OpenBCI Video

Band Power via OSC into Touchdesigner mapped to sine wave

Continuation of previous experiments with getting BCI data into Touchdesigner.

OpenBCI Video

OpenBCI into Touchdesigner via OSC mapped to Sine Wave

This is a rudimentary demo of an OpenBCI signal (in this case, FFT of channel 5) mapped to an audio generator (Sine wave generator).

As I move my arm the frequency tends to go up, though there is not any fine control at this point. But there is a clear difference between the at rest tones and more excited tones with arm movement.

The base frequency of 420 Hz is manipulated +/- the re-ranged values coming from the BCI input. A similar normalized value is used for the circle radius (which is hard to see here since it ranges outside the viewer most of the time). This continues what I demonstrated here:

OpenBCI Video

OpenBCI: Cyton OSC Data to Touchdesigner

This video shows OpenBCI Cyton live data input to Touchdesigner via OSC protocol.

The good thing here is that data is finally coming in live, rather than from a saved CSV file. On the downside, this method is still reliant on the OpenBCI GUI and I also had an index issue (later fixed by adjusting the OSC rows to 8 instead of 10). The data is also not very clean yet, so much more work is needed.


Stop the Madness!

By now you’ve probably experienced a meeting where there are both Google Meet and Zoom links. Here’s why it happens, and how to avoid it. Stop the madness!

Blog Current projects Video

Nomadic Soundsters Summer Showcase

“Ocean” by the Nomadic Soundsters Blue Team

In March the Nomadic Soundsters (NS) 2021 residents located in various parts of the world (US, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Tasmania, etc.) were presented with the theme prompt “Fragile States”. The NS 2021 Summer Showcase is a premiere of the virtual collaborative works created by the residents.

Program Notes for “Ocean”

“Ocean” represents the Blue Team’s first long distance collaboration and response to the writing prompt of “fragile states”.

The first music segment of the piece features Yunfei as primary composer, with additional elements added by Tang and Jeremy.

The second music segment started with a generative composition provided by Jeremy, and was embellished by Yunfei. The third musical segment features the piece “Lost Letters” by Tang.

The choreographic elements of the piece were inspired primarily by the movement of the ocean, and was created through a series of improvisational explorations. The music inspired and influenced the speed and quality of the movement in the final piece, in addition to the desire to produce three properly distinct experiences for the viewer. The dance footage and the majority of the ocean footage came courtesy of Sammy, shot on an iPhone. The short transition ocean shot and audio came from Yunfei (also via cell phone). Jeremy combined these with additional original footage of Pennsylvania streams. Video processing, done in Touchdesigner, includes audio reactive elements that determine how/when video clips appear, using an element of randomness (another reflection of fragility).

Blue Team Members:

Yunfei Li

Supakorn “Tang” Wongsumdang…

Jeremy dePrisco

Sammy Gerraty (movement artist) Currently based in San Francisco, Sammy is, above all, a manifestation of the desire to do absolutely everything all at once – less of an artist, more of a walking mental breakdown relying on the arts for sanity. She has and continues to create work about grief and loss on a personal and planetary scale, and hopes that art can help her form an understanding of herself and others in the face of tragedy. Dance and dance choreography in collaboration with live music and the California outdoors are her transcendent language of choice, though she dabbles in costume/lighting design, acting, spoken poetry, and painting. Find her on Facebook or Instagram.

Learn more about the creative process for this work here:…

Learn more about Nomadic Soundsters:

Touchdesigner Video

VCV Rack + Touchdesigner + OBS Testing

Stress testing a new laptop.

Making Video

Five More Terrariums

By the end of May and early June, I still had some drift wood, lots of rocks, and substrate materials left over from my first round of builds. My springtail culture was also going strong, and the isopod culture I started in April was doing well too.

During a flea market outing, we also chanced upon Ott’s Exotic Plants in Schwenksville, PA. It was totally unexpected and turned out to be an amazing place! I picked up some unusual plants that I had not seen before, and will definitely be going back.

Ott’s is probably the best terrarium and gardening place I’ve ever seen outside of Longwood Gardens. They have a wide selection of just about everything, complete with a indoor rainforest that you can walkthrough. The pictures below only scratch the surface.

Combined with the plants left over from my first batch of builds (some from The Rhoads Garden, also a great supplier close to me), I really needed to find containers for everything. Several trips to flea markets and other outings resulted in some great finds. On a single day I scored two of my best large terrarium jars at Berwyn Flea Market and Quakertown Flea Market.

For some inspiration, we also traveled to Longwood Gardens for a day and got to see much more of the place than we had seen in the past. At other times that we’ve visited, we’ve focused mainly on the indoor displays, but there are also substantial paths, trails and outdoor gardens.

If you are not familiar with Longwood, and you love plants, you simply must check it out. Plan to spend a large part of the day to take it in. I didn’t take many pictures this time because, honestly, they don’t do the place justice. What you see above from Ott’s… times 100? Maybe that captures it. Just go!

Each season, Longwood has different displays, fountain shows, entertainment and some of the most spectacular plants, trees and flowers from all over the world. There’s also a huge pipe organ on site. Go figure!

Anyway, with all that galavanting as context… here’s a quick overview of my June 2021 builds, presented with some original music.

Tutorial Video

Using Ableton + External Hardware for Sample Manipulation

Touchdesigner Tutorial Video

Touchdesigner USB Video Mixer/Controller

Blog Touchdesigner Video

My Touchdesigner Journey

Some Touchdesigner samples on my YouTube channel. These really just scratch the surface of what I’ve been doing.

TouchDesigner is a node based visual programming language for real time interactive multimedia content, developed by the Toronto-based company Derivative. It’s been used by artists, programmers, creative coders, software designers, and performers to create performances, installations, and fixed media works (from Derivative web site).

Why Touchdesigner?

After a few years working with Magic Music Visualizer (also a great video animation and processing application) I wanted something a bit more robust. The COVID lockdown, followed by the drab winter of 2020-21 left me with time to focus on learning a new skill.

Most of my learning came throughout November 2020 to February 2021 via YouTube tutorials by the very supportive Touchdesigner community. I treated this like a college course, with daily lessons, building along with the instructors (not just watching passively). I estimate that at 30 hrs/week for four months, I logged at least 480 hrs of focused education, probably more. And of course, I am still always learning and exploring.

Using Touchdesigner for live performance

One of my primary motivations to learn about Touchdesigner (TD) was for creative live audio-reactive visuals, both for my own performances and others. I soon found TD was much more than just a visualizer. I also found that I could build things that would not otherwise be possible in other tools.

So far I’ve used TD in a live context several times, feeding signals into OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) via NDI and Syphon for live broadcast.

This performance uses a video mixer that I built within Touchdesigner, taking the place of the scene switcher in OBS. All of the video generation and broadcasting is running on one machine.
Proof of concept for some ideas that combine TD and the Elektron Digitakt.

To further explore TD, I made some videos for my wife’s 4th grade class.

To get more practice, and to take a break from my own creative work, I offered to make some videos for other artists. This also served as a helpful use case while developing my JDRenderEngine, a pet project that leverages TD to overcome some of my frustrations with traditional video editing platforms.

“Yellowcake” is an album by musician Breakfast that features 10 videos I made in Touchdesigner.

What’s next?

There’s a lot more that I’d like to share on this. I’ve created a lot of experiments – with and without music – that I think people would enjoy. Just as my music has been exploring chaos, noise, and probability, TD has allowed me to explore those concepts visually. However, the work is time consuming. With COVID lockdown lifting, and with some other higher priority projects picking up, I’ve had to step back from TD a bit. The weather is also much nicer now, so I’ve been trying to get outside more – away from screens. I still create something new weekly, so perhaps I’ll post more of that content soon.

At the moment, the big weakness in my setup here is the GPU on my mid-2015 Macbook Pro. Things run pretty hot, and some functions in TD (like Line MAT) don’t even work properly on the MacOS. I am now trying to decide how to justify the purchase of a more powerful machine to continue development and learning. For now, Touchdesigner remains a fascinating tool in my toolbox for creating things I never would have thought possible even a few years ago.