TouchDesigner 101:
Creating Interactive Installations and Generative Art

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TouchDesigner 101:
Creating Interactive Installations and Generative Art

Over the last several years, TouchDesigner has risen to prominence as a leading software tool used to create immersive experiences, interactive installations, performance tools for lighting/live shows, and generative visuals.

This intensive course focuses on an interactive installation and generative art perspective, and will cover methods of visual experimentation and project building for installations. Over the course of 12 weeks participants will learn TouchDesigner from the ground up, starting with foundational skills including the basics of the interface, node-based programming techniques, and best practices for development and organization. Once the foundations have been covered, participants will take a deeper dive into textures, 3D geometry (including procedural techniques and particles), rendering, UI building, utilizing Python within the software, and more.

The workshop is a great way for new users of TouchDesigner to build a foundational knowledge of the software and to start experimenting with the same techniques that are used by experienced developers and artists alike.

Over the course of the program, students will learn the technical skills and gain the creative inspiration to create an interactive artwork in a final public showcase attended by the creative community, industry, and museum professionals.

Course Logistics

Dates: Saturday, September 9 – November 25, 2023

Times: 10am-1pm PT / 1pm-4pm ET / 5pm – 8pm GMT

Location: Online

Cost: $1800 for Live Online – $900 for Audit Access.

Scholarship: We also offer Diversity Scholarships.
Apply by August 26, 2023.

Experience Level: No prior experience with TouchDesigner or Python is expected from participants.

▪ A laptop or desktop – Mac or PC. Check out the system requirements for TouchDesigner, found at this page: https://derivative.ca/UserGuide/System_Requirements to ensure your computer is ready for TouchDesigner.
▪ Get a Free License for TouchDesigner – Available by creating an account on Derivative’s website: https://derivative.ca. The free non-commercial license will be all you need for the workshop.
▪ Download, Install and Activate TouchDesigner – Before joining the first day of class, have the latest version of TouchDesigner downloaded, installed, and activated on your machine so that we can jump into the workshop!
▪ Download and Install a Text Editor – Visual Studio Code is a popular free option.
▪ A three button mouse is highly recommended — the TouchDesigner interface is specifically designed to be used with a three button mouse with a scroll wheel. Laptop track pads will work in a pinch, but you’ll be much happier with an actual mouse.
▪ If using a laptop, make sure to have your power supply accessible. Depending on what you’re doing, TouchDesigner can drain your battery pretty fast!

Additional Information:
• No Refunds or Exchanges.
• View our FAQ here.
• Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Workshop Outline

  1. Week 1: September 9
  2. Week 2: September 16
  3. Week 3: September 23
  4. Week 4: September 30
  5. Week 5: October 7
  6. Week 6: October 14
  7. Week 7: October 21
  8. Week 8: October 28
  9. Week 9: November 4
  10. Week 10: November 11
  11. Week 11: November 18
  12. Week 12: November 25
Syllabus to be announced soon!

Educational Goals:
◦ Best practices for development and organization
◦ Experience working with 2D Textures and Effects, including:
– Incorporating external media, playback and cueing of video and audio files
– Techniques for creating generative artwork
◦ Experience creating and working with 3D Geometry, including:
– Procedural geometry tools
– Particle systems
– Instancing
◦ Experience rendering 3D Geometry, including the use of:
– Cameras
– Lighting
– Materials
◦ An overview of techniques for building user interfaces
◦ An introduction to using Python within TouchDesigner

Student Showcase

Every Intensive session culminates with a media arts exhibition. This highly attended event invites the public and industry leaders to see new work from our artist community.

Become a Gray Area Member for early access to our workshops, and 20% off.

Gray Area Members enjoy extraordinary access to our interdisciplinary arts & education programs, while supporting our mission to catalyze creative action for social transformation. Get free admission, exclusive content, and more!


Jack DiLaura (he/him) is an artist, creative developer, and musician who specializes in creating generative graphics, building interactive installations, and tinkering with vintage music equipment. He’s a regular contributor to The Interactive & Immersive HQ (an educational platform for immersive designers/creative technologists), has taught courses and workshops on creative uses of the software TouchDesigner, collaborated on art installations with artists from the US, UK, and China, and worked on commercial interactive projects for Google, The Smithsonian, and more. He holds an MFA in Digital Arts with an Interactive Arts Focus from Pratt Institute.