The Interactive & Immersive HQ has launched a beginner series focused on making expressive media with TouchDesigner. It’s a chance to focus on all the power of that tool while getting over the intimidation. Oh, yeah – and they even cover the latest-and-greatest magic of NVIDIA’s RTX platform. Put that new GPU to work.

They’re off to a rolling start – so it’s time to give them the Create Digital Motion bump here, because this stuff looks great. (We bring the crash, you bring the course.) Experienced devs and teachers Elburz and Matthew Ragan lead the way.

Here’s what it’s about – and yeah, complete beginners are welcome:

He runs through all the basics, down to how to find your way around with the mouse, but let’s skip to some of the fun stuff.

Highlights of the basics

Right away, that gets to the creation of operators – the node-based or dataflow, patchable part of the UI. For folks coming from a music background, the similarity to patching modules is not accidental – modular concepts in sound grew up alongside similar visual metaphors for programming. They have inspired each other – in both directions, with digital concepts influencing the design of hardware modules and visa versa.

And signal flow between them:

You’ll sometimes hear about TOPs and CHOPs and other funny acronyms in relation to TouchDesigner before you have any idea what they mean. Here you go:

RTX, Augmented Reality, and more

I’ve been writing repeatedly about some of the cool functionality that you now get “for free,” hardware-accelerated on NVIDIA’s RTX platform – that is, employing specific power features on the latest NVIDIA GPUs. But then it isn’t always immediately easy how to put that stuff to work in art and live performance. TouchDesigner gives you an easy way to do that now, so I’m not at all surprised that these videos have been a huge hit for them. Face tracking, AR filters – the likes of which you’ve seen on Facebook or Snapchat but might not have access to easily on your own, and even tools like denoising become more accessible.

This doesn’t require RTX, but also some beautiful advanced functionality:

They’ve also been doing lots of other good stuff in Unreal, with another favorite Notch, with projection mapping, and more. It’s basically my favorite YouTube video channel at the moment.

Why is this stuff on CDM? Because it means more expressive performances and performance-infused art and design – not everything is Eurorack gear. From their earlier video:

Of course, the notion here is that you’ll buy into their paid community and learning platform, but I think that freemium model is absolutely appropriate and ideal here. It means the beginner stuff is opening up new audiences by building skills. And that’s perfect. Check it out:

The Interactive & Immersive HQ [YouTube]

And check out the full platform/community: