Dan Hume's Blog

TouchOSC iPhone
November 30, 2010, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Performance Video

I have decided that I’m going to use the iPhone as a MIDI device to control sound effects in Ableton. After looking through various ways of trying to map my inexpensive Multi-touch pad to Ableton, I felt I wasn’t really going to achieve my goal with the prototype. I’ve managed to get the tracking data of my finger movements on the interface of my touch pad from Community Core Vision into Osculator. However, I’ve been constantly thinking ahead about how well the touch pad would work in terms of it’s interface and I could see some problems arising not far off. I felt I was limited to how much I could control in Ableton with a blank interface. There isn’t really a clear structure for me to map my touch pad to Ableton. I think a lot of detail would have been needed in that area; therefore I wouldn’t have time to work on making a visual piece for this project as well.

Looking through all the tutortials about how to get Osculator to send MIDI data through to Ableton, pretty much all the examples were showing either, the iPhone or iPad as the MIDI devices to control the software. There are loads of examples on youtube of people using there iPad’s or iPhones as MIDI devices. Here’s one of someone using their iPhone to control some effects in Ableton on a looped track.

I started thinking maybe I should use my iPhone for this project. I mean, why not? The TouchOSC application is out there for people to create their own MIDI devices on their iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone. I feel I’ll get a better result with using the TouchOSC application, plus it’s also very flexible. If I need to make any amendments to the interface, I can easily do that.

Hopefully, once I’ve got the application up and running with Ableton I should then be able to map another software as well to work in conjunction with the visuals.

Installing TouchOSC on iPhone

TouchOSC is a universal iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad application that lets you send and receive Open Sound Controlmessages over a Wi-Fi network using the UDP protocol. It’s basically similar to Community Core Vision, but is a specific application.

The application allows to remote control and receive feedback from software and hardware that implements the OSC protocol such asApple Logic Pro/Express, Renoise, Pure Data, Max/MSP/Jitter, Max for Live, OSCulator, VDMX, Resolume Avenue 3, Modul8, Plogue Bidule, Reaktor, Quartz Composer, Vixid VJX16-4, Supercollider, FAW Circle, vvvv, Derivative TouchDesigner, Isadora and others.

The interface provides a number of different touch controls to send/receive messages:

  • Faders
  • Rotary controls
  • Push buttons
  • Toggle buttons
  • XY pads
  • Multi-faders
  • Multi-toggles
  • LEDs
  • Labels (New!)

It supports full multi-touch operation, five controls can be used at the same time. Additionally the program can send Accelerometer data. The application comes with five default layouts that are organized in multiple pages but custom layouts can be constructed using the TouchOSC Editor application.

TouchOSC Software Editor/Layout Design

The TouchOSC software editor allows you to custom design the layout of the interface for which will control the audio software.

Above is a screen shot of the program. You have the option to design a layout for the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, from the layout list. I’m going to be designing a layout for the iPhone. Designing a layout is relatively simple as long you know exactly what you want to use. I’m new to all this so I’m going to go to design a simple layout that reflects the layout in Ableton.

In Ableton I have 5 audio tracks so therefore I’m going to use 5 fader controls on my layout page.

Above is a screenshot of the layout I’ve made in TouchOSC. I’ve added some extra controls which I’ll use for controlling effects to the track I’ve made in Ableton. The next stage will be to sync this design to the iPhone and mapping it to Ableton using Osculator.


2 Comments so far
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I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing problems with your website.
It seems like some of the written text in your posts are running off the screen.
Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
This may be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen before. Appreciate it

Comment by Cedric

Hi. Sorry you are having problems with the site. I’ve had a look through most of my blog posts and all the written text seems to be aligned within the screen. I think this is possibly an issue with your browser I’m afraid. Have you tried using a different browser or updating your current one to see if that solves the problem?

Comment by danhume

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