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TouchDesigner Tutorial: Hotkeys

TouchDesigner Tutorial 6: Hotkeys

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Two final notes that you need to know about the basics of TouchDesigner are related to TouchDesigner hotkeys and this often trips up a lot of new users!

Mouse Placement

The first is that keyboard shortcuts only work while your mouse is inside of the Network Editor.

What do I mean by that?

An Example

Let’s take a look at two hotkeys we’ve already learned about: ‘i’ and ‘u’. If I hit ‘i’ while I have this geo1 operator selected, I’ll go inside of it. If I hit ‘u’, I go back up a level:

Screenshot of TouchDesigner interface showing a node-based editing network with images and charts, and a panel displaying properties of a selected node. There is a video control bar at the bottom.

Now that works because my mouse is inside the Network Editor.

But if you move your mouse over the timeline at the bottom and hit ‘i’ or ‘u’, then no matter what you do, none of these keyboard shortcuts will work because your mouse is outside of the Network Editor:

A TouchDesigner interface displays a 3D visual project with nodes linked by lines. Various settings and properties are visible, along with a timeline showing a duration of 7.17 seconds.

The same thing will happen if you move the mouse over to the top menu area of the network and start hitting ‘i’ or ‘u’, the shortcuts don’t work. But once you bring the mouse into the Network Editor, all of a sudden, it’ll start working.

This is an important note to be aware of because you don’t want to have your mouse hanging around somewhere, and you’re trying to hit your keyboard shortcuts, and you’re struggling to figure out why those shortcuts aren’t working.

Caps Lock

Caps lock also trips up a lot of new users, because if your caps lock accidentally gets turned on, this actually changes many of the keyboard shortcuts to other variations, and some of the basic ones that we use (like ‘i’ and ‘u’) stop working completely.

Test this out for yourself and you’ll notice that when you turn caps lock on and hit ‘i’ and ‘u’, even though your mouse is inside of the network, it won’t do anything until you turn caps lock back off, and then everything works as expected.

For 90% of your keyboard shortcuts, you’re going to want caps lock OFF. There’s a few that are different but they’re much more advanced and we won’t be covering those just yet.

Other TouchDesigner Hotkeys

Here are some additional hotkeys (besides i, u, and h) that can be useful to know:

P & C

When hovering over the network, ‘p’ opens and closes the selected operator’s parameter window, and ‘c’ opens and closes the colour palette (this can add a coloured outline to the selected operators for easier identification).

A, B, R & D

When you have an operator or operators selected, ‘a’ allows interaction with the operator’s viewer, ‘b’ allows you to bypass and un-bypass the selected operator, ‘r‘ toggles the operator’s render flag (if it has one), and ‘d‘ toggles the operator’s display flag (if it has one).

Copy & Paste

You can also use the usual ‘ctrl + c’ and ‘ctrl + v’ (command instead of control if you’re on a Mac) to copy and paste your selected operators, so you don’t have to manually create multiples of the same node. 

Wrap Up

TLDR: For keyboard shortcuts in TouchDesigner, you need to have your mouse inside of the network editor and your caps lock OFF.

Next in our TouchDesigner series, we’re diving deeper and getting into operator basics!

About The Author
Picture of Elburz Sorkhabi

Elburz Sorkhabi

I possess a deep knowledge in many professional fields from creative arts, technology development, to business strategy, having created solutions for Google, IBM, Armani, and more. I'm the co-founder of The Interactive & Immersive HQ. Yo!