Sep.05.18 TouchDesigner For Science Communication at the Gran Telescopio Canarias
by Romano Corradi, Astrophysicist & GRANTECAN Director
Gran Telescopio Canarias
We are not video artists, nor graphic designers. We work at night, on the peak of a remote Atlantic island, looking upwards. Gran Telescopio Canarias (GRANTECAN or GTC), located on La Palma in the Canary Islands, is presently the largest optical telescope of the world. With GRANTECAN, every clear night we observe the sky in the effort to improve our knowledge of the Universe.
Communicating our discoveries to the society is an essential aspect of our mission and requires the ability to transmit information in an attractive way while maintaining some scientific rigour. Press releases, articles in paper journals, public talks, photo exhibitions, or videos are the standard way to do it, but some of these forms of communication are nowadays losing their effectiveness as compared to those that take advantage of modern audiovisual technologies.
For this reason, at GRANTECAN we are making the effort to improve our communication strategy by implementing immersive and interactive elements in our daily interaction with the public such as the experience that we offer to visitors (>10,000 every year despite the remote location of the telescope), public talks and exhibitions.
The "Firework galaxy" observed by GRANTECAN, composed over the telescope fly-eye mirror (made with replicators in TouchDesigner)
Aug.20.18 Push 1 stop pulls out all the stops in generative worlds
"Membrane is a digital artwork that merges audio-visual performance with installation art. Three-dimensional, volumetric creations hover between the performers, caught in a haze of rising smoke and data-reactive lighting. A twelve-foot transparent screen captures the shadows of these holograms, connecting audiences to virtual entities realized in physical space."
MEMBRANE (Prototype) by Push 1 stop and Wiklow, Société des arts technologiques, Montréal, Canada, 14 Mars 2018. Photo Credit: Sébastien Roy
Cadie Desbiens-Desmeules, AKA Push 1 stop, is a self-taught interactive media artist. After working in Montreal's post-production and visual effects industry for 10 years, in 2008, she began VJing and got into generative design citing TouchDesigner as her platform of choice. She quickly became a residing force on the scene and at the Satosphere dome with a succession of visually lush, invariably glitchy and ever-evolving performances.
Cadie's latest work Membrane an "algorithmic performance for transparent materials" premieres at MUTEK Montreal August 22nd in collaboration with sound artist Wiklow. In anticipation we had many questions about her practice, inspiration, experience with TouchDesigner and more.
Cadie responded in rich detail, tackling nuances in the creative desire and process as well as detailing her great love for working generatively and building powerful engines that are "by themselves creative". That using code and algorithms to create systems with infinite growth and variation potential feels to her as an artist like a collaboration with technology that can shape experiences, giving people special powers to step outside of reality. It's an excellent and insightful read that we are enormously pleased to share with our readers and urge Mutek attendees to secure their tickets now! Un grand merci Cadie.
Jul.17.18 Vincent Houzé and Dave & Gabe Bring Wondrous Créatures to Life in the Dome
Photo credit: Sébastien Roy
Photo credit: Sébastien Roy
Créatures is the first collaboration between NYC-based artist Vincent Houzé and Brooklyn-based studio Dave & Gabe (Dave Rife and Gabe Liberti) who have respectively been driving forces in the development of fantastical GLSL particle shader systems and complex interactive and visual projects involving "spatial sound".
Born from Houzé's fascination with generating strange life forms, and incubated in Montreal at the SAT's creative programs of immersive works, Créatures is the extraordinary and very challenging first venture of the 3 artists into the wide (wide) world of the dome environment.
The result was vastly wondrous and playful with an ethereal, even extraterrestrial quality, inspiring in so many ways! We spoke with the artists to learn more about their process in creating the work and experience with TouchDesigner in the dome.
Jul.03.18 Kazoe Nobuaki's Sensational and Highly Adaptive DEVISION VJ System
Kazoe Nobuaki is a member of the Tokyo-based VJ REZ team and the maker of the powerful visual show performance tool DEVISION. He is already a 'veteran' VJ on the Tokyo club-circuit with his adrenalin-pumping, high-octane visual style. Not fully satisfied with off-the-shelf pre-made tools which he felt would "limit his creativity" Kazoe-san dove into TouchDesigner head first and began developing his own perfomance system within just two months of getting his first licence.
"Prior to using TouchDesigner I'd been using VDMX, MadMapper, and Grand VJ and so on, and using these softwares I decided I wanted to build own system. For this reason I chose TouchDesigner and started to learn it in August, 2016. I hardly had any knowledge about python at the time, however I was able to start building my original system, DEVISION, only after 2 months."
Jun.19.18 USC Students Drive Interactive Installation Psithaura with Breath and Cooperation
Breathing, the primary mode of interaction symbolizes the symbiotic relationship we have with our floral friends.
The natural world is burning. Psithaura is a ritualized experience inspiring reflection on our relationship to nature. It asks how we frame nature in the current geological age where human activity has been the dominant influence on the environment. Through collaborative gestural participation the installation awakens, transforming the gallery into a communal meditative space. Breath and C02 manipulate the visuals in real-time, producing direct feedback about the current state of this relationship. -- Evan Tedlock
Psithaura (sith-ora) is a sophisticated and impactful interactive installation directed by Evan Tedlock for his graduate exhibition at The University of Southern California (USC). Tedlock was joined by Keshav Prasad, who handled the Interaction Design and Engineering, to realize Psithaura as their first project with TouchDesigner.
Using a Kinect, wind speed sensors, a CO2 sensor and LED rings, the installation adroitly uses human breath as the basis and "data" of an interactive system in which people can feel their effect on an environment in a visceral way. Evan Tedlock and Keshav Prasad tell us more about their incentives and the making of the work below.
Jun.11.18 Blobs n Fluff Generates Bioluminescent Superbugs with TouchDesigner
Alexia Blobs & Fluff is a Paris-based French visual artist working on all kinds of personal experimentations which for the last year have involved TouchDesigner. These experimentations gravitate around computer-based patterns, biology, cycles, bioluminescence, procedural generation and to our delight, brings a whole other (and infinitely better) meaning to the concept of TouchDesigner BUGS! Also apropos, Alexia's first project with TouchDesigner was an insect generator called "Superbug" where people could change an insect's proportions, colors and shapes with a midi controller. We're hooked, and Alexia has been kind enough to take us through the experiences and workflow that have resulted in these prolific and divine creatures!
May.28.18 The Making of Orizuru Room a Traditional Japanese Origami Installation
This whimsical and powerful installation featured traditional Japanese origami and TouchDesigner-driven LED. Atsushi Kobayashi, Joe Ohara and Kenta Umeda collaborated with a grand master of origami from Manazuru, Japan to create this perfectly executed audio-reactive installation.
Orizuru Room was a part of a TouchDesigner hackathon at the art event "Manazuru Jack Installation". Manazuru is a port town about 100km to the west of Tokyo, and during this event, many places in the town are "jacked with art works".
Apr.24.18 Tokyo-based Collective nor's Dyebirth Ponders "What is Life?"
nor members from left to right: Architect / Experience Designer: Kazuhiro Itagaki; Sound Designer: Yui Onodera; Planner / Conceptor: Makoto Fukuchi; Producer: Shigeyoshi Hayashi; Software Engineer: Shuhei Matsuyama; Designer: Satoshi Kawamata; Hardware Engineer: Satoshi Nakane
It is our great pleasure to feature the project "dyebirth" from the playfully explorative and technically far-ranging creative label nor.
Made up of Japanese artists of diverse backgrounds - architects, designers, musicians, engineers, and so on, nor create's installations and products using hardware and software integration with the purpose of "trying to understand undefined areas and to create new values through this approach." Their motivation is to create interesting things never seen before that also cross over each member's area of speciality.
The prolific Shuhei Matsuyama who has been one of the driving forces behind TouchDesigner's adoption in Japan handles all things TouchDesigner for nor.
Apr.10.18 D-Brane, an Augmented Reality Performance
New media artist Harvey Moon "creator of tools and machines"wields outright wizardryusing the HTC Vive for motion trackingin this performance that is the "culmination of dance, real time projection mapping and live audio synthesis". Thestory of a creation outgrowing its creator, D-brane sees adancer wearing a tracking device interacting with a moving, suspended dodecahedronthat is also tracked and projected-upon. It's as uncanny as it is beautiful and has us glued to the screen hitting the replay button over and over again.
A software system was built specifically for the performance allowing the dancer to have direct gestural interactions with the visuals and audio in real time. An analog patch-based audio synthesis sonifies the motions of the dancer using the live tracking data. All real-time graphics, tracking and projection were realised in TouchDesigner. Big thanks to Mr Moon for shedding some light on how all this ethereality was achieved!
I am addicted to make as close and intimate connections between visuals and audio as I possibly can.... The core of what I am always trying to create with TouchDesigner is an interactive audiovisual system which I can perform with, and in which there is a deep two-way connection between visuals and sound (so sound creates visuals and visuals also create sound). - Benjamin Heim
We've been enormously inspired by these quick visual explorations made by London-based contemporary classical composer Benjamin Heim. We also noticed that Ben's A/V performance “Essays in Interaction" was premiering soon at Splice Festival May 12 and wanted to find out what he was planning and how TouchDesigner might be involved. Ben was gracious to explain his transition from working with sound to creating audiovisual compositions, and how looking for ways to make music and the visuals more integrated and reactive led him to TouchDesigner.
Mar.28.18 The Making-of Go Robot's Interactive Motion-Tracked Dance Installation
An interactive motion-tracking-based dance installation made with TouchDesigner during a 3-day intensive VR jam organized by Cinedans and Beamlab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We were immediately intrigued with the above video and so caught up with the highly skilled and productive brothers Tim and Roy Gerritsen of Go Robot to get all the juicy details. They productively (and very kindly) provided us with the following very well-detailed words and images. Read on and enjoy, there's a ton to learn here!
Within our newly formed studio (Go Robot.) we grabbed this opportunity with both hands. We love these kinds of events to play, experiment and develop new proof of concepts. A fun and really helpful way to lay a foundation for future client work.
We wanted to create a framework to easily connect (GLSL shader) effects to tracked points in a virtual 3D space. In this case, we used a Kinect sensor, but it is set up in such a way that we can easily support other tracking hardware like Blacktrax or optiTrack motion capture.
We spend 2 days prior to the event setting up the framework and 3 days locked up in a theater in Amsterdam to build this installation. Frederik-Jan de Jongh joined us with all his audiovisual experience and we had a blast dancing like monkeys and trying things out. On the third day, we had asked the professional dancer Giacomo Della Marina to give it a try. We recorded 2 clips where both Giacomo and Fred did 2 rounds of a 2-minute improvisation. The second run is the one we used and put online.
Mar.15.18 BEYOND CASSINI | Art Celebrates the Life and Science of Doomed Saturn Explorer
On September 15th 2017, NASA terminated Cassini's 20-year lucrative mission exploring the Saturn system in a high-profile "Grand Finale" where the beloved space 'probe" was programmed to harakari-crash into Saturn so as not to corrupt the potential of life thought to exist on moons Enceladus and Titan (based on data collected by Cassini itself).
For many of us this was a tragic event, Cassini having performed a mission of heroic proportions, condemned to dissipate and burn up in the planet it, and vicariously we, had become so intimate with, in all its rings, moons and magnetic glory.
A collaboration between creator and director Tyler Bowers of WOW inc and NYC-based artist Gabriel Pulecio the immersive art installation "BEYOND CASSINI" was conceived with the intent to celebrate and humanize the life and death of the probe and its mission.
Exhibited at hprgp GALLERY NEW YORK from 2017.09.15 to 2017.09.27, the installation is completely driven by TouchDesigner which synchronizes and plays back all the video and LED animations in the installation. We spoke with the artists to learn more about their incentive and methodology.
We came upon these elegant animations in our #touchdesigner Instagram feed, a new one every day, and began to wonder "how are you getting such clean and precise line animation in TouchDesigner?" So we made contact and as it turns out Matthias Meissen of @blok.artwork based in Nurenberg had attended our #tdsummit18 in Berlin and was happy to talk to us.
Mar.13.18 TouchDesigner Summit 18 | Meet Heroes, Talk Shop, a Tsunami of Inspiration
On February 3rd and 4th, 230 people from the TouchDesigner community met at the Forum Factory in Berlin to take part in our largest and most ambitious gathering to date. "Ambitious" in that we are not festival organizers (or "madness facilitators" thanks Idzard) and while things looked good on paper we had no certainty of how they would logistically play out 'on the ground' - and foreign ground at that! As it turned out things went off pretty well indeed due to the enormous cooperation of the people who participated in such goodwill and we discovered that we very much enjoy organizing festivals!
Photos from top left to bottom right: Greg Hermanovic, Markus Heckmann and Isabelle Rousset with banana and Club Mate, photo credit Sherry Kennedy; Idzard on deck, Joerg and Achim in the audience, photo credit Olga Wroniewicz, MUT Studio; DAT Hall, photo credit Olga Wroniewicz, MUT Studio. Full house at Forum Factory in the DAT Hall, photo credit Isabelle Rousset;
The TouchDesigner Summit 2018 took place over the course of 2 intensive and highly-charged days where a tremendous program of over 30 workshops, masterclasses and presentations were delivered by members of the community (fullpresenter list here) who were open, generous and excited about sharing their knowledge and experience.
Complete recordings of the proceedings can be found on our TouchDesigner Summit Youtube Channel. We urge you to spend the time to watch and learn from this vast pool of ideas and know-how which to a large degree represents the state of where we are right now in terms of how TouchDesigner in being used.
Workshops: TouchDesigner Introduction; How to deal with sensors, Intro to TouchDesigner for Video Mapping and Pixel Mapping, Drawing in Python, Nail polish for a touch of glamour : make that voxels shine!, An Introduction to MQTT, TDAbleton and Widgets, ease-in, ease-out!, Introduction to GLSL. MasterClasses: Light Installations with TouchDesigner, SOP on GPU - Geometry Shaders, Design Realtime Content for Spherical Environment, Teamwork & Version Control: a Git workflow for TouchDesigner Presentations: Edges of TouchDesigner, Building a TouchDesigner Media Server, GLSL Fluids for Great Shader Success, Geometrical Music, TouchDesigner for Designers, Storytelling Within Interactive and Performative Frames: a Focus on TouchDesigner, Gameshow Gymnastics, Music Production in TouchDesigner, Corteza, More than a Slide Show – Animating Folders of Photographs, Planetarium #1 - the Biggest Planetarium in the World for the Lowest Budget Ever!, How I Make Components These Days, Live Visuals & Beyond, CHOP CHOP CHOP, Structure VR, Your Diploma in TouchDesigner, Beyond the Border of Lighting and Projection, Using TouchDesigner for Secret Mappings, Do Computers Dream of Electronic Videos, Pentatonix - Interactive Light Instrument
Oct.17.17 VolvoxLabs Meticulously Animates Engagement at Microsoft Theatre Lounge DTLA
Conceived of as a "storymaking" experience that invites interaction and collaboration, wunderkind studio VolvoxLabs' realization of the Microsoft Theatre Lounge in downtown Los Angeles seamlessly weaves technologies throughout the space to build out four engagement pieces.
VolvoxLabs employed TouchDesigner as the central brain of the lounge, using it to control data flow and the automation of many of the elements within the four engagement pieces. TouchDesigner also serves as the content management system, and is used for video mapping and playback, generative design, robotic element controls, and lighting control.
The technology objective in this meticulously crafted and responsive space is to awaken the senses, enabling human interaction to become "a medium for art that explores and celebrates the evolution of ideas that in turn shape technology and inspire creativity beyond the Microsoft Theatre."
Oct.03.17 Cassini Spacecraft's Saturn Image Captures Inspire James Cao's ORIENS
Artist and coder James Yuxi Cao's initial inspiration for ORIENS, his meditative installation that premiered at TodayArt Museum in Beijing originated with several of NASA's posts to their Instagram account. Like many of us, Cao was struck by the quiet and distant beauty of the Cassini spacecraft's image captures of Saturn and its 'atmosphere' as well as other cosmological occurrences such as the solar eclipse and black holes.
"For me as a visual artist, all of these historical moments and stimulating images triggered my impulse to think about these types of shapes and sunlit gradients, and how these shapes could represent the relationship between the individual and the universe we live in. It triggered me to bring these 'infections' into my next audiovisual work.
This audiovisual piece was a perfect balance between stable performance in realtime, editing and post-rendering, all in a flexible node by node control environment. Touchdesigner was the ideal tool!"
Sep.26.17 Soma CG Drives All Screen Visuals On-Set for Ridley Scott's Alien Covenant
Covenant Radiography. Screen graphics driven by Soma CG's MOTHER
Ridley Scott on set of Alien Covenant
All the 120+ screens you see in Alien Covenant were simultaneously driven on-set by Soma CG's application MOTHER, made entirely in TouchDesigner. This enabled Director Ridley Scott to craft and adapt the timing, sequencing, effects and look of the screen graphics while setting up each shot with the actors, art director and cinematographer. MOTHER was even put to uses that were not originally intended. This is what happens when TouchDesigner is used on-set, on-stage or (virtually) in-orbit. Boris Morris Bagattini (aka Chris Wilson) lays it out here.
"MOTHER" (interface below) was the remarkable (and very beautiful) TouchDesigner application designed for the task by Wilson. The application is based on replicated TouchDesigner Components, each having its own interface with all relevant settings for that screen. Further to the director's brief, the system feeding each screen needed to be able to:
Composite and control up to 8 layers of screen graphics videos, HUD (heads-up display) overlays and live camera feeds.
Apply and control several effects to different layers on each screen and adjust to the director's requests.
Drive precisely-cued playback from producer calls through to then end of the shoot.
Quickly wrap around screens as per the director's instruction.
Quickly load and play newly requested content as it was provided.
Enable the team to rapidly develop director-requested features, and distribute back to the screens.
Save out entire scenes so they could be recalled and used on request.
Color and level-adjust all or individual screens independently.
MOTHER Interface (stacked to fit, click to see larger)
Sep.05.17 Announcing: "Visual Thinking With TouchDesigner" a First Japanese Book
Visual Thinking with TouchDesigner
The professional's choice for real-time rendering & prototyping
TouchDesigner gets hot attention from Hollywood and media art world. The first introduction manual in Japan finally appeared!
It is with enormous excitement and appreciation that we announce the very first Japanese TouchDesigner manual Visual Thinking With TouchDesigner | The Professional's choice for real-time rendering & prototyping.
Published by BNN a company specializing in books relating to design, computing, and craft Visual Thinking With TouchDesigner is slated for release September 15, 2017 and will be available at Amazon,Rakuten, honto and Yodobashi.com.
Beautifully designed and typeset by Someone's Garden the ambitious project is spearheaded and authored by Shuhei Matsuyama and Naohide Matsunami (antymark), both driving-forces behind the software's adoption in Japan with their monthly TouchDesigner workshops (respectively in Tokyo and Kansai) and their remarkable portfolios of work and development. Ben Voigt, product manager at Derivative was also consulted in guiding and supervising the book.
Aug.22.17 Other Robots Duo from Ghent Design the First TouchDesigner T-Shirt and it is RAD
Other Robots is an artistic collaboration between musician/sculptor Maarten Serpentier and video artist/graphic designer Liselotte Van Daele. The duo bring sculpture, graphics, music and video together to create a rich and multi-layered visual experience bridging the "so-called difference between fine and applied arts, high and low arts, etc." We were intrigued about how TouchDesigner fit into their workflow "opening a whole new world and making an important connection between all our practices."
With great appreciation for their aesthetic and processes: imagery, pattern, texture, the cool 'punkiness' for lack of better term, we proposed they design our first TouchDesigner T-Shirt in time for Mutek Montreal. To our delight they enthusiastically agreed and we are very happy that people will be looking so good sporting these at the festival!! We had a very productive and fun long-distance chat over the past weeks and this is what came about...
Jul.26.17 Electro-Acrylic Sends the Physicality of the Painter's Brushstrokes to the Dome
From left: visual designer Fred Trétout, percusionist painter Alec Stephani, sound designer Fred Laurier (Pfreud)
Electro-Acrylic is a live, electronic-acoustic hybrid performance developed in the immersive fulldome theater of the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) that is a creative blend of abstract painting, interactive digital art and live sound making. The participants are sound designer Fred Laurier (Pfreud), visual designer Fred Trétout and percusionist painter Alec Stephani.
Attached to the back of the canvas are eight piezo microphones that reverberate to various degrees as they capture the passage of the brush on the canvas and ensuing vibrations of the canvas according to the intensity of the artist's creative impulse.
All the music and imagery of the show are created from these canvas signals and the imagery captured by the camera pointed at the canvas. If the painter doesn't touch the canvas – nothing happens!
We spoke with Fred Trétout who was kind enough to discuss the project and provide a breakdown of how it all came together.
Jul.17.17 Sumptuous Interactive Dance Performed with Reactive Visuals Using BlackTrax
"V" is a superbly crafted and magically 'reactive' and 'interconnected' dance performance which took place in Rimini during the 3 days of MIR, the most important Italian trade fair for Live Entertainment Technology. The project was born as a showcase for Blacktrax and realtime visual interaction Mattia Diomedi, project art director and TouchDesigner artist tells us, which rapidly developed into a "full-blown dance performance!"
Diomedi explains that the choreography wasn't so much story-based but that rather certain concepts - like birth/origin, separation, and the joy of reunion that the team wanted to convey to the audience through the visuals and dance.
The project which came together quickly and with striking results used TouchDesigner in every aspect of visual development and interaction programming with Andrew Quinn brought is as Special Consultant.
Jul.06.17 Leviathan's Extraordinary 150 Media Stream a Living Digital Sculpture
Gracing the expansive lobby of 150 North Riverside in Chicago is an elegant and impressively large "dynamic digital sculpture" conceived of and produced by talented innovators and home-team creative agency Leviathan.
The scale and technical feat is indeed remarkable. Made up of 89 LED "blades" the video canvas dubbed 150 Media Stream, spans 125 feet wide by 25 feet high rendering out a total of 33 million pixels at a steady 60 fps!
The installation exhibits commissioned works by artists from across the globe via an intelligent content library designed to continually transform over time to keep content from becoming repetitive and to empower 150 Media Stream's curators with maximum visual flexibility.
As kindly and cogently detailed below by the Leviathan creative and technical team, TouchDesigner was integral to Leviathan's realisation of the entire project, used for all aspects of its creation: for prototyping and perfecting its real-time generative visuals, building users interfaces, interoperating with devices and other software tools, building the scheduler of the visual scenes, and the multi-computer system that runs the installation.
It's a phenomenal achievement and a beautiful work of art that entices and inspires. We are delighted to share this report with our readers with many, many thanks to Leviathan.
Mar.28.17 NaiveLaser's Captured Atmospheres Recreates Natural Phenomena with Lasers
Captured Atmospheres: interactions between light, smoke and matter is an ephemeral and yet very physical experience that posits atmosphere as instrument. Within seconds the viewer is enfolded into a sublime medium that with acute insight and inventiveness has been crafted with realtime laser techniques and physical computing to create an experience and impression that feels "real" and elemental on a scale usually experienced in nature.
"How do you make lasers look so good?!" we wanted to know...
Captured Atmospheres was conceived and designed by Ana Herruzo and Jaine Sanchez of NaiveLaser who carried out extensive in-the-field research to achieve these effects and to design a physical delivery system made up of tubes, wood and various machines. The project was initially commissioned by The Paseo Taos Arts Festival, with the early collaboration of Julieta Gil. TouchDesigner was used to drive the laser animations and to control the smoke machines.
Exploring ideas of perceptual phenomena as a mechanism re-frame the built environment, Captured Atmosphere playfully abstracts and reconfigures both architectural material and ephemeral matter. Through the use of actuated materials, light, and smoke the experience is organized as a series of vignettes that create an augmented exposé of the intangible.
Mar.16.17 Virtual and Real Synchronize in TOKYO ART CITY by NAKED
Tokyo Art City Morning
Tokyo Art City Evening
Tokyo Art City is an ambitious and beautifully executed art exhibition about Tokyo by NAKED Inc that is composed of projection mapping, illumination and large models of Tokyo's many landmarks. Under the concept of "City is Art" virtual and real Tokyo are synchronized over past, present and future. The team made extensive use of TouchDesigner for projection mapping and to control vast lighting arrays of LED as well as lasers to bring the "city to life".
Tokyo landmarks such as the Tokyo Station building, Tokyo Tower and a complex transportation network of Tokyo can be experienced through scale models combined with projection mapping and particles of light and sound. Human activity within the city is also animated and experienced in various ways.
There is a story in this exhibition that particles of light which express human activity are part of the city spread out over distance in space and time.
Feb.21.17 TouchDown Houston at Day For Night Festival
Day For Night in Houston last December was on multiple fronts one of the most ambitious and flawless festivals we've attended - take Aphex Twin's transformational live set for one, but the opportunity to experience such a formidable array of installation light and kinetic art in that particular venue (a staggering 1.2 million square foot decommissioned postal sorting station) does top the list; and that almost half of these installations made such excellent use of TouchDesigner was icing on the proverbial cake! In many ways it was like being at a gigantic TouchDesigner meetup (we can dream) but the running count of community members on site was up to 30 - at a single festival! Exciting stuff.
We've had a chance to let it soak in and to review the experience with the brilliant artist teams who showed at DFN and with the formidable Alex Czetwertynski who was responsible for curating this massive scale and mind boggling visual program. There's a TON of very interesting reading below so without further ado here is our TouchDown Houston at Day For Night Festival report!
Jan.12.17 Refactor: An Autonomous Generative Painting Factory Mapping the Artist
After a series of exhibitions artist Nikzad Arabshahi had the idea to reconstruct his painting in real-time through computer renderings in a generative algorithmic composition. All of these algorithms are implemented by the artist in TouchDesigner, which allowed him to "simply visualize [his] thoughts without limitation while providing all the necessary equipment for the challenges of production". Refactor is a culmination of Arabshahi's earlier painting projects (Eraser – 2013 and Chlordiazepoxide – 2011) transformed into a generative art project.
The project is an experiment in a new dialogue blending two mediums - sound and visual - so that the two play with each other. The visual part is the result of an artistic pursuit and painterly experience that has "transformed the painter's mindset". The project portrays this new reconning and is thus named "Refactor".
At Refactor's core is a computer program based on evaluating, reviewing, reflecting and reinterpreting the painter's practice of art making.
The outcome of this self-reflection is turned into compositional algorithms that can be formulated mathematically so that their sequential outcome forms a dynamic network of computer codes. These computer codes make possible painterly experience without the painter; a painting factory without any need for the painter's presence or control. They recreate the process of image making and control painterly quality of this realization on dedicated visual platforms.
Jan.12.17 Lidar Scanning in the Fulldome: Remote Sense
"Like I was staring into space in a cave that was also a cathedral of light whilst in a submarine"- audience comment
Visual artist / designer Jonny Knox and audio composer / performer Darien Britto premiered 'Remote Sense', a realtime fulldome performance at Glasgow Science Centre Planetarium for Cryptic and the FDUK Bienalle in November 2016. The visual work is an investigation of Lidar, point cloud data captured through laser scanners (remotes sensing), processed, animated and rendered realtime in TouchDesigner.
Jan.11.17 In Light and Stillness, The Sublime Artistry of Ali Phi
Ali Phi is a prolific Tehran-based media artist, musician (as elemaun) and the founder of nullsight, a studio that produces technology-driven projects for clients involving creative coding, interaction design, immersive environments, 3D mapping and so on. TouchDesigner plays a role in all of these enterprises as Ali tells us:
"About its importance in my works, TouchDesigner is the most powerful toolkit I've ever used! I should say that I work with different platforms of visual programming and coding and use them based on demands of the project, but usually TouchDesigner is my first priority because of its stability and ease of modelling the ideas into a patch. The simple logic of programming and the possibility of running python scripts as well as the software being so up to date for connecting to new technological hardwares are the most powerful reasons for me to start all sketches with TouchDesigner"
Dec.12.16 TouchDesigner at Day For Night, a Preview
The second edtion of Day For Night taking place December 17-18 in Houston, Texas will host an incredible lineup of sound and visual artists and prominently feature in the "Light" section, are some very exciting projects from the TouchDesigner community.
Saint Petersburg art collective TUNDRA bring their lasers and artistry to North Americ for the first time, NYC-based AV&C + Houze return to Day for Night (d4n) with mirrors, motors and projections, Ezra Miller adapts his WebGL generative art to bigger real-time screens, VT Pro Design with a secret project fly in from LA, and Colin Hoy programs and controls the festivals' interstitial screens at all the stages! TouchDesigner is indeed 'in the house'!
Whatever we can reveal at this time we do so below along with a samling of past works from the artists. Much more to come on all these installations during and following d4n (many surprises in store!).
Dec.06.16 TouchDesigner Community Highlights Fall 2016
A sampling of work from our talented TouchDesigner community this fall. Featured here: Light Notes' Vodafone: Interactive TouchBoard, Mart Mai's ///, Ultravioletto's Immersioni, Modular from Vincent Houze and team, Patrik Lechner's du schimmelst ja, Anton Grabovskiy's TouchDesigner Shop and Indae Hwang's Rectangular Shapes and Particles. Such range, so inspired - enjoy!
Art collective NONE premiered their multimedia installation 'Deep Dream Act II' at the VII edition of DigitaLife, an Italian exhibition dedicated to digital-art. The visual content produced by Andrew Quinn using TouchDesigner.
The work bears the name of a mathematical algorithm discovered inadvertently by Google. The mathematical algorhythm proceeds by visual associations, capturing images and videos from Google’s database, a neural network that interprets reality through a shared and constantly evolving archive of images.
Deep Dream Act II is the second part of a research project, which aims to place the human being within the data stream that they themselves produce and share. The viewer "travels" in a continuous stream of data within an n-dimensional 'hypercube' composed of 150 square meters of mirrors in which one completely loses all reference to space-time. The visual and noise bombardment that the system generates inside the hypercube is thus a reflection of our virtual affairs.
Oct.06.16 WONDERS OF NATURE | GASOMETER OBERHAUSEN
Photo Credit: Gasometer Oberhausen
Photo Credit: Gasometer Oberhausen
Photo Credit: Michael Rasche
Photo Credit: Michael Rasche
Photo Credit: Gasometer Oberhausen
"Wonders of Nature" is a current exhibition at the spectacular Gasometer Oberhausen where the highlight of the show is our blue planet itself 'brought to life'. Suspended in the lofty 100-meter high air space of the Gasometer the 20 metre globe floats as animated, high-resolution satellite images (8-10 K) are seamlessly projected onto its surface. Visitors are thus able to experience from a perspective usually reserved for astronauts in space, the fascinating phenomena of the changing atmosphere, the alternation of night and day and the changing seasons on the planet we call home.
The video above provides a glimpse into the process that enabled the team to construct this stunning representation (making it look easy of course!) and below we unpack some of the more granular details of the 'making of' with Intermediate Engineering's Nicholas Braren.
Conceived in partnership with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and curated by Prof. Peter Pachnicke, Wonders of Nature runs till December 30, 2016 - experience it if you can.
Sep.07.16 Design Meets Surf Culture | Ericeira World Surfing Reserve
“The centre's chief objective is to present and explain the reserve and its main attributes: the 7 waves and their characteristics, the biosphere, the meteorological composition, the flora and fauna and the facilities. The detailed visualisation of data about the natural characteristics and surf conditions of the area is made possible by the close interweaving of design and technology. Via an innovative interactive video-mapping system combined with customized apps the visitors can explore this information in an accessible way. This is a milestone in terms of the transmission of complex geographical, meteorological and oceanographic data in surf reserves." Ericeira – World Surfing Reserve
AN INTERACTIVE INTERPRETATION CENTRE MEETING SURFERS’ NEEDS
With seven of the world's most venerated waves crashing upon its shores surfing is a huge deal in Portugal, impacting both local culture and tourism. While it is far more typical for hardcore surfing enthusiasts to keep their coveted waves under the radar, the local authorities have had a different approach, in the past posting official tourist signs to guide visitors to all the famous waves in the area.
The first of its kind in Europe, the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve Interpretation Center represents the epitome of that trend, and while it might be frustrating to some it is also remarkably well conceived and executed by a team of researchers, planners, programmers and designers.
We spoke to Rui Gato (Technical and Creative Director) and David Negrão (3D and Interactive Designer) of ALTA_International Creative Alliance about their outstanding contribution to the project using TouchDesigner for video-mapping of the scaled model, realtime generation of the data visualization, and the multitouch UI that controls and allows users to navigate the content of the Interpretation Centre. Exceptional work, enjoy!
It is always exciting and inspiring to see how TouchDesigner is being used by students in schools - sometimes for the first time - as a creative tool and to experiment and solve problems.
Art project Fit the Culture is an interactive portal between Russian and Austrian culture created by a joint student team MOSGRA from British Higher School of Design in Moscow and FH Joanneum in Graz. The installation took place simultaneously in both cities from 17th to 21st of May inviting visitors to hop on a journey through 'stereotypical' cultural environments. Visitors were dared to look beyond the cliches of the unfamiliar culture and find emotional connections in the most entrenched touristic icons.
Fit the Culture is the first collaboration between these two geographically remote design classes made up of 10 students from Austria and 4 from Russia under the supervision of tutors.
We spoke with Tanya Samarakovskaya and Olga Kazmina about the project and their teams' experience of working with TouchDesigner.
Aug.18.16 Infinity, Hyper Thread & Origins | The Lab at Panorama NYC
The inaugural Panorama Festival was held this summer proclaiming itself as a "modern-day World's Fair of music, art, culture and technology, showcasing future-forward creativity beyond the confines of the average music festival experience." Headliners included music stars Kendrick Lamar, Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem but featured as well was a showing of innovative digital interactive installations created by NYC artists.
Housed in a 70-foot video dome that also functioned as a fully immersive 360-degree VR theatre, The Lab (designed and curated by META.is, sponsored by HP and presented by The Verge) created a space where experiential technologists were given equal billing to their musical counterparts - and as some even put in "stole the show".
Of the seven interactive installations three were designed and produced by NYC TouchDesigner artists: VolvoxLabs produced Origins, projection-mapped visuals spanning the entire dome's facade, Gabriel Pulecio installed Infinity Wall, a very trippy mirror and LED infinity experience, and Dave & Gabe provided silk cocoon, user-driven sonic experiences with Hyper Thread.
The work is tremendous and we could not be prouder or more impressed by these three teams. We found a few minutes to debrief (which was not easy as they don't sit still) and share with the community a little more background on these installations. Enjoy!
Aug.10.16 TouchDesigner Community Highlights Summer 2016
A quick round-up of diverse and spectacular new work from the TouchDesigner community this summer. Featured here: Obscura Digital'sSalesforce Video Wall, Reaction-Diffusion from Nobutaka Kitahara, My Whale (inner revision),TUNDRA, Ericeira - World Surfing Reserve from Experimentadesign, Fit the Culture from joint student team MOSGRA from British Higher School of Design in Moscow and FH Joanneum in Graz; and Behind Closed Eyes from Peter Walker. Enjoy!
Project artists: Kellyann Geurts (PhD candidate) & Dr Indae Hwang PhD supervisor: Mark Guglielmetti Specialised support in 3D printing: Elliott Wilson, sensiLab
Category: Art & Design, Research, Wearables
As a participant what will I be doing? In this project, you will wear an EEG brain sensor device that measures tiny electrical changes in your brainwaves. Using specialised software, this data is translated into abstract 3D forms. You will concentrate on building your own personalised thought-form, which can be 3D printed and taken home with you.
The recording will take approximately 5 minutes; your 3D thought-form will take between 15 – 20 minutes to print.
How did the project come about?
This collaborative project is based on Kellyann's PhD research: Imagining Thought in Digital Space. Kellyann and Indae are working together to realise the research project into 3D form.
This research project follows a long history of "picturing" thoughts in both art and science. From the late 19th century, photographic plates and film aimed to capture "vital sources" (thoughts, mental energy and dreams). In 1924 the first EEG machines recorded brainwaves and from this time, in scientific labs around the world today, neuroimaging techniques accurately measure, and even predict thought. Outside the labs, the recent trend of consumer wireless EEG devices now makes it possible to record impressions of our brain/mind responses to everyday stimulus, in a variety of domestic settings.
May.24.16 LIGHTfaktor's Atolla Chandelier for Top Golf
Photo credit (all photos): Topher Adam Photography
This decorative chandelier located in the lobby stairwell of Top Golf Flagship in Las Vegas, NV at the MGM Grand, consist of 26 suspended LED Rings (white light LED's) with 17 strands of RGB LED pixel hanging through the LED rings. The fixture is over 32 feet tall and is meant to provide more than just ambient lighting, as its equipped with 5 motion sensing sonar cameras and a direct audio feed, making it capable of interactive motion and audio effects. The fixture and system was designed by Wes Lane and fabricated by his team at LIGHTfaktor. TouchDesigner programming and sensor integration was handled by team member Daniel Schafer.
Apr.07.16 Square Root of Sin | Student Exhibition | MARS Center
Moscow-based artists and new media producers Yan Kalnberzin and Evgeny Afonin (as Curiosity Media Lab) have been conducting TouchDesigner workshops in Moscow for a number of years now. What began as short, intensive sessions evolved into week-long workshops and eventually into three month marathon sessions which culminate in incredible showings of the students' work. We were blown away by the exhibited work and also by Yan and Egevny's continuous efforts to teach TouchDesigner and to share their considerable knowledge and experience.
We asked them why they do this and then we asked the students about their experiences in class and working with TouchDesigner. Here is what we learned.
Yan Kalnberzin: We were first invited to make some small masterclasses on Anja Intektra's PLUMSFEST event 3 years ago. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and it made my brain work another way. Rethink and reformulate how and what I do and I liked it much. Students were asking questions and I couldn't sometimes give answers. So I had to dig into some new fields (and I still do).
Then we made some intensive week-long masterclasses and that was also cool. But I felt that only few of students had enough time to get used to the interface and concepts of TouchDesigner if they started from scratch. So we decided to make an experiment and make a longterm course. Last year was the first 3-month beginner's course and then there was another 3-month advanced course. At the end of their study the students made an exhibition of their works and in spite of all our expectations it was not trash at all. I was inspired by their ideas.
Apr.05.16 Mapping The Cave | Secret Mapping Experiment
everything is a secret now.
So reads the about section of the Secret Mapping Experiment Facebook page along with links to the group's tumblr and instagram accounts. Keeping secrets isn't an easy thing to do - especially when those secrets revolve around throwing an uninhibited spectrum of light onto, from - and in the case of The Cave into- some spectacularly abandoned or disused spaces and "gigantic masterpieces of engineering machines".
We had a few questions for this secret society and in the spirit of not revealing too much, faces, places and some names have been changed or not provided. Here's what we can tell...
Mar.16.16 The Future of Music | Making of a 360 Film
"THE FUTURE OF MUSIC" is a ground-breaking 360° virtual experience made by director Greg Barth and Phenomena Labs that immerses the viewer in a surrealist musical space.
The point of view is that of "interviewer" in a behind-the-scenes mockumentary with Carré Bleu, a revolutionary music inventor who is in the midst of presenting his unique production methods for recording an instrumental track.
The very amusing and clever part is that each of these instruments is an actual human turned into a gravity-defying "GIF-strument". The Kick is a checker-board-latex-suited-character with spikes on his derrière falling back onto confetti-filled balloons - twice! The Synth combines a wacky combination of vacuum cleaner and toilet rolls; the Snare has the chief sound engineer being pushed through a colorful sheet of real sugar-glass and so on…