TouchDesigner Operators are Generators or Filters. Generators do not need an input. Double-click on the empty network (You can also press TAB): The OP Create Dialog appears, where OP means “operator” or “node”. Click on an operator, then click anywhere on the network to place it. To cancel, click the background.
In the OP Create Dialog Generators they have a darker background. If you start typing, matching nodes will be highlighted, if only one node is possible you can hit ENTER to choose it. Lay down several operators at a time by holding down the CTRL key.
Nodes can have one or several inputs on the left and one or several output(s) on the right side. You can click-drag from those In- or Outlets to drag a wire to another node (of the same family). When you have the wire and you press TAB, you will insert a new node on the end of that wire. You can right-click directly on an In- or Outlet to open the Op Create Dialog as well. When you do that, only the operators that you actually can connect to that sink will be shown.
Left-click on a node to select it and drag it to move it to a new location.
To box-select several nodes, click and hold down the right mouse button in an empty area and drag the mouse over the nodes. Now Left-click on any selected node and drag it – the selected nodes move as a group. Left-click on the background to un-select the nodes.
To delete wires or insert a node into an existing wire, move the mouse over the wire until it turns yellow. Now right-click and select to disconnect or to insert a new operator.
Right-click on one of the nodes – you will see the node menu. Choose ‘View’ to bring up a floating window. Resize it by clicking-and-dragging the edges. Close the viewer window by clicking it in the corner.
You can copy-paste nodes like you would expect. To delete all the nodes, press Control-a, then press Delete.
The nodes are organised and color coded into seven “families”. Each operator family has a unique color. Only operators of the same family (color) can be directly wired together. However many operators have parameters that can reference to operators from other families and exporting sends numeric data from CHOPs to all operators.
- COMPs – Components – Object components (3D objects), Panel components (2D UI gadgets), and miscellaneous components, like nodes related to physics simulation with the bullet solver.
Components can contain other operators.
- TOPs – Texture Operators – all 2D image operations.
- CHOPs – Channel Operators – motion, audio, animation, control signals.
- SOPs – Surface Operators – 3D points, polygons and other 3D “primitives”.
- DATs – Data Operators – ASCII text as plain text, scripts, XML, or organized in tables of cells.
- MATs – Material Operators – materials and shaders.
- Custom – Custom Operators – 3rd party plugins – could be any family.
This will be empty unless you install plugins.
While you can wire only operators from the same family (color), you can convert data between different families using conversion operators. For example, you can convert geometry into a DAT list of point positions using the SOP to DAT operator and convert a CHOPs channel values into red, green, and blue pixel values using the TOP to CHOP operator.