4.4 OSC (Open Sound Control)


OSC (Open Sound Control) is a protocol for networking sound synthesisers, computers, and other multimedia devices for purposes such as musical performance or show control. OSC’s advantages (when compared, for example, to MIDI) include wider interoperability, better accuracy, flexibility and enhanced organisation and documentation.

Z Vector is able to receive and interpret OSC messages, which means it is relatively straightforward to control the software (and thus what it renders) from other programs or tools that are able to output OSC. Before doing anything else, enable the OSC receiver inside Z Vector preferences. Please note using OSC is only available for full licensees and will not work in trial mode.

To demonstrate the power of OSC in regards to Z Vector, we’ve written a short example program that you can run and tweak in Processing 3, an open source computer programming language and integrated development environment (IDE) built for the electronic arts, new media art, and visual design communities.

Download and install the Processing 3 as well as the oscP5 library written by Andreas Schlegel. After doing all this, copy and run the example code inside your Processing IDE. The example program is extremely simple, providing a X/Y controller on the left side of the UI controlling gravity and wind inside the Background settings, as well as a simple button on the right side which when pressed is a controller for the “revert and randomise/10” button also available on the Z Vector UI.

By now it should be clear that OSC is a powerful ally when using and connecting Z Vector with other software (say for example an installation). To get the full list of OSC paths supported by your version of Z Vector, please refer to the OSC path printout found inside the software (Z -> Show OSC paths). As witnessed by the list most controllers in Z Vector are already available via OSC, but if you’d like us to expose something more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Continue to the next and final part in the tutorial series:

4.0 Intermediate: Key maps, MIDI, OSC and meta controllers
4.3 Soft limits, takeover modes and MIDI feedback