I’m a musician and I mostly use Ableton + hardware + Max MSP. I’ve been practicing TouchDesigner for about a year now and I’ve used it for audio as well as MIDI/OSC reactive visuals for my performances. The control data that I send to TouchDesigner usually comes from my LeapMotion, various MIDI controllers, sequencers and MAX as well as Ableton. I see how useful TouchDesigner is in receiving, processing and sending data, but I find it very limiting in terms of the real-time 3D graphics output. I want to create interactive installations and performances but in simple terms I want them to look better than what TouchDesigner SOPs offer. Mainly I want my installations to feature interactive high detail fluid/ smoke/ collision/ particle simulations and 3D environments as well as characters. What additional softwares come to mind for this kind of work?
After my initial research I imagine that a combination of MAX MSP, TouchDesigner, Houdini and Unreal Engine should let me achieve the desired result? Do these softwares complement each other nicely? I saw a couple of performances where people used TouchDesigner to process data and Unity/Unreal engine to drive the visuals and they looked absolutely gorgeous, something that I don’t think TouchDesigner alone would be able to generate. Am I missing something? Maybe there are other tools I am not aware of?
I chose Houdini since as far as I’m aware it kicks ass in simulations and is node based and somewhat similar to TouchDesigner in terms of workflow. Am I right to think that it could be integrated with Unreal Engine to manipulate these simulations in real-time?
I chose Unreal Engine because I read somewhere that it is easier for beginners and also easier to integrate than Unity? Also it is free and does not have watermarks or restrictions like Unity.
I should clarify that I have no experience in coding C++ or Python.
One of my biggest worries is that I’m trying to bite more than I can chew. Would it be feasible for me to learn all of this as a single artist from scratch? How else would I achieve my desired functionality and looks?
EDIT: Additional question.
One of my future projects would be an audio-visual album app for Android and iOS users where music and visuals would not only be simply played back but also affected based on gyroscope and touch data. Would it be possible to create something like this using the softwares mentioned above or is it an entirely different beast?