TouchDesigner for Video Performance


Dates: Tuesdays & Thursdays, March 20, 22, 27, & 29
Times: 6pm-9pm
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 3d effects, video playback and manipulation, and controller interfacing for live video performance.

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, projection mapping, and custom VJ software building .


Days 1 – 2: 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, microphone, OSC, MIDI and video cameras.
-How to create and use .tox files to load and unload modules from a set.
-Brief intro to advanced topics: instancing, scripting, materials, generative techniques.
-Resources: reference, help files, wiki and forum.

Project: build a simple controlled set with video clip and 3d element control.

Days 3 – 4: Video performance architecture and interfaces

- Showcase: TouchDesigner live video shows. (Amon Tobin-Isam, Skrillex, DJ Shadow)
- Discussion of software architecture strategies, focus on modularity.
- Interfacing with Ableton.

-Build out modules for a provided video playback, generation and control system, hooking up your own controller.

Course Materials:

All course materials will be provided, but bring your own computer with TouchDesigner FTE installed and a MIDI controller or similar if you have one. TouchDesigner is currently only supported on Windows operating systems, but can be used on a Mac via bootcamp. 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, and other visual 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.