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  Feb.24.15 Vincent Houzé on Rapid-Prototyping and Working in Real Time

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My first steps with Arduino and a little proof of concept. Rotating the little white knob drives the cardboard box rotation and the virtual box rotation the rocks collide with. Graphics and sim generated with TouchDesigner. Mapping is a bit approximate, adhesive tape and 12$ servo can only take you so far.
Paper + pico projector + TouchDesigner

We first became aquainted with Vincent Houzé through the very compelling and often amusing videos he shares of his artistic and R&D experiments. Made with TouchDesigner, these short video proofs-of-concept for dynamic simulations, video mapping and GLSL shaders typically also incorporate paper, cardboard, glue and sometimes Arduino and rotors. They appreciably make their often complex point simply and elegantly with easy to find resources, showing an excellent aptitude for designing and prototyping with TouchDesigner.

Vincent currently lives in New York and works on large scale architectural installations and interactive installations. He is currently employed by award-winning company AV&C and also collaborates with local artists and designers like VolvoxLabs for example, where he brought his expertise in real time 3D graphics to shaping the Dubfire show.

Most recently we were intrigued by the teaser for Hybrid, a dance performance with immersive projections of motion and sound reactive visuals where Vincent designed and developed the visuals. We thought this would be an opportune time to catch up and have a conversation about Vincent's work.

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  Feb.16.15 Luminosity - Keith Lostracco's TouchDesigner Media Server

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Blizzcon StarcraftII Stage Mapped

There exists an impressive and growing range of TouchDesigner-built tools and applications authored by the community to perform and operate live shows. The most recent and likely ambitious we've seen to date is Keith Lostracco's brand new TouchDesigner media server 'Luminosity'.

No stranger to taking on the building of dauntingly complex systems (see Keith Lostracco's Mindbending Fractal World "Escape Time"), Keith tells us Luminosity was built to create a front end for TouchDesigner aimed at providing operators with an easy-to-use interface to perform, control, and distribute realtime media while retaining the open-ended programmability of TouchDesigner as well as its speed.

Keith describes Luminosity's functionality as combining a high-end media server, a VJ program, and TouchDesigner. The same types of audio routing and distribution methods found in digital audio workstations and mixers were implemented here to process video and data as well as audio.

The initial idea - which was to facilitate the playing of clips (video, TouchDesigner Components and audio clips) in a similar way that popular VJ softwares or Ableton Live does, quickly evolved to taking on the functionality of high-end media server systems.

A staggering undertaking with spectacularly comprehensive results, Luminosity was debuted for V Squared Labs' Blizzcon Starcraft where 12 projectors 3d mapped the complex stage with full previs, and again at the Superbowl this weekend to manage a 24-projector ESPN event.

With a number of features pending, this tool is not quite 'finished' but it's a fair prediction that Luminosity will prove to be useful in many places and that it will continue to evolve.

Over to Keith.

Luminosity Main Interface

 

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  Dec.29.14 VVOX' dubfire:live HYBRID, Fusing Science & Technology

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We caught up with the Brooklyn-based VolvoxLabs team Kamil Nawratil and Pa Her to discus their latest and grandest project of 2014 - the visual design, AV system programming and stage design for DJ Ali Shirazinia aka Dubfire's Live HYBRID tour.

The remarkably rich production which premiered at the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in October has the unmistakable dark, techno-organic Volvox signature style, both figuratively and also quite literally in this case as there's a narrative that explores the coming-into-being of a techno-organic entity as it evolves from the micro level. It's very fine work that skillfully combines and syncs 2D and 3D imagery as well as generative sound-reactive visuals.

The team used TouchDesigner to create a reliable playback system to drive the show (with no frame loss or delays) and the TouchDesigner Ableton Sync Live Environment to drive and generate visuals from the live music. Here's what Pa and Kamil had to say:

 

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  Dec.15.14 Fred Trétout's Interactive Facets

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Facets User 'Drawings' Output

About 2 years ago we became familiar with Fred Trétout when he published a video for the very cool (and rather adorable) SPOKA, an interactive projection mapped night light with an equally compelling description: "Spoka is a small night light, it can take its iron armor, trace the history of a life time or reveal its wireframe, the spectator have to choose! He can also move the light and rotate the model to see its most beautiful angle."

Fred's recent installation FACETS shares many of the qualities that first attracted us to his work: a pronounced tendency for playfulness, imaginative expression, and user-engagement conveyed through excellent design and use of technology.

Fred, who is currently in France teaching a TouchDesigner course at his alma mater took the time to talk to us about his work and experiences. Enjoy!

Fred Trétout': I had the idea of creating Facets shortly after discovering TouchDesigner. I wanted to rediscover the fun I had in my first VJ evenings when I was using the open source software Alchemy with a graphics tablet. The accumulation of geometric forms of the Tangram in symmetry allows with a little big of imagination to see faces, animals, robots ...

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  Nov.26.14 Book: An Introduction to TouchDesigner by Elburz Sorkhabi

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LaTeX

Anyone who spends time on the TouchDesigner forum will already know Elburz Sorkhabi who is always very generously sharing his deep storage of TouchDesigner wisdom to help others in the community. Elburz has now gone a step further and written a book!

"An Introduction to TouchDesigner" is completely free and accessible online. It is set up as a main text/book that comes with example project files and HD video walkthroughs. The source code for the book is available on the nVoid GitHub and licensed under creative commons to allow anyone to edit, add, and share - which means that this book will continually grow and remain current.

Needless to say, we are THRILLED to have access here not only to Elburz' extensive gained-in-the-field experience but also to his 'curation' of existing knowledge repositories like the forum, wiki - and we are looking forward to what happens next.

We had a few questions for the author...

Background:

I come from an art background, and more specifically a musical background. I was a professional trombonist for many years working in classical and commercial music, and eventually wound up in electronic music production, composition, and performance. 

I really wanted to create my music live when performing and starting getting involved with tools like Cycling 74's Max. I started building quite a number of tools and eventually volunteered to make the visual tools for the shows I was putting on with colleagues. This led to me exploring a multitude of generative and customizable video applications like Resolume and TouchDesigner.

Now I am the Technical Director at nVoid Art-Tech Limited  and we specialize in creating interactive experiences - both large and small in scale. We work across the globe with many different technologies to augment installations and narratives with designers, artists, brands and institutions. We have had the privilege of working with incredible partners on projects for google, Kanye West, Giorgio Armani, Nike, Bionic League, the Seattle Art Museum, Verizon, the National Museum of Scotland, Nuit Blanche, MacLaren Momentum, Informa Canada, and Random Media Core.

Interactive installation, Burj khalifa, Dubai with GSMPRJCT, TouchDesigner programming by NVoid
Interior Design Show 2014, designed and developed with zero11zero

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  Nov.11.14 Odaibe's Visual Treatment for My Name is Nobody

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My Name is Nobody, photo credit: Robert Cybulski
My Name is Nobody, photo credit: Robert Cybulski

MY NAME IS NOBODY is an avant-garde interdisciplinary performance based on music by Croatian electroaccoustic composer Frano Durovic that premiered October 8th at the 2014 Avant Art Festival at the Audiovisual Technology Center. A collaboration between artists, dancers and performers (full credits at end of page), it is an impressive undertaking that is adroitly produced.

The innovative visual production was designed and realised by Bartek Szlachcic, a graphic designer and electronic music producer whose interests lie in "visualizing sound with experimental tools" and who produces audiovisual works and musical collaborations as Odaibe.

My Name is Nobody's video notes tell us that the visuals were based on "already prepared photographs and various generative visual forms written in specially prepared software environment. In the spectacle, 4 screens, 4 projectors and a Kinect sensor were used. These formal and artistic treatments plus the contribution of 8 dancers intensify the atmosphere and build an extra-verbal albeit very substantive narration based on an eerie and psychedelic message."

Our introduction to Bartek's work came earlier this year with "Solaris" (below), made in the process of learning TouchDesigner and "messing around mainly with particles, forces, the animation editor and TOPs". Set to Cliff Martinez' famous (and many would venture dangerous-to-appropriate) score for Steven Soderberg's equally esteemed Solaris, Bartek's interpretation of the nebulous probing, undulating ocean/planet/entity did not land short of its mark and was well-received by the community.

We've been following Bartek's work with interest and appreciation and finally caught up with him after the premiere of My Name is Nobody to talk about the performance and to get some background on his experiences as an artist/designer and on working with TouchDesigner.

Preliminary drawing, Solaris planet and 'swirling'- Bartek's visual thinking always begins with pencil and paper.

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  Nov.04.14 Pixelux Studio's Kinetic Wall of Light System for Yves Saint Laurent SS 2015

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Kinetic Wall of Light, Yves Saint Laurent's Défilé Men Summer 2015

A year ago we spoke to Xavier Gruchet about Pixelux Studio's pedal-powered interactive Magic Cube, an installation produced for Lyon's Fête des Lumières where a "graphic monolith made from mysterious glowing matter" was circled by 28 bicycles connected to the "graphic engine". The speed and stamina of 28 riders produced a data stream to generate graphic, animation and sound layers in real-time. After 3 minutes of mad peddling, riders were rewarded with a display of " pure energy - white matter"!

Pedal-Powered Interactive Magic Cube
Kinetic Wall of Light, Yves Saint Laurent's Défilé Men Summer 2015

More recently, the Kinetic Wall of Light described by Pixelux' Xavier Gruchet as a "visual experiment in optical illusion and light distortion", directed a LOT of lumens - 2,800,000 of them - on Yves Saint Laurent's Défilé Men Summer 2015. The KWL is a grid of 20 x 10 moving light panels operating as a kinetic system that displays graphics generated in realtime with the motion of the fixtures.

The entire system is handled within the TouchDesigner environment running on a single workstation. Generative algorithms drive movement and control the LEDs to create complex patterns of motion: organic ripples of light energy model the shape of the wall.

Xavier provides us below with a detailed breakdown of how his team designed a system to manage, in real time, the grid of fixtures (the motion and the LED's matrix), with an integrated visualization to help during the creative process.

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  Oct.27.14 TUNDRA's Powwow Under the Powerlines & Songs from Inside The Whale "

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TUNDRA is the collective from Saint Petersburg who last year brought us The Void, and with it the challenge to remain still long enough to "visualize the idea of emptiness". The tricky part was to attain this state of stillness while situated in a hyper-immersive 360-degree surround installation of vortex-style spinning panoramic projections and quadrophonic sound.

‘emptiness here isn’t regarded as an absence of everything, but as an initial state when anything can appear’ says TUNDRA. ‘to see the dark room turn into the big bang epicenter a visitor should become ‘empty’. 

Drawing a bead on our perpetual state of distraction and fidgetiness,The Void delivered a graphic, startling experience, an intervention, that struck a chord as it rapidly rippled throughout the blogosphere. (see publication links at end of article).


Tundra define themselves as a "collaborative artistic collective" whose members include musicians, sound engineers, programmers and visual artists. Their focus is to create "spaces and experiences by making sound, visuals and emotions work together" in audiovisual performances and interactive installations.

The collective work out of a studio in the Taiga community, a "creative space" in a rented mansion that has become the epicentre of a disruptive "art revolution" The Guardian writes "an underground arts movement that is challenging the zeitgeist of greed, turning old buildings into creative utopias".

While this may well be an outside take on what has been transpiring in the arts/culture of Saint Petersburg/Russia it resonates with our experience from the standpoint of the work we see produced by artists and designers in the Russian and Eastern European TouchDesigner communities. The remarkably high calibre of work, the frequency with which it is created and the playfulness and elegance in the ideas and understanding generating the work have all led to personal rumination of a kind of 'renaissance'.

"The Whale" installation on the Brusov Ship, Moscow River

Tundra have been industrious this past year, producing in quick succession a series of complex and demanding back2back projects that draw visitors and participants into enchanting and other-worldly places. Le Vent Nous Portera invites visitors to play in and interact with an illuminated virtual forest; "The Whale" discussed here later, invites us into a giant whale's mouth to hear its songs!

Their latest installation "POWWOW" is a live audiovisual performance and light sculpture made for the Motive for Peace exhibition that closed at the Street Art Museum in St. Petersburg last weekend ." All night long" the promo said...

Installed and performed on the site of a decommissioned plastic factory TUNDRA controlled a large array of light and sound with TouchDesigner via DMX. We're looking forward to video but from the photos the piece has an eerie, vast, electrifying feel about it. We spoke to Tundra about their latest work and here is what they had to say.

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  Oct.20.14 Keith Lostraco's Mindbending Fractal World "Escape Time"

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A year ago we spoke to Trypta's Keith Lostraco for our review of TouchDesigner-built Performance Interfaces by members the community. Capable of producing the intricacy you see above, Keith's Fragtool is an incredibly powerful and elaborate application that has become a key element in Trypta's visuals, enabling the creation of 3D fractal animations in realtime to music in a way that was not previously possible with other software. Here are some snippets of that conversation:

Background: In 2002 Keith designed and built a three room recording studio near Nelson BC, started to play bass and drums and to produce electronic music with his brother Greg. In 2006 Keith dove into 3D animation (Maya) and performing live visuals at local festivals and shows for Greg's live electronic act. In 2008 after using Max/MSP at a live event Keith discovered TouchDesigner and soon after, began using TouchDesigner exclusively. In 2012 the brothers started Trypta, "an audio visual act intended to blend the mediums of live audio and synchronized live visuals with the feel and presence of a movie while using the audience in the performance - it's hard to describe in words!" (It really is!)

Keith Lostracco's FragTool

 

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  Oct.07.14 Licht.Pfad's Music Video Marathon & Antarctic Takt by Dasha Rush

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TouchDesigner Network, Counterbalance Video

Synthek & Audiolouis LP "Unwise", Natch Records

Concept Design by Margo Kudrina (Licht.Pfad)
Animation & Programming by Stanislav Glazov (Licht.Pfad)

Licht.Pfad's Stanislav Glasov and Margo Kudrina never seem to shy away from marathon undertakings. This can - and has - manifested as bringing in the new year doing visuals for 18 hours straight at a party that lasted 2.5 days , undertaking a 6-day intensive TouchDesigner workshop, building a set of comprehensive high-performance tools, putting on a mini-festival, and this latest feat - producing 12 music videos in 3 weeks! Yup. "How did they do that?" one might rightly ask, and "Do they ever sleep?" so we asked and here's what the dynamic duo revealed.

Antarctic Takt by Dasha Rush at Berlin Atonal

ANTARCTIC TAKT - AUDIO VISUAL LIVE PERFORMANCE ANTARCTIC TAKT - AUDIO VISUAL LIVE PERFORMANCE
Concept & Music by Dasha Rush 
Visuals by Stanislav Glazov (Licht.Pfad)
Design Development by Margo Kudrina (Licht.Pfad)

TouchDesigner Network, Antarctic Takt Landscape

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  Sep.23.14 Matthew Ragan Explores Representations of Time

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Clocks that create pictures of the past, cameras that watch the world - Matthew Ragan has been postulating concepts revolving around time and its representations, in the process making beautiful abstract art. This work he tells us, is a result of his good fortune to be working with Dr. Erika Hughes and Professor Boyd Branch this year in their continued efforts to develop a work "centered around ethnographic theatre".

Much of this dialogue Matthew says, takes root around philosophical arguments and observations of Vilem Flusser, a theorist who was "deeply interested in the role of media and the apparatuses operated by subjects in the world". For Flusser the apparatus is a "a tool that changes the meaning of the world in contrast to mechanical tools that work to change the world itself."

In this scenario a camera is seen both as a mechanical tool and as an apparatus that can change how we construct meaning in the world. With these ideas as "scaffolding", Matthew tells us "I've been playing with different ideas around how to construct meaning out of different pieces of the world." 

Matthew: The first tool I built started as an exploration of ideas of time and representations of time. I wanted to know what a clock that created a picture of the past would look like. Specifically, I liked the idea of a camera that watched the world, and then each second, minute, and hour the average color of the camera's view became a sample of the world. This would mean that looking at a color clock would be like looking at the past in terms of color. A way of looking at the world that we can't physically accomplish without the use of a computer. 

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  Sep.18.14 Yan Kalnberzin: Working in Plastic

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Living Room Performance is made with TouchDesigner, Kinect and OSC feed from an iPad

A Short Artist Bio

Yan Kalnberzin is a video and media artist who graduated from the Moscow Institute of Aviation Technology. He was an active artist in Moscow's underground of the 2000s as part of the musical group PBOYUL. One of the pioneers of stop-motion animation in Moscow, Yan created the stop-motion clip "sea lilies" for band "Kids of Picasso". Yan was also one of the founders of company Russian Visual Artists.

Yan is the creator of video and special effects for numerous theater performances: "Agate Returns Home", "The Golden Cockerel", "A Doll's House," "Cops on Fire," "Dorian Gray", "Sugar" and many others. Yan participated in Moscow festival "Circle of Light" in 2011 mapping the festival's primary facade, the Hotel Moscow.

We first became acquainted with Yan in 2013 when he taught an intensive week-long TouchDesigner workshop in Moscow organized by Plums Fest. Yan came to TouchDesigner with a Houdini background. He says he appreciates the "logic of a 3D context a lot" and in TouchDesigner loves the "realtime performance combined with high procedural possibilities".

Yan describes his personal work as the creation of video for "plastic performances" which he says can be defined as "performances connected with human movement. You could say dance performances, but they are sometimes far from dance!"

The two recent works featured here Living Room Performance and POLINATRON illustrate this point quite clearly. Both performances while very different from each other, each in a masterful, mesmerizing and somewhat polar manner, push what we've seen to date when technologies and processes like gesture recognition, motion-tracking, mapping, video, projection and so on, are used on a live stage for dance and theatrical performance.

Yan's work while playful and experimental (in the sense of creating 'experimental art' and also in regards to allowing what is learned and discovered while making the work to inform the process of making it) shows a profound and mature aptitude for creating startlingly new experiences very fluidly that deliver fantastic surprises.

We asked Yan to tell us a bit about Living Room Performance and POLINATRON, and he very kindly obliged. Enjoy.

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  Aug.26.14 Front Pictures' Multimedia Renaissance: Pushing the Limits of High-Performance

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Front Pictures studio has always aimed at expanding horizons in advanced media technologies. A year ago we became acquainted with the studio and wrote about the Fulldome environments and experiences they had been developing and perfecting. They continue to impress not only with the scope and revolutionary approaches they bring to their projects but also in their commitment to make these solutions affordable and realizable.

When a new shopping center "Art Mall" was planned to open in Kiev, Front Pictures was invited to participate as a studio of innovative technologies. The mall concept involved an art installation as the primary content for shopping space.

What the team conceived and then produced for the 1400 sq-m space raises the stakes on 'high performance' across the spectrum, leaving most of us asking variously-phrased versions of "How in the world was this achieved?!"

Here is the story then of the astounding "Renaissance – The Age of Genius" exhibition as it came to life on the walls of the Art Mall A-Gallery as told by its creators.

All images above: Art Mall Gallery

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  Jul.29.14 Gravity: TouchDesigner Works in Zero-G

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"We relied heavily on TouchDesigner after an initial test period in Leavsden Studios in the fall of 2010, and developed a very flexible and powerful realtime pipeline to drive some of the major aspects of shooting the film. Think ICT's Lightstage, but real-time, interactive, fast and stable - that should give you a hint! I worked with both director Alfonso Cuaron and DoP Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki with this system, as well as with our overall show supervisor Tim Webber.

We found TouchDesigner to be extremly flexible, and pushed it further into the other stages too. By the end of a 5 month long shoot we were using it every day."

-- Theodor Groeneboom, Framestore

TouchDesigner on set of Gravity showing the flattened cube render that is projected in the lightbox.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity.

"We were using TouchDesigner for lots of different things, we were master control for the entire stage with the lightbox driven by the robot's timeline. Theo lit the movie using TouchDesigner - 70% of the film's live action was lit through TouchDesigner.

The movie was run through TouchDesigner as well. Our real-time visualization system where we could superimpose graphics through the lens view to make sure everything was lining up was all realised through TouchDesigner. We had on-set repositioning, on-set color correction - a whole visualization system run through TouchDesigner; there was script supervision for the Assistant Director, all the notes called out during the shot - for example: "grab left", "look right", "spaceship coming in" - was all on a TouchDesigner timeline that we controlled.

All of the audio playback was slaved to our TouchDesigner system as well so we would be sending out MIDI triggers through TouchDesigner to the sound department.

We designed and built an entire set-wide ecosystem of production around TouchDesigner."

-- Jeff Linnell, Bot & Dolly
The robot arm with the tilting actors' rig shown with the lightbox

One of Gravity's remarkable achievements is that it sets a new milestone in the "suspension of disbelief" - possibly the greatest factor that continues to drive people to the silver screen. It does so with the kind of ground-breaking innovation that will not only transform the way that films are made, but that also liberates our ability to tell stories that were hitherto thought impossible to translate from imagination to moving images.

It is now part of the film's folklore that director David Fincher had counselled Cuaron that the technology necessary to make Gravity didn't yet exist and advised the filmmaker to wait another five years. Cuaron forged ahead and it did indeed take 4.5 years to make the film.

In respect to the technology central to the filmmaking process, what differentiates Gravity from any other film is that an unprecedented amount of digital production and visual effects were integrated on-set in real-time (vs. post production) through the ingenious combining and use of these newly devised and appropriated technologies.

The making of Gravity is an epic story of its own and TouchDesigner plays a diverse role as we learn here in a technically-detailed account from Framestore's Theodor Groeneboom, on-set technical director and sequence lead compositor of Gravity.

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  Apr.28.14 Exploring Possibilities for Speed and Immersion in Spherical Space with Maotik

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Inspired by a philosophical concept and evolving from a hand-made structure to a full dome immersive performance featured on the Apple 30th birthday TV spot, Dromos is the fruit of a unique creative process. Here is the story.

Maotik (Mathieu Le Sourd) is a French new media artist based in Montreal. He has been working on various projects using TouchDesigner, developing generative visuals and engaging participants with interactive environments. Last year, he focused on the full dome spherical environment at the SATosphere, Société des Arts Technologique. Along with electronic composer Fraction, he produced two immersive performances/installations, Dromos and ObE. Presented for the first time during MUTEK Festival last year, Dromos has been critically acclaimed and widely disseminated by the media.

Dromos- An Immersive Live Performance

"Get Lost in a symphony celebrating the science of speed"

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  Apr.07.14 Direct From Dublin: Lakker's Live AV for 'Containing a Thousand'

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LAKKER:AV - MIDI reactive visual set (samples). Created with TouchDesigner and Ableton Live 9

Lakker's Dara Smitha and Ian McDonnell
Containing a Thousand EP Launch @ Oslo Hackney, London

Ian McDonnell and Dara Smith make up Dublin-based Lakker who since the early 2000s have been dishing out deep, dark, bass-loaded electronic music, tracks that have graced the decks of those with a tendency to tip the scales on the spectrum of "dark" and "heavy" - Aphex Twin and Surgeon for instance. The music has a graceful eloquence that is richly dense, informed and shaped from years of immersion and exploration, running the full gamut of genres - electronica, punk, metal, noise, breakcore, techno and jungle.

The visual design accompanying Lakker's sound work is compelling too (very), and particularly interesting in its minimal and disciplined use and reuse of a single motif with extraordinarily diverse results. As far back as we can see on Lakker's Vimeo, the Lakker visuals have revolved around an iconic shape (that we are calling the Lakker icon) which is treated with different textures, colour and animations in each rendition.

We spoke with Dara Smith about the new TouchDesigner-based visual set he was in the final stretches of preparing for the launch of Lakker's latest EP Containing a Thousand at Oslo Hackney, London March 22.

Dara who works in motion graphics and is familiar with node-based tools like Nuke and Max MSP discovered TouchDesigner via the work of Alva Noto (carsten nicolai of raster noton). "I saw his gig and said 'I want to know what did that!' I did some research and found you guys -it was a life changer for me." he says.

We liked very much what we saw and heard coming from the Dublin duo, asked some questions, got excellent answers. Enjoy!

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  Mar.27.14 Matt Guertin's Epic, Never Ending, Oculus Rift, Kinect, TouchDesigner 3D Project

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Oculus Rift - Kinect TouchDesigner 3D

This video is the culmination of a year and a half of 'work' (playing and having fun would be a better way of describing it...haha). The reason I ordered the Oculus Rift in the first place is to do exactly what you see here. All of the programming is done in TouchDesigner. The live interaction method I developed along with the 3D drawing is done using GLSL Shaders that I wrote which is what allows it to be so fast and responsive as far as not having a noticeable delay.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the creation of this video involved a huge file with many components, and a ton of rendering which is the cause for some of the glitches (3D drawing ie.) and the slower frame rate. I will release a couple other videos soon which will focus on each of the individual components so that people can get an actual feel for how fast and responsive this setup actually is. The 3D drawing for instance when stripped down to nothing but it's necessary parts will run flawlessly at close to 50 fps and is much smoother than what you see in this video.

Screengrabs: Oculus Rift - Kinect TouchDesigner 3D Sequence

It is with great enthusiasm that we publish Matt Guertin's chronicle on the building of his ever-expanding project which will not be finished for some time if our last email exchange concerning the release of Oculus Rift's second developer kit is an indicator of things to come. Reinforcing this belief, 5 minutes before posting, Matt has sent a new 'must include' video that will "speak for itself" he says. "It's pretty crazy and really demonstrates the true speed/responsiveness of the real-time interaction." (video below)

By way of introduction, in August of 2012 Matt responded to an email I sent immediately after watching his quite strange video "I Like My Coffee Table" on YouTube. His response:

"I have been in love with gadgets, lighting, etc. ever since I was young but besides using Google Sketchup a little I have never used any other sort of 3D modelling software or done any kind of actual programming - besides what I have learned while using TouchDesigner which I started using almost a year ago. I guess that is a good testament to how intuitive the software is.

Currently I work as a lighting and stage designer in Minneapolis and have designed stuff for a wide range of shows which include a local modelling agency, corporate events, as well as some of the biggest names in electronic music. I was introduced to TouchDesigner about a year ago, around the same time I saw videos of the Amon Tobin setup.

Needless to say I was amazed. I would have to mark that moment as the beginning of my quest to learn as much as I could about the program and have probably watched the video about the creation and design process 100 times or so. TouchDesigner is pretty much all I prefer to do now in my spare time when I am not setting up and running shows and thanks to TouchDesigner I don't even have a cable television bill anymore. The 42" flat screen I used to watch Oprah on is now a giant computer monitor and much more interesting. 

I have never really cared for video games much and cannot remember a time in my life when I looked up to an imaginary super hero. I feel like that may have changed though since discovering all of this. TouchDesigner is like an awesome video game that I finally enjoy and Vello Virkhaus is Superman."

If this account at a glance looks long, it is in fact very concise in view of what Matt is sharing here - the tools, research, process, trials and reconfigurations, introduction of new tools, new code... it goes on and the project evolves, improves. It is fascinating, at times very funny, and an excellent testament of deep prototyping. Enjoy!

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  Mar.13.14 WeeK08 | LNLO at Large

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LNLO is an electronic art and design lab based in Monaco whose partners come from distinct but complementary disciplines: Laurent Brun – electronic engeneering and game design, and Helen Eastwood – fine art and interior design.

We recently spoke with Laurent Brun about LNLO's practice and dynamic as well as three of the studio's recent projects that made use of TouchDesigner in creative and inventive ways to light things up, to move them around, and to entertain and engage audiences.

Derivative: Can you tell us a bit about LNLO - the partnership and practice?

Laurent Brun: We consider ourselves more like artists than "partners in a design lab". We have a really sensory approach to our work and always keep focus on the final emotion we want to create. We two have really different points of view that we balance and finely tune to create artworks that are a representative mixture of our personalities. We are interested in working on any thematic as long as we can transmit our emotional vision of the subject. As collaboration is always rewarding, we are interested in working with other artists, especially on cross-displinary projects (music, dancing etc...).

D: Can you tell us also how you came to use TouchDesigner and how the software has worked for you?

LB: I formerly worked as a video game programer, so I am quiet efficient in C++, I was lately looking for a video API that could help me in some VJ software project. I found a link to TouchDesigner on a VJ forum and tried it. After few weeks I bought a licence and made the FLUX project (that has nothing to do with the original VJ project).

I am really a coder and not used to graphical interface (like VVVV or MaxMSP) so I was scared that TouchDesigner would also have strong limitations. But as I have access to C++ Chops / C++ SOP / CUDA and Python, I always find a way to achieve what I want. Now that I am used to TouchDesigner, I can really speed up prototyping and building new projects. Last year 95% of my work was done with TouchDesigner, so that is self-explanatory.

LNLO's Laurent Brun and Helen Eastwood

What follows is play-by-play of LNLO's work and experience, merci Laurent and Helen!

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  Mar.06.14 TouchDesigner at SXSW 2014

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We are very pleased to announce that TouchDesigner will have stellar community representation at SXSW this year. In brief: 2 projects - Moment Factory's LAX Terminal and Mod Production's ACO VIRTUAL are short-listed for interactive awards; "Wrapping the World with Light" a panel with Jarrett Smith, Derivative co-founder, artist Sougwen Chun and Leviathan's Chad Hutson will discuss the technology and practice of projection mapping; workshop Live Visuals: Intro to Projection Mapping with Todd Moyer and Mat Hale offers a practical on mapping; and Lustix' kinetic projection-mapped sculpture Fractoid 2.2 will be exhibited in the SXSW Eco Light Garden. If you're attending the festival be sure to say hello!

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  Feb.28.14 Week07 | Todd Moyer's Illoominate & Glasspiel's Interactive Bulb

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Week07, exciting stuff, lights things up!

Todd Moyer's ILLOOMINATE, a laser/ video-mapped installation wins "Best in Show" at Create:Fixate and Interactive Bulb Slideshow Installation from Glasspiel Creative makes scrolling through history tactile and fun. Brilliant projects - literally and figuratively, enjoy!

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  Feb.16.14 Week06 | WhiteVoid, Parkerism & Licht.Pfad

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Week06 certainly brings a sampling of projects showcasing the community's great diversity and range:
WhiteVOID's 65 meter Paper Wave for Citroën is fanned and moved by the same Kinetic Lights system as controlled the amazing GRID installation.
For Nokia Fashion Week New York Parkerism Video Labs creates a playful interactive stage installation to showcase the work of fashion designer Mary Benson and musician Kilo Kish.
Licht.Pfad strikes again with Soundreactive LIGHT Installation @ MONASTERIO operated by thier LJying system.

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  Feb.13.14 TouchDown at the Super Bowl with Eye Vapor and V Squared Labs

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TouchDesigner made a significant showing at Super Bowl XLVIII last week, instrumental in the making of at least four different events that we know of. There are a couple we're not free to promote yet but in the interim here is some fine work from Eye Vapor and V Squared Labs. Enjoy, stay tuned for updates!


UI for Eye Vapor's Cue Player includes traditional cuelist functionality with realtime procedural overlay effects (e.g. snow), as well as fulldome video playback, live video, and mixing via a fader board. The operator sees a small version of the high resolution fisheye hemisphere that gets split and sent to each projector.
V Squared Labs' Epic Show System.

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  Jan.31.14 Week04 | Matthew Biederman's Serial Mutations (z-axis)

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We caught up this week with the accomplished trans-disciplinary artist Matthew Biederman who participated in our MUTEK 2012 workshop and has since adroitly incorporated TouchDesigner into his performative and exhibited works. We talk with Matthew about how he has been using TouchDesigner in two very interesting pieces that contemplate if not challenge the experience of perception: his most recent installation Serial Mutations (z-axis) and the performance piece Physical (RTv3), 2013.



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  Jan.14.14 Week02 | ObE + gen.er.a.trix + Odaibe

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Week 02 brings all sorts of excitement with three works that while very different from one another, share a certain visual 'roundness' that is difficult not to notice...

maotik and Fraction's Obe, a brand new interactive installation at Montreal's SAT is announced; and Solaris is a beautiful new visual exploration by Bartek Szlachcic a designer just learning TouchDesigner. gen.er.a.trix, a real-time audiovisual performance from Ali Phi appears on Vimeo leaving us moved and speechless. Enjoy!

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  Jan.14.14 The Australian Chamber Orchestra goes Virtual with Mod Productions

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ACO VIRTUAL is a ground-breaking, world-first interactive experience that enables new audiences to get up-close and personal to the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), to appreciate the sounds intimately, to perform a live-mix and to even play along with the musicians.

Produced by Sydney-based Mod Productions in collaboration with the ACO, ACO VIRTUAL invites audiences to step inside a 360-degree cinematic experience of a performance where fifteen ACO musicians appear as projections around the space, their respective sound heard from the direction of their image.

A companion touch-screen app on a tablet in the centre of the space enables the audience to "spotlight sound and visuals" to highlight a musician, a section of instruments or their own mix of players. Visitors can also choose to display or hide the musical score overlay for each musician. A free mobile app extends the experience with visuals and data about each musician, their instruments, the music and composers and even tracks of the featured music.

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  Jan.07.14 Week01 | Licht.Pfad's Moving Light Performance

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For the first weekly update of 2014 we could think of no better way to begin the year than with something created for a New Year's Eve party.

Licht.Pfad's brilliant Moving Light Performance at Arma17 in Moscow presented us with that opportunity and even more as we could not resist featuring some of the other performance interface tools created by Licht.Pfad's Stanislav Glasov. Enjoy and a very Happy New Year to you all!

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