Isadora 2.1 – Release Notes

Isadora 2.1 user interface

Isadora v2.1 adds several new features to Isadora v2.0, and addresses bugs in the previous release. Highlights of the new features include:

  • More Flexible Video Routing: Isadora v2.1 allows GPU video to be routed directly to multiple stages at the end of the rendering chain.
  • Improved native Black Magic Video capture integration provides low latency video capture and output.
  • Many Isadora video processing actors have been enhanced to offer highly efficient GPU processing while retaining their classic CPU functionality.
  • Newly added FreeFrameGL (FFGL) effects offer additional video processing options
  • Global variables allow easy scene to scene communication.
  • New patching shortcuts speed up common tasks when connecting actors.

If you are just now coming on board with Isadora 2.x, you should take the time to read the Isadora 2.0.5 release notes. There are several important crucial tips that will help you get the most out of Isadora 2.x.

New Actors

  • 3D Model Particles: This actor is almost the same as the 3D Particles actor, except that you can use a 3D Model (imported into the 3D Models media bin) as the particle instead of a simple, 2D geometric shape.
  • Syphon Receiver: This new Syphon input module for Mac OS X can output vid-GPU, vid-CI, or vid-CPU streams. This actor replaces the older Syphon to Video, Syphon to Image, and Syphon to Texture actors which should not be used in new patches. This actor provides an important new input labeled ‘alpha.’ If this input is turned on, the alpha channel will be respected and transparent video will render as expected. When turned ‘off’, the image is always rendered on a solid black background, by forcing the alpha to Processing Mode 1. You may need to turn this input ‘off’ if the alpha channel for the source video has not properly been set. If the video doesn’t look right to you, try turning this input ‘off’. For example, the native Syphon output of some other softwares, such as Processing and Simple Client do not respect the alpha channel. NB When used in the ‘off’ mode you may need to flip the video stream using the FFGLFlip actor.
  • Set Global Value + Get Global Value: Adds the capability of global values to Isadora. More details on these important new actors are given below.

Enhanced Actors

These actors now offer mutable inputs and outputs, allowing full support for vid-GPU, vid-CPU, and on Mac OS X vid-CI which is compatible with Apple’s Core Video and Quartz Composer plugins. Actors marked with an asterisk (*) also offer expanded capabilities over Isadora 2.0.5.

  • Shapes*
  • Video Mixer*
  • Video Fader*
  • HSL Adjust
  • Crop
  • Difference
  • Desaturate
  • Colorizer
  • Freeze
  • Flip
  • Chopper
  • Chop Pixels
  • Motion Blur
  • Get Video Size
  • 3D Mosaic
  • 3D Particles*
  • 3D Player
  • 3D Quad Distort
  • 3D Projector
  • 3D Rect Project
  • Syphon Receiver (Mac OS X Only : replaces multiple Syphon actors)
  • Virtual Stage*

More built-in GPU plugins will become available in Isadora 2.2, which is scheduled for release no later than the end of December 2015. You will also want to download the separate FreeFrameGL installer described below to add additional video processing features.

New FreeFrameGL GPU Based Video Effects 

Several new FreeFrameGL (FFGL) GPU based plugins are available from the TroikaTronix website. To get them visit our download page and look under “Additional Downloads.” (Because these plugins are open source, they must be installed using a separate installer.)

Isadora 2.1 FreeFrame GL FFGL video processing

  • FFGLHeat: Colorizing video effect. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLMirror: A Split Screen Mirroring effect. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLAddAlphaChannel: Combines two video streams, using the second as the alpha channel for the first. Matches the functionality of the CPU based Add Alpha Channel actor from Isadora 1.x.
  • FFGLAlphaToRGB: Converts the alpha channel from a video stream to a black and white video stream so you can manipulate the alpha independently from the video it came from.
  • FFGLBrightness: Adjusts the brightness of a video stream. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLChromaKey: A fast GPU based Chroma Key actor.
  • FFGLColorizer: Change the level of the red, green and blue channels of a video independently. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLCrop: Matches the functionality of the Isadora 1.x Crop actor.
  • FFGLDesaturate: Allows you to gradually remove the color from a video stream so that it becomes black and white. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLFlip: Matches the functionality of the Isadora 1.x Flip actor.
  • FFGLFreeze: Matches the functionality of the Isadora 1.x Freeze actor.
  • FFGLGradient: Created a background gradient. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLInvert: Inverts the video image; i.e., black becomes white, white becomes black. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLLumaKey: A simple luminance key. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLPanSpinZoom: Allows you to pan, spin or zoom a video stream; matches the functionality of the Pete Warden Pan/Spin/Zoom actor. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLPremultiply: Premultiplies the RGB channels by the alpha channel. (Only needed in advanced situations.)
  • FFGLTile: A simple tiling effect where the source image is repeated on a grid. (From the FreeFrameGL Developers Kit.)
  • FFGLUnpremultiply: Unpremultiplies the RGB channels by the alpha channel. (Only needed in advanced situations.)

Improved Virtual Stage Actor

The Virtual Stage actor allows Isadora’s 3D actors (including the 3D Projector) to render into a video stream that can be passed on to video effects, Projector actors and IzzyMap.

Isadora 2.1 virtual stage

While this actor was included in v2.0, it has been much improved for v2.1 primarily because it integrates with more rendering actors. All of the actors with 3D in their names (3D Projector, 3D Particles, etc.) now allow you to render to the Virtual Stage. Because this renderer is GPU based, it is highly efficient. The output of this actor is a vid-GPU stream that can be passed through additional GPU effects, routed to multiple stages by using the Chopper actor to split the image into separate pieces, or mapped by connecting the output to a Projector and editing it’s IzzyMap projection mapping settings.

To render to the virtual stage, do the following:

  1. Add a Virtual Stage actor.
  2. Set it’s ‘channel’ input between 1 and 6. (You can have multiple Virtual Stage actors in one scene if you set them to different channels.)
  3. Set the resolution using the ‘horz size’ and ‘vert size’ inputs.
  4. Then add a ’3D’ actor like the 3D Projector. Set the ‘destination’ input to ‘renderer’ instead of ‘stage’, and then set the ‘channel’ input to match the channel you set in step 2.
  5. Connect the output of the Virtual Stage actor to a Projector actor, or to a video effect that leads to a Projector and you’ll see the image.

Note that the 3D Stage Orientation actor has no effect on the Virtual Stage. Each virtual stage actor has it’s own, private settings for the “camera’s” x/y/z translation and x/y/z rotation.

New UI features

  • Stage outputs are now always active in Isadora 2.1. This allows designers to work inside the IzzyMap window and to monitor video in the Control Panel’s Stage Preview control, even when no stages are visible.
  • The Projector actor now has an ‘izzy map’ input. Triggering this input opens the IzzyMap editor window for that Projector. When the Projector is inside a User Actor, you can now add a User Input connected to this input and open the editor without opening the User Actor itself.
  • Integrated Information Panel. This displays actor’s help text, triggered by mouse over. The panel can be resized like the other Isadora panels, and can be hidden/revealed under the Views menu or using the its shortcut “ctrl” or “cmd” + “/”
  • To make multiple links from one actor output to several actor inputs, hold down the “Shift” key while making links.
  • To select only the links between actors, hold down the “ctrl” or “cmd” and ‘Shift’ keys while dragging a selection rectangle around the links you wish to select.
  • ‘Classic’ actors are now color coded to bring them to your attention. Now marked red, these actors are easy to see in your patch, making it clear that you can update them to newer replacement actors.
  • Additional Shortcuts added (see Keyboard Shortcuts chart)

Isadora 2.1 color coded actors


  • Global Variables: Two new actors bring a long-requested feature to Isadora: the ability to pass values between scenes. The Set Global Value actor allows you to define a name for your global value “collection” (e.g., “MyValues”) and then assign one or more values to that collection. The Get Global Values actor retrieves those values, and outputs them when you enter a scene. Furthermore, these actors can be used like the Broadcaster and Listener actors to send numbers or strings within a scene. (You cannot however broadcast video or audio streams using these actors; for that you’ll still need the Broadcaster and Listener).

    Isadora 2.1 global variables

  • More Flexible Video Routing: You can now route GPU based video to the stage of your choice in a Projector actor or other renderer, much as you have always been able to do with Isadora 1.x CPU based video. It is now also possible to split a large format GPU or CI video stream using the Chopper actor, and then route it to two different stages – something that was not possible in previous versions. This feature is enabled by default. It can be disabled in the Isadora Preferences by unchecking “Shared OpenGL Resources” under the section “OpenGL” in the Video tab of the Isadora preferences. The feature should only be disabled if you experience problems running an older Isadora patch.
  • Improved Native Black Magic Video Capture: Isadora 2.0 introduced support for native video capture from Blackmagic hardware. (To enable this feature, select the Blackmagic driver in the Driver popup menu in the Live Capture Settings window after connecting your Blackmagic hardware.)


    Isadora v2.1 fixes a limitation in the initial v2.0.5 release; you can now capture video from a Blackmagic device even if it does not have video output capability (ie. the lower cost unidirectional capture models). Also, the Blackmagic video input now uses a far more efficient path to access the video on the GPU. However, due to the GPU implementation, scaling this image to a lower resolution may introduce artifacts not seen in the 2.0 version. We have it on the road map to address this for Isadora 2.2.

Other improvements


  • Version 2 “Actor Processing Mode” (more details here) now more closely matches the logic of the classic (Version 1.x) mode while retaining the advantages of the new system.
  • Monitor window runs far more efficiently with heavy data streams
  • Faster pre-load times for Movies
  • Updated to latest V8 javascript engine with support for the latest ECMAscript features
  • The 3D Particles actor has a new input ‘particle brt’ (particle brightness). It allows each particles intensity to be individually modulated as they are created.
  • Improved crash reporting for Windows

Changes to the Default Settings

  • Preferences
    • The new ‘Shared OpenGL Resources’ is now ‘on’ by default. This option appears in the preferences under the Video tab in the section labeled “OpenGL”. When “Shared Resources” is on, you can route GPU or CI video streams to any stage, or to multiple stages as mentioned above. But, in case there is an unforeseen situation where the “Shared Resources” feature is incompatible with an older patch, you can disable it. Don’t disable this feature unless you really must.
    • ‘External Video Output’ is now disabled by default. When the “External Output” feature in the Output menu is enabled, a bug in Apple’s code causes a hard crash when connecting or disconnecting any audio device on Mac OS X. (We believe this bug appeared in Mac OS X 10.10.) Because this feature is not often used, we’ve disabled it by default for v2.1. If you need to use the External Video Output feature, make sure to have all your devices connected before you enable it, and then don’t disconnect them!
  • Actors
    • The Projector Actor’s ‘keep aspect’ input is now turned ‘on’ by default (since Isadora v2.0)
    • The default location for video captured using the Capture Camera to Disk actor is now the desktop.

Upgrade FAQ

  1. How do I upgrade?

    If you already have a Isadora v2 license, you only need to download the latest version and follow the install instructions. If you prefer to have both Isadora v2 and v2.1 installed on your system it is easily done by following these instructions.

  2. How do I purchase Isadora v2.1?

    You can purchase an Isadora v2.x license here.

  3. Should I update my running/live show to use Isadora 2.1?

    No. We recommend running your show with the version of Isadora it was developed with. There are some behaviors that may change when moving to version 2.1 so it is best to use your current version. You can however install more than one version of Isadora on your system, so it is possible to start working with 2.1 while maintaining the current version for your show.

  4. Can I open my Isadora v1 or v2.0 files with Isadora v2.1?

    Yes. Isadora 2.1 supports both the v1 actor processing mode, as well as, the improved v2 processing mode. In some cases slight logical changes will be necessary, but many files run without any adjustment. Please create copies of your files before opening them in a new version. It is important to allow yourself time to adjust your files for playback in a new version of Isadora.

  5. Why are some actors renamed as ‘Classic XXXX’?

    When opening Isadora v1.x files in Isadroa v2.x a number of actors are automatically renamed to include the word “Classic”; for instance, the 1.x Projector actor becomes a “Classic Projector”. These actors have replacements in Isadora v2, that are optimized for vid-GPU and the current OS playback systems. It is recommended that you use the new actor versions whenever possible; for important shows, migrating from the old to the new actor is recommended. The ‘Classic’ actors can be considered deprecated, and should be avoided – especially the 1.x Movie Players which have been known to crash on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. In future Isadora versions, these “classic” actors will be removed.

  6. What is vid-GPU?

    Isadora v2 introduced support for vid-GPU. It is a video stream that is processed on the operating system’s video card, freeing the CPU for other processing. The use of vid-GPU greatly increases Isadora’s video processing capability and is the recommended format.

    All video and image media can now be played as vid-GPU via the new Movie and Picture players. Other image formats exist, and have been renamed to match the format of vid-GPU. The traditional classic video format is now seen as vid-CPU. When running the Apple version of Isadora you will also see vid-CI representing an Apple core image stream.

  7. What is a Mutable Input/Output (IO)?

    The mutable input/outputs of Isadora actors allow the dynamic switching of data types. In the case of many of the newly enhanced actors, it means that a single input or output can be connected to any of the three video types available in Isadora (vid-GPU, vid-CPU, vid-CI). For other actors the types of data that the mutable connection can switch to, include any of the available Isadora data types (eg: Text, Integer, Float etc..)

  8. What is FFGL?

    FFGL is FreeFrame 1.5 an open-source video effects format. FFGL supports hi-performance vid-GPU video processing. Many effects are available from 3rd party developers as well as those included with Isadora.

  9. What is the best video codec for HD playback?

    There are many factors in the selection of a video codec, including: Operating system, Hardware configuration, and your Artistic goals.
    Isadora is capable of playing HD content on any standard modern computer, and with the use of SSD (solid state drives) this ability is greatly increased.

    For more information, please read the Isadora 2.0.5 release notes where this topic is covered in detail.

v2.1 Fixed Bugs

  • 2310236 ‘Replace Media’ option was missing from the Media Bin contextual menu.

  • 2356615  Fixed crash that occurred when adding FreeFrame actors to a scene.

  • 2271922 OSC Listener showed incorrect Min/Max Limits when switching the ’type’ input between ‘float’ and ‘integer’.

  • 2351714  Fixed crash when dragging media files to the Media Bin across a scene.

  • 2385486 Fixed intermittent freeze of media when Snapshots switched the Movie Player ‘optimize’ and ‘index’ parameters during playback of media files.

  • 2422203  Fixed crash when ’Anything’ actor was added to a scene.

  • 2265287  Fixed missing output of Shapes actor when cut and pasted to a new scene.

  • 2431840 Fixed crash when a Mac-authored Isadora file with a saved ‘Sound Output Setup’ was opened on Windows. Opening these files in Windows now reverts to the standard, single output, regardless of the original ‘Sound Output Setup’ saved with the file.

  • 2432303 Background Color actor triggered an error message when the output mutated to vid-cpu.

  • 2304562 Fixed a crash when ‘ASCII Art’ Quartz Composer plugin’s parameters changed constantly (eg. receiving data from a generator actor).

  • 2393713 v2.0.5 Isadora Demo failed to add FFGL or Core Video/Audio plugins to the toolbox if registered with a v1 license when choosing ‘Try Demo’.

  • 2393708 Fixed an error for Isadora v1 license holders when dragging media files from the Media Bin into a scene using v2.0.5. NB As a bonus, this bug fix added the new v2 ‘drag and drop’ media feature for v1 license holders.

  • 2160630 Fixed a Windows-only crash, when deleting the first video file after adding three or more video files to a scene, with the Media Bin ‘auto-adjust’ feature ‘off’. 

  • 2265248 Fixed a bug with the TextDraw actor drawing at an incorrect size after repeated use of Hide/Show Stages.

  • 2502743 Fixed a bug where the native setting for a live video capture device did not connect the first time, requiring it to be selected twice.

  • 2391976 Fixed a bug with the Comparator actor where outputs occurred twice  (instead of once, as expected) if both inputs changed during the same cycle.

  • 2467403 Fixed a bug where the ‘rectangle (x)’ input parameter of the CI Crop actor caused a crash if set to the Max or Min setting.

  • 2530779 Fixed a bug where the new Capture Camera to Disk actor failed unless recording to the desktop. NB This fix adds a new default setting to record to the desktop, but can also be set to record to a users designated folder.

  • 2531015 Fixed a bug when using IzzyMap that a published ‘rotation’ parameter of a point did not rotate around it’s center point.

  • 2486923 Fixed a bug where using the Projector actor’s contextual menu for ‘Reset to Default’ opened the IzzyMap window.

  • 2486885 Fixed a bug where enabling the optional 3D parameters of a Projector actor prevented scenes from crossfading.

  • 2473276 Fixed a bug where switching the video output between Force Stage Preview and Show Stages more than once, forced the stage output to white.

  • 2409824 Fixed a crash when sending a data string to a Net Broadcaster’s ‘value’ input.

  • 2417892 Fixed a bug that when running multiple Isadora files at the same time in different Processing Modes (see 2.0.5 Release notes for details), caused unexpected behaviors due to a mismatch of the Actor’s mode flags.

  • 2391927 Fixed a bug where audio output of a Sound Movie Player failed if the ‘speed’ was ’0′ and ‘on/off’ was ‘off’ when entering the scene, but was subsequently triggered to ‘start’ while increasing the speed of playback.

  • 2558897 Movie Player running vid-cpu crashed when movie player interaction/performance mode was changed or movie index changed.

  • 2547659 Fixed a bug where HAP codec video files failed to play in the Movie Player.

  • 2594487 Fixed a bug where clicking in a parameter box with a Wacom tablet pen caused the parameter to leap to the Max setting, if the default setting was less than Max.

  • 2057919  Fixed a Windows-only bug where drag-n-dropping movies from the Media Bin with the Auto Snap feature enabled, caused actors to land in a different location.

  • 2431383  Fixed a bug where HAP videos of unusual aspect ratios were visually distorted.

  • 2350002  Fixed an issue with RGBA playback when converted to vid-cpu.

  • 2666721  Fixed a 3D Model Particles CI, layering issue.

  • 2318527  Fixed a bug where the Edit Text control actor’s border was drawn in an incorrect location.

  • 1578545  Fixed a bug where Blackmagic ‘External Video Output’ only rendered in the top-left quarter.

  • 2770902 Fixed a bug where the alpha channel of a Syphon stream was not received in Isadora. NB This fix added a new ’alpha on/off’ parameter to the new Syphon Receiver actor and classic actors: Syphon to Texture, Syphon to Video and Syphon to Core Image. See New Actors section above for details.

  • 2657221 Fixed a Windows-only bug where Midi Time Code failed to be received from third party applications.

  • 2666884 Improved the efficiency of the Virtual Stage actor by limiting it to only output video frames when a renderer actor is set to send it video.

  • 1961475 Fixed a Windows-only issue where use of the ‘Set Global User Actor’ command created a white line visible over the Toolbin.

  • 2745689 Fixed an error in the Text Formatter actor where a value was not always correctly passed to the output. (eg. 12.7 was output as 12.69)

  • 2991351 Fixed a bug where the Pause Engine command, followed by moving to a different scene and then choosing Resume Engine, resulted in the Movie Players in that scene failing to playback.

  • 2867988 Added a new start up check, so that if one of the essential Media Bins is missing when Isadora opens a file, it is silently added to the end of the Media Bin list.

  • 3011050 Fixed a programmatic error in the Math actor where inputs were converted from degrees to radians within the code.

  • 2987102  Fixed a bug where an error was generated when setting up a new midi connection in Isadora after quitting third party software that was providing a previous MIDI connection.

  • 3146480  The description and layout of the FFGLLumaKey Actor parameters has been adjusted for consistency with other Isadora actor layouts.

  • 2700071 Fixed a memory leak that lost one frame of video RAM each time a movie started. Also fixed an issue where a pre-load would be canceled if it took more than 8 seconds to complete, causing the background Movie Player to crash.

  • 3027948 Disabled the ‘External Video Output’ feature in Isadora’s preferences by default for version 2.1+, in response to a bug introduced by Apple in Yosemite 10.10.5 causing any application using QuickTime’s Device Output feature (seen as the ”External Output” in Isadora) to crash when plugging in, or unplugging an audio device. See New Defaults section above for more details.

  • 3196303  Fixed a bug where it was not possible to delete an IzzyMap point on a complex slice/mask, after the creation of another slice/mask on top of the complex one.

  • 3154000  Changed how the Javascript actor runs “main()” in order to improve the efficiency when processing multiple simultaneous inputs.

  • 3204269  Fixed an error where the ”Serial in Watcher – Text” Parameter Descriptions were listed in the wrong order

  • 2771437  Fixed an incorrect ‘Flag Mismatch’ error message, triggered when a User Actor from the users toolbin was pasted into a scene in a file using a different Processing Mode from the original file when the User actor was  created.

  • 2833038  Fixed an issue where the ‘User Actor On/Off’ actor, irreversibly froze the video engine if used inside a scene instead of its intended use inside a User Actor.

  • 3068688  Fixed a bug where the Trigger Text actor triggered automatically on entering a scene, in files using the v2 Processing Mode

  • 3212081  The Javascript actor print function now requires the addition of “\n” (for a newline) when used in Isadora v2.1+:  ‘print\n()’

  • 3202548  Fixed a bug where Stages 1 & 2 in 2.0.5 on Yosemite sometimes failed to send to hardware video projectors, despite being visible in thumbnail links.

  • 2753716  Fixed a bug where adding text to comment notes when there was also a large control panel in use, sometimes caused sections of the display screen to freeze, becoming un-editable.

  • 2780644 Resolved an issue preventing Isadora start up when using some Blackmagic Desktop Video drivers. NB We now recommend that all  Blackmagic capture device users update their drivers to Blackmagic Desktop Video 10.5

  • 3404245 Fixed an intermittent bug causing the Picture Player actor to stop functioning.

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