Covid19 Community Check-in, Resources, What's in Development & Let's Talk!

This post is a condensed version of a COMMUNITY post which is an invitation to the community to share your experiences and ideas stemming from the last few months. We would like to start discussing, brainstorming and hopefully cultivating a forward-looking dialogue with you. Do read the original post if you have not as it also offers some resources and a preview of what’s actively in development right now.

It has been an undeniably disruptive few months for all, as around the world we faced lockdown and experienced social isolation and physical distancing due to the COVID19 pandemic. Most of us have experienced massive changes in our lives and livelihoods from schools being shutdown to the loss of jobs, contracts, shows, events, conferences, collaborations and residencies.

Yet throughout these last months it’s been impressive and bolstering to see how this collective experience has manifested in our community as you have demonstrated your supernatural abilities in responding to a very difficult situation by producing so much content… by sharing your knowledge, by talking and listening to each other online, by helping strangers and friends alike… in hyper-real-time and 24/7 a friend is always online ready to help!

As a company we’ve been reacting to all of this ourselves and adapting in the ways we hope will be most helpful to our community’s continued health and flourishment. This manifests in terms of developing and making accessible the tools that are most useful right now and looking towards the future.

We’re listening but we’d like to know more about what you’re experiencing and what you’ve been identifying as your needs. What are your ideas and plans? No matter how crazy they sound, let’s talk about it!

2 Likes

First of all, Got to say I’m relatively new to TD but i fell in love with it! Even if i can do something in another program faster for some reason it feels more satisfying to pull it off in TD :smiley: I’ve been wondering lately on what the future direction of TD is going to be? Or what do you guys have in mind ? I’ve been seeing so many real time programs and i’ve been curious about how TD will place itself in the future. I’m positive that TD will always remain a beast and one of the strongest weapons to know :slight_smile: As for the ideas i would love to see some kind of faster TD : One that allows for amazing visuals in a shorter and easier process! And some kind of integration with Houdini would be awesome.

1 Like

Thanks for this update and for asking for consolidated feedback here. The recent updates have been fantastic and very stable. I’m glad to hear about upcoming wrnch.ai support. I used it in a project, and it’s really fast and accurate (easily 90 fps for 512x256 image with a high-speed camera)

A lot of RFEs get posted in the forums. You’ve given us an opportunity for us to reflect on our requests and pick out our favorites/biggest needs.

  • VST/C++ audio in TouchDesigner. This was discussed at the summit Q&A. What’s the current status? There have been requests for FAUST integration, JUCE integration, or more examples of generic C++ digital signal processing code.
  • 3D Skeleton example projects. As 3D skeleton tracking data becomes more accessible, it would be great to see some amazing skeleton rigging op snippets, kind of like what was shown in the first inSession live stream. Mixamo and Kinect are barely compatible. As the tech keeps evolving we need to stay up to date.
  • Augmented reality features. Apple’s ARKit, depth tracking, image segmentation etc. It’s most likely a huge undertaking and not a one-size-fits all solution for the community’s needs.

Lower tier but curiosities of mine:

9 Likes

First - lots of praise for the whole derivative team. It’s clear that all of you are pushing hard and making magic happen under the hood, and in general. The love and care fro the whole team is as evident as ever. So much thanks all around.

Network Comments and Grouping
I’m pretty interested in the Network Comments and Grouping that you mentioned - having long been invested in clean networks and simple ways to communicate information visually in network.

New Installer
I also wanted to call out that I like the new installer a fair bit - and I think there are a number of positive directions that will come from this transition.

To David’s question / interests:

The Unreal Cine Cameras have an interesting feature set that I could see as being very helpful - keeping folks thinking more about the behavior of cameras and lenses, than about the translation of those real world objects into virtual cameras. To that end, rather than re-writing the camera component, it’d be great to see a Cinematic Camera COMP and a companion Cinematic Render TOP. That kind of approach would keep lots of the previous implementations intact, while also making some space for work that’s more virtual production focused.

+1 to David’s call out here. I know that leans into a hardware vendor, but there are a number of library implementations on the NVIDIA side of the world that would be great to have (optiX ray-tracing and de-noising acceleration is something I’m sure you hear lots about).

Other pieces

Deferred rendering
I know there’s plenty of ways to set-up a deferred rendering pipeline manually, but if I remember correctly @malcolm mentioned that he’s interested in a baked in solution here as well. That might already be on the roadmap, but I figured a little nudge here wouldn’t hurt.

Web Render TOP
I’ve recently been doing a good bit of work with the web render TOP for some personal projects, and an option to render markdown rather than HTML could really be a killer extension for this already lovely operator.

5 Likes

Hello Isabelle, Hello Everibody,
Covid-19
My first occupation was struggling against the virus. Just before the lockdown, I made a last tour with a performance (not TD but Resolume, perhaps a god revenge?) and March 19 I was in my bed with huge headache,big fever, muscle ashes. No test available and hopefully no chest pain and no hospital.
Since then it was a roller coaster of pains. One month ago was a better time and three weeks ago was a huge arthritis and fatigue, mainly at hands and I was unable to do anything, even type code in TD.
Today, after taking a huge dose of corticoids since three days, I am way better and I see future with more colors.
I want to say loudly, its not a sort of flu as say someones and there is also dead and pain, so be careful!
Professional position (and money earning)
The tour was stopped but the company decided to pay us as usual but all the other project, mainly teaching for professionals, are canceled. So the prospect for the next 6 month are very difficult. I begin to do some online coaching, tutoring and master class but not so much. All the artistic projects I was working on are, for the best, delayed, or canceled. I try to organize some workshops or meetings but all the performance artists and technicians are in the same struggle. I benefit from a little pension from my art school teaching but not sufficient to pay my bills.
By chance I live in France so there is some social help and doctors, drugs are quite free. My wife, a choreographer, is “intermittente", so she benefit from unemployment, she teach dance history in conservatory so now she teach and prepare from home movies and documents for the student and, normally, she is still payed.
Artistic life and TD
When I was able to concentrate I made some tutorials in French, mainly for beginners and around particles. I will continue now, as I recover.
I continue to learn Houdini with tutorials because thats huge and I prepare a tutorial in french about how to use Houdini assets in TD (I really hope for a Houdini engine in TD!).
I try to be present and responsive on social network to help people (when I can).
I search some new way or presenting my work and collaborate with other artist.
Conclusion (momentary)
I really appreciate the quality of the TD community and the huge Isabelle commitment to unite the different personalities and initiatives. All the team is also really involved in helping us and tailoring a tool filling our needs. Thank you for everything.

4 Likes

Hey everyone,

while I consider myself to be very lucky - I am healthy and we have a good social security system here in Switzerland - there are of course a lot of worries about the future of the live event industry I am working in. But this great community and the awesome people of derivative have helped me to stay busy and positive. Especially the first InSession was a real joy and I am looking forward to the second one today.

A marketplace for user built components
What I think is missing at the moment is a marketplace for user built components. (The Unity asset store is a great example of this and surely one of the reasons of its success.) It could broaden the available palette immensely and make it much easier to find the right tool, without having to build everything from scratch. There has been a lot of talk about this in the forum and even a first attempt with chopchopchop.org, which only hosts a small collection of free components at the moment and my guess would be, that this is because there is no easy way for them to create licenses.

While it would be the best solution to have an offical marketplace runned by derivative, I know this is not a trivial task and could understand, if they don’t have the time to build and maintain one anytime soon. One way of enabling others to create a good licensing system for components could be to add another member to the Python License Class. An unique identifier of the TD license installed, that never changes, even if you transfer the TD license to another computer or upgrade it to Pro for example. With that, one could bind a component to the TD license, which shouldn’t be hard to do.

Anyhow, I think an unified marketplace, that makes it easy for developers to offer and sell licenses for their components would lead to a plethora of new awesome tools available for TD, that would greatly benefit the community and draw more people to this great software.

1 Like

I’m with you, but would mainly gear it towards a unified database.
From what I gathered is that most people did not feel comfortable offering paid components because this kinda implies giving extendet support, which can be a pain in the ass because of the broad variety of other components, versions, hardware and user experience. And to build something to full extend and it being bugfree takes way to much time for that little you are going to get back in the end. Sadly, we are still a small community, and you kinda are better of by directly hiring the person to build something directly for you instead.
But yeah, +1 for unified database which can be accessed directly from within touch taking care of updates and the like.

1 Like

I want to thank Derivative team for making such a powerful and stable tool. I believe it provides a truly beautiful experience for anyone working with it. Also thanks for great updates and support.

If I may add my two cents to the topic of future plans / ideas, I would name these areas (even though some of them may sound a little crazy in terms of difficulty) :slight_smile:

  • It would be great if SOP world would receive some more “love” in the future. Coming from Houdini background I feel kind of limited when working with SOPs in TD. I understand it wouldn’t be possible nor desirable to develop SOPs in TD to the level that Houdini provides. However, it would be great if there was something like VEX available in TD. Having the flexibility of writing high-level multi-threaded code for geometry processing would be a huge benefit. It would be even better in case it would be possible to execute such code on either CPU or GPU - just like OpenCL.

    I also believe that implementation of Houdini Engine would make TD very attractive for many Houdini users. Having ability to use Houdini HDAs inside of TD would bring state-of-the-art Houdini SOPs into TD.

  • Touch engine is amazing “new kid” and I am really happy to see this concept in TD. There are some issues with it at the moment, but I am looking forward to non-experimental version of it as it would greatly improve multi-threaded workflows in TD.

  • Deploying projects to clients could be a bit complicated but it seems that new installer might make this process much simpler for many people. If I am not mistaken, it could provide installation where whole project is bundled and installed with specific version of TD. That is a great concept. Only thing that is missing is some sort of license that would be added to this “bundle” (so that client won’t have to deal with licensing). Once installed, project would be licensed on client’s computer and ready to go.

    Even better solution to this problem would be compiling whole project to single executable file (again with some sort of special license for deploying). However I guess this is not fundamentally possible with TD even in future, right?

  • I would love to see Visual Studio Code extension for TD with out-of-box support for TD python classes, linting, remote debugging… So far there is this great auto completion project that could potentially evolve into official TD Extension for VS Code?

  • As a final idea I would kindly ask for ability to hide timeline user interface. :grinning: It would save so much space.

Thanks for reading trough this.

5 Likes

Thanks for all the feedback everyone, we are taking notes!

Somehow this thread turned into a features wishlist which was not our intent really (the Wishlist forum has plently of space for that!)
The hope was to open a conversation regarding how you all are doing as far as work, clients, mobility, and the near future. Do you foresee major pivots in your personal and business strategies, or is this just a pause in your plans and you’re already gearing up for next season without too much worry?
It would also be great to know about your local situation for work, as we are only aware of our immediate areas.

@Rayj Good question on future direction. While we could talk for hours on specifics, more generally TouchDesigner’s development will certainly continue with these 2 core tenants in mind.

  1. Making sure the platform is flexible and open enough to be useful for tech’s quick zigs and zags, and whatever new things are introduced tomorrow. This has generally been the case for TouchDesigner in the past 8 years and has allowed people to bring TouchDesigner into other fields quickly and effectively. We want to open up to other industries and use cases as our resources allow, and in so far as it doesn’t detract from current strengths and applications.
  2. We always give ourselves headroom to pursue and build on new directions our users present us with. We estimate 20-30% of each year’s development is community driven demand, so we continue to listen and research those trends that bubble up and dig into them as timely as we can.

Sort of general answer, but maybe good context as you just joined us recently. Welcome to the community. :slight_smile:

@jacqueshoepffner Thanks for the personal account and insight. Happy you are making a recovery and please focus on returning to full health.

My personal update - I’ve been busier than usual as the community’s increased online activity has been very engaging. With less leaving the house I’ve found more time to be in the forums and engaging with you all on whatever service we might be chatting on. It has been odd not doing workshops and meeting with people regularly, which I miss, but the extra community activity has somewhat replaced it and meeting all the new people in the forum trying TouchDesigner for the first time is equally as encouraging and insightful.
I’m currently in Kyoto, and while Japan was largely spared from a major outbreak, many people here are also finding their events and installations delayed or cancelled. Obviously, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics many people have been preparing for, and that is completely off for this year. If the Olympics do happen next year, then that work is still there but just delayed by a year. Hopefully government support and bank deferment on loans/debts will carry these projects over to next year. If the Olympics are completely cancelled for next year, it will be very damaging to a lot of studios, artists, and companies that have invested considerable resources already.
As with other economies, the Japanese economy has been hard hit and officially entered recession last quarter, and this will also have an impact on everything from hiring to funding to new projects being green lit.
The companies I have talked to are spending their new-found time focused on R&D, with people working from home in many of the creative industries. As the state of emergency was just lifted, many are returning to work. It seems many workers were not laid off for now, but work availability and new positions has sunk to a multi-year low. Freelancers and individual artists are facing the biggest uncertainty now.
The Japanese TD community is a buzz with online events, microblogs, and generally trying to use this time as productively as possible. #TDSW is back doing events multiple times per month and I see a lot of new people taking up blog and tutorial writing.

Anyways, that’s an update from here, would love to hear how the landscape is elsewhere. Hope you are all doing well.

4 Likes

Happy to hear you’re doing better. Been following your tutorials on GLSL. Looking forward for the TD/Houdini implementation!

1 Like

Hi, covid-19 is worst thing which happen in human history .
Regards .

Hi Isabelle,
I am from an interactive 3D sound art and audio background mainly using Max MSP. I do everything from full-on immersive interactive installations to Bio Art and some theatre we’ do some commercial projects too. I am using the time to combine immersive interactive 3D sound with Touch designer so I can add enhance the visual art side of my installations and music. Yesterday I made my first primitive 2D projection mapping “Quantum Moon” with touch designer which made me very happy - I dont know if I would have done this if it hadnt been for the time given to me due to Covid. I am really enjoying Touch Designer. Here is a link to one of my interactive 3D audio projects: https://vimeo.com/234689992

Most of my work is a installation based so obviously that presents a problem at the moment as people cant go out to many exhibitions, festivals canceled etc. However, Id say touch is doing just fine and much amazing new work will be here when we come out of this as people have been working away indoors. One of the reasons I like touch designer and installations is that people have to visit them. The temptation now is everything goes virtual as they have to stay at home. This is something I would like to resist (in the long run obviously staying at home at the moment is a good idea!!) though I appreciate financial concerns of any business. You can see my business website here for some of the other Shenanigans we’ve been up to, we even have a manifesto which doesn’t work so well now noone can leave the house - were based in Ireland: www.magikdoor.net . My personal artists website is www.augustineleudar.com . Thanks for the amazing software and company - its a great community of peopleand the possibilities afforded by this software are extraordinary and exciting.

1 Like