Syphon – a new revolutionary technology for OSX
I’ve been very exited about the new possibilities that are opening up with Syphon, the new revolutionary open source technology for Mac OSX by Anton Marini (Vade) and Tom Butterworth (Bangnoise). There has been a lot of talk about it lately but it was not until last week Syphon came out in Public Beta that everyone can download and try out for themselves.
So what does this wonderful thing do? Syphon allows applications to share frames – full frame rate video or stills – with one another in realtime with alpha channel. Syphon also utilizes hardware acceleration on the GPU allowing for HD video in 60 fps.
Syphon is both a framework for developers as well as some plugins. Plugins are provided for Quartz Composer, Max MSP/Jitter, FreeFrame GL and Unity 3D Pro. Through QC you can make Syphon work right now in VDMX plus CoGe and in Resolume through FreeFrame GL. The new upcoming VDMX 5 beta 8 there will be a true support for Syphon allowing for even more functionality.
Modul8 users has so far been out of luck since M8 doesn’t have full support for Quartz Composer nor support for FreeFrame GL. However, Garagecube (the makers of Modul8) has been working on an interesting video mapping software called MadMapper that lets you map video from any Syphon abled software. It would be really strange if GarageCube made a video mapping software that doesn’t work with Modul8. During the VJ Tourna festival in Budapest there was a presentation of the MadMapper where they used a special Syphon enabled version of Modul8 (also confirmed in this CDM article). So what does that mean? It means that we probably will see Syphon in the next Modul8 release but we don’t really know whenever that will happen.
To get an idea of what Syphon can do you should watch this video which demonstrates how to take a composition from VDMX and use it as a texture on a 3D object in Unity Pro, all happening in real time.
[vimeo width="445" height="250"]http://vimeo.com/14566287[/vimeo]
There has been quite some debate around Syphon and some people doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of having different softwares collaborating. Here are some things that have been written about Syphon lately:
- Sept 17 Create Digital Motion: Inter app visuals on mac opens up visual collaboration
- Oct 29 Udart: Realtime visuals – open up the cage with syphon
- Oct 29 Discussion on VJ Forums regarding Udart’s article
- Nov 3 Create Digital Motion: Removing the walls between mac visual apps syphon beta projects mad mapping
As a side note, the MadMapper, while only in it’s alpha version, looks great as a concept but as of now it doesn’t seem to have a very thought out user interface. I hope GarageCube would collaborate with Philippe Chaurand (Anome) from the Iduun collective who did a great job on the MapMapMap module.