Vuo has been a long time in the making. The idea of building a drag-and-drop interface for mixing all kinds of media and hardware grew out of years of playing with computer graphics. As far back as the 1990s, some of us from Team Vuo (as high-school students) began experimenting with generating visuals for live music performances. We wanted to be able to improvise generative art and video mixing as fluidly as musicians could improvise sounds.
When Apple released Quartz Composer in 2005, it quickly became our app of choice for making music visuals. We loved how simple and flexible it was compared to other modular patching apps. Yet there was a lot that it couldn’t do, so we started to push the boundaries by releasing the first ever QC SDK (before QC had a public API) and the Kineme line of plugins. Influenced by the many folks of the Kineme community who were also pushing QC’s boundaries, we reimagined QC not just as a fun way to make music visuals but as a general-purpose development tool.
Fast-forward several years. We were starting to wonder about the future of QC. It wasn’t growing and improving the way it used to. It was still using older graphics technology and uniprocessing when the rest of the world was moving on to newer shader-based graphics and multiple cores. We were boxed in by its limitations.
We started asking ourselves: What if we were to take the parts we liked about QC, and make something more powerful, faster, and easier to use? After months of sketching and prototyping, we decided to take the plunge. Self-funded by money saved up from several years of work for consulting clients, we set out to develop the first beta version of Vuo.
With its 1.0 release in 2014, Vuo graduated from beta to full-fledged app — and it’s still growing. Vuo can do a lot of what QC can do, as well as a lot that QC can’t. A community has blossomed around Vuo, with people sharing their compositions and helping each other learn. The community shapes the future of Vuo by suggesting and voting on features. And the community helps support Vuo development through their funding.
We of Team Vuo are working hard to pack each Vuo release with exciting new features, and to personally respond to questions and ideas from the Vuo community. We’re continuing to help fund Vuo through software consulting, as we work toward making Vuo self-sustaining.