TouchDesigner Terms - Learn How to Speak Touchese
Bypass - An operator whose Bypass flag is set behaves as if it is not there. All data from its first input just flows through to its output.
Channel - A CHOP outputs one or more channels, where a channel is simply a sequence of numbers, representing motion, audio, etc.. Channels are passed between CHOPs in TouchDesigner networks. See also Export.
CHOP or Channel Operator - An Operator Family which operate on Channels (a series of numbers) which are used for audio, animation, mathematics, simulation, logic, UI construction, and many other applications.
Clone - TouchDesigner's way of making many components match the design of a master component. A Component whose "Clone" parameter is set will be forced to contain the same nodes, wiring and parameters as its master component. It assures the contents of a clone match the master, but does not create new components like Replicator.
Cook - To re-compute the output of the Operators. An operator cooks when (1) its inputs change, (2) its Parameters change, sometimes when the frame number changes, or (4) Scripting commands are run on it. When the operator is a Gadget, it also cooks when a user interacts with it. When an operator cooks, it usually causes operators connected to its output to re-cook. When TouchDesigner draws the screen, it re-cooks all the necessary operators in all Networks, contributing to a frame's total "cook time".
DAT or Data Operator - An Operator Family that manipulates text strings: multi-line text or tables. Multi-line text is often a command Script, but can be any multi-line text. Tables are rows and columns of cells, each containing a text string.
Docking - Any node can be docked to another node. This can help to organize networks as two node that are docked together will stay together when the dock parent is moved in a network editor. A docked node can also be collapsed into an icon attached to the dock parent to reduce network clutter.
Display flag - The blue flag on Geometry components and SOP operators that determines if the geometry contained in that operator is visible in node viewers and geometry viewer panes.
Export - Exporting is the connection of CHOP channels to parameters of operators. The output of each exporting CHOP is one or more channels, active only while the CHOP's export flag is on. The current value of a channel can be 'exported' to a parameter of any operator, overriding that parameter's value. See Parameter.
Expression - A function in the form,
name(val1, val2, ...) that, when evaluated, returns a single number or text string. Expressions are used in parameters and in command scripts.
Flag - (1) Indicator of certain states of an operator (bypass, display, lock), or (2) option of a tscript command.
FTE - TouchDesigner "Free Thinking Environment" is an edition of TouchDesigner available free at no charge for personal and educational uses. Go to TouchDesigner Products for more details on FTE and Pro editions.
Geometry Viewer - A 3D viewport for viewing and manipulating 3D scenes or objects interactively. A geometry viewer can be found in Panes (alt+3 in any pane) or the Node Viewers of all Geometry Object components.
Geometry Object - The component type that is used to hold all 3D geometry for rendering.
GPU - The Graphics Processing Unit. This is the brain of the graphics card.
Instance - (1) A Geometry component can be rendered many times using CHOPs, (2) an OP that doesn't actually have its own data, but rather just points to (or has an input) whose data it uses. Examples include Null OPs, Select OPs, Switch OPs.
Layout - (1) The TouchDesigner window is made of a menu bar at the top, a Timeline at the bottom, plus one of a choice of Layouts in the middle. A Layout is made on one or more Panes, each Pane can contain a Network Editor, Viewer, Panel, etc.. See Pane and Bookmark. (2) Nodes in a network are arranged using Layout commands in the RMB menu.
Link - Unlike a Wire that connects nodes in the same Operator Family, a Link is the dashed lines between nodes in the network that represent other data flow between nodes, like CHOP Exports, node paths in parameters, and expressions in parameters referencing CHOP channels, DAT tables and other nodes.
Network - Every component contains a network of operators that create and modify data. The operators are connected by wires that define where data is routed after the operator cooks its inputs and generates an output.
Network Editor - A pane type where networks of operators can be created and edited.
Node - The generic thing that holds an Operator, and includes Flags (display, bypass, lock, render, immune) and its position/size in the network. Whether you "lay down an Operator" or "lay down an Node", you're doing the same thing.
Object - The component types that are used to render 3D scenes: Geometry components contain the 3D shapes to render, plus Camera, Light, Ambient Light, Null, Bone, Handle and other component types.
OP Create Menu - the menu used to select and create a new operator or component. Can be opened by the + sign in the Pane Bar, by pressing the <Tab> key while in a Network Editor, or by clicking MMB or RMB on an operator's output connector.
Operator Family - The Families of Operators are: TOP, CHOP, SOP, MAT (Materials), DAT (scripts, data and tables) and Component (Panel Gadgets and Objects). Each operator family creates a unique type of data, be it images, geometry, channels, text.
OP or Operator - Any of the procedural data operators. OPs do all the work in TouchDesigner. They "cook" and output data to other OPs, which ultimately result in new images, data and audio being generated. See Node.
Palette - A built-in panel in TouchDesigner that contains a library of components and media that can be dragged-dropped into a TouchDesigner network.
Pane - A work area in TouchDesigner's layout that includes the Network Editor and 7 other pane types used for different tasks. The TouchDesigner interface can consist of a single pane, or be split into multiple panes.
Pane Type - There are 8 pane types; Network, Panel, Textport, Geometry Viewer, TOP Viewer, CHOP Viewer, Parameters, Graph Editor for CHOP Channels, or a Geometry Spreadsheet.
Panel Value - An internal state of a panel component accessed with a Panel CHOP, a
panel() expression or a Panel Execute DAT. Panel Values are not the same thing as "Variables", "Channels" or "Parameters".
Parameter - Parameters in TouchDesigner are an operator's settings (numbers, menus, flags, strings, paths) which the user can alter. Parameters for any operator can be opened by right-clicking on the operator and selecting "Parameters..." A currently selected operator's parameters can be viewed in a Network Editor by pressing the keyboard shortcut 'p'.
Parameters Dialog - A floating dialog, pane type, or dialog in a Network Editor that displays one operator's parameters.
Parameter Expression - A parameter expression is an expression that lives inside a parameter field.
Parent - There are 2 kinds of parenting. The "parent component" is the component in which a node resides. The metaphor is extended to include grand parents, grand-grand parents, etc. The root
/ is the ultimate parent to all nodes. See also 3D Parenting and panel Parenting.
Parameter Reference - A parameter reference can be setup between any two parameters. This creates a link between the two parameters such that when one changes, the other will change automatically (known as "constraints" in other software). A Parameter reference is a type of Link.
Path - The location of an operator within the TouchDesigner environment, for example,
/geo1/torus1, a node called
torus1 in a component called
geo1. The path
/ is called Root. To refer instead to a filesystem folder, directory, disk file or
http: address, see Folder.
Path Variable - The component parameter called Path Variable can contain the name of a variable you can use anywhere inside the component as the path to that component. If all clones have the same path variable, that one variable will refer to the unique location of each clone, making paths in clones simpler and clones more portable.
Performance Monitor - The tool built-in to TouchDesigner that analyzes and displays what TouchDesigner is doing as it generates an image.
Pipe - A way of moving data from one TouchDesigner process to another. Images are moved via Touch Out / In TOPs, channels are moved via Touch Out / In CHOPs and Pipe Out / In CHOPs. Data moves via TCP/IP, UDP or UDT.
Popup Help - Help message that comes up when rolling the cursor over the interface, or clicking the ? help button on the corner of each operator's Parameters page.
Primitive - A surface type in SOPs including polygon, curve (NURBS and Bezier), patch (NURBS and Bezier) and other shapes like sphere, tube, and metaball. Points and Primitives are part of the Geometry Detail, which is a part of a SOP.
Render - A 3D image created with the Render TOP. Also used more generally to include the compositing (with TOPs) to generate an output image.
Render flag - The purple flag on COMP and SOP nodes that determines if the node will be rendered in a Render or Render Pass TOP. The operator must also be listed in the Render / Render Pass TOP's 'Geometry' parameter.
RMB Menu - The menu that appears when clicking the right mouse button on different parts of TouchDesigner. (Sometimes you need to be holding down Ctrl.)
Scope - A parameter in a CHOP that restricts which channels of that CHOP will be affected. Normally all channels of a CHOP are affected by the operator.
Script - A set of commands located in a Text DAT that are triggered to run under certain conditions. The current scripting language is Tscript. Scripts and single-line commands can also be run in the Textport.
Shader - The OpenGL code that creates a rendered image from polygons and textures. Shaders can be made of up to three parts: Vertex Shader, Geometry Shader and/or Pixel Shader, which are either embedded inside Materials, or placed in Text DATs and referenced to a GLSL Material.
Status Bar - The line of text at the top of the TouchDesigner window which displays messages from TouchDesigner when certain events succeed or fail.
Textport - A dialog box in which commands and scripts can entered manually. Script errors and echo messages are also output to this dialog box.
Timeslice or Time Slicing - A Timeslice is the time between the last cook frame and the current cook frame. In CHOPs it is a set of short channels that only contain the CHOP channels' samples between the last and the current cook frame.
TUIK - TouchDesigner User Interface Kit - a collection of User Interface components.
Variable - A text string with a name. The variable named
PI has a string value of
$PI appears. Variables can be used in Scripts and Parameters. There are seven types of variables including: "Script" Variables exist only in scripts. "Root" Variables are user-created, live at the root (
/) and are available anywhere in TouchDesigner. "Built-In" Variables like
F (frame number) and
T (time) are read-only and created by TouchDesigner. "Operator Variables" are read-only and only exist local to a node.
Viewer Active - A state of a node where you can operate the contents of its viewer, like operate the gadgets of a panel in a node viewer, or 3D data in the viewer of a Geometry component. With Viewer Active off you can select, move and delete nodes by clicking/dragging on them, even if the viewer is visible.
WYSIWID - TouchDesigner is WYSIWID - What You See Is What It's Doing. All nodes can have interactive viewers of their data.
.toe file - TOuch Environment file, the file type used by TouchDesigner to save your project.