Resources / Tutorials

Max – Built in Tutorials

With Max open go to the Help tab and choose Reference:

With the new reference window open, select the home icon in the upper left most corner of the window. This will open up documentation which gives you access to many different Max, MSP, and Jitter tutorials. They are a bit antiquated at times but explain things in written format with interactive patches that you can take apart:

Max – Help Files
Every object in Max has an interactive help file that can be copied from. When the patch is unlocked right click on the object and select “Open (object name) help”

Right click object to bring up help file

There may sometimes be some tabs at the top showcasing a few different features of the object. If you take the help file apart or copy paste from it, make sure that you don’t save when closing only the help file. It will overwrite the help file in the application memory.

Example of a help page

Cycling ’74 Forums
Cycling ’74 is the company that makes Max and they have a forum with a wealth of information in it’s archives. You can also post your own questions to the forum although it’s recommended that your questions be fairly specific and that you upload a patch as a reference. To do so you can copy compress your patch and paste it to in the forum posting for other people to look at. To do this unlock your patch and select all (cmd+a) and then go the Edit Tab and select “Copy Compressed”

Now when you paste into the Max forum posting you should see a box that says “Pasted Max Patch: Click to Expand”

ITP Residents
Many of your Residents are quite skilled with Max and have office hours to answer your questions or offer 1 on 1 tutorials. The link above will take you to their office hours. Huiyi Chen and Carrie Wang are especially adept with Max.

Probably the most comprehensive and user friendly tutorial series out there is the Kadenze course Programming Max: Structuring Interactive Software for Digital Arts. Highly recommended.

Youtube Tutorials
Existing Youtube tutorials are hit or miss and tend to focus on MSP, the audio side of Max. That said there are some good ones out there. Here are my favorites:

Delicious Max Tutorials
– Sam has some of the best tutorials around. They’re a bit on the advanced side and unorganized but his style and humor come through making them entertaining and exemplary of the kind of creative thinking you can bring to Max.

Max/MSP Beginner Tutorials
– Pretty dry but not a bad place to start to get some of the basics

Amazing Max Stuff
– Super comprehensive and detailed tutorials but very advanced. Mostly concerning OpenGL and 3D stuff in Max which is out of the scope of this class but still approachable. For folks with a strong knowledge of computer graphics coming into the class this is the best way to translate what you know into the world of Max.

::Edit:: There’s now a intro to Jitter series that’s probably one of the best tutorials available online:
Episode 01: Play a Movie, Webcam
Episode 02: What is a Jitter Matrix
Episode 03: Creating Images with [jit.matrix]

Two Facebook groups are especially active and sometimes more responsive than the official forums. They are Max/MSP and Jitter (C74)

Demystifying MaxMSP
– Old PDF (it uses Max 5!) but still quite great for people that appreciate something written rather than a video. The audio stuff isn’t very applicable to the class but it explains the various aspects of Max and techniques for data flow in a clear and concise way that is still relevant to Max 7.