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 Nuremberg had attended our #tdsummit18 in Berlin and was happy to talk to us.
Derivative: So how are you making these very crisp line animations in TouchDesigner?
Matthi: The lines are created using all sort of TOPs and their border settings. Those shapes are combined with some blending modes and animated with data from CHOPs. The idea behind those animations is to create a new type of video loop. One that has a classical repetitive component, but gets an additional layer of complexity with random parameters (most of the time this is a noise).
It is to say that I am very new to TouchDesigner and this project is sort of a practice for me to dive deep into the capacities this tool has to offer.
D: Were you an illustrator first? Or what was your design path?
M: I come from a graffiti background and have been doing a lot illustration in my free time. Currently I am working in an ad agency in Nuremberg, as an ux designer, so I do a lot of concepts. But my heart is visual, so I need to do as much creative things after work as possible.
D: Yes. I would like to know how you discovered TouchDesigner #oneword ;)
M: Processing - not satisfied -> search - max msp - not satisfied -> search
Then I stumbled somewhere over td but it has only been out for pc so I had to wait. Then I had a pc, and you released mac version at the same time, so I have both! But it really is so insanely powerful, that really makes me happy :)
D: This question may be premature but do you have ideas about where you want to go with TouchDesigner or are you 'going with a flow' and see where it leads?
M: My dream is to be able to get my ideas to working prototypes more quickly, since there are a ton of concepts in my head :) That means involving sensors, led, and other nice stuff. The graphic animation thing is a kind of challenge I gave to myself and that is to create something everyday, no matter how good it is in order to learn a new software.
I am very interested in doing live visuals for some kind of music, so if anyone is interested - feel free to contact me.
D: It's rare to find such nice graphic and minimalist linework made with TouchDesigner and so it's really great that you are jumping in!
M: That minimalism isn't always easy since as you have so many possibilities :)
D: So true!
M: The last project I did (before TouchDesigner) was this lettering thing that is also on insta. This is an attempt to do illustration in VR with an Oculus Rift. It's pretty amazing to work completely in a new environment that humanity had never access to before. All those letters are completely made in vr, and rendered in c4d and Octane.
D: Don't you find it hard to work with that headset on your face?
M: Yeah :) You can't stay in there for too long!
D: Any additional thoughts on using TouchDesigner from your perspective?
M: The thing about TouchDesigner for me is that it's like lego for grown ups. You have all kinds of building blocks that when combined can create almost anything.
*update May 19: Matthias has started a series of 'how to' video tutorials illustrating how he goes about making his animations. A great way to learn!