TouchDesigner / by Stephen Bontly

Derivative, a company based out of Canada, offers a software platform with amazing potential. With no better way to put it, TouchDesigner is a digital environment that allows the creation of anything a mind can imagine. It connects the dots between the physical and digital worlds and brings life to the most integrated and holistic experiences. Many international production companies use this software to create captivating performaces.

The power comes from data interpretation and synchronized communication across a wide network. As discussed in previous posts, my interests include unique 3D geometries, projection mapping, MIDI controllers, micro controllers, and parametric development. At the moment my projects are on a smaller scale but have a high impact due the customized interfaces that are unique for each occurrence.  With fast prototyping I am able to use my research and developing procedures to adapt to any condition. This gives me the freedom to implement adequate preparations and still manipulate in real-time during exhibitions.  Creating custom animations and particular scripting optimizes performances, however the real ingenuity reveals itself when manipulating within its final environment. As an environmental designer It is my ambition to use this as the cornerstone to multimedia installations on any scale.  At the end of the day, an experience can only be as powerful as the story that is told.

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After much time contemplating the possibilities and directions of the real-time software, I have started production. With basic 3D mapping, exploring materials and perspectives I begin with smaller interfaces. I have created a simple surface, a UV map produced in Cinema 4D and then mapped using Cam Schnappr. From there, applying textures can be done by importing pre-produced animations  from After Effects or C4D, however basic scripting within TouchDesigner can allow for directly editable animations in real-time. At the moment for more appealing visuals, pre-production would be faster, but over time the ease of creation will progress. This project specifically I have created the animations within the TD environment.

With the regular shapes, a simple composite TOP can mask out the edges of a ramp TOP. The problems I am starting to face includes the  animation of irregular shapes. By creating coordinate points and animating the translation of an object, I have outlined the shapes on each side of the cube. To smooth out the transitions
I am using a filter CHOP, but whenever I reach a hard corner, it rounds the edges. My best guess would to be to add another animation sequence that regulates the intensity of of the filter as it reaches these points. 

The next step involves creating custom control panels for specific parameters that can also be MIDI mapped. This can prove to be a little time consuming but the more that I work with these features, my component library will increase. After the control panel has been created, I will then continue to add more intricate animations that I use for my current performances.

You can always check out visual updates to my projects on my Instagram account.

Stay tuned World.