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Quick TouchDesigner Effects

It is pretty common to be on a last-minute gig and need to drum up a bunch of visual effects and looks to fill time during your event or performance or similar. Building these yourself may be the ideal option, but it probably isn’t realistic given the budget and amount of time before the event. Although TouchDesigner is a development platform, there are a lot of pre-made tools and effects that you can harness for your benefit. This question has been asked a few times in the last little while so I figured it’d be good to give you my take on it.

The Palette

Most people close the palette on launch. I’m guilty of this as well. I just want it out of the way so that I can get some screen real-estate back. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t good things in the palette. The four places I always recommend people look for quick graphics and effects are the “Image filters”, “Tools”, “Techniques”, and “Generators.” I search in that order. Image filters are the easiest to drop in, plug a TOP into it, and you’ve got yourself some graphics. Some of them are quite advanced and cool, such as the Pointilize:

Or the PixelRelocator:

Needless to say, you’ve got options. The palette is a great place to experiment and create TouchDesigner effects chains.

Learn TouchDesigner HQ Tools

If you’re in the Learn TouchDesigner HQ, you’ll also have access to a bunch of tools that can make your life easier. There are great tools such as a flexible Rutt-Etra that can morph different kinds of geometries for cool effects like the one below:

A cool painting filter to give the effect of brush strokes:

And there are other effects in there as well. So if you’re not a member and need a quick fix, it might be for you.

Generative Design Package

There’s a great book for Processing called Generative Design. It’s full of tons of examples on how to create generative art pieces with code. Markus from Derivative was kind enough to turn most of the book’s examples into TouchDesigner examples. You can get them here on the wiki as well as read about them more. Inside has a ton of cool effects and generative pieces you can use such as the below screenshot of the P.4 Image section of the examples:

P.4 Image.jpg
Courtesy of Derivative.ca wiki

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GitHub

GitHub is full of TouchDesigner users who are uploading their work and components. If you go to GitHub and search for “TouchDesigner,” you’ll get a ton of results. These are all created by independent users, so please make sure you read their readme’s and FAQ’s and license notes to make sure you’re allowed to use these commercially or not. There’s everything from VFX tools, particle systems, fluid simulations, machine learning examples, and much more. It’s a wealth of resources, so use it wisely and attribute properly.

Forums

The forums were updated recently but there’s still a lot of great tools and effects other users have uploaded over the years. If you aren’t able to use them, they may serve as great educational materials for you. Same notes as above: please check usage rights for these! There are two areas where you should check for components:

  1. The actual forum area for shared TOX Files.
  2. The community section of the new Derivative website, you have to filter by “ASSETS”.

Both are great and worth a look, especially considering the forum has accumulated at least 10 years worth of resources by this point!

Wrap up

Hopefully these resources can help you out of a jam or any situation where you’re stuck looking for some TouchDesigner effects without spending too much time or energy. The palette is my go-to, and then I branch out into other user made tools after that. Either way you should have more than enough pre-made materials out there to help you get through your event. Enjoy!