In 2013, I gathered some quick experiments with vvvv for a beginner workshop I was giving. The point of these sketches was to show what was doable from scratch in a short amount of time with the tool to give an idea of the different paths you could take creatively in a real-time creation toolkit like vvvv.

3 sketches, 3 minutes each.
I liked how the evolution of the patches looked like in fast-forward mode.

At the workshop, it helped pure beginners to quickly understand what all the little boxes could do together once connected.

In 2015, I redid the same experiment with Touchdesigner which is very similar to vvvv and the tool I use the most for my latest projects.

There was a slight difference though in the process for the Touchdesigner sketches. I was aiming for the same result I had obtained with the previous experiment, whereas the first time I didn’t really have a goal to achieve. It was purely a white canvas.

Here are the Touchdesigner files for the Sketches:
Sketch 1-1 – Sketch 1-2 – Sketch 2-1 – Sketch 3-1

Composition-2 Composition-4 Composition-3

Both softwares have a very convenient tool in common -although it is slightly different in the form-, you are able to manipulate lists of numbers to generate graphic shapes in the pixel world.

Here is a simple example with a list of 4 numbers, connected to the X position of 4 white rectangles.

2015-12-30 11_31_57-TouchDesigner_ C__Users_philipped_Tests.toe


That’s what I use in all the sketches and in most of my projects. The arrangements of all these values, operations, transformations and animations in real-time are then reinjected in a canvas a la Photoshop/After Effects. The layers and render passes are then accessible and ready for any compositing trick.

On the screenshot above, we see the 2 patching orientations : top to bottom for vvvv, left to right for Touchdesigner. vvvv has a more minimal approach too which helps make the patch tighter, while Touchdesigner allows you to preview every step of the process thus making it more designer/debug friendly.

It could be interesting to follow up this comparison with other toolkits like Processing, oF, Quartz Composer, Web-based tools… too.

The most delightful part behind these experiments is how the essence of the sketch comes out on top of the programming itself when you put the patches in parallel.