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Does Milkdrop 2 broadcast any info?

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  • Does Milkdrop 2 broadcast any info?

    I recently discovered Milkdrop 2 and then became addicted to staring at it on my large 3D TV with the simulated 3D setting enabled. It's absolutely mesmerizing!

    Now I have a cool idea that I'd like to investigate and see if it's even possible. I recently purchased these RBG LED lights that are cloud-connected, controllable over my network. They're called LIFX color 1000 bulbs. Pretty cool if you can get past the initial setup difficulties. I'd really like to control the color of the lights to match colors that are being displayed by Milkdrop.

    The real question is, is there some way of tapping into the visualization to get color values of the main colors being used at any given time?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  • #2
    I definitely remember this has been done before. Try search youtube for something like milkdrop + LED.


    • #3
      Thanks! I'll take a look and see what I can find.


      • #4
        Can't find anything related. You don't have a link by any chance, do you?


        • #5
          Hi Quixote,

          I'm playing with similar things at the moment, but I haven't had much time to work on anything lately unfortunately. I have a couple of RGB LED lights of various types, but they are more on the DJ ("party", "disco", whatever they are billed as...) side. The crucial point here being that they can be interfaced, that is, they have DMX input and output. I use a USB DMX interface, and DMX plugins for Winamp do exist. Now this bit I haven't used first hand, but DMX-over-Ethernet is available [and potentially more efficient/easier to configure than traditional DMX], and I think it is reasonable to assume that once it's at the Ethernet stage, it would be trivial to make it Wi-Fi. From there, I guess it depends on the bulbs you have and how they are controlled.

          If any of this would be helpful in solving the problem then let me know and I'll get some more info / links to you.

          I realise I haven't answered directly your question about extracting values from Milkdrop. Unfortunately that side of things is a bit further down on my list. Perhaps I should ask just in case - have you done any kind of interfacing between Winamp/MD and those lights (or anything else)? I'd be interested to hear about it if so. There's every chance you're far more advanced than I am here

          Can I ask how those bulbs are currently controlled by you over the network?

          Hopefully someone else can assist in anything related to programmatically retrieving the colour (or whatever data it may be) from Milkdrop.

          (Also - I just googled the bulbs that you mentioned, and it just so happens that a similar Wi-Fi/RGB/etc bulb was given to me recently! So I may investigate that, too. It didn't even cross my mind before I saw this post.)


          • #6
            Thanks for your reply.

            Unfortunately, I haven't gained any traction on this project. I'm not really a programmer and I was hoping for a cut-and-paste kind of solution.

            The LIFX bulbs have an API available to the public and many people have created programs, scripts and Android apps that work with them. I currently control them using plugins and scripts on a Vera Plus automation system. I also use my Android phone.

            The bulbs are normally quite responsive and I'd imagine it would be pretty trivial for a skilled programmer to whip something up once it's determined how to grab color values from the Milkdrop plugin. Additionally, the development team has recently released a new feature for the LAN API called "Waveforms", which they say "allow fine control over transitions between colors on your LIFX devices and are supported on all our devices." Sounds like it would be perfect for this sort of project.
            The announcement and a link to the primer on Waveforms can be found here:

            If you have a couple of extra bucks, I'd recommend picking up a few of these bulbs. They are bright and the colors are exceptionally vivid. The quality of the hardware is apparent.

            Please let me know if you have any revelations.


            • #7
              Hi Quixote,

              Have been busy as usual so haven't had much time to reply or play with any new toys/ideas - but I did (being highly suggestible, as I am), happen to to pick up one of these bulbs! They are leaps and bounds ahead of the cheap version I had previously.

              Within an hour I had managed to install the bulb, and get it to react to and change with colours from my PC screen. I was pretty blown away just testing it by comparing a full-screen command window (being black), and a Windows Explorer window. Naturally, Milkdrop followed....

              So, not sure of how much of this you already know about, but for yourself or anybody else interested, all you really need in addition to the bulb itself is a little program called MaxLifx - you can get the zip from GitHub at (the link won't appear properly in my post, but a google or GitHub visit is all you need).

              While the program seems to do a lot of cool things (waveform/audio input response and so on), I haven't really looked at them yet. So I'll list the simple steps I took to get the bulb to respond to the colours in use by Milkdrop. Note that the program uses the average of the colours on the screen - I can't see any other way this could work at the stage, without going even further down the rabbit hole.
              • Download, extract and launch MaxLifx
              • Select 'Discover' from the Bulbs menu
              • Select the bulb you wish to work with, and click the 'Start Screen Colour Thread' button
              • A new thread should appear in the 'Running Threads' box, select it and press the 'Show Thread Settings' button
              • A new dialog will appear, from there, click 'Set Screen Area'
              • A new window will appear, drag this window to cover the area you wish to capture the colour from (which is most likely the entire milkdrop window)
              • Close the area selection window once you are happy with the selection, and the area will be set

              You will likely want to play with the 'delay' ms amount to suit your tastes. I am pleasantly surprised how well it reacts, but you'd need to find a balance between being accurate for beat response vs. not inducing a seizure or migraine.

              Another bonus of this program is that it is open source, so things can definitely improve from here!

              I notice that the official LIFX app can accept input from a Webcam; this is quite buggy apparently, but it stands to reason that one could use the SPOUT modified version of Milkdrop to setup a virtual webcam and funnel milkdrop to the LIFX via that.

              I'll try and upload some pictures when I've got a free moment (and am out of the office...)

              I am I'd be interested to see how you go with this, having multiple bulbs or the RGB strip!