TouchDesigner Community News – January

A year ago if somebody asked me where to go to talk all things computational and in my case TouchDesigner based I’d look at them blankly and maybe just point them in the direction of the Derivative forums and hope that they find what they need via the much used search function. Asking questions would sometimes yield responses quite fast but I remember two years ago when learning was extremely slow due to lack of tutorials and I guess you could say lack of community togetherness.

Well no need to worry now as times are changing, over the past year I’ve encountered hundreds of people now using TouchDesigner and at the last London Workshop we decided to do something about it.


TouchDesigner Help Group – Facebook

We created the TouchDesigner help group which can be found here. The group has been a massive success and has dramatically sped up peoples learning processes as people log into facebook and see there’s a new post and check it out straight away, over 100 people have joined now so I’m really pleased it’s proving to be helpful. If you haven’t joined yet I strongly suggest checking it out.

TouchDesigner Google Hangout – Google +

The TouchDesigner Google Hangout is looking to be pretty busy, for those of us in the GMT area it’s quite a difficulty as it’ll be starting at 4am but I might jump on there early (and I imagine a few others will) so no doubt it’ll end up being from 10pm GMT time where the Europeans can have a bit of banter all the way through to 4am which is where the actual structured hangout starts, we’ll see…maybe we can do some speed artworks whilst we wait. Details of the hangout are below.

From tgreiser on the Derivative forum:

Calling interested parties to participate in online peer education with screen sharing via google hangout or skype.

* Learn about TouchDesigner and/or share your knowledge
* All skill levels welcome
* Q & A session
* Show and tell about your projects
* Short educational presentations
* Component sharing

Tentatively the first meetup will be Wed Jan 15, at 8pm PST via google hangout – here
If it goes well I would like to meet every other week for maybe an hour or two.

“Make Art Now” – Realtime/Generative/Interactive Art Collective – Facebook

Right after I’d setup the TouchDesigner help group Louis D’Aboville invited me to join a rather wonderful facebook group that each month has a themed challenge for it’s members to complete. People then vote on the artworks they like and there’s a winner. This months theme is Minimal and so far I’ve seen some pretty amusing posts in relation to it. It’s a very similar concept to the independent gaming scenes “Ludum Dare” competition, Actually go check that out too. This is a really good resource as there are people who use all the different software packages/programming languages you could imagine. You can find the Make Art Now group here

VJ Union Group – Facebook

For those of you inclined towards VJ’ing there is a main global VJ Union group alongside a host of smaller groups aimed at local areas or sharing. These are VERY active groups with a lot of inspiration and resources posted daily. These are listed in this rather long list below, they’re all quite self explanatory. (Thanks to Grigori for letting me know where they all are, that’s a lot of sub-groups)

The Global Group can be found here

Content specific/Regional Groups:

Loops (Sell & Share) | Showreels |  Europe | Australia | USA | Canada | Russia | Middle East | Israel | Africa | Asia | Mexico | South America | Sweden


Matthew Ragans Blog – Website

I’d never known about it until I just published this post but here’s a wonderful resource for learning, including a lot of Matthews work so this stuffs as real as it gets, check out his blog here. (Thanks for mentioning this Ali)

Ian Cassels tutorials – Vimeo

Ian came to visit me in London to do some one to one tutoring in the ways of TouchDesigner, I uploaded one of the videos to vimeo. What was more remarkable though is that Ian has started his own tutorial series, it’s all a bit dutch to me (seriously)  but you can find them on his vimeo channel here.

Also if you want to see the one featuring myself that’s on using the Web DAT thats here.

Momo the Monsters Sprite Tutorial – Vimeo

I’ve been watching a lot of amazing external device demos coming from Momo (There’s a great kinect headtracking demo that I can’t seem to re-locate right now) but heres a tutorial from him explaining how to create custom sprites. That’d be here.

Workshop: Two day introductory/intermediate workshop in TouchDesigner 088

Image courtesy of ab30’s rather wonderful layout comp example from the TouchDesigner forum

Visualesque are excited to announce our first workshop which will be located in central London. This is a two day 12 hour workshop on TouchDesigner with Richard Burns on 12th/13th October 2013. The price for the full event is £160, however if you are a student with proof of ID there is a student discount available. To purchase a ticket you can use the form below, full details are below that. The techniques in the tutorials will all apply to touchdesigner 077 as well as 088 and this workshop will fully support those with 077 licenses.

Note: If the event is sold out then you can register interest by emailing Also there is the comments/suggestions section of this post.


A Laptop with TouchDesigner FTE 077/088 and mouse
Knowledge from First things to know about TouchDesigner (Optional)


Day One (6 hours) – Introduction to TouchDesigner 088

– TouchDesigner user interface and an introduction to operators.
– Working with different operator families, generators and filters.
– Practical: A simple project using all operator families to create an audio reactive visual.
– Live controllers, Gamepads, MIDI devices and OSC.
– Practical: An introduction to control panels and their use with live controllers.

Day Two (6 hours)- TouchDesigner 088 Techniques & Workflow

– Tips and techniques for network optimization and layout.
– An introduction to replicators, render picking and importing 3D models.
– An overview of the Animation Component and keyframing techniques.
– Practical: A more complex project using the techniques learned above by creating a simple projection mapping system with show control.

Location, Date and Time: 

Date: 12th-13th October
Time: 10.00am-6.00pm
Room: TBC
Birkbeck University, Malet Street Building
Malet Street

LEAP Motion – There’s elation but here’s the frustration…

A little disclaimer that this is a personal blog post and is in no way suggesting that other people will have the same experience with the device. For all I know I might be using it wrong. I haven’t time travelled with the device yet though.

So we got our hands on a Leap last week. For those who haven’t checked it out yet Leap is a new fangled kinect-style motion sensor that focuses on your hands rather than your full body. It’s a mere $80 to buy and is so small you’d barely notice it sitting on your desk. Most reviews I’ve seen have focused on the leap motion as a consumer, as you can play games and look at the shiny demos however I’m going to focus more on the aspects that are important to the demographic of this blog, what leap is like to develop for.

Firstly my setup. I’ve been using Leap with Derivative’s TouchDesigner and Morphic Creatives Leap OSC (version 0.5) for ease of use. All the data comes in beautifully and within minutes a particle system is flying around the screen courtesy of some wild finger waggling fun. I then decided to put the gestures through their paces and began playing with the swipe functionality which again worked wonderfully and had me up and running in minutes. It really does seem making a point and click Leap App in TouchDesigner is extremely rapid and extremely good fun too…unfortunately the down side comes when one attempts to go a step further.

Pinching is a simple gesture right? Well feeling very cocky with myself after my successful previous demo setups I decided to get stuck into it and make a mechanism which included my thumb moving towards my index finger as a trigger. I took the index finger position and my thumb position and then simply used the distance between those as my tipping point, lo and behold the second my thumb came into contact with my index finger Leap decided that my thumb was in fact an index finger and that humans don’t have thumbs at all. This is where my problem with Leap began to emerge, if it can’t see a finger, even for a split second that finger loses tracking.

So it’s clear my thumb didn’t go off the screen and safe to assume it is now sitting somewhere underneath my index finger so once those checks are added in it’s time to give the app a whirl again. Suddenly now both my thumb and my index finger have both vanished behind the back of my hand, for those of you who know me my hands aren’t very big…and my fingers are pretty spindly. The problem here is that the leap is below my hand, and unless I’m stretching my fingers out to the point where they ache it’s never tracking all of them at once, I actually checked my hand resting positions when using leap and 50% of the time (rough estimate) I was only tracking 2 or 3 fingers. This is fine for somebody who’s well versed in Leap composing however for the public (who I’m developing for) the excuses I was making for the software in my head simply weren’t holding up so I had to find another solution…

I 3D printed a stand for leap to sit in so rather than on the desk below my hand it could sit in front of my hand. This is something I did a lot with kinect however I then began to realise that unless leap is on the desk it’s not going to work. A little annoyed I decided to give up for a while and see if I could find any examples of intelligent gestures in the samples and online, I found none. So tomorrow I’m going to see how much further I can get in this regard. Leap is perfect for simple interactions but the small finger gestures which I was hoping would be integral to the device working unfortunately are more difficult to master than first thought. Perseverance is a great trait though and I shall persevere a while longer.

This article seems quite damning but with leap I must say that I have had more moments of elation than of frustration, for simple touchless interaction it’s pretty fun to use, this is more an illustration of the issues I’ve faced AND if you think you can help me out throw a comment in.

– Richard Burns

Visualesque – Westbound

Song List:

Oliver Hacke – 12:31 (Original Mix) [Trapez Germany]
Deadbeat, Scuba – First Quarter (SCB Edit) (Scuba Remix) [BLKRTZ]
Mirko Loko – Love Harmonic (Carl Craig ‘Soundscape’ Remix) [Cadenza]
Dustin Zahn – Walk Alone (Original Mix) [Truesoul]
Ripperton – A Skilift Upstairs The Sleeping City (Max Cooper Remix) [Systematic Recordings]


Immaterials: Light Painting WiFi [Vimeo User:Timo]

Reyboz [Bernard Reyboz]

hazcauch × vokoi [BRDG]

Parmenides I [Dev Harlan]