Working with OPs in Python

The main class type describing any Operator is the base OP Class. You will need a reference to one of these to do anything. There are two global operator objects are always available (except for in the Textport):

  • me refers to the operator that is currently being evaluated or executed. For example, when executing a script, me refers to the containing DAT. When evaluating an expression, me refers to the containing operator.
  • root refers to the top level component /.

To get references to other OPs (for example, a node named 'pattern1' sitting next to the node 'constant1') the most common functions to use are: op() and ops(), for example op('pattern1').

op() returns a single OP object, while ops returns a (possibly empty) list of OPs. They are described in td Module.

These functions search for operators from the current component, so both relative and absolute paths are supported. The current component is defined as: The OP that me is inside.

Note that the OP Class itself, also contains an op() and ops() method. In this case, nodes are searched from the OP.

For example: me.op('..') will always return its own parent, while op('..') will return the parent of the current component.

If you are typing a Python expression in a parameter of a node 'constant1', and you wish to get a reference to 'pattern1', you would type


If you are in a script you can assign this reference to a variable for easier repeated access.

n = op('pattern1')

In this case op() will search relative to the DAT that is executing the script.

An OP also has a parent() method that can be use to get the parent COMP of it.


If you are putting a Python statement in a parameter of a COMP and want to refer to a child of that COMP, you can use the op() method for the OP, which is available as me in the parameters.


TIP: To find out quickly what members and methods you have access to for any node, select that node and on its parameter dialog, click the Python Help icon. You will go the wiki for the python classes for that node. There you can find out what info you can get about a node, and what methods are available for it. The documentation can also be arrived at by right clicking on the node and selecting "Python Help..." from the menu.


Place down a new Text DAT, ensure its parameter flag is set to Python, and enter the following script:

n = op('/project1')
m = n.ops('text*')
for a in m:

After running the script, n is assigned the results of the global function, while m is assigned results relative to n.

Some useful members and methods of an OP object, are:

  • name
  • path
  • children
  • parent()

These are described in OP Class. Notice the last attribute, parent() is a function. It takes an optional argument specifying how far up the parent chain to climb. To see how they are used in practice, put down a new Text DAT, ensure its Parameter Language parameter is set to Python and enter the following code:

print('i am ', me)
print('child of ', parent())
print('grandchild of ', parent(2))

print('root children:')
k = root.children
for r in k:

The resulting details will be found in the textport.

Common Python Tasksedit


Getting an OP's path op('sphere1').path
Getting an OP's name op('sphere1').name
Getting an OP's digits op('sphere1').digits
Querying the value of an OP's parameter op('sphere1').par.tx.eval()

or when it's constant op('sphere1').par.tx

Querying a parameter in the same OP me.par.tx
Getting Info CHOP channels from an OP
without cooking it
Getting an OP's parent parent()
Getting an OP's grand-parent parent(2)
Getting an OP's name
Getting an OP's parent's name parent().name
Getting digits of an OP's name from its parameters me.digits
Getting digits of an OP's parent's
name from its parameters
Getting an OP's type # returns an OP object, not a string
getting a unique random number each frame tdu.rand(absTime.frame+.1)
getting a unique random number per numbered operator tdu.rand(me.digits+.17)
Checking for an OP's existence if op('moviein1'):



Getting the number of children of a COMP len(op('geo1').children)
Getting the number of inputs of a multi-input OP len(op('switch1').inputs)
Getting Info CHOP channels from an OP, width is a member op('moviein1').width
Conditional "if" in one line of a parameter 22 if me.time.frame<100 else 33
Conditional "if" alternative [33,22][me.time.frame<100]
Convert space separated string to a list tdu.split('Space separated string with "two word item"')
List comprehension [ for c in root.children]
Conditional list comprehension [ for c in root.children if != 'perform']
Test operator type type(root) == baseCOMP
Test operator family isinstance(root, TOP)


"Absolute Time" is the time since you started your TouchDesigner process, not counting when your power button was off (top bar).

Retrieving a node's local frame number me.time.frame
Retrieving a node's local time in seconds me.time.seconds
Retrieving absolute time in frames absTime.frame
Retrieving absolute time in seconds absTime.seconds

Storage in Pythonedit

Storage is the preferred way to work with persistent global data in Python, since it can store anything data type.

Setting a value in storage of a component n'keyname', 0.0)
Getting a value from storage n.fetch('keyname')
Directly access the storage dictionary
Directly access a key in the storage dictionary['keyname']
Test if a key exists in the storage dictionary 'keyname' in


Creating an OP (Sphere SOP) op('/project1').create(sphereSOP)
Creating a named OP op('/project1').create(sphereSOP, 'mysphere')
Copying OPs (Nodes) op('/project1').copy(op('out1'), name='out2')
Deleting an OP op('mysphere').destroy()
Renaming an OP op('mysphere').name = 'thesphere'
Changing an OP's type op('mysphere').changeType(boxSOP)
Changing multiple OPs' types list = ops('*sphere*')
[s.changeType(boxSOP) for s in list]
Setting an OP's comment op('mysphere').comment = 'this is a sphere'
Changing an OP's parameter op('mysphere').par.frequency = 10
Changing an OP's parameter
with more than 1 value
s = op('mysphere')
s.par.tx = 1
s.par.ty = 2 = 3
Pulsing a parameter value op('moviein1').par.cue.pulse()
Cooking an OP op('mysphere').cook()
Saving an OP's data to a file op('mysphere').save('sphere.tog')
Changing an OP's Render and Display Flags on s = op('mysphere')
s.render = True
s.display = True
Loading a .tox file into a COMP op('/project1').loadTox('geo1.tox')
Wiring operators together Refer to the Connector Class
Clicking gadgets (panel components) op('slider1').click(.6, .7)
Timeline Play/Pause = True/False
Run asynchronous or delayed Python code run('print("hello, world")', delayMilliSeconds=2000)


Variables are always text strings.

Setting a value me.var('DESKTOP')
Setting a Root Variable root.setVar('MEDIA', 'c:/MEDIA')
Setting a Component Variable
at the current component
parent().setVar('MEDIA', 'c:/MEDIA')
Setting a Component Variable
at another component
op('/project1/geo1').setVar('MEDIA', 'c:/MEDIA')
Setting a Path Variable Set the Path Variable parameter of any parent component and use me.var('name') in the same way.