Company Post

TouchDesigner Summit 18 | Meet Heroes, Talk Shop, a Tsunami of Inspiration

On February 3rd and 4th, 230 people from the TouchDesigner community met at the Forum Factory in Berlin to take part in our largest and most ambitious gathering to date. "Ambitious" in that we are not festival organizers and while things looked good on paper we had no certainty of how they would logistically play out 'on the ground' - and foreign ground at that! As it turned out things went off pretty well indeed due to the enormous cooperation of the people who participated in such goodwill and we discovered that we very much enjoy organizing festivals! 

The TouchDesigner Summit 2018 took place over the course of 2 intensive and highly-charged days where a tremendous program of over 30 workshops, masterclasses and presentations were delivered by members of the community who were open, generous and excited about sharing their knowledge and experience.

Complete recordings of the proceedings can be found on our TouchDesigner Summit YouTube Channel. We urge you to spend the time to watch and learn from this vast pool of ideas and know-how which to a large degree represents the state of where we are right now in terms of how TouchDesigner in being used.


TouchDesigner Introduction; How to deal with sensors, Intro to TouchDesigner for Video Mapping and Pixel Mapping, Drawing in Python, Nail polish for a touch of glamour : make that voxels shine!, An Introduction to MQTT, TDAbleton and Widgets, ease-in, ease-out!, Introduction to GLSL.


Light Installations with TouchDesigner, SOP on GPU - Geometry Shaders, Design Realtime Content for Spherical Environment, Teamwork & Version Control: a Git workflow for TouchDesigner


Edges of TouchDesigner, Building a TouchDesigner Media Server, GLSL Fluids for Great Shader Success, Geometrical Music, TouchDesigner for Designers, Storytelling Within Interactive and Performative Frames: a Focus on TouchDesigner, Gameshow Gymnastics, Music Production in TouchDesigner, Corteza, More than a Slide Show – Animating Folders of Photographs, Planetarium #1 - the Biggest Planetarium in the World for the Lowest Budget Ever!, How I Make Components These Days, Live Visuals & Beyond, CHOP CHOP CHOP, Structure VR, Your Diploma in TouchDesigner, Beyond the Border of Lighting and Projection, Using TouchDesigner for Secret Mappings, Do Computers Dream of Electronic Videos, Pentatonix - Interactive Light Instrument and community <3.

Further to the stimulation of the 'proceedings' other things became evident very quickly as we met face-to-face, most of us for the first time, many after years of knowing each other and working together "virtually". Some of these things are easy to describe but not taken lightly and certainly not for granted. A big one is the fact that we like each other and feel a connection not only as a community engaged in a practice but as people too.

TouchDesigner Everywhere. With people in attendance from Japan, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland, England, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and of course Germany, the weekend reinforced how important it is for members of such a diverse and international community to meet in person. We recognize the need for big get-togethers like the Summit but also agree that smaller-scale meet ups in cities around the world are integral to community-building.

"The Summit was an invigorating opportunity to meet heroes, talk shop, compare notes, and get a look under the hood of the many ways to approach what is world of infinite depth in a community of infinite creativity. I left feeling more than ever like I had found my people and the tool I want to use to make my million next projects. I need at least four more hours in the day to watch the workshops I missed and dig into the new concepts I learned. Can't wait for the next one." 
- Noah Norman, Hard Work Party

if-you-think-it-you-can-build-it: As a whole, the range of projects presented, and the expertise and proclivity with which it is made was remarkable, underscoring that TouchDesigner more than ever is being pushed farther and further into fields and purposes that continually surprise and revolutionize. The spirit of adventurousness and daring in these explorations is both impressive and exciting!

From Javier Alvarez' interactive proximity sensor-loaded light instrument Pentatonix, to Ildar Iakubov realizing the largest planetarium in the world - a 37 meter dome projection with 39 FullHD projectors - with the barest of budgets… a television game show system built entirely in TouchDesigner and secret mappings in caves and on derelict architectural icons. From Alex Guevera's system Corteza that captures a subject's brain waves and transforms them into an artistic representation to Noah Norman's "narrated dash through a scratch implementation of the Navier-Stokes fluid advection algorithm as a 'hello world' of TOP-space GPU computation". There was also Richard Burns' building of his "mega-tool" the hacakble media server "Mara", Stanislav Glasov's introduction to geometry shaders, how to draw in Python, and Derivative founder Greg Hermanovic's reveal of how he is building components these days... to name a few. There was also the to the unveiling of ChopChopChop, a new marketplace for the community's TouchDesigner assets designed, built and maintained by Idzard Kwadijk...

A sizeable number of projects employed TouchDesigner to make, generate or manipulate music in some manner. "TouchDesigneur" Rui Gato, performed and demonstrated his work-in-progress research project Geometrical Music where music is generated by geometry (vs. the other way around). Rui took us through his TouchDesigner network flow with Lemur and Ableton, explaining the technical details of this process and the optimizations made to achieve the extraction of music from geometry ranging from a line to arcs, patterns, recursive shapes, fractals, L-systems and turbulent displacements.

In "Composing Spatial and Interactive Visual Music" Brooklyn-based Dave&Gabe presented their methods and visualizations for creating musical compositions designed for ambisonics, multi-channel speaker arrays and large-scale light installations discussing frameworks and tools they use to "collapse the gap between sound and visual design".

TouchDesigner early-adopter artist Felix Larreta took us on a phenomenal tour of his TouchDesigner audio projects through some of the most dense networks imaginable. Felix introduced multiple aspects and techniques for the generation of music and sound in TouchDesigner like audio synthesis on the CPU and GPU using only built-in CHOPs and TOPs, MIDI generation in TouchDesigner and a UI example for controlling Ableton Live with TD.

Not just ridiculously smart but generous too! Something that can never be under-stated is that our community is made up of very altruistic people. Whether on Facebook, in the Forum, or via community-driven workshops there is a steady stream of sharing and giving of time, knowledge and encouragement that runs 24/7 throughout the community at all levels of 'experience'. This was something that almost everyone spoke of in Berlin expressing sincere gratitude for it and also discussing ways of extending our ability to help and teach people.

A big thank-you to Andrea Familari Fax for the above compilation and for all the presenter interviews he conduted at the Summit which are published on his YouTube Channel

"Finally meeting all those online friends from the community face to face was priceless. A tsunami of inspiration came from all sides at once for 48 hours straight. Overwhelming!" 
- Idzard Kwadijk,
"Touchdesigner summit 2018 was a great opportunity to meet the community of artists that uses this software to create outstanding pieces of work. As an artist and workshop instructor, it has been a rewarding experience as I acquired new knowledge and ideas from all those great presenters."
- maotik

Here are some of the ideas and suggestions made by the community during the "Future of Community" open mic session in DAT Hall. These are all action-items that we need to implement and also keep building on:

  • The need to design and implement a TouchDesigner certification program; designing and providing a toolbox for doing workshops and building hubs around the world;
  • a live online message board during the Summit for people to find each other and connect on various points;
  • workshop Slack channels for file-sharing etc.; locally-run, community-driven smaller events and a template on how to run your own community event;
  • :-) Dave&Gabe idea for a website where people can be openly acknowledged for their work on projects where clients normally don't like to tell;
  • a game: it's super rewarding to watch people work live and live-patch - they are likely to use components you may not know about. So have a section everyday where someone starts patching and maybe takes prompts from the audience;
  • an online "bring your own patch" session where you email in your (sh*tty) patches and get help fixing them;
  • an online weekend event where there's an agreed upon community-voted theme and then people bring things and play with each other's stuff;
  • open up the wiki or a page for best practices;
  • table a day to produce something together;
  • access to the Facebook API to visualize the data and make use of it;
  • TouchDesigner has a steep learning-curve so what is our long-term plan to bring it to more people without changing what's good about things now?

"What impressed me most when attending tdsummit18 in Berlin was the feeling of friendship and closeness between the users but also with the Derivative team. It highlighted for me that choosing and using a software is not only about features and market relevance but it is also a choice for the people and ideas behind that product. There was a feeling of being with the right people in the right place and I feel that is what made this gathering of so many diverse creators such a gratifying experience." 

- Stefan Kraus, MXZEHN

"This summit was a very special one for me. Back in 2009 at our very first European TouchDesigner summit it was just Greg, Isabelle, Markus, Jeffers, Andrew and myself. Amazing where we are now: workshops, masterclasses and nearly 300 TD freaks from all over the world. It feels like family, because we all share this passion and, like family, we’ve been helping each other out for over a decade. My highlight was definitely to see the work of 2nd gen TouchDesigner artists, people that us 1st gen artists introduced to the world of Touch many years ago. Like Daniel Dalvovo whom I gave his first TD lessons in 2011 while working for Whitevoid. Its mind-blowing to see projects he’s working on today: Deep Web, Skalar, ... I truly can’t wait to see what this summit‘s intro class "novices" will be able to create in another 5-7 years. So keep the spirit up, share your knowledge, share your tools and ...continue creating stunning experiences." 

- Achim Kern

For those of us involved in planning this gathering it was one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences conceivable. The day after the Summit the team (slightly dazed but fully re-charged) met to take stock of what had happened and what we could do to make our next and future Summits even better. And we will!

And finally, a very big THANK YOU to all our presenters, participants, hard-working volunteers Sherry Kennedy, Jennifer Morrissey and Liselotte Van Daele and to Other Robots for the t-shirts and stickers! We look forward to the next! The future of community is a discussion that needs to remain open and evolve and so we invite you to talk to us and each other about ideas pertaining. See you in Berlin and Beyond!

- Your Derivative Team

It's a wrap!