Isadora 1.3 Release Notes

Quick Summary:

Aside from acquainting yourself with the new user interface features, we strongly encourage you to read the about how the Projector actor has changed in v1.3 as compared to previous versions. Also we would point you to some imortant notes about the Stage Preview actor.

New File Format: Backup your 1.2.9.x Files!

Version 1.3 features a new file format; once you save your files in this new version, they will not be readable by version 1.2.9.x or the Windows Public Beta. So please back up your files in case you need to move back to 1.2.9.x for any reason.

New Features
Performance Enhancements
3DS Model Orientation Bug
New and Enhanced Actors
Known Limitations
Bug Fixes

Graphical User Interface

1a. Tabbed User Actor Editing

Isadora now features “tabbed” editing when working with User Actors. Upon double-clicking a User Actor to edit it, a new tab will appear at the top of the Scene Editor, each with a close-box. If a User Actor has been modified, it’s name will be underlined in the tab. You can easily return to the main scene by clicking the close box on the first tab. which will in turn close all the tabs after it.

1b. User Actor Input/Output Reordering

You can now easily arrange the inputs and outputs of a User Actor by choosing Actors > Reorder User Inputs and Outputs while editing a User Actor or by clicking the io-orderbutton within the currently active tab. A dialog will appear that allows you change the order by dragging the user inputs and user outputs up and down in a list.

2. New Toolbox Filter

The new Toolbox Filter gives you more control over which actors you see in the toolbox because it is more finely categorized with more descriptive titles. Just click on any cateogory and only those actors will be shown in the Toolbox. You can quickly hide or show the filter by clicking the disclosure triangle at the top left ot the window, or with the keyboard shortcut Apple-F or Control-F.

3. Pop-Up Toolbox

Isadora has a new “pop-up” toolbox: just double-click any empty space in the Scene Editor and the Toolbox will appear. Type a few characters to limit the actors listed in the Pop-Up Toolbox; then click the name of the desired actor or simply hit enter to add the highlighted actor. Complimenting this feature is the ability to hide the normal toolbox.

4. Horizonal, Vertical and Thumbwheel Sliders

There are now horizontal and vertical versions of the slider that appears when clicking the input port of a property.

Vertical SlidersHorizontal Sliders

You can choose which version will appear by choosing Actors > Edit with Horizontal Slider or Actors > Edit with Vertical Slider. A new a “thumb wheel” slider appears when editing a property whose minimum and/or maximum are unlimited (i.e, set to MIN or MAX.) There are now four ways to adjust the value:

  • Click and drag in the in the slider.
  • Click the value edit box and drag up or down.
  • Move the scroll wheel of your mouse while pointing at the slider.
  • Click the value edit box, point at it, and move the scroll wheel of your mouse.

For fine control, hold the shift key while dragging or moving the scroll wheel and values will change by a smaller amount.

5. Mini Color Picker

When clicking on the input port of a color property, a Mini Color Picker will now appear.

To adjust the hue and saturation:

  • Click on the color wheel and drag the slider indicator (white square).
  • Point at the color wheel and move the scroll wheel on your mouse.

To adjust the brightness:

  • Click on the brightness slider at the right and drag the indicator (white triangle).
  • Point at the brightness slider and move the scroll wheel on your mouse.

To dismiss the Mini Color Picker, click any where else in the Scene. The Mini Color Picker remembers the last six colors you’ve chosen in the swatch panel at the bottom so that you can easily recall them by clicking on the swatch. (The first two swatches are always black and white.)

6. Text Input

Now when you click a text input, a text entry edit box opens, allow you to not only type, but cut, copy and paste.

Other User Interface Enhancements:
  • Windows – No More Menu Bar: Previous versions of Isadora display a Macintosh style menu bar in a separate window. This has been removed to more closely follow the Windows User Interface standard.
  • Scroll Wheel Editing: When you click on a value box within an actor, you may now also use the scroll wheel of your mouse to adjust the value.
  • Improved Text Input: When clicking on a text input or output, a text editing box will appear that allows you to enter the text as well cut, copy and paste text in a standard fashion.
  • User Input and User Output Auto-Name: When you connect the first link to a User Input or User Output, its name is automatically changed to match the linked input or output.
  • Visible Grid: The Scene Editor and Control Panel now allow you to show the alignment grid.
  • New Views Menu: Menu commands related to hiding or showing elements of the Isadora user interface have been gathered in a new Views menu.
  • Live Input Feedback in Status Window: The status window has been updated to handle up to four live input channels. It displays thumbnails for the live video input and audio levels and a frequency spectrum for live audio.
  • Tutorial Links: Links to the Isadora tutorials hosted on YouTube can now be found in the Help menu.

Live Input

Four Live Input Channels

Isadora can now simultaneously capture live video and audio feeds from up to four sources. The new Live Capture Settings window allows you to configure the input device and format settings for a video and audio device on each of the four channels.

To learn more, please see the section “Live Video & Audio Input” in the Isadora Manual.

New Features: Stage

Aspect Ratio Contraint

Isadora now allows you to specify an fixed aspect ratio for any stage, regardles of the aspect ratio of the ouptut device. Simply set the Aspect popup menu found in the Stage tab of the Preferences to Limit To and enter the desired aspect ratio into the text boxes to the right.

Triple/Dual-Head-2-Go Support

To support the use of the Matrox Dual/TripleHead2Go, a second popup menu has been added to the Place On menu in the Stage tab of the Preferences This menu allows you to automaticaly position the stage so that it appears on only one output of the Dual/TripleHead2Go. To learn more about using these devices get additional video outputs from a single computer see “Using the Matrox Dual/TripleHead2Go” in the “Video and Audio Output” section of the Isadora Manual.


Custom Open Sound Control (OSC) Addresses

The Open Sound Control section of the Stream Setup editor allows you to add custom OSC adresses on which Isadora will receive OSC messages from other applications or hardware devices. To learn more, see the “Adding Custom Open Sound Control (OSC) Addresses” in the “Commnicating with External Devices” section of the Isadora manual.

Human Interface Device (HID) Input

Isadora now supports input from a variety of Human Interface Devices (HID) including game controllers, joysticks and more. Information from these devices can be received using the new HID Listener actor. To learn more, see the “Human Interface Device Input (HID)” in the “Commnicating with External Devices” section of the Isadora manual.

Graphics Tablet Input

Isadora now receives position and pressure input from most graphics tablets when the tablet pointer is over one of Isadora’s Stages. See the Stage Mouse Watcher actor for more information.

Performance Enhancements

Movie Playback

Smoother Playback: We have optimized the flow of video information to give smoother, less jittery playback.

Movie Load Times: We have optimized Isadora to reduce the lag when loading movies. Still, when instantaneous startup is required, you should use the Video Preload, CI Video Preload or Picture Preload actors to ensure glitchless transitions from one scene to the next.

Threaded Movie Playback (Mac OS X Only)

Threaded Movie Playback plays movies in seperate “threads”, which should help to distibute the load on multi-processor machines. While this feature is still considered “experimental”, we encourage you to try it again, especially if you use the Core Image plugins available with the optional Core Video feature who speed has been improved enormously. There have been many changes under to improve perormance. You can enable this feature in the “General” tab of the preferences.

Windows Native Movie Playback (Windows Only)

We still have a little way to go to make this feature perfect, but the CPU load when using Windows Native codecs (like AVI and MPEG) is significantly lower than when using QuickTime. You can also play MPEG2 (.m2v) movies using the feature, but only if a third-party decoder like the free ffdshow is installed.

Quartz Composer Compatibility Application (Mac OS X)

There were several Apple supplied Quartz Composer compositions that would not work in Isadora because they are “locked” to work with specific Apple applications like Photo Booth. This special application allows you to modify a system file so that Isadora becomes one of the “approved” applications to use these plugins. Just run it, enter the password for your computer, and the plugins will work properly inside Isadora.

3DS Model Orientation Bug

3D Models May Be Oriented Incorrectly in Older Files

A long standing bug in versions prior to 1.3.1 caused 3D models imported in the 3DS format to be oriented incorrectly. Please read this document for further information.

New and Enhanced Actors

Actors new since v1.2.9 are marked

  • 3D Mesh Projector: Considered “experimental” for now, this new actor will read a mesh data file from Paul Bourne’s meshmapper application and “wrap” the projected image round that mesh. We will be looking to expand the number of file formats supported for this actor in the near future. Please alt click the actor and its inputs to learn more.
  • Clock: Outputs the time and date, i.e., hours, minutes, seconds, year, month and day.
  • Data Array Actor: Allows you to store and recal lists of numbers, including the ablility to read or store the values to or from tab separated text files.
  • Float to Integer: Converts a floating point number to an integer using one of three rounding options:
    • floor: round down to the next lowest integer
    • ceiling: round up to the next closest integer
    • round: round up when the fractional part is greater than or equal to .5, or down otherwise.
  • HID Listener: Receives messages from the new HID input stream editor.
  • Math: Offers numerous higher math functions like sine, cosine, arctangent and more.
  • Matrix Value Send & Receive: This very powerful pair of actors allows you to send and receive lists of values and respects the current scene intensity as fades from one scene to the next are performed. They are especially useful if you are attempting to recreate the functionality of lighting or audio mixing consoles. The 1.3 manual has a detailed explanation of how to put these actors into use.
  • Number To Text: Outputs whatever number is received at the input as text. The output can then be fed to the input of any other actor that accepts text, e.g., the Text/ure actor.
  • OSC Listener/Transmitter/Multi-Transmit: All of these actors now allow you to transmit text, and bugs in the OSC Multi-Transmit have been fixed.
  • Projector: The manner in which the Projector positions and sizes the image has been made more consistent with other renderer actors, but will still operate properly in older patches.
  • Scene Intensity: Reports the current intensity of the Scene to which it belongs.
  • Send Raw Serial Data: Allows you to send an ASCII text or hexadecimal encoded data directly to the Serial Output Port.
  • Shapes: Now offers the ability to paint shapes with an arbitrary number of sides (i.e., hexagons, pentagons, etc.)
  • Stage Mouse Watcher: Now tracks the pressure of a Wacom tablet stylus.
  • Stage Preview Control: This control improves on the Monitor control, as it provides you a real time review of any stage.
  • TCP Send/Receive Actors: These actors allow you to send and receive data via TCP/IP.
  • Text Chopper: Extracts chunks of text from the beginning, end or middle of the input text. May be done by the character or by the line.
  • Text Formatter: Using a scheme similar to the Send Serial actor, allows you to take numeric or text inputs and format them into a single text string.
  • Text Parser: Using a scheme similar to the Serial In Watcher – Text actor, the Text Parser allows you to parse text input and output numeric or text values.
  • Trigger Text: Sends specified input text to the output when it is triggered.
  • User Input/User Output: The User Input and Output actors now include all possible data types in the Data Type popup menu seen when you double-click the actor.
Data Array Actor

The Data Array actor allows you to create a list of data, each item in the list being composed of one or more numeric values. You may recall lines from the list, add or insert new items, or remove or recall existing lines. The data may be stored on disk in a standard, tab-separated text file that can be exported from, or imported into, other applications.

We refer to the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the list using the terms lines and items. For instance, this array

1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4
3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4

has 3 lines and 4 items. The number of items across is set using the items input; when you change this property, value inputs and outputs will be added or removed from this actor as appropriate. The number of lines in the array is controlled using the add, insert, delete, and erase inputs, or by the number of lines in text file when its data is read.


The Projector actor functions differently in v1.3 than in previous versions of Isadora to make it more consistent with the newer video rendering actors. The width and height inputs now scale from the center instead of the left and top edges. The left and top inputs have been renamed to horz pos and vert pos (horizontal and veritcal position) to be more consistent with other actors that control an images’s position.

In updating this actor, we also found a bug that has been in Isadora since its inception ten years ago: the left or top edge of the image would shift depending on the values of the width or height inputs.

So, to allow old patches to work properly, the new hv mode input was added. The default mode for actors added in v1.3 is centered, which adopts the new functionality of the width and height inputs. The classic mode scales from the top and left in the buggy manner described above. The left-top mode scales the size of the image from the left and top edges of the image without the bug.

When you open a patch created before v1.3, you will see that the hv mode is automatically se to classic to ensure all of your old patches work properly.

Stage Preview Control

The Stage Preview control shows you a thumbnail of what is appearing on any of Isadora’s Stage outputs. Users of the pre-release versions may have experienced crashes, which we hope to have eradicated. But please read these notes:

Speed: The Stage Preview Control must read data back from your graphics card using OpenGL. The performance impact of using this control can vary greatly depending on the video card you are using. For instance, recent Mac Book Pro computers have two graphics cards: the slower 9400M and the higher performance 9600M. (The 9400M uses less battery, thus the reason to be able to switch.) The read time for a 320×240 thumbnail when using the 9400M was about 2.5 milliseconds per frame; on the faster 9600M it was about 0.5 milliseconds per frame. That’s a factor of five, obviously a huge difference.

Resolution: The resolution of the Stage Preview image is set in the Stage tab of the Preferences. Here you determine the actual resolution of the image that is shown in the Stage Preview. By default the resolution is low, to ensure that computers with older graphics cards don’t experience performance problems. But on more recent computers you can increase this value to something like 320×240. We do not suggest, however, pulling full resolution (e.g., 1920×1080 HD) from the stage, as the negative performance impact will be very severe.

Compatibility: We have seen issues when testing with some older graphics cards because of their OpenGL driver implementation. If you experience crashes when using the Stage Preview control, then switch the Stage Preview Mode in the Video tab of the Preferences to Compatible. This mode is slower than the Faster modes, but should work on almost any card.

Known Limitations

  • Multiple Cameras Of Same Model Not Recognized in Live Capture Settings: When attempting to capture from multiple live video sources, Isadora will only recognize the various cameras if they are not the same make and model. E.g., if you attempt to capture from an external DV camera and an internal web cam, everything will work as expected because those cameras are not the same make and model. However, if you attempt to capture from three web cams that are exactly the same model, Isadora will only see one of the three cameras.
  • Multiple DV Cameras Not Recognized On Macintosh: It is a limitation of the Mac OS X operating system that you cannot have more than one standard DV camera on the firewire bus at the same time. If you connect to standard DV cameras to the same bus, Isadora will only see one of them in the Live Capture Settings window. You can, however, connect multiple IIDC Firewire Cameras to the same bus, subject to the limitations of the limitation noted above. (See this link for more info on IIDC.)
  • No Audio When Capturing to Disk under Windows: When using the Capture to Disk feature under Windows, and only capturing audio, the file is not recorded.
  • Quartz Composer Plugin Freeze: Quartz Composer plugins may freeze or not work properly when two separate graphics cards are installed in desktop machines.

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