Audiovisual performances; bringing visuals to music and sound

Hi, new to the community!

My background is in software development, mostly involved with creating visual tools, audio is a new world of exploration. In the meantime I’d still like to contribute to the community with the tools and resources I know how to create. Specifically I’m interested in tools that add visual elements to the kind of music and sound created here. I’ve seen some unorthodox and interesting workflows in sound design here that spark similar ideas for visual workflows.

I would love to get your input on how (or if) you create visuals for your audio works and performances.

  • Do you use any visual media during live performances? (via projections, stage design, etc.)
  • Do you have any unique workflows for integrating sounds and visual creations?
  • When sharing your music or performances on visual domains (Instagram, Vimeo, Youtube, etc), how important is it to add a visual element?
  • If important, what tools do you use to create the visual elements?

There was a lot of great discussion regarding live visuals here. I would like understand what tools or workflows can be developed to allow more synthesis between images and sound.


Don’t have much to add as I am only beginning to learn, but I have been playing around with audio into TouchDesigner to modify 3d objects and what not. I’d eventually like to get into some projection mapping but alas summer is here and the outdoors call.

I’ve been using TouchDesigner for about a year. It’s a great piece of software for this kind of thing.

I’m using monome patches to make music, something I’m interested in doing is mapping the actions I’m making there directly to visuals. that way I’m controlling the video as much as the sound, without really thinking about them separately.

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These seems to be an important part of creating live visuals. If you setup mapping ahead of time (like you would with a modular system), the cognitive overhead shouldn’t be much more than just playing music without visuals. One way of thinking about this would be a visual system driven by CV values coming out of a modular setup.

There’s lots of great info in this existing topic:

If there’s enough overlap we can merge the threads to make things easier to find via search.

I was originally thinking about non-live visuals used when posting recordings or demos of sound/music creations. I’m not sure there is as much interest in that topic though as there is in performance visuals.

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You should look through. There is a lot of info in there about making visuals for music in general, tools, workflow, and use both live and recorded. I wouldn’t be so dismissive without digging in, there’s a wealth of resources.

Sorry, didn’t mean to sound dismissive. I dug through that post and linked it in my original post. I think I need to learn how to link other posts correctly (new to this forum).

No problem! Also my mistake, I didn’t notice the link in your original post.

Carry on! Sorry for the slight derail.

Lumen is a ton of fun to play with, especially if you (like me) don’t have the cash for a fancy video synth setup. It’s fun layering it with OBS doing some simple chroma key effects as well.

I also built the Cha/v and a few castle/cadet LZX modules which are great for dipping your toe into video synthesis without breaking the bank.


Hydra is a really cool tool that I’ve had fun playing around with. It and a couple other web app tools are in this creative web app wiki I started on here Web apps for music/video/etc. making

If you have any others you know about feel free to add in there! Unfortunately pretty light on video right now, but I’d love to find some more to try out.

For a live show that I had projector access to I once took some footage that @robotboot had compiled soundtracked by something I made, and played it off the native YouTube player at a really slow speed so that it would be long enough. I think it worked well because the performance was a really slow moving ambient piece as well.


Is jitter still a contender for this? Been thinking about picking up the max crossgrade with the current discount.

I have recently started messing around with Max/MSP’s Vizzie, which is kinda like BEAP but for visuals so it’s much easier to get into than Jitter. I exported the MIDI clips for some tracks, downloaded some footage off Pexels and just started playing around with the most “vanilla” Max objects (metro, random, sel, route…etc) to get the visuals to change with the music. Of course it’s still very raw and amateur looking but I’d highly recommend Vizzie to anyone who, like me, doesn’t know much about visual processing.

Going forward, I’d like to start doing this using envelope followers and gates instead of just MIDI coz I feel they’ll make the visuals more responsive to the music.

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Signal Culture is a great resource for this.
They have a nice set of apps that with imitate a wide range of analog video gear.
They also have workshops and more.
Link to apps.


Still on MilkDrop with some choice Martin/Nitorami presets here, for a quick music vid. Still looks surprisingly good in HD!


I’ve been getting into using Project M, the Linux port of Milkdrop, for realtime music visuals, using OBS Studio to mix in chromakeyed webcam footage as well as grabs from the desktop (eg from an oscilloscope VST grabbing the audio input of Reaper) and the output of a Critter & Guittari B&W Videoscope. It’s made for some interesting results.

This comes from a background of creating live visuals to accompany music listening using Deluxe Paint IV colour palette cycling tricks on an Amiga, with no direct connection to the audio beyond interacting with the software in realtime, so perhaps the results are best considered as steps on a route to further experimentation more than polished items as such.


That looks fab @DoS We should try and do something together!

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Awesome! Finding some resources here I hadn’t heard of yet. I’m also realizing that a live visual workflow hits a lot of the areas I’m hoping to focus on. The goal is to allow creating visual content to “side band” along with your audio when recording to share here or elsewhere. I’m seeing now that a playable visual instrument would be great way to accomplish this.


Woah Milkdrop is a flashback! Brings me back to Win 2000 days playing MP3’s downloaded from limewire on Winamp.