TouchDesigner Build Rundown: 2020.26630

There’s a funny thing that happens to intermediates and pros once you’ve been using TouchDesigner for a few years: you stop reading release notes for new builds because you have real work to do. The problem with this is that sometimes new features and big changes roll out and you won’t hear about until much later when someone tells you how great it’s been! I’ve gotten bitten by this a number of times and was thankful to have smart friends who keep on top of new releases. I decided it’d be helpful for us to give you the high level over of new releases so you can not only know the big changes when they happen, but also get our professional recommendation on whether you should be upgrading mid project or not!

Engine COMP

Engine COMP is still under heavy development and we’re excited to continue testing it in new ways. It has some great new features added:

  • Engine COMP now works on macOS
  • DAT’s can now be input and output natively using In DAT and Out DAT, without the need of network protocols (HUGE UPGRADE!)

There have also been under-the-hood bug fixes that help clean up TouchEngine processes once you’re done using your engines. These are great fixes for the Engine COMP and we’re hoping to see some more upgrades to it’s GPU assignment coming soon.

Script TOP

We’ve had other Script OPs in the DAT, CHOP, and SOP families, but now we have access to a brand new Script TOP. This allows us to run Python scripts on every frame to generate the actual TOP texture. In most cases, this will be slow for most generic processing and you’ll still want to use GLSL for filters and effects, BUT this opens up huge possibilities when it comes to moving to/from numpy arrays. This is huge if you’ve been using things like OpenCV, machine learning libraries, or sending data between applications using base64 encoding. A lot of those workflows were severly limited because you’d have to either take your data and write it to a file which would then be read by a Movie File In TOP (clunky workflow) or you’d have to pass them into an empty HTML page so a Web Render TOP could render it (slow workflow). If you’ve been doing any of these kinds of OpenCV, machine learning, base64 encoded, or similar workflows, don’t miss this new operator!

Notable Bug Fixes

Here’s an overview of some of the important bug fixes:

  • NDI SDK upgraded to 4.5.3
  • Ximea SDK upgraded to 4.20.0.5 and some bug fixes for certain Ximea cameras not working
  • Movie File Out TOP fixed some issues when recording to H264/H265
  • Text TOP should better handle word wrapping and new lines in more languages
  • Notch TOP memory leak fixed related to exposed strings
  • Touch In / Out TOPs should have smoother playback
  • Bind CHOP should be more reliable now
  • FBX COMP and Alembic SOP should import curves better now
  • USD COMP should be more reliable now
  • Lots of bug fixes for Render Pick CHOP / DAT especially on AMD and Intel GPUs
  • SocketIO DAT should reconnect automatically properly now
  • OP Snippets won’t make your project slow after you close it (finally!!!)
  • Reconnecting MIDI devices on macOS should work again

Backwards Compatibility: MIDI Out CHOP

There’s a new Simplified Output Mode that will make anything you do in this build not able to roll back to previous builds. So if you’re using a lot of MIDI Out CHOPs, be prepared to test this build before you fully commit to it. The change is that the channel prefix for both pitch and program channels is now included.

Pro recommendation

This seems like a pretty straight-forward build to upgrade. It’s mostly bug fixes more than it is hulking new features. If you’re less than 2 weeks away from deploying a project, I’d hold off unless you’re experiencing a bug directly fixed by this build. If you’re more than 2 weeks away from deploying anything, this is a recommended update.

Further reading

There are lots of smaller changes that you can check out at the link below:

Wrap up

While release notes might not be the most exciting thing on the earth, they’re really important to keep track of. You never want to be the person who misses new features that could have made your project life a lot easier just because you didn’t read the release notes. Hopefully these posts will help you keep up with important updates in the quickest and easiest way possible!