livepainter free software

Livepainter Screen shot Yellow

I’ve been playing with this excellent program originally done by Josh Nimoy for an installation with GRL (Graffiti Research Labs). It’s a chunky, colorful, NYC-graffiti-style painting tool that works cross-platform and is open source. I’d been kicking around this idea in my head for awhile about creating a live performance painting tool, which isn’t exactly an original concept – see Golan Levin’s Yellowtail, Zach Lieberman’s Drawn, and the very hypnotic SuperDraw, for example. I’ve never seen Yellowtail live, but I did see the very early version of SuperDraw performed to some robotic German techno in the basement of the old Tonic club on NYC’s Lower East Side. Fantastic! Who thought that drawing abstract, floating shapes in time to music could be so engrossing?

Livepainter Screen shot Green

Now it’s about 3 years since that performance, and I still haven’t got around to writing my own version of SuperDraw (although I did just find a Processing applet with source code for Yellowtail just a second ago! Damn! Where was that yesterday??) What came closest was this fun program written by Josh, and it’s open source.

I started hacking it a bit to make it work for live performance, and there you go. I’d like to add a lot of features – drawing skeletal crystals instead of chunky swaths; a yellowtail-like motion-drawing capture-and-playback; motion-blur time-fade-effect on the drawn paths; the ability to rotate the entire screen while still painting; better color changes; etc. And I’d like to port it to openframeworks. But for now, it is what it is, and it’s fairly fun, for which I owe 90% of the work to Josh.

I’m going to perform it live this weekend at Openlab 4 in London, so if you’re intrigued, stop on by.

Source code

Mac UB App

Livepainter Screen shot Red