VJ Art Lab ⎯  Licht als Material

Open-source is more than just free software. It is an entirely new universe created and constantly fed by thousands of people around the world: developers and end users. Amazing and powerful tools designed to solve all kinds of problems. Here's my reference list of some useful open-source applications for video design and animation:

Concept Art:
Krita is a open-source software that gives you all the necessary art tools for designing your concept art from scratch and not to die in the attempt.

Image Editing:
Let's talk about GIMP, a very complete raster graphics and photo editing application that allows you to manipulate your images professionally and prepare them for your VJ footage. Through a wide range of plugins and scripts, you can correct color, apply filters, create animations, extract frames from video, save different codecs, save for web and much more. Is it intuitive? Yes. Is it all-in-one? Not really, you will need to search and install some plugins in order to do things like exporting .exr files or opening video files; nevertheless, there is clear and good documentation available. It runs on GNU/Linux, OS X, and Microsoft Windows. Last but not least, there is an extension in Blender that allows interoperability with GIMP .xcf or .xjt files.

Vector Files:
How can you handle vector graphics instead of raster graphics? Inkscape is the answer. If you have ever used Illustrator, tools and interface will be very familiar to you. It includes precision, path and text tools, 3D extensions, filters, great pattern generators and more. Save as .svg or .eps and get ready to use your DJ logo vector path in any 3D or motion graphics software. It is available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X (requires XQuartz). Either you just want to manipulate paths or create something more complex, Inkscape is a robust and professional software option at no cost.
Another fresh and multi-platform alternative is Gravit Designer.

3D Animation:
Do you really need to buy that expensive 3D application? Blender includes potent 3D modeling and texturing tools, an efficient photorealistic render engine, a real-time render engine called EEVEE, a node-based editor for materials, dynamics, awesome animation workflows to create your VJ loops, a compositor, and a video editor. It is not totally intuitive like other popular software, but it is worth learning and there is a lot of documentation out there. If you do not find the way to do something in Blender, do not worry, somewhere in the world one skillful developer has created a plugin and it is available for everyone.

Now that you have your image sequences, you will need to put all together and add some effects. If you do not have After Effects, there is an open-source compositing software called Natron. It is a cross-platform node-based tool, the UI is very similar to Nuke and you have access to a variety of effects, including motion blur and color correction effects. This open-source project is currently stopped and looking for a new maintainer.

Ok, but you are a VJ, so you are going to need a video mixing tool. There are several open-source options out there, but to get started you can try GLMixer; it is one of the best (and maybe the most updated open-source VJ software project). This VJing application allows you to import and mix VJ footage such as videos, image files, vector graphics, algorithmic patterns and GPU plugins with endless possibilities (FreeFrame and Shadertoy). It includes an interesting circle UI for handling different files at the same time in a practical way. It works on Linux, OSX, and Windows. For video mapping projects you may prefer MapMap.

Finally, there is ShareX, an incredible and complete screencast software. This kind of tool is essential for any productive workflow, either you want to share screenshots or record VJing tutorials. At no cost, you can capture specific regions, create GIFs or HD videos, benefit from constant updates and much more. It is only available for Microsoft Windows; you could consider using Dahu for Linux and Mac

2019, unrealized

Grand Garage, Linz