Introduction to TouchDesigner for Projection Mapping


Dates: Saturday & Sunday, October 1st – 2nd
Times: 10am – 4pm
Course Length: 12 hours
Cost: $20/instruction hour, $240 total, $216 for GAFFTA Members
Location: GAFFTA, 998 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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This workshop will teach you how to use TouchDesigner to create real-time interactive video and how to map it onto unconventional projection surfaces.

TouchDesigner is a high-level real-time video programming environment, with hardware-accelerated 3d and 2d graphics generation and manipulation tools, flexible data handling, and a plethora of I/O options. It is a powerful tool that lends itself to data visualization, interactive graphics and art pieces, custom VJ software building and projection mapping. Projection mapping is the art of manipulating video such that when it is projected onto a surface it does not appear distorted, and instead fits the planes and form of the surface.


Day 1: Using TouchDesigner

-Showcase: projects using TouchDesigner.
-Anatomy of a .toe file: in pseudo code and in operators.
-Operators: Different operators are for different data types, with some operators converting between data types.
-Basics: Navigating, modular components, good coding practice.
-I/O: Using input from the mouse, network protocols, MIDI and video cameras.
-Brief intro to advanced topics: instancing, scripting, materials, generative techniques, integration with other software such as Ableton, Processing, MaxMSP/Jitter.
-Resources: reference, help files, wiki and forum.

Project: build an interactive real-time 3-D scene

Day 2: Projection Mapping

-Showcase: examples of projection mapping, particularly as artistic medium.
-Overview of the theory of projection mapping, with examples in TouchDesigner.
Topics include: perspective, image distortion, UV mapping, virtual cameras, combining multiple video outputs on projection-mapped surfaces, and calibration strategies.

-Projection map a simple box sculpture with the 3-D scene you made Day 1.

Course Materials:

All course materials will be provided, but bring your own computer with TouchDesigner FTE installed. TouchDesigner is currently only supported on Windows operating systems, but support for Mac OS X is in the works. Please see the system requirements:

Mary Franck


Mary Franck is a new media artist whose works articulate the beautiful and unsettling potential of digital technology. Her recent work has been primarily in video, crafting luminous, dream-like environments to chart digital extensions of human imagination.

She enjoys synthesizing different media and collaborates often with dancers, programmers, musicians, mutants and other kinds of artists. Franck holds a Studio Art B.A. in Conceptual and Information Art from SFSU. Presently she is a resident artist at Million Fishes Arts Collective and an Interactive Art Engineer at Obscura Digital.