A Journey into TouchDesigner:

A Realtime Multi-Media System

TouchDesigner Interface 002

What will we do?

You will learn the basics, workflow and methods of this programming environment and paradigm through a few simple examples.
From there you’ll start to see the innumerable possibilities and get a glimpse under the covers. We will really start to see how it is changing our approach to large installation based projects, performance based art pieces and other realtime digital media. Getting a feel for this environment will no doubt inspire more questions and ideas which will dictate where we more deeply explore. Expect a great collaborative learning environment as dynamic as TouchDesigner itself.

kinect components in TouchDesigner

Have a look at the forums and you will see that the community is small, but steadily growing. You can find answers to many initial questions there. One can also find a great repository of shared files and components offered by users and developers in an effort to connect TouchDesigner with a slew of amazing technologies being explored in digital creativity.

Explore the following:

      – implementing a


      to create an interactive game or control device


getting an arduino input working for an accelerometer

      – light sensor feedback fun???


      – a user interface to control a robot?


      – a musical instrument that creates tones based on camera input???


    – an interactive graphical environment or data visualization


TouchDesigner Interface 004TouchDesigner Interface 005TouchDesigner Interface 006

So what is it really?

The interface is similar to Max/MSP or Pure Data, in that it is a visual, node-based programming environment. The objects at your disposal range from simple mathematical operations to complex OpenGL texture generators. There are several ways to customize and hand-code your own methods, as well as extend and connect to external generators, controllers, sensors, cameras, etc. You could look at it like a custom rigged combination of openFrameworks, processing and Max/MSP with a focus on creating real-time OpenGL based graphics.

Who is our guide?

The class will be led by Peter Sistrom. Peter is an architectural designer by trade, who’s interests have been veering towards generative art, realtime graphics and media environments for the last 3 years. He has worked in designing, installing and performing interactive and media based projects. These days, Peter devotes his free time to creating abstract visual animations and actively developing realtime media for live performance with TouchDesigner.

Of TouchDesigner Peter says:

In the last year I have been using TouchDesigner for my personal art making and some production work. In this time, I have grown more and more convinced of its place at the top of the new wave of multi-media art and production tools. This year has also seen the program used in several rather high profile productions, ranging from YouTube’s Guggenheim awards ceremony to the Plastikman (Richie Hawtin) world tour video system. Aside from full blown production, TouchDesigner has also been used in interactive installations and collaborative art making at MIT. TouchDesigner is also quite a pleasure when used for smaller personal projects, whether it be a music visualization, as the backbone for some fun I/O hacking, or just about anything else you can think of!

Come to Crash Space on February 23rd at 8p (cal link)
We’re asking non-members for a $10 donation to pay the instructor and keep the space open.

Want to start now?

      – Derivative’s TouchDesigner has an extensive

feature list



      – Other Derivative


      – Derivative has produced some great




      – Check the system requirements and


    the free edition


[Updated 2011-11-13] fixed formatting and product name to “TouchDesigner”

[Updated 2011-11-21] updated link for Arduino-TouchDesigner interfacing

[Updated 2011-02-15] RSVP, invite your friends, or just see who’ll be there with the facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=110587359019435

3 thoughts on “A Journey into TouchDesigner:

  • September 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Are you guys ever going to do another one of these sessions? I would definitely be interested in participating.

  • September 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    @rob, i’ll see what I can pull together. it was very well attended and we all got a ton of fresh stuff now.


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