Eye Vapor EEG Sonification 1 from Derivative on Vimeo.

Smart. Even smart enough to visualize and sonify EEGs.

TouchDesigner is not well-known in general circles, even after long-running availability. It’s Windows-only software for specialists. But there’s only one thing you need to know about it: it is consistently used in some of the best work artists are doing right now in multimedia.

And in one go, the deceptively-named “088” is adding some massively-important stuff. Little wonder we’re hearing from a number of readers who are already excited.

And there’s now a non-commercial license, too, fellow impoverished and overworked but lovable artists.

Since you can read the details from the Canadian developers at Derivative, let’s do the executive summary, shall we?

  • Smarter mapping. Okay, lots of tools now do mapping. 088 uses the mapamok-based 6=point alignment system to make 3D mapping happen with less work. There’s also a clever 2D system.
  • Scripting in Python with full Python library support. (That last bit matters. This isn’t just scripting – it’s the ability to do anything in Python, including connect to other tools and data, which could make TouchDesigner rival dedicated coding environments for many tasks. There’s new C++ support, too.) Speaking of that rivalry…
  • 75 examples of generative design, as lifted from the landmark book Generative Gestaltung (its examples originally coded in Processing.
  • Crucial sound and music features. ASIO interface drivers (augh, finally), which you can add to an existing component for syncing up to Ableton Live. Done and done.
  • Out-of-the-box LEAP and Kinect support.
  • Sync multiple GPUs, even across computers. It’s a geeky feature – G-syn from NVIDIA and the 5400 cards from AMD – but it means even more industrial-strength visuals across lots of displays.

There’s a lot more, too. There’s a new parameter interface that simplifies control. There’s extensive support for all the latest 3D technology in DirectX, Cineform and HAPQ codecs, GLSL (3.30) and for processing on the GPU, CUDA (5.0). There’s more hardware support (hello, Blackmagic), and new modules for audio and 3D.

Smile and feel mappier. Image courtesy Derivative.

Smile and feel mappier. Image courtesy Derivative.

More details:

All of that, and Carsten Nicolai.

Carsten Nicolai | unidisplay @ MAC May 5th, 2012 from Derivative on Vimeo.

Well done.

  • Talking Dog Studios

    is there any condensed discussion about how VVVV stands currently with this and other creative coding setups (processing, openframeworks, cinder?) also I was looking at that new Arcade Fire reflektor site and was wondering if web tech is at the point where it’s worthwhile making interactive projects in html5/ webgl / etc

  • momothemonster

    Nice coverage! I’ve become a big fan of TouchDesigner, it certainly helped the switch from Mac > PC for me.

  • FascistDonut

    When are we going to see a Mac based version of TouchDesigner? I swore I saw awhile back that they were working on it. If not then what is the easiest/cheapest workflow path for emulating windows on my Macbook?

    • yoghurt

      sell your old mac, for that money buy a new pc 😀

  • David Hughes

    I’m considering switching to PC from Mac, as i can’t fiscally afford to keep running mac as an individual, and this software makes me excited to do so.

  • Patrick Pagano

    i reformatted my macbook pro precisely for this, it’s amazing and it works amazing. The free applications for learning it are astounding. I will be teaching this in Projection Design II next year.

  • slv

    I’m enjoying TouchDesigner coming from puredata mostly, like any program it takes a minute to figure out the GUI/mechanics but it’s very streamlined and designed for efficiency, both in terms of workflow and processing