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Just in time!
Only a whopping 6 years and one and an half months after its first mention during Keynode 13 and to the day exactly 5 years after the release of the The Humble Quad Bundle, you can finally hold it in your own hands. Not exactly as the full release we had planned but as a preview:
To our own surpise we couldn't finish all the things we had planned to release today. Most notably the "windows executable export" didn't make it. We know this is a bummer, but we want to get this right and it just needs some more time.
Apart from that we figured there is no more need at this point, to keep it to ourselves. It is definitely good enough for a preview, definitely good enough to gather some feedback to incorporate into the final 1.0 release for which we take some more time to finish our plans. So let's have a look at what we got:
Besides staying true to its nature of being a an easy to use and quick prototyping environment, vvvv is also a proper programming language with modern features, combining concepts of dataflow and object oriented programming:
While for now the number of libraries we ship is limited, the fact that you can essentially use any .NET libary directly mitigates this problem at least a bit. Besides there is already quite some user contributions available in the wip forum and here is what we ship:
To accommodate for the fact that from now on we essentially have 2 products, we added two main categories to the forum:
The existing question, feature, bug, general sections were moved into vvvv beta, and the vvvv gamma section got its own question, feature, bug and general sub-sections. Note that by default the search is constrained to the category you're currently viewing. When you're using vl in beta, still feel free to ask questions in the beta forum. We'll handle that.
We've previously announced the upcoming pricing model for vvvv gamma, which we're currently refining and we'll update you on changes to it soon.
Until further notice, the previews of vvvv gamma are free of charge but due to its preview-nature we don't recommend using it in commercial scenarios yet.
Here you go: vvvv gamma 2019.1 preview 411
If you get greeted by this friendly fella, when running setup, please click: "More info -> Run Anyway".
411: 12 06 19
406: 10 06 19
398: 05 06 19
380: 01 06 19
369: 27 05 19
344: 14 05 19
318: 09 05 19
303: 08 05 19
301: 07 05 19
287: 06 05 19
273: 02 05 19
252: 27 04 19
230: 24 04 19
222: 18 04 19
200: 15 04 19
191: 13 04 19
180: 11 04 19
177: 10 04 19
Apart from the promised and still missing parts, we're aware of quite some little glitches still and will update the download link above periodically. So please check back often and report your findings!
one of the more important features for quick prototyping in vvvv always were the IOBoxes. Here is an update that finally brings the vl IOBoxes up to par (and beyond) with what you were used to from vvvv beta.
Most notably missing so far was proper support for spreads. Sorted. When creating an IOBox via "start link -> middleclick" you now always get an interactive IOBox for the supported primitive types: ints, floats, bool, string, path, color, enum, even if they are spreaded or spread-of-spreaded or...
Or configure your own, by first creating a normal IOBox via right doubleclick and then configuring its type (middleclick it) via the Inspektor to a Spread type:
Key to spread IOBoxes is that you can directly set their count, without the need to open an inspektor. By default they now show a maximum of 5 entries and add a scrollbar to show more. If you want to see more, you can change the "Maximum Visible Entries" count via the Inspektor.
To quickly modify a constant spread you can also insert/remove slices when the inspektor is active:
Same as with other editors, the spread editors also work on inputs of a node to quickly tweak values:
And you can now specify defaults for input pins that are spreads:
Mostly useful for numbers and bools, in vl you can override upstream values directly, by manipulating an IOBox that sits in the middle:
What we're used to from beta: Entering values via formula now also works:
Vectors now allow you to change all components at once:
Also the Inspektor now shows all properties that you get on a float IOBox, so you can now also configure e.g. a vectors precision.
Both can now optionally show non-printable characters:
Color IOBoxes now also show you transparency:
Paths finally can be reduced to smaller sizes and show proper path ellipsis, ie. preferring to keep the last part of the value visible:
Click the little O icon to open the current file/directory with their associated program. ALT+click the icon to show the file/directory in the explorer.
As you know, efforts have been going for the last year and a half into bringing a computer vision nodeset to VL.
The goal was to incorporate as many of the features covered by the world renowned ImagePack; contributed by Elliot Woods some years ago; while bringing in as many new features and improvements as we could.
Since then, listening to your needs and constant feedback, we have tried to polish every corner, fix every bug, document every odd scenario, add plenty of demos and specially we tried to give you a clean, consistent and easy to use nodeset.
At this point in time, we are happy to announce that the goal has been nearly met. Most of the features available in the ImagePack made it into VL.OpenCV with the exception of Structured Light, Feature Detection, StereoCalibrate and some of the Contour detection functionality. At the same time, newer features such as YOLO, Aruco marker detection and others have been brought in for you to play with.
So what's next? Even better documentation and loads of examples!
In the mean time, here is a summary of the new things that have been brought into the package in the last couple of months:
The new CvImage wrapper around OpenCV's Mat type allows for some optimizations, specially when dealing with non-changing images.
CvImage allows nodes to run only once when the image has changed, significantly reducing CPU usage
Since it is now possible to detect if an image has changed, CvImage is a perfect candidate to benefit from Cache regions.
Cache regions can now make proper usage of image inputs and outputs
The Renderer was re-built from the ground up to improve usability and to fix bugs and issues. Title, Render Mode and Show Info features were added. Renderer also remembers its bounds on document reload.
New Renderer implementation introduces Title, Renderer Mode and Show Info pins
Histogram analysis has been added to VL.OpenCV. A useful tool in many scenarios.
Histograms allow you to analyze pixel value tendencies per channel
Homography and reverse homography are now available in VL.OpenCV.
Homography (vvvv used only for point IOBox)
Two new Stereo Matchers were added, these allow you to create a depth map from a set of stereo images. For more see the StereoDepth demo patch in VL.OpenCV.
Depth map obtained from a pair of stereo images
Serialization support was added for CvImage and Mat types, allowing you to use CvImage as part of more complex data structures which get serialized with no effort. This can be a heavy operation so make sure to trigger it when needed only.
For a hands on demonstration check out the Serialization VL demo that ships with VL.OpenCV.
As part of this final effort to clean everything even further and make the nodeset consistent and properly organized, we needed to rename and move a few things around which as you can imagine means the introduction of breaking changes. We understand this is an annoying thing to cope with, but this was basically the reason why we chose to keep this pack in a pre-release state until we felt confident with its structure and approach.
In summary yes, you will get red nodes when you upgrade your VL.OpenCV projects to the latest version, but in most cases it should be as easy as to double-click and find the node in its new category.
An exception to this are the nodes that got renamed, which we list below:
Remember that in order to use VL.OpenCV you first need to manually install it as explained here. Also, until we move away from pre-release you need to use the latest alpha builds.
We hope you find good use for this library in your computer vision projects and as always, please test and report.
Up until now VL had a rather rudimentary support for pin groups. Only nodes following a certain pattern had the option to have a dynamic amount of input pins. For simple nodes like a plus or a multiply this worked out fine, but for others it either felt like a hack or it was simply impossible to use at all. A node having a dynamic amount of outputs was never supported at all.
This all changes now by introducing proper support for pin groups. So let's jump right into it and have a look at the definition of the very famous Cons node:
As we can see the pin inspektor is showing one new entry called "Pin Group". This flag has to be enabled obviously. Then we annotate the pin with type Spread. This creates pins with the name "Input", "Input 2", "Input 3" etc. on the node.
If we now look at an application of the Cons node we can already see a couple of nice new features:
Pin groups are not limited to inputs, they also work for outputs which brings us to a new node called Decons - deconstructing a spread into its outputs:
Cons and Decons are examples of using a pin group as a Spread. But there is another variant where the group gets annotated as a Dictionary<string,*>. Instead of addressing the pins by index, they get addressed by their actual name. Let's have a look at two other new nodes again called Cons and Decons but residing in the Dictionary category:
Pins can get added as usual with Ctrl - +, but what's new is that those pins can be renamed in the inspektor UI giving us the ability to quickly build up dictionaries.
The patch of the Cons building up a dictionary compared to the one building up a spread only differs in the type annotation of the input pin.
Apart from Spread and Dictionary the system also supports pin groups of type Array, MutableArray and MutableDictionary. According Cons and Decons nodes can be found when enabling the Advanced view in the node browser.
So far the pins of a pin group have always been created by the user interface of the patch editor. Things get really interesting though when creating them from within the patch itself:
Imagine the string being an expression of some sort generating inputs for each unbound variable. The possibilities are endless :)
The nodes needed to create and remove pins can be found in the VL category after adding a reference to VL.Lang - the patch from the gif above can be found in the help folder of the VL.CoreLib package.
More information on those nodes will be covered in an upcoming blog post. Until then you can try these new pin groups in our latest alpha downloads and happy patching,
Since a while, VL comes with the idea that you can organize node and type definitions in your VL document.
But now, we want to give you back another, alternative way to look at things - an organization structure, which is more intuitive and also well known from vvvv beta: The application side of things...
And also, we did this in reaction to the feedback we got from Link festival:
You want to be able to navigate the running object graph, where it's about the instances of patches, not about their definitions. You want to be able to navigate into a running patch and see the values that flow in this instance, not in another instance of the same patch...
Also, typically you approach your project top-down and just add more details to it since this is the basic idea of rapid prototyping: patching a running system that you incrementally grow and modify.
So we took the chance to shift the focus a bit so that in VL you again get confronted with the application side of things first.
This is what you know from vvvv beta: a patch can contain a sub-patch - you navigate into it and inspect the values flowing. You go outwards - to the caller - via "Ctrl-^". With the ^-Key we actually refer to a key at a certain position on the keyboard.
In VL this now is just exactly the same. Navigating into a process node shows you the right values. Ctrl-^ brings you back to the caller. So you are basically navigating the living node tree of the application. In VL it's been hard to think in these terms, but now it's the default. We also made sure that this works when navigating between vvvv beta and embedded VL nodes.
Also, try to use the back and forth mouse buttons if you happen to have a 5-button mouse. Ctrl-MouseBack will bring you to the calling patch and Ctrl-MouseForth will travel back into where-ever you were coming from.
Every VL document comes with an Application patch, which will open by default. You can start patching right away. A bit as it is like in vvvv beta.
Patching top-down never has been easier. Creating an Ape simulation from scratch:
You can run many applications at the same time, e.g. several example patches in addition to your project app. The application menu lists all documents that actually make use of the application patch.
Definitions in vvvv beta basically correspond to the .v4p files, in VL you can have more of them per document.
Library developers or more advanced users will of course still want to organize types and nodes and approach them from the definition side. This is like saying "There is one idea of a wheel, but if you feel like you can instantiate three of them".
For an overview of the definitions, each document comes with a separate Definitions patch - basically what's been the document patch.
Here you see what happened during patching top-down: on the definition side, we now have two Processes.
That's where you would from now on also place your Classes, Records...
Navigation within the current document structure works with Ctrl-Shift-^, Ctrl-Shift-MouseBack, Ctrl-Shift-MouseForth.
When navigating into a patch like that you will see some instance of the patch or maybe none, if none is instantiated or currently running. In this case, you will not be able to see any values.
If the patch is not yet inspecting a particular instance it will wait for the moment an instance gets executed and then attach to this particular instance.
We took the chance to clean up some bits in the node browser and the patch explorer as well.
The application patch e.g. now doesn't offer confusing options, but basically only shows the properties stemming from pads, the Process Node Definition now is called that way (was "Order"), Process Nodes in the node browser look a bit like process nodes in the patch, choices like "Input", "Node" appear at the top of the list of choices in the node browser...
That should be it for now!
Thanks, yours devvvs
we have regular expressions in vl. What the? Here is the gist:
vvvv beta comes with the RegExpr (String) which is quite handy but doesn't cover all cases. vux provides a RegExpr (String Replace) via the addonpack, which adds the "replace" case, but there is more. So let's see what we got in shop for vvvv gamma:
The simplest case: Just figure out if a given string matches a given pattern:
Sometimes a simple replace by string is not enough. See this example where we're stripping a string of all occurences of html-tags, ie. replacing them with nothing.
Sometimes a split by string is not enough. See this example where we're splitting a string by any multiple occurances of lowercase letters:
Find all substrings that match a given pattern. Imagine a string that contains many dates written in the format "Month Day, Year" and you want to get all of those:
The last pin on all of the above nodes is the Options enum pin. Since this enum allows multiple selections (ie. a bitwise combination of its member values), there is a RegexOptions node that allows you to set multiple of the options at the same time:
The above should cover most typical usecases. But regular expressions can do even more. Luckily with vl you're not restricted to what we decide to provide for you, but you have direct access to the full set of functionality .NET regular expressions offer. For example there are situations where you want to use the static operations that .NET provides instead of the process nodes shown above. If so, simply choose "Advanced" in the nodebrowser and, navigate to the "Regex" type and choose the static operations from there...
Available for testing in latest alphas now!
To answer the often contemplated question of "Where the hell is this all going?" we first have to establish that vvvv is different things for different people. Let's have a look at some of these different perspectives:
￭ vvvv - a generative designers best friend
￭ vvvv - a data visualizers wonder weapon
￭ vvvv - an interaction designer's magic wand
￭ vvvv - the multiscreen solution
￭ vvvv - physical computing covered
￭ vvvv - a projectionmapper's dream
￭ vvvv - rapid prototyping on steroids
￭ vvvv - your procedural lighting desk
￭ vvvv - computervision for everyone
￭ vvvv - stage? show? control!
￭ vvvv - fish feeding for the lazy
￭ vvvv - L.A.S.E.R zzzz!1!!
That's all?, we hear you say...and you mumble on, but can I please has:
￭ vvvv - a tool for machines to learn
￭ vvvv - easy logic for gamers
￭ vvvv - visual scripting done right
￭ vvvv - klickklickklick your mobile app
￭ vvvv - the no-brainer IOT toolbox
￭ vvvv - the final webdev solution
￭ vvvv - an admin's batching buddy
￭ vvvv - robots dig this
￭ vvvv - no controller too micro
￭ vvvv - from sound to noise in one patch
￭ vvvv - any shaders of gray
￭ vvvv - scratch that: kids taken seriously
Well, vl, vl, we hear ya.. and that's exactly why at the heart of it all, we have always been, and will continue to work on:
￭ vvvv - a multipurpose toolkit
When we started working on VL, we never thought about creating anything different than vvvv. We had our issues with vvvv and wanted to solve those. But mostly we loved it and wanted to keep the good things we still enjoy about it. Essentially we set out to rewrite vvvv to make it better, nothing more.
So it is our great pleasure that we can finally annouce the impending release of what we've so far been referring to as "VL standalone":
For a start, vvvv gamma will focus on 3 main scenarios:
Frankly it will be gorgeous and above all shine through the following features:
Nope, don't think vs., we prefer to think ♥!
Here is how to read this: Over the past years we've been R&D'ing a next generation visual programming language that we dubbed: VL. And we still call it that: VL is a programming language, just like c#, that now happens to power two of our products:
While for vvvv beta, VL is just another language it supports, for vvvv gamma, VL is the core. As such, both beta and gamma will continue to profit as we progress with VL. We are well aware of the fact that gamma is not going to replace beta for everyone anytime soon. We're therefore commited to support both equally for the foreseeable future.
If you're interested in a few more details regarding how we'll be polishing vvvv gamma for its initial release, please head over to our roadmap.
We're still working this out and will update you on licensing early next year.
As we've previously reported from our lab, our initial efforts of integrating the Xenko 3d engine couldn't have gone much smoother. We have helped realize a complex multiuser VR project within just 4 months besides our research and now know that this is certainly the way for us to go forward. VL.Xenko will complete vvvv gamma to a fancypantsy interactive 3d authoring environment.
We're confident to be releasing an initial public version of VL.Xenko before 2019.Q4 and we have some ideas for a prerelease phase that we'll announce soon.
Thanks for using vvvv, thanks for your feedback on VL, thanks for your patience, thanks for the licenses you buy which makes this journey possible for all of us.
Have a nice holiday, get some rest, because 2019 will be the year of the vvvv desktop!
This was long requested and it's finally here! Latest VVVV.OpenVR can use vive trackers without HMD (head mounted device). There is a dedicated pose output on the Poser (OpenVR) node and you can request the serial numbers of all connected devices.
Here is how to get started with high-performance 6DOF positional tracking for as little as $230 bucks. Minimum hardware requirement is one base station and one tracker. Although two base stations are recommended for much better tracking stability.
In order to get the trackers running without HMD you need to do the following steps:
Find this file on your drive:
change "enable" to "true".
Then open this file:
Add the following entries to the "steamvr" section:
"forcedDriver": "null", "activateMultipleDrivers": "true",
SteamDirectory is usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam.
Also make sure to disable the "SteamVR Home" on startup. Otherwise it will try to render into the null HMD and consume 100% of one CPU core:
If SteamVR was running, close and restart it.
When SteamVR restarts, you can connect a tracker or controller without the HMD. Follow these instructions to pair the trackers ("Pair Tracker" is now "Pair Controller"): Pairing Vive Tracker
SteamVR should then look similar to this:
Note: The red “Not Ready” text can appear occasionally but that should be no problem if you are using the null driver.
If you don't run the calibration process, the first found vive lighthouse base station will be the origin of the tracking space. If you can live with that you need to provide your own calibration matrix in vvvv and multiply it with the pose matrices coming out of the Poser node.
If you have the vive controllers you can run the room setup normally (no need for the HMD to be connected if you use the null driver).
You can also use the tracker as a controller for calibration, but you need to connect a simple circuit to the pogo pins to be able to activate the 'trigger' button during the calibration process.
More detailed developer info on the pogo pins can be found here: Vive Tracker For Developers
You can download the new OpenVR pack here: VVVV.OpenVR
Open the demo patch 02_TrackersOnlyDemo.v4p in the VVVV.OpenVR\girlpower folder and enjoy tracking!
Welcome back to the second sneak peek into our adventures with xenko. Together with MLF we've been busy patching the first project done entirely with vl and xenko: Ocean of Air. So far the combination works superbé, and you can experience that for yourself until the 20th of January, if you are in the London area. Alongside the project we explored the xenko code base and now that it's live, we can give you some more insights into our research.
In the last blog post we used predefined entities to set up a little scene graph. This time we will dig a little bit deeper.
Having primitive objects like Box, Sphere, Plane etc. is nice for casual patching and quickly visualizing something. But you will need more sophisticated objects for the final output of your project. What you want to do is designing your own objects that are specific to your use case.
Luckily, game engines have quite similar requirements and came up with a good solution, and they call it entity/component/system, short ECS, which is also the latest hype in Unity. Xenko has a good documentation page if you want to go into detail. But for now let's stay on topic and keep two things in mind:
We found two appealing ways to create custom entities that can also be combined with each other in any way that suits you. You can either patch them or design them in xenko's game studio using their prefab workflow. Here is a simple example for both cases:
Let's look inside the BoxEntity from the last blog post:
As you can see, it adds a BoxComponent to the entity on Create (white) and exposes parameters like Color, Transformation, Enabled etc. as input pins on Update (gray). This is more or less an arbitrary choice of how the BoxEntity is designed and it will probably change a bit before it becomes official. The patch is also an example of how vl's process nodes work nicely together with the entity component model. Each instance of an entity or a component can be represented by a process node and connected with each other in an understandable way.
In the patch we saw the EmptyEntity node, which is a general entity object that contains nothing more than a TransformComponent, hence the transform input pin. To make something useful with it, we add more components (e.g. model, material, audio, physics etc.) to it. There are many of them and you can combine them as it suits your use case. The big advantage here is, that the components are able to interact with each other via the common parent entity and that the scene graph system automatically processes them in an optimized way. This is where it gets interesting!
Let's say we want the box from the patch above to emit a sound from its current position. In order to do that we only have to add a SpatialAudioComponent to the same entity as the box component:
Since the SpatialAudioComponent and the BoxComponent have a common parent entity they will share the same transformation. Also, if an entity has child entities, the children get transformed by the parent. We could use that feature to add an AxisEntity to our custom entity:
Again, there is no need to connect the input transformation to the AxisEntity since it gets added as a child to the main entity and gets transformed automatically.
Here is what a little scene could look like:
Let's add a second one and let them rotate in the scene to hear the spatial audio effect. Aaaaaand action! (works best with headphones):
There is also a super easy way to design custom entities in xenko's game studio and use them in your patch. Suppose we have a 3d model with animation and skinning imported and edited in game studio. All we have to do now is to create a prefab from it and give it a meaningful name:
Learn more about xenko's prefab workflow here. Once we have that it's as simple as this to use it in your scene:
And finally we will start the walk animation:
Starting the animation is also patched in this case, but let's save that one for another post.
The entity component model of xenko works very well together with vl's process node feature. VL's automatic recompile and instant stateful hot reload allows to dynamically combine and configure entities and the scene graph in real-time while the application is running. You can combine different workflows with each other, simple primitives, custom patched entities or imported prefabs. There is no right or wrong, just build up the scene in a way that suits your way of thinking and the requirements of your project.
We still have only scratched the surface here, there is much more to come.
welcome the first update to our beloved 2D graphics library.
Since this summer's release quite a few things have happened.
The main focus was on covering every single aspect of the Skia's Paint (defines how everything looks like when rendered) and cleaning it up.
We would say it is now complete.
We've also introduced some special gems like Masks, Precompositions, Ellipsis and some more examples.
Never heard of Skia before? Check Skia on Wikipedia.
You already were able to clip layers by rectangles or paths (ClipRect, ClipPath), now you can use any layer as a mask (as you know it from Photoshop), be it an image or very complicated layer pipeline. Welcome the Mask. It comes in two flavors: one uses a layer as a mask, another one just an image. The node has useful helpers which allow you to see how the mask looks like and where it is applied.
While researching for the masks we've stumbled upon Skia's superpower: we call it precomposing. Layers can be precomposed (leaving canvas unchanged) and then applied (grouped) with other layers. It's like having an extra render pass that works like a layer.
So now you've got two options: you can blur every single particle alone (by setting SetMaskFilter > Blur) or prepare all of them (precompose) and then blur the whole scene at once (by setting SetImageFilter > Blur).
In the screeshot above:
Left - every single circle is blurred alone, the background comes into play.
Right - the whole precomposition is blurred.
Then we have these boring Ellipsis nod... nodes. They clip your text (left, right or center) by the number of letters or the width in units. Like this:
We've cleaned up the Paint a lot and now you can set or get any of its properties. Don't forget to turn on the "Advanced" filter of the NodeBrowser (like in the screenshot or just press TAB-key) to get the full power. SetFakeBoldText anyone?
In the Paint category:
Don't forget to check the /examples folder of the package (your-vvvv-folder/lib/packs/VL.Skia.xxxx/).
There are also some updates to the /examples/demos, like the Slideshow.vl which let's you click through your-very-big-images asynchronously preloading them in the background.
1. Install the latest vvvv_50beta38.1 (older versions are not supported)
2. In vvvv, middleclick > Show VL
3. In VL, go to: Dependencies > Manage Nugets > Commandline and type:
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