Simple Systems for Live Performance: A TouchDesigner Primer For Intermediate

Date & Time: Friday 7th & Friday 14th May 10am LA / 1pm NYC / 6pm UK / 7pm Berlin

Level: Intermediate

Whether at a concert or in a music video, visual effects can do so much to enhance the listener/viewer’s experience and create a lasting impression. This workshop aims to demonstrate how, using TouchDesigner, one can convert MIDI and acoustic audio signal into dynamic visual performances.

Session Learning Outcomes

By the end of this sessions a successful student will be able to:


  • Understand core concepts of multichannel video mixing in TouchDesigner

  • Design and implement generative visual systems which evolve over time

  • Build simple audio +/ MIDI signal workflows

  • Map a visualization onto any performance environment, whether physical or digital


  • Builds on the concepts from PT1 with more advanced visual effects, patterns for flexible MIDI mapping, and persisting/loading sets of cues with Python + JSON

Session Study Topics


  • How to build custom UIs with widgets in TouchDesigner

  • Vectors, vertex displacement, GLSL shaders (the basics). LFOs, FFTs, L Systems… various techniques for audio-reactivity

  • Basic MIDI input with TouchDesigner

  • Mapping in 2D with the Stoner component; 3D mapping with Kantan Mapper


  • Programming advanced actions with Python in TouchDesigner

  • Making custom MIDI mappings which plug into a global control system



  • A computer and internet connection

  • A web cam and mic

  • A Zoom account

  • A free (or higher) license of TouchDesigner

  • A text editor for programming, such as Sublime Text 3 (recommended)

About the workshop leader 

Ben Benjamin is a programmer and performer based in Los Angeles. He is obsessed with the intersection of media, culture, and technology.

Experience level