Create a Video Synthesizer with Vizzie & Max MSP

Today we’re going to create a super cool pattern based video synthesizer, using one of Max MSP’s native toolsets called Vizzie. Vizzie makes video creation and manipulation really simple and I think you’ll see what I mean by the end of this tutorial.

So lets start by opening a new patcher file and looking at the left hand side of our screen. In the toolbar you’ll see a little V inside a circle. This is Vizzie, go ahead and click it and a menu will open.


All the components available in the Vizzie package are listed in this menu. For our purposes what we need to do is make sure all is selected and anytime we want to create a new component we’re going to search for it by using the filter field. To get a visual up and running quickly, using the Vizzie filter, lets create:

  • 1 OSCIL8R
  • 1 VIEWR

Next to connect it all:

  • Connect the output of your OSCIL8R to the 7th and 8th inputs of your PATTERNIZR
  • Connect the output of your PATTERNIZR to the input of your VIEWR

You should see something like this:


Your pattern should be oscillating and moving, pretty neat, but where’s the colour? Create a 2TONER and a KALEIDR and lets add it to our synth.

  • Connect the output of your PATTERNIZR to the input of your 2TONER
  • Pick two colours you like for your 2TONER
  • Connect the output of your 2TONER to the input of your KALEIDR
  • Connect the output of your KALEIDR to the input of your VIEWR
  • Lock your patcher, CMD+E, and set your KALEIDR mode to scale, then unlock

If nothing blew up you should have something similar to the image below.


Now Vizzie is rather processor intensive on my machine so I won’t take this too much further, but just to push this puppy past 11 lets select everything accept our VIEWR, then copy and paste it.

  • Create a XFADR and connect the outputs of both KALEIDRs to the inputs of the XFADR
  • Create a BRCOSR and connect the output of the XFADR to the input of the BRCOSR
  • Connect the output of your BRCOSR to the input of your VIEWR
  • Lock your patch, CMD+E, and tweak the second set of modules to something you think is cool, unlock your patch

You should have something like this:


The last thing you will likely want to do is record your video. To do that what we are going to do is:

  • Create a RECORDR
  • Connect the output of the XFADR to the input of the RECORDR
  • Lock your patch, CMD+E, set the RECORDR codec to h264
  • Click the Choose a directory button on the RECORDR and choose where to save your movie
  • Click record and tweak your patch, when you’re done, click record again to stop


Once your done you’ll have your own video synth clip.

For more video synth tutorials check out Create a Video Synthesizer with VSynth & Max MSP.

Create a Video Synthesizer with VSynth & Max MSP

VSynth is described as a series of modules built around Gen that together make a modular video synthesizer. With a Beap/Vizzie feel, Vsynth introduces video synthesis and image processing with the efficiency of hardware-accelerated processes.

In order to get started using these exciting new features, we need to install the VSynth package from the package manager in Max MSP. You’ll also need the Syphon package from the package manager. The package manager can be found at File/Show Package Manager within Max MSP.

When you’re done with installing you’re ready to start exploring VSynth:

  • Create a new patcher file
  • Right-click and select Paste From/Vsynth/vsynth_menu.maxpat

This new menu will allow us to create the other modules needed. Anytime you need to create a new vsynth object you just go into locked mode, CMD+E, and select the new modules you need from the VS Modules drop downs.


So in locked mode from the VS Modules create:

  • Global/render
  • Global/sync
  • Generators/wfg_shapes
  • Generators/radial_wfg
  • Processors/clrizer
  • I/O/output

Now unlock your patcher and position your modules so they aren’t stacked on top of each other, then wire them in the following order.

  • Output of your sync generator to the input of your radial_wfg
  • Output of your wfg_shapes to the 2nd input of your radial_wfg
  • Output of your radial_wfg to the input of your clrizer
  • Output of your clrizer to the input of your output

Now lock your patcher and click the X on render. Turn your horizontal master fader all the way up and you should see something like this.


To make this more interesting what we can do is:

  • Lock your patch then create a Processor/mixer_feedback
  • Unlock your patch, select everything connected from the sync generator to the clrizer and duplicate it twice
  • Plug all three clrizer outputs into the inputs of the new mixer, and the output of the mixer into the output
  • Now lock your patch, adjust the mixer levels and feedback to your liking and play with the sync modes on the sync generators

You should get some pretty interesting results. Here’s what I came up with below.


From here you can get even more experimental and add effects to your video synthesizer. For instance I added a couple of rota, a rgb offset and a frame delay to come up with this.


You’ll likely want to create a video of what you have done so far. To do that:

  • Lock your patcher and create a I/O/syphon from the VS modules
  • Unlock and connect your video output to the syphon input, similar to how you have it hooked to the output

This next part requires a bit of extra software, if you’re on a mac it’s called syphon video recorder (I think windows uses spout). With syphon video recorder it is easy. Make sure you have your syphon set up in Max MSP like so with something playing.


Then switch over to syphon and select your video source in the left most drop down. In our case it’s the Vsynth or Max.


Then click record and go mess around with your video. Now you can capture your own super cool effects, have fun!