The release of the 2021.38110 experimental build of TouchDesigner in December 2021 brought with it a lot of exciting new features and was the focus of many articles and videos. But the addition of new features didn’t stop there! Since then, we’ve seen three more experimental releases, with the most recent being 2022.21460, which was released a little over two weeks ago. In this article, we’ll cover not only some of the exciting features that have been added in the latest experimental version, but also since the initial experimental release in December.
Native Apple Silicon Support
Support has been added for Mac users with Apple silicon processors! Note that not all operators have been ported yet. In the Known Issues section of the experimental release notes you can find a list of current operators that still have to be ported: https://wiki.derivative.ca/Release_Notes/Experimental#Known_Issues
Why is this exciting? macOS users who have been really enjoying the performance upgrade that the Apple silicon chips brought to the table can finally utilize that power for TouchDesigner! Now, TouchDesigner can be run natively on the Apple silicon chip rather than through Rosetta emulation. This may or may not have immediately noticeable speed upgrades but indicates that, if not already, likely soon you’ll be feeling those extra M1 features!
Audio VST CHOP
Support for the Audio VST CHOP has been extended to macOS! At the same time, the underlying JUCE library has been updated to v6.1.6. Now, Mac users can also join in on the experimentation with VSTs in TouchDesigner.
This is great news for Mac users! The introduction of native Audio VST support is probably one of our favorite new features that was added to the experimental version last year, because it allows you to bring your favorite synths, filters, and audio effects directly into TouchDesigner without having to run Ableton or another host alongside your project.
Since the initial update in December (which included a large amount of SDK updates), we’ve seen a couple of additional SDK updates:
ZED – Updated to SDK 3.7
Video Device In TOP – Bluefish444 SDK updated to latest version
MQTT Client DAT – Updated to SDK v1.3.9 for macOS silicon builds only.
Audio VST CHOP – Upgraded to JUCE v6.1.6 and now working on macOS.
WebRTC support has been added via the introduction of the WebRTC DAT. This allows for peer-to-peer connections using the WebRTC standard. If you’ve never heard of WebRTC, it is an open standard for transmitting data over the internet in real time. Many kinds of data can be transferred, including audio and video.
WebRTC is used all over the web for a variety of different applications, large and small. It’s the foundation of Google Meet, Google Hangouts and Discord. It’ll be interesting what this form of real-time data transfer will open up within the context of TouchDesigner!
The Audio Stream In/Out CHOPs and the Video Stream In/Out TOPs have been updated to support sending and receiving audio and video via the WebRTC standard. These operators now have a dedicated page in their parameter window for setting up a WebRTC connection via a WebRTC DAT.
Finally, if you’re looking to test or see this functionality in practice, a set of tools to get started with WebRTC have been added to the palette as well!
Timer CHOP Updates
The timer CHOP hasn’t been updated just once, but several times since the December release! You might have seen the addition of infinite timer length, which you can read about in this recent article here on the HQ: New Power User Tricks in TouchDesigner
But the changes didn’t stop there. In January, the Sub Range parameter was added. This allows for looping anywhere within the time range.
The Sub Range functionality doesn’t just have to be used to loop continuously, it can also be set to pause the timer when the Sub End time is met. In this case, the Play parameter of the timer is automatically set to off.
When the Sub Range parameter is turned on, the timer will automatically loop through the Sub Start and Sub End times. There is also a specific Sub Range callback to drive functionality via Python when the Sub Range loop starts.
Additionally, there are new options for channel outputs, including:
- Playing Timer Count – total number of seconds in play state.
- Segment Length (allows choice of units)
- Master Time – Measurement of total time taking into account delay, speed, and play state
What does this mean? For situations where you might need to looping functionality controlled by a timer, you don’t have to just rely on the cycle function anymore! Now there are many more opportunities for creating complex looping timers utilizing the sub range functionality and callbacks.
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These templates shed light into the most useful and sometimes obtuse features of TouchDesigner.
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Should I Upgrade?
DISCLAIMER: If you’re working on a project delivering in the next three months, the answer is no, you should not upgrade! The release is still in its experimental phases and is not yet production ready.
That said, you can still have fun experimenting with all of the new features by installing it as a parallel build! It’s a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with these new features before they get added into the final release.
So to make that extra clear: if you’re looking for a production ready build for a project that you’re delivering soon, this is not the version to use. However, if you’re looking to explore and familiarize yourself with new features, definitely check this version out!
Full Release Notes
If you’d like to take a look at all of the additions and changes that have been introduced in the experimental version since December, check out the link below!
As exciting as the initial experimental release was back in December, the updates keep on coming! There are quite a few new features that will no doubt improve workflows with TouchDesigner and enable some cool new possibilities. Hopefully this article has brought you up to date with some of the more interesting additions to the experimental version of TouchDesigner!