VVVV / Projection / Kinect


Title: VVVV / Projection / Kinect
Location: MadLab
Description: VVVV is powerful toolkit of media technologies, boasting a glut of built in functionality, tools and examples. You can safely presume that you can get it to interface with almost anything you want, it can generate almost anything you want.
Start Date: 08-06-2013
End Date: 09-06-2013
Start time: 10:00
End time: 17:30
Booking: sign up here



Who is the course for?

  • Artists
  • Designers
  • Creative technologists
  • Interactive architectects
  • Live visualists

Around 10 years ago Processing was released (2001), accelerating the convergence of design and art with emerging technology. Since this time vvvv,openFrameworks, Processing, Cinder, Jitter, and the many other tools have been employed and crafted to satisfy this desire to rapidly create, prototype and deploy ideas in the fields of visual arts, architecture, informational design, visual music, interactive performance, physical computing and advertising media.
vvvv (first released 1998) is a unique tool initially created by MESO, Frankfurt to create ‘Digitial Interiors’. It is now publicly available and free to use for non commercial purposes.

It is powerful toolkit of media technologies, hosting a glut of built in functionality, tools and examples. Using a real-time interface you can create generative, aesthetic and functional systems without using code, but also without constraints. It can interface with almost anything you want, it can generate almost anything you want. There aren’t any other media toolkits that can perform so much ‘out of the box’, having you projecting Kinect tracked video onto buildings or controlling robot arms from Twitter in days rather than weeks. The true power of the tool lies within the elegance within which it makes its features available. In the opinion of this author, it can usurp all other platforms in terms of development speed, power and flexibility.

vvvv has been used for:

  • Long term installations (>3 years runtime)
  • Quick installations (<10mins to develop)
  • Vast installations (>50 projectors)
  • Deployed installations (>50 units)
  • TV shows (The X Factor)
  • Hosting websites
  • Making my mobile phone ring when the postman arrives if I’m at the cafe downstairs (1 hour development)
  • Almost anything

Real World Examples

Kimchi and Chips’ installation at Design Korea, December 2010 used VVVV for:

  • Integrated database driven mapping system that communicates with MySQL to store mapping data / remotely controlled from custom iPad software
  • Threaded video playback of up to 80 videos at a time (written in custom C# plugins)
  • Threaded video recording of two videos at a time (written in custom C# plugins)
  • Management of videos
  • Management of projectors
  • Playback of motion graphics
  • OSC communication with iPad interfaces for people to record their own videos

What you need to be familiar with

You should be proficient with computers (know how to operate, set up, fix your mum’s).

Any experience with coding or visual based development environments will come in super useful (Flash/ActionScript, Javascript, C/++, C#, Visual Basic, Objective-C, Python, Arduino, Max/MSP, etc) but is not necessary.

The main thing you need is a desire to create a project using this tool. As with all forms of technical learning, having an idea of what you want to create makes your brain start working on how to realise your idea. When your brain is in this state, it is much easier to identify a purpose for everything that you learn, which makes the learning process work. Without the passion to use the tool, it becomes impossible to absorb the new technical paradigms involved.

What we won’t cover

  • The fundamental elegances of coding in vvvv (this is something that will slap/kiss you in the face lots of times through experience. Expect to sit down afterwards and enjoy these moments to yourself)
  • Programming dynamic plugins in C#
  • Programming shaders in HLSL
  • Advanced patch logic (but we’ll point you in the right direction)

Software and costs

All software is freely available for learning/non-commercial purposes, and copies will be distributed with the course materials on the day. We will be using the latest version of VVVV at the time of the workshops (currently 26, which can be downloaded fromhttp://www.vvvv.org/downloads)

Equipment you’ll need

You will need to bring a PC Computer (ideally a laptop) with:

  • Windows XP/Vista/7 installed
  • Latest Windows Service Packs / latest updates to DirectX 9/10/11
  • A GPU within the top 200 of this list (or better/equivalent) http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html (e.g. Geforce 8600 or better, ATI Radeon HD 5450 or better). If your GPU isn’t up here, then please get in touch on elliot@kimchiandchips.com, and I’ll let you know if your graphics chipset is really good enough to get cracking.
  • WIFI or wired ethernet
  • A VGA or DVI port (or adapters to get to one of these, ideally VGA)
  • A mouse with at least 2 buttons (left and right mouse buttons)

Intel Apple Macs are fine, but you must use Bootcamp. You CAN NOT use virtualisation e.g. Parallels, VMWare, VirtualBox.

Equipment you might want to bring

  • Projector
  • Webcam
  • USB gamepad
  • MIDI controller
  • Second monitor (as long as its small and light)
  • Kinect

We can’t promise we’ll have time to go through working with all or any of the things that you bring. But we’ll do our best!

Suggested preparatory work

Download and install the latest version of vvvv from http://vvvv.org/downloads

Run ‘crack.exe’ included in the vvvv download, and install all the bits that it asks for (e.g. .NET, DirectX runtime, etc)

Brief notes on installing are available at http://vvvv.org/documentation/installation

Course Syllabus

Day One

  • Examples
  • Getting VVVV running on your machine
  • Simple animation patch
  • Introduction by example to:
    1. The vvvv interface
    2. Spreads (hidden weapon of VVVV)
    3. DirectX objects
    4. vvvv data types
    5. Shaders
    6. Transforms
    7. Textures
    8. User Input
    9. Logic
    10. Audio analysis

Day Two

  • Using video projectors with vvvv
  • Projection mapping essentials
  • Kinect interaction
  • Open workshop time

Learning Outcomes

This is a two day course, run on Saturday and Sunday.
You will learn after Sunday:

  • A hands on ‘by the seat of your pants’ tour of vvvv’s features and how to get started with each bit. Create a mental map of the vvvv landscape through experience, so every bit of new learning can be hooked onto an explained element of the system
  • Be able to work with vvvv and a projector
  • Be able to map content from inside your computer onto real world objects using a projector
  • Understanding of vvvv fundamentals

Course Delivery

Fifteen places are available on this course. You are encouraged to confer with other participants on the day for support and to develop your learning. There is no coursework or assessment on this programme. A teaching assistant will be on hand to assist with any difficulties the course participants may face.


£200 for the full two days. Included in this price is a hot buffet lunch, with vegetarian options (please notify us in advance if you are vegetarian or if you have other dietary requirements). Additionally, you will receive an electronic copy of the teaching materials, software, and patches for the course on a USB stick.

Tutor Biography

Elliot Woods is half of Koreo-Brittanic interaction design studio Kimchi and Chips, with works featured in Wired, Engadget and the BBC. He is a protagonist of the international projection mapping scene, creating tools and techniques that have been employed in niche experimental art projects and multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. Elliot has taught professionals, students and school children the techniques and arts of projection mapping. At NODE 10 (vvvv’s own forum of the digital arts) he gave a full-time course on projection mapping for professional uses.

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