Getting in Touch with TouchDesigner

Screen capture from TouchDesigner

I recently discovered a huge disconnect between text-based 3D graphics programming and my brain. It was quite an unpleasant discovery.

Out of frustration, I decided to turn to a more graphical, procedural approach. For some reason when it comes to 3D, I really need a UI and “objects”. It’s all too abstract when I’m dealing with lines of code.

So I’m trying out visual procedural programming. And I’m starting with Derivative’s TouchDesigner. I was introduced to the application long ago, back in 2005 at FITC. But it’s gone through a complete rewrite and UI overhaul.

A certain Steve Mason (former coworker at Odopod and most recently at Obscura Digital) re-introduced me to the application a couple months ago. He’s done some seriously amazing stuff with it already.

And tonight, I made a spherical 3D particle cloud. Nothing revolutionary, but there is some serious power and possibility embedded in this application. The UI is absolutely next level and intriguing. I highly recommend you download it and have a run through the video tutorial screencasts. It’s a Windows-only application (sadly). And it’s still buggy since it’s in very active development. I’d recommend you download the latest experimental release. I had more luck with it than the main release on their Downloads page from May of this year.

  • Kim

    Looks like a fun app! Think it would run ok in, VMWare?

  • Mike Creighton

    I actually tried running it in Parallels first, but my virtual machine was actually a Boot Camp partition, so everything went to hell really quickly. I’m going to try creating a new Windows 7 virtual machine first, then Windows XP if that flakes. I’ll let you know what the performance is like.

  • Mike Creighton

    I just want to point out that I abandoned the Win 7 attempt, since the sys requirements indicate a certain dislike for Vista. Still going to try Win XP in Parallels, but these requirements don’t look favorable:

    TouchDesigner will only run on this configuration or better:

    • Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista SP1. Vista caveats include no horizontal span. On Mac hardware Bootcamp only (no emulators).
    • NVIDIA Geforce 7800. ATI cards may function. Other cards or integrated graphics chips will likely not function. TouchDesigner uses advanced features of OpenGL to maximize performance.
    • most recent graphics driver
    • 512 MB GRAM minimum on the graphics card
  • Mike Creighton

    Blah. Don’t even bother. It’s a no-go. TouchDesigner needs actual Nvidia drivers and the full 512MB of the video card. It couldn’t even draw the application’s UI correctly.

  • Kim

    That’s too bad. Well, thanks for the heads up!

  • Anonymous

    A search brings me here to find info about using touch designer through vmware fusion on mac os x, but I see nothing here on this topic. Does anyone have experience doing TD with vmware fusion?

  • Gustavo Alverio

    Same here, I installed Touch Designer by Derivative using Parallels on my Apple Mac computer and when I tried to open the program it would quit.