I hang out with a group of VJs from The Box Collective in Saigon. They are good at that and leads the market in Vietnam. Not only VJ, but they also work on real-time interactive and mapping projects. In brief, they are chasing after the latest technology available there and apply it right away.
Their works look impressive on the huge screen of steady concerts like Color Me Run, Ravolution, Moonson and so on. They are cool kids.
Because of that, I called Monkey, the founder of The Box, and asked him to take me as an apprentice. Instead of spending my heaven weekend with my girlfriend in Saigon as we planned, I decided to stay in Da Nang and followed Monkey with the Samsung Note 8 show. I even slept at the airport during the night before the show since I spent all my money to change the flight ticket already.
We used to work together 3 years ago at Yantv during its golden age, we were all glad to see each other again. He treated me well, paid me the room to stay and meals and introduced me with the team as his assistant. The show run smoothly, Monkey explained to me what happened and how it worked. I really appreciated his beautiful manners, however, I was not satisfied. It was not the art I had sought for.
Later, he run the VJ for Ravolution 2017 and let me swing by and introduced me with his 2 junior fellows. There was not much work for a newbie like me so Monkey passed me his spare iPhone and tripod to take picture and video of their visuals. The concert was quite something, thousands of audience came, but again, I did not feel enough.
I am neither a party human nor a slave of money and fame, I only care about pure arts. Every day, I want to learn and create something new at least for me. As you can guess, the visual for the SamSung and the Ravolution were not that different. Same loops with a little trigger on Resolume.
I couldn’t commit to my apprenticeship. I quit.
But still, I still support and follow their growth. Now the group get more members, they are all fresh and cool. The Box created more original and dope content with Smode, Notch, C4D Octane Render and Unreal game engine.
2 weeks ago, they run their first event ever called VJ Season at Yoko with 4 guest DJs from Japan and one from America. The show was quite successful. I helped them a bit with the media and I also learned to make some 3D visual with Unity by chance and played a half set there.
I was excited about my first VJ experience with my own visual. Still, it’s not my thing.
I prefer the deep conversations about the concept, visual taste or aesthetic. The study to sharpen the creativity for the artist and the strong narrative to the audience is more important.
Technology is just a tool, not our master to create. Our ideas still lead the way.
Coding is not hard,
or at least it should not be the barrier between visual thinkers and the power to open numerous possibilities of making great things.
But why coding when we have a bunch of advanced design softwares and plug-ins already? It sounds obvious but basically just play around with tools people wrote and developed for you already. It is not your pure creation by any means even you pay for the membership or the license to own your key weapons. Yet, you would argue that it’s your concept, your thought, your reflection so it’s your intellectual property 200% for sure. It makes perfect sense, you’re totally right.
Hang on. It could be the same thing when you buy a flat with the cosy interior design by your steady income in such a legal way. But that fact does not make ‘the house’ become your ‘home’ immediately right? A little care, a little decoration, a little mess might create the warm sense for space. In brief, you need to build up the core working for you.
Let come back to our little discussion about medium to create oeuvres, a basic understanding of computer science and the code language can save a lot of struggles and headaches when something wrong happened with the software you work, the app you enjoy toying around in the spare time. Moreover, you can benefit from this crucial skill later when technology keeps updated and you are somehow still familiar with the UI/UX design of 3D, graphics or rendering movie softwares that you master. Even further, you are able to build your own tools and customize your workflow for specific tasks and projects. Instead of being updated with industrial standard softwares, you can move forward and create ones because of the high demand for certain works that are not available yet.
After Effect is not the only choice for motion design, you can build the motion by coding in Processing and export the video by Saveframe function or export the video for various formats. You can trigger music and create songs too with coding. You can play around with the algorithm visual such as Perlin noise, Attraction, Matrix and so on. It could be a good start for further creation in game engines like Unity with C# and Unreal with C++ when you feel comfortable to build couple sketches from scratch.
If you are still with me till this line, please feel free to check out those resources for better understanding of Processing and fruitful resources to create your first sketch ever:
- Step one: Download https://processing.org/download/
- Step two: Play around with interesting examples, import “Pixel Flow” library into your Processing
- Step three: Make your first sketch ever with this nice tutorial
4. Step four: Learn the foundation of coding in Processing with Coding train a bit every day:
4.1 Trigger around with other sketches on https://www.openprocessing.org
4.2 Join Processing community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/creativecodingp5/
4.3 Follow some artist make great things with Processing such as
Raven Kwok https://www.facebook.com/ravenkwok.art/
Necessary disorder https://necessary-disorder.tumblr.com/
Oh, step 0: Enjoy : )
Processing for visual artists
Thanks to Emily Xie’s sketches
I played a half-set as a VJ last Tuesday for VJSeason event and I exported all my visual works in 2 months into full HD 15-second videos with DXV 3 codec (50% quality), most of them are not loops but narratives in the film language. They run smoothly in Resolume 6 and fit well with futurism, psychedelic or post-human theme.
You can download them here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1IwGBDJMVfr5Ui26dXNUGICwsVCC894CF?usp=sharing
Enjoy : )
Thanks to Emily Xie’s work,
This was build in p5.js in Processing
Pixelflow library, Processing
With 3D game kit in Unity, you can build a game without any single line of code : ) Well, it may kill your laptop a little bit but yeah whatever it takes.