[PD] Max & Pd

marius schebella marius.schebella at gmail.com
Thu Dec 6 17:46:02 CET 2007

Hi Andrew,
I use both. I am in a graduate class at brooklyn polytech, where josh 
goldberg teaches real time video interaction. it is an advanced class, 
and there are only 6 people, 3 of them are passionate ("professional"?) 
jitter users, and 2 people started using max in this program, but are 
also using other real time programs (or write their own C/Java/whatever 
code) plus me. It is not a dedicated max class, but max gets the 
greatest support.
I really tried hard to stay with Pd and do everything in GEM+... but at 
some point this year I realized that GEM is not at all that highly 
developed as max and jitter.
the most obvious and useful things are the tons of @arguments that each 
objects accepts. then, with pwindow you always have small control 
windows inside your patch. all textures can be referenced by giving a 
@name attribute. you can switch easily between matrix computation and gl 
world. you have better scripting support, plus more addons.
the problem with gem, as I mentioned already on the list, is that it 
does not have enough developers. only iohannes and chris clepper are 
working on it, and it is more maintenance, than active developing.
myself I am trying hard to get into GEM development, but it takes time 
until I know enough to be able to do that.
the limitations of GEM at the moment are:
no real multitexture support for opengl. that is a must, if you want to 
work with shader languages like glsl.
(jitter has that plus also javascript to combine the shaders, which in 
pd you have to do by patching.)
this should be easily fixed by someone with sufficiant knowledge of the 
opengl world and gem (and time and resources...). wesley, who is also on 
this list, but also developing for c74, wrote the lua objects for 
jitter, and pdlua should be able to do equivalent stuff on pd-side for 
that (I am working to get it included into pd-extended.) I could imagine 
that luagl people would rather use pd than max, because of open source.
on osx 10.5 the GEM window doesnot come to the front and does not accept 
I experienced problems with the colorspace on osx with some pix_obects.
on the other side jitter comes with a huge set of externals and 
abstractions. cv.jit is a great additional resource. but there are tons...
jitter has the more lively user community and you have more developers.

both programs lack of good vector graphics handling objects (like 
flash). this is a big lack in the open source world. a web savy open 
source replacement for flash!!!

still, my heart beats for the open source community, so I would like to 
see gem and pd do the same things (and more) than max and jitter can do. 
If you work in longtime installations you want to use linux and gem. 
opengl/gem on linux is faster than anything else (well at least faster 
than max/jitter). os x graphics drivers even limit some features of the 
gfx card for compatibility reasons...

for the next 3 years at least, gem will be behind, and if there are no 
new coders that will not change. I am not sure if this will change 
without money getting involved. the only other possibility to get people 
involved is teaching pd/gem at college level. and get student 
programmers involved. or grab some money for gem development. google 
summer of code, or grants...

above all that, there are all still the "obvious" pro/cons of max vs pd.

Andrew Brouse wrote:
> Hello Pd and Max folks,
> I am doing a presentation (tomorrow!... so this request is a bit late!) on
> differences between Max and Pd as tools for music and media art.
> I am interested in hearing:
> 1. from people who actively use both
> 2. about less-obvious advantages/disadvantages of one or the other
> 3. specifically about functionality for manipulation of video, OpenGL 
> including shaders and matricial data
> 4. clear, reasoned, articulate thoughts and arguments as to why one or the
> other is better or worse for one or another particular use ( why should I 
> expect anything else! ;)
> This could have some impact on decisions which will be made for a project 
> which I can't talk about yet. :)
> thanks for your help,
> Andrew
> _______________________________________________
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