There are six Families of built-in Operators. Of the six families, five are basic operator families and one is the Component family which can further contain networks of operators. Components containing components form the TouchDesigner hierarchy and give rise to the operator Paths.
- COMPs - Components - Object components (3D objects), Panel components (2D UI gadgets), and miscellaneous components. Components contain other operators.
- TOPs - Texture Operators - all 2D image operations.
- CHOPs - Channel Operators - motion, audio, animation, control signals.
- SOPs - Surface Operators - 3D points, polygons and other 3D "primitives".
- DATs - Data Operators - ASCII text as plain text, scripts, XML, or organized in tables of cells.
- MATs - Material Operators - materials and shaders.
Within each operator family, "generator" operators have 0 inputs and create data, and "filter" operators have 1 or more input and filter data.
Each operator family is a unique color. Only operators of the same family (color) can be Wired together. Many operators have parameters that are references to operators in other families: Links. Also Exporting flows numeric data from CHOPs to all operators.