It's OF the right tool for my project?

For performers we wanted to create interactive graphics effects on livestage, something like this

Or this after min 5:27

I didn’t have recent experience in coding (just some scientific C coding from my past graduation in simulation and more recently some work in Matlab) nor am I a developer even for work or passion, wanted to concentrate on the artistic side, even if having a quantitative and simulation background Idid like the idea to work on these topics. Also interested to learn something new if this can be valuable for my future.

The question is howto achieve this result having a tool useful to sketch the result to be approved from the artistic director, and next to create the final project and run it live.
I will indeed ask for help to some expert inone case or another, but want also to have the ability to draft and test from myself the effects and digital scenography.
Other option I’ve considered its Cinema 4D + Unreal Engine 4 or Cinder, will be OF a better option? Or there are any other better tool suited for the job?

Hi, “better suited” depends a lot on the person that is going to be doing the programming, but openFrameworks would be a great tool to develop something like in your reference.


I’m more interested to be able to draft/sketch the scenography than to develop/run the final “production” version.

A workflow where I did design/experiment/test in Cinema 4D+Unreal and ask for development to experts on OF can be an idea, but as I understand also developing this kind of things in Unreal Engine need coding

How difficult is to do this things in OF?

How much need I to learn coding in OF vs as example UE4? There are tools that can help me into designing visually before?


Your questions are a bit too general to get a good response.

It would be relatively straightforward for someone that has done this type of work for a few years using OF to build something like that.

I have no idea how UE4 works, but I think I saw something about it having a node based system for scripting, though it could have been just for shaders.


openFrameworks is definitely A right tool for your project.

Like other programming environments it is really hard for some people and it is really easy for other people. For some people it takes a really long time to learn – like at least 7 or 31 years of practice to feel confident. For others it takes 4 days or 3.5 weeks or maybe even just 15 minutes.

To make a useful openFrameworks “easiness” or “how long will it take me to learn” estimate for you is probably not possible …

That said, openFrameworks has an amazing community of people with a wide range of experience who are all trying to learn and innovate together and we attempt to have a fun time doing it. In my opinion contributing to a creative community that inspires you is more important than becoming a user of a specific technology or package based on a fancy one-off demo.

If you want to be visually innovative (that is, not just modifying example projects), then you will have to dive into the deep end whether you are using UE4 or openFrameworks. Thus, if you’re looking for a visual editor approach as a shortcut to innovation, you might be disappointed. It’s difficult to mock-up innovative visuals (especially if they move or are interactive) without actually making it.

Anyway, everything is possible with openFrameworks but not everything is easy. The good news is we’re here to help make it a little more fun along the way and welcome you to join us! :smile:

That’s a interesting response :smile:

Just to understood I wrote here at OF forum since I understood Processing it’s Java based, and I’m not interested to learn Java-like languages.
But what’s the difference between OF and Cinder, also a C+±like creative cording language?
Also there are IDE “easy to use” I can use to learn/use OF?

Do you already know Processing? If so, OF + ofSketch might be a reasonable transition.

The main differences (in my opinion) between Cinder and OF is that Cinder is written by a smaller group of developers and they support fewer platforms (e.g. limited or no Linux support). The Cinder codebase is clean, precise, powerful and expertly-written but it may look a little unfamiliar to former Processing users. You can do just about anything in Cinder. Likewise, you can do about anything in openFrameworks.

openFrameworks attempts to support a wider range of platforms (including Linux, Arm, android, etc) and was designed in a way that should make the transition for processing users a little easier. That said, openFrameworks still doesn’t have complete documentation. To help people learn openFrameworks we’re working on ofBook (, a user-edited and written open book, adding documentation to the codebase and actively working on a simple-processing-like IDE called ofSketch ( and demo here ofSketch is now compatible with all major platforms.

But all of these efforts are perpetually “in progress”, so openFrameworks users are actively encouraged to contribute to and invest in openFrameworks from an early stage, whether it’s by documenting what they are learning, being active helping others on the forum or eventually contributing code if that’s your specialty. Anyway, my answers to these questions are always going to be community focused rather than code-feature focused. That said, openFrameworks has some seriously cutting-edge tech under the hood and more is added (almost) daily.

Anyway, Clay Shirkey summarizes my personal motivation well …


I didn’t have any previous experience on Processing, nor have I on any creative coding tool.
Will be OF easier in any way than Cinder (in term of available tools, language syntax, community support, demo availability)?
This is the most important driver for me, since I’m interested to only Windows platform.

Ultimately, there is no shortcut.

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Decided I will deepen only on OF, no Cinder.
Will try do confront the easiness with Unreal Engine Editor

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Let us know how we can help. :smile: Also, please share your findings about UE4. It sounds like an exciting option.

my 2 cents, as a beginner.
I’m currently working on a project involving computer vision and 3d visualization.
I don’t have any C++ background, but I have a solid background in AS3, Processing and Objective C.
I’m working with another programmer, and he decided to go for Cinder. After two weeks of work, I asked him to switch to OF.
Cinder is great and powerful, but at least for a background like mine the lack of documentation was killing me.

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I did really like these topics and I’m in contact with a really innovative computer vision company (as a side work).
Will really like to improve my ability with creative coding, need anyway to balance my skills (much lower than yours) with my time and goals.
So need to test first easy to use tools such as UE4 and maybe Cinema 4D for drafting and only after OF to test simple things.

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