AV software and tools 2021

Here is a list of the top software and hardware you need to create stunning audio-visual performances to accompany live music in 2021.

Article January 5, 2021

Notch

A tool that allows you to create 3d motion graphics, lighting and interactive VFX in real-time. Great for professionals.

notch.one
Free trial then £99/m

Touch Designer

TouchDesigner is a visual development platform that equips you with the tools you need to create stunning real-time projects and rich user experiences. Whether you’re creating interactive media systems, architectural projections, live music visuals, or rapid-prototyping your latest ideas.

derivative.ca
Free for non-commercial projects then $300 up.

openFrameworks

openFrameworks is an open-source C++ toolkit for creative coding. It can be used to create audio-reactive live visuals.

openframeworks.cc
Free

VVVV

vvvv is a hybrid visual/textual live-programming environment for easy prototyping and development, designed to facilitate the handling of large media environments with physical interfaces, real-time motion graphics, audio and video that can interact with many users simultaneously. A little heavy on the coding side, but incredibly powerful with a little patience.

vvvv.org
Free

Processing

Processing is a flexible software sketchbook and a language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts.

processing.org
Free

Unity

Unity’s real-time 3D development platform lets artists, designers and developers work together to create amazing immersive and interactive experiences.

unity.com
$150/m

Blender

Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing, and 2D animation pipeline.

blender.org
Free

MIDI

MIDI is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices for playing, editing and recording music.

midi.org

OP-1

OP-1 is an all-in-one portable synthesizer, sampler, and controller, with additional features like a built-in FM radio and an assignable G-force sensor for motion controlled effects.

teenage.engineering

OpenGL

OpenGL is a cross-language, cross-platform application programming interface for rendering 2D and 3D vector graphics.

opengl.org

TouchOSC

A fully modular control surface that runs on all iOS and Android devices. Send and receive Open Sound Control or MIDI messages over Wi-Fi to control all compatible software and hardware.

hexler.net/touchosc

NI mate

NI mate transforms any supported PC and sensor into a high-quality real-time motion capture system within minutes.

ni-mate.com

Shadertoy

Shadertoy is a cross-browser online community and tool for creating and sharing shaders through WebGL, used both for learning and teaching 3D computer graphics in a web browser.

shadertoy.com

MadMapper

MadMapper is an advanced tool for video and light mapping.

madmapper.com

Max

Max, also known as Max/MSP/Jitter, is a visual programming language for music and multimedia.

cycling74.com

Resolume Avenue

Avenue is an instrument for VJs, AV performers and video artists. Avenue puts all your media and effects right at your fingertips, so you can quickly play and improvise your live visuals.

resolume.com

Resolume Arena Media Server

Arena has everything Avenue has, plus advanced options for projection mapping and blending projectors. Control it from a lighting desk and sync to the DJ via SMPTE timecode.

resolume.com

GrandVJ

GrandVJ is a live video mixer developed by ArKaos for VJs, DJs, clubs, and musicians.

vj.arkaos.com/grandvj

Ableton Live

Ableton Live is a digital audio workstation, designed to be an instrument for live performances as well as a tool for composing, recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering.

ableton.com

Vidvox

A VJ software, syncing video effects with live audio through code.

vidvox.net

Massive

A synthesizer created by Native Instruments.

native-instruments.com/massive

Modcan Touch sequencer

A digital four-track sequencer with memory and CV/Gate outputs.

modcan.com/emodules/touchseq

Syphon

Syphon is an open-source Mac OS X technology that allows applications to share frames – full frame rate video or stills – with one another in realtime.

syphon.v002.info

Z Vector

Z Vector is the world’s first professional visualisation software for modern depth sensor families such as Intel RealSense and Microsoft Kinect. They allow you to create movies and do real-time graphics in three dimensions rather than two.

z-vector.com

Trapcode

Trapcode Form is a plugin for After Effects that lets you create 3D particle grids and objects.

redgiant.com/products/trapcode-form

VEX

VEX is a high-performance expression language used in many places in Houdini, such as writing shaders.

sidefx.com/houdini/vex/

modul8

A VJ application, used for VJing, art performance, live showcases, and video production.

garagecube.com/modul8

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