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!

14 thoughts on “Create a Video Synthesizer with VSynth & Max MSP”

  1. Awesome Tutorial! I am wondering if it is possible to send outside messages to these bpatchers. Like could I send a number box to rota bpatcher and have it effect the angle? Thank you again for the great tutorial

    1. Thanks Zach! Since the rota only has 1 inlet for the video signal. I would guess that if you want try and send a number box to the rota bpatcher, you may need to customize the rota to get what you want.

  2. Hello, Many thanks to you for the handy tutorial. I assume after the new update some titles/functions have been changed for instance WFG_2 simply does the combination of previous LFO and simple_wfg modules.

    1. Thanks Pooreh Bathe. You might be right, it’s possible some of the titles/functions have changed, but I still have some playing around to do. I’ve been occupied by some of the other modules like op1, op2, radial_wfg and wfg_shapes.

    2. A lot of things seem to have changed, actually, and none of them work. Does anyone know of a more up-to-date guide to getting running with this?

  3. I stumbled across this searching for information about Video Synths and in the space of a few hours, I’ve gone from knowing nothing about Max/Vsynth to suddenly having the ability to produce my own amazing video’s. Such a great article and I cannot thank you enough.

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