Custom Interfaces and Animations / by Stephen Bontly

Since I began projection mapping I have been bothered by the amount of work needed to create animations in pre-production. I found that I enjoy the idea of VJing however I still feel overcrowded by the interfaces provided with common mainstream software. I  have always been interested in high impact from minimalist art; creating a space that invokes an emotional response. TouchDesigner has allowed me to focus on the specifics that I will need for my projects. Essentially cutting out the bullshit that consumes valuable resources. Sort of a sustainable approach if you would call it. :-)

My previous workflow starts in Rhino and Adobe CS. I then move over into C4D and After Effects and finally end up in Resolume Arena. I will never stop using animation software due to its apparent qualities in context to the larger picture, especially as my projects grow and resources become harder to allocate. However, with the power of TouchDesigner, I can skip the last 3 and continue to develop my skills in one platform. Real time influences can really up the quality and scope of my work in interactive design.

This shows an inside look at the controller network.  Creating buttons and sliders for specific uses.

This shows an inside look at the controller network.  Creating buttons and sliders for specific uses.

This project involved python coding, basic UI construction, building hierarchies within networks,  and the organization, translation, and manipulation of data. I learned an enormous amount these past two weeks. The principles of animation carry over across all of the software I am using today and I am always connecting my past experiences with new ones, which is making my workflow exponentially faster. With the addition of coding through python language, I can build custom software for my needs.

This particular example is creating  animations that are produced in RT. As you can see on the picture below there is a recording interface that creates a .mov file that can be used for VJing at a later time (see the clip at the end of the post). I can adjust the shape profile, the rotation speed, the color, the position, and also the translation of the points on each shape. This is done through manipulation of numbers (see the top picture) and organized in a way that it becomes easy for any user to control. It is very important to note that both front-end and back-end development is necessary for a successful project. 

How the interface looks in perform mode.

How the interface looks in perform mode.

One of the amazing parts about this project is not the current condition, but the potential for adaption and growth of itself, as I continue to work with TD. My projects will use the components that I create and will always be available for any sort of reordering. As of now the purpose is creating visuals for Resoulme, but I could easily make this the beginning of my own VJing software. The next step is to MIDI map these controls and projection map them onto surfaces with Camschnappr. The near future will also involve external influences from micro controllers and sensors. 

Id like to thank the TouchDesigner community for its constant support for new users. Matthew Ragan has been an invaluable resource and has really allowed me to push forward with this software. Check out his website, hes got some great stuff there.

Stay tuned World.