Community Post

My Learning Journey 05 - More 3D shapes and properties!

I am continuing to work on my learning with "Absolute Beginner TouchDesigner | From Zero to Hero with Examples and Assignments" YouTube video by AcrylicCode. The 3D section appears to have two assignments, so I'm getting a little more time to experiment with the 3D shapes. Luckily this section has been a breeze so far thanks to my previous experience using Blender. Something that normally takes me a few clicks there still takes several nodes here, so I still have much to learn.

  • SuperQuad - I got more time to play around with the superquad and get a better idea of its properties. Although I'm having difficulty describing it, I have a rough grasp on how it can transform .The best way to describe it is capable of making a series of spinning-top-like shapes. I think if I put it through some kind of twisting distortion, it would resemble a beautiful hurricane shape or perhaps a beyblade top. I should endeavor to experiment with it more
  • Torus - I have plenty of experience with the torus from previous 3D software, and am very happy to see my friend the donut available for use in touchdesigner. There's not too much to say about this shape
  • Grid - This is just a mesh plane that can be used to create a "ground" or "wall" surface, or perhaps combined with a noise distortion to make interesting mountain-range style forms.
  • Resetting Normals by creating attributes - this was sort of a throwaway in combination with using the plane shape, but by creating a "create Attribute" node, and connecting it to a grid shape that had distortion added to it, the normals of the surface were recalculated live, allowing the viewer to percieve the distortion on the grid instead of just a flat shade. This will probably be very useful if I want to enhance or exaggerate the effect of any 3D shape's distortion, so it was good to learn.
  • playing with cameras -- The instructor taught us a technique to keep the camera following a specific point by creating a "Null" COMP node and connecting it to a camera's "Look At" attribute. This one didn't work too well for me, touchdesigner seemed to have difficulty moving the camera and pointing at something at the same time, but it may come in handy if I ever want a camera to track a moving mobject. This will definitely take more experimentation to get right.
  • phong Materials -- wow! what a throwback. Most people who have used 3D software are familiar with PHONG materials as its usually one of the default methods you can use to calculate light and normals and all that fun stuff. By applying a PHONG MAT operator and connecting it to the 3d Geo COMP node's material attribute, I was able to have more control over the color of a 3D composition. Personally, I think I prefer playing with the Light COMP nodes to get the affected colors I wanted, or even messing with colors post-render, but it was nice to have it in the back pocket.

It seems like we're going to finally be wrapping up the 3D section. I definitely want to look into ways to animate objects with bones, but that will have to wait until a future tutorial. Next up is the DAT operators. I can only guess what those do!