1.5 Animating parameters with audio input


Audio input is the most straightforward method for automatically animating variables (and therefore the visuals) in Z Vector. The first thing you need to do is to route some audio in to Z Vector.

Open up preferences by left clicking on the gear icon on the right-upper corner of the UI. Navigate to the I/O tab, find the audio input section and choose an input that you can playback audio to from another software. Alternatively just choose a microphone input. Apply and close preferences by clicking OK.

If your audio routing was successful (and you’re indeed playing some audio in the selected device), you should now be able to see the incoming audio signal in the lower left corner of your UI. In Z Vector, custom low-latency algorithms split incoming audio in to low (L), high (H) and noise (N) bands. Furthermore the audio input in Z Vector is always under automatic gain control. This means that the software listens to changes in the audio environment, trying its best to adjust so as to make for the best dynamics at any given time.

You can control the potency of the audio signal by dragging the Audio dial left and right. This is important, as the signal strength will have immediate effect on how any parameters that you might route audio to will act. Take note that any adjustments in the strength of the audio signal take place after the automatic gain control talked about earlier. Return the dial to the center setting by right-clicking on the Audio controller.

Pro tip: You can in fact return practically any controller in Z Vector to their default setting by right-clicking on them.

Making sure that both your currently active profile and mixer slider are set to A, navigate to the Geometry section of the UI (found under the Controls tab). Click on the dancer icon in the tab to expose the animation controls for the geometry controls.

On the exposed controls for the count parameter, click on L (low), H (high) or N (noise) to route any of the three bands of your audio signal to the parameter. You might notice a grey indicator that will intermittently appear on the parameter slider. The indicator depicts the value of the parameter after the animation has been applied to it. Control the direction of the parameter change by left clicking on the – (minus), | (ping/pong) or + (plus) sign for the parameter.

Your render should now be changing according to the music. If you don’t notice an immediate effect, try changing either the gain and/or going around the controls for profile A, exposing and changing animation settings for any parameters that you want.

You now know how audio routing works, how audio signals are processed and how to use audio signals to animate parameters that make up your profiles.

Continue to the last part in the tutorial series:

1.0 Basics: Introducing Z Vector
1.4 Editing and mixing in Z Vector