It’s a procedural visuals dream team. It’s what would have happened if Darth Vader and Leia actually teamed up and overthrew the Emperor. (Come on, you know you wondered.) And if you’re curious why, there’s a free talk.

Procedural visuals are essential to musicians, as they’re a way of composing – if you like – with three-dimensional geometries and textures. They allow visual structures to become fluid in the way an electronic musical instrument would be, and that in turn has produced new audiovisual media.

To understand why Houdini and TouchDesigner specifically get mentioned together, it’s important to understand that they’re two branches of a single tree. And we have to go back to late 1990s Toronto. That’s when Houdini developer SideFX took some powerful graphics operations from what was then basically Silicon Graphics stuff. (Yeah, the rest of us were just playing really low-res Doom and Marathon in the 90s.) TouchDesigner followed in the early 2000s.

Flash-forward to now. TouchDesigner and Houdini have each matured enough that it can make sense to use the two together. And SideFX and Houdini are hot enough that in November, Epic Games became a minority investor – meaning if you’re an Unreal Engine user, you can also look to integration. These things do evolve and mature – again, like musical instruments – over longer spans of time.

Touch + Hou.

But that’s just the tools themselves. The point is really that these tools endure because the underlying concepts of generative models for graphics endure.

And while artist Stanislav Glazov was born into a system run by communism, he’s an advocate for proceduralism:

Understanding proceduralism is a key to generative modeling and animation and while it’s opening abstract thinking abilities, it opens you the way to creating generative art.

I’ve been eyeing this stuff as he develops both incredible work and an accompanying curriculum to teach the connection of Houdini and Touch, aptly dubbed Hou2Touch. (“Hooo….to touch?” Kinda been saying that lately with all this social distancing.)

That curriculum is paid, but if you’re curious just to check with it out, start with a free seminar today. I’ll be tuning in. (There’s also an archived version coming, so I’ll add that here if you can’t make it.) Topics:

  • Why we need proceduralism
  • History of Houdini & TouchDesigner.
  • Short compare.
  • Project Cases.
  • Workshop presentation

Free, just register in advance here:

Houdini and TouchDesigner in artistic work. Open talk by Stanislav Glazov

Updated: Now the video is online, in case you missed the talk!

Plus, if you’re feeling broke/skint – both TouchDesigner and Houdini are available in generous free licenses to get started.

And check some of the great work he’s doing:

Definitely a space to watch. Stay tuned. And escape those chains.

Plus if you missed it – just pre-pandemic, Touch got a big update: