Guide: Exploring Custom Visualizations in projectM

Last week we discussed the music visualization app projectM, which just released an app optimized for Android TV. Some comments noted their unenthusiasm about the default styles that are included in the app and asked how to use their own. This is a brief guide on how to download and use visualizations that you can find online.

As mentioned before, this app is able to read milk files, originally from the MilkDrop software. This has essentially become a standard for visualizations. It is able to support a variety of different graphical effects and the projectM app can change graphic settings to increase or decrease rendering quality if one requires too many resources.

Eo.S. glowsticks v2 02
Eo.S. glowsticks v2 02

These milk files can be downloaded across the web. One place is the MilkDrop Presets forum on the WinAmp Message Board. There are users who request and those who share custom presets and remixes. The milk preset is an interesting file, mixing constant definitions and lines of code. The filename servers as the preset metadata, stating the author and preset name.


It’s really easy to import these presets, although there is no interface for this in the app itself. When you install it, the app creates a folder in your main directory called prjM/. You can move your downloads into this folder and the presets will be loaded and ready for playing. I use FX File Explorer to do this.

In the videos above, I have downloaded a bunch of presets from that forum and loaded them into the app. I scroll through a bunch of them to see how they look. You can see a bunch that add a neat flair and a few that seem to do nothing. Graphical issues are not restricted to this app, but due to some poor adaptability of the original MilkDrop. According to Android’s projectM developer, the original software was built around Win32, x86, and DirectX. The presets were very focused toward this hardware.

The projectM developer rewrote an engine based on modern graphic APIs and for Android. So, while most of the presets do work, some that try to do advanced computation using exclusive hardware will render nothing or very little. You can see the presets that I use in the videos, giving you a good look at what works and what doesn’t.

You can buy projectM on Google Play for $3.

Here are some really neat visualization gifs obtained through the app.

$$$ Royal - Mashup (10)
$$$ Royal – Mashup (10)
$$$ Royal - Mashup (100)
$$$ Royal – Mashup (100)
Aderrasi + Geiss - Airhandler (Kali Mix) Canvas Mix
Aderrasi + Geiss – Airhandler (Kali Mix) Canvas Mix

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub ( Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop. Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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