1.0 Basics: Introducing Z Vector


Z Vector is the world’s only music visualization and VJ software specifically engineered to make use of depth cameras like the Microsoft Kinect and the Intel RealSense. This means you’ll need a depth camera (or two) to make the most of the software. Z Vector is by Delicode, the authors of NI mate and Chronon. As of V1.1 the software is available for (64 bit) Windows 7+ and MacOS 10.9+.

The original Kinect for XBOX 360 (released by Microsoft in 2010) revolutionized computer vision by being able to produce a high quality depth map at 30 frames per second at a consumer price level. Depth maps are images that contain information relating to the distance of captured surfaces from a given viewpoint (for example the Kinect’s). They are typically represented as a gray range image of a varied bit depth.

At its core Z Vector is a real-time depth map manipulation, effecting and rendering software. The software gives you a range of parameters that all affect how the depth map feed (received from a compatible sensor device or played back from a .rgbd file – the custom file format created by Delicode, the developers of Z Vector) is rendered by your computer’s graphics card. Some of these include control over the geometry, the coloring, the distortion of the geometry and so forth. A small change in a single parameter might have a big overall effect on the rendered output and therefore a person’s perception of the whole visual.

This, the fact that your input is three- instead of two-dimensional and that your final render can be animated by sound, beat synch or further GLSL shader effects make for a software that can create a great variety of real-time visuals.

Watch the equivalent video tutorial series on Youtube:

Continue to the next part in the written and illustrated tutorial series:

Video tutorial series: Introducing Z Vector (1.0-1.6 Basics)