4.2 Communication Methods

MIDI works with an extensive amount of existing software and hardware. Digital Audio Workstations, or DAWs, like Ableton Live, Avid Pro Tools, Propellerhead Reason, and more, all support MIDI input and output. It is a relatively fast, stable, and time-tested protocol. Audio performance controllers often come equipped with MIDI over USB. These controllers include inputs hardware with controls such as: buttons, faders, piano keys, touch strips, jog wheels, drum pads, and potentiometers.

Programming environments such as Cycling 74 Max/MSP, PureData, Native Instruments Reaktor, and more, have support for OSC messaging. OSC messaging has the benefit of modern networking technology, higher resolutions than MIDI, channel naming, and many structural improvements. OSC messaging can be sent over UDP or TCP connections, making it incredibly easy to network, and transmit long distances in real-time. Currently, OSC is more commonly used as a communication method between softwares and computer systems.

DMX is a protocol used by lighting fixtures and controllers. Many DMX fixtures have various channels for dimmers, various settings, built-in chases, RGB channels, motor automation, and more. Many lighting controllers and desks use DMX protocol to communicate with fixtures and video-computer systems. With the many types of controllers and desks available, their manuals will be invaluable when creating projects with them in mind. In general, all of a fixture's channels need to be accounted for, even if they aren't being actively used. There are many ways to optimize the workflow of sending and receiving DMX data, mostly concerning the management and organization of channels. These will be looked at in later examples.

Sync In CHOP and Sync Out CHOP are used to frame sync internal and external instances of TouchDesigner. They use the OSC protocol for their underlying communication. These two Operators work by communicating the state of each frame on every synced machine. Once all sync machines confirm that they have rendered the current frame, they simultaneously move to the next frame. This sequence of events is repeated for every frame and keeps the synced machines always on the same frame.

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