Will Alves, Content Programmer, IM Communication
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We asked Will Alves, content programmer at the young and highly energetic Swedish company IM Communication -specialists in largescale projection, reactive surfaces and interactive environments - about his experience using TouchDesigner for the first time. As it happened, this project, a tradeshow exhibit for the firm Mekonomenon, was also the first project for IM using TouchDesigner. From what Will had to say and the work they produced it looks like a very good fit!
Derivative: Will, please tell us a bit about your background-- what you do and the tools you use.
WA: I'm a Brazilian who lives and works in Sweden. I currently work with a company that creates and deploys interactive media solution. Before that I used to live in the USA where I worked as an engineer tech for a company named Teradyne Connection Systems. In Teradyne, I worked mostly as a quality assurance technician for circuit manufacturing.
D: Had you ever used TouchDesigner before?
WA: I had never heard of TouchDesigner before I started working for my current company.
D: How did you find/discover it?
WA: Our creative director has interest in the VJ and electronic music scene so he has some experience in Houdini, Pilgrim and some other similar software. He had known about TouchDesigner for a while but never really used it for his projects. Those other software packages were limited in the amount of outputs they could handle so we decided to take a leap of faith and use TouchDesigner to get the job done for one of our clients.
D: Tell us about some of the motivations and concepts driving what you do...
WA: I'm a lover of technology, gadgets, and interactive media. Instead of going to a show and wondering how people achieve the cool effects I just witnessed, I want to be the one creating and deploying it.
D: Can you describe your experience using TouchDesigner, the process? If and how it might differ from the tools you normally use?
WA: Using TouchDesigner was quite the wake up call for me. I had been a long time since I did any kind of programming since my previous job didn't require it. But TouchDesigner's visual style of programming made it possible to build a network with as little code writing as I have ever seen. Pretty amazing. Learning how to use the program itself was very fun since you see the results as things change in real time. The learning curve was also amazingly small considering we used it to create a project in 6 weeks without any knowledge of how to use the programs before hand. The main lesson I learned is that TouchDesigner is easy to learn but difficult to master. The possibilities of what it can do is staggering, you have to be able to think outside the box to really use it to its full potential.
D: With your experience now how else do you see using TouchDesigner... things you see being able to do with it? Has it opened any doors?
WA: I see us using TouchDesigner for many of our projects in the future, especially in conjunction with the Microsoft Kinect camera which has been a huge hit with the media industry. We currently work mostly with projection media and TouchDesigner will be one of our main tools to get the job done. Reliability is of key importance when creating media for an audience. It's not good for business when things crash in middle of a show, but TouchDesigner performed flawlessly running real time for 12 hours a day for several consecutive days in our first project with it, which is a testament to its stability.