Since my beginnings in computer graphics in 1985, I have always had the luxury of using the software that my employer has purchased to my own personal advantage. Learning the software was easy, since I had to perform for my job, and my various employers have paid for my training. I was lucky to get moved onto a Mac so early in the game, and now I consider my computer skills second nature. I take them for granted! My recent revelations have allowed me to return to the computer for creation and I am faced with some new problems.
I want to learn new stuff
Photoshop is a great program for working on still images. However, at this time I am working on video. This requires new software to do new things. My employer is a printer, and video is not on the menu. So you can imagine that in this economy, my employer isn't going to spend any cash on expensive video software and then train me on it...just in case....we do some video for a work promotion! This leaves me holding the bag. If I want to continue to work with video, I need to handle it on my own.
The days of MAX/MSP
I am interested in special video mixing effects, and even more specifically I am interested in affecting my video with some audio. I have special needs!! MAX/MSP is an expensive program, running at $699. I really can't do it. You won't believe the hassle I have had just to be able to use this program already.... I'm a tech at work, so I am often changing Macs, upgrading, and testing them. I did get my employer to purchase MAX 6 or 7 years ago. But the license structure required me to get a new license every single time I switched macs. After awhile, the company Cycling74 started to give me a hassle about the license, probably thinking that I was ripping them off. Of course, this didn't stop me. You can download a 30 day full feature demo and run it anytime. When the 30 days is up, you can't use the program anymore on that machine unless you pay. I just mentioned my luxury of having many macs at my disposal. I simply would use the software till the 30 days was over, and then either find another machine to use it on, or at one point, I even erased and reloaded a mac just to be able to get another 30 days out of MAX< so I could finish my Sharon Springs DK videos before the show! It's a drag.And it seriously bums me out.
This new project requires lots of high def video work and I can't keep doing this 30-day demo dance.
Hello Open Source. Hello Pure Data
Lucky for me, the creator of MAX is a believer of the power of open source software. For you who may not know that that is, open software is just that. Open. That means the code for the creation of the software is free and open to the public. It means that I get to take advantage of this benefit and use the software for free. Open source software is usually more difficult to learn, since there is no dedicated company that can pay to have instructional manuals or documents written. It's up to the open community at large to service itself, and mostly I think software developers are busy working that code, rather than writing manuals for the rest of us. For them, that's where the excitement is. Who could blame them?
Miller Puckette, the creator of MAX/MSP, has created a second very similar program called Pure Data, and it's open source! He is hoping that thru open source the program will grow and reach new loft heights. Since the same genius has developed both programs, they are similar. This means that I can take the meager skills that I had developed in MAX and apply them to this new software. Luckily I have a logical mind, and I am finding my way through it quite easily, even easier than I did in the MAX program itself! Finally, a solution! And it isn't costing me a dime.
Besides, it's a matter of principle
I believe in an open and competitive world. I really get annoyed about monopolies, greed, and commercialism. It's super good to be supporting the Open Source community and it's an added bonus to the project. I even hope to be able to provide some feedback to this community on my findings with working in Pure Data on my Macs. Working for more than 30 days without interruption will also be a welcome change!!