IMAL in Brussels will host another workshop. Sign-up information will come later.

VPT forum

I have set up a simple forum for Video Projection Tools to eventually make it easier to share and find useful information. There are different sections for bug reports, troubleshooting, wishlist for new features, examples of what you make with vpt etc.

Head on over to the forum, register and start using it:


ps. yesterday the blog passed 200000 visitors, hurrah.

makerbot #508

One of the things I was planning to work on during my New York residency was to construct a makerbot, a 3D printer that comes as a kit, based on the reprap which I have written about before. The cupcake cnc, which is the official name, is made by a Brooklyn based company Makerbot Industries that came out of NYCresistor. The first model came out late spring last year, and they continually improve both the mechanical,electrical and software parts for each batch they send out. For about $1000 you get all you need to make your own desktop 3D printer, which sounded like a good way of getting started with digital fabrication.

For me, one of the entrypoints into fabbing has been through reading some of Mitchell Whitelaws postings, for instance Transduction, Transmateriality and Expanded Computing. Chris Anderson wrote a very optimistic article in Wired in January: “In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits“, which is nicely balanced by the maybe more realistic gizmodo article “Atoms Are Not Bits; Wired Is Not A Business Magazine“. A few days ago Thingiverse posted their take on this: “Atoms are Not the New Bits. Yet.

I ordered my kit in december, and in the beginning of february it arrived at my doorstep in Brooklyn. The construction took about a week. The instructions for assembling the makerbot are pretty good (although I had my IKEA moments), but to actually get the makerbot printing was a lot more complicated and frustrating than what I had expected. After trying different things for almost a month with plastic-spaghetti as my only visible result I got a replacement card for the extruder controller (the part which controls the flow of plastic), so last night I was finally able to print something which was very exciting!

The cupcake cnc is made from lasercut plywood and acrylic. It has three stepper motors: The x and y axis are moving the build-platform, the z-axis moves the extruder vertically in relation to the build platform. The printed object is buillt layer by layer:plastic filament is fed into the extruder, which heats it up and squeezes it out similar to a hot-glue gun. The controller is based on the seeduino microcontroller, which is an arduino clone.

To make an object you obviously need a file. The final file is basically a description of operations for the makerbot, controlling the position in the x,y,z axis, as well as temperature and flow of the extruder. You start off with a 3d object, made for instance with blender, sketchup or openscad. This must be exported/converted to the STL format, which can be read by the application that converts the 3D model into slices and produce the controlcode understood by the makerbot. This is done in python-based skeinforge, but some more intuitive tools have started to emerge. The makerbot comes with its own controller software, ReplicatorG, which is very similar to the arduino interface. You can choose to either save the object-code onto a SD-card, or to print the object directly from ReplicatorG.

A good place to start is Thingiverse, where people upload their 3d objects for other people to make. I find it fascinating that I can make my own version of an object somebody else has modeled. I also find the makerbot blog quite useful. Bre Petis, one of the makerbot team, gave a nice presentation(mp4) at Chaos Computer Conference in Berlin in January.

More images of #508