3D Installations with Render Picking

by Elburz Sorkhabi in Workshops on February 14, 2019
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Elburz explores and explains 3D interactivity through render picking, a process that allows TouchDesigner developers to create interactive 3D content for touch screens. The workshop will cover how to use a Render Pick DAT with a Multitouch In DAT to control 3D objects in a way that scales from a single click to many touch events without any additional changes


  • Intro: 00:10
  • Interactions with invisible UI elements: 00:44
  • Starting with Render Pick CHOP: 8:25
  • Starting with Render Pick DAT: 17:11
  • Using Render Pick DAT: 24:06
  • Dragging 3D Objects natively: 33:57
  • Render Pick + Instancing: 50:02
  • Advanced Render Pick + Instancing: 1:13:34
  • 3D UI’s for VR: 1:34:37
  • Optimization tricks for Render Picking: 1:52:22

More info

Want to level up your TouchDesigner skills and create dynamic 3D installations with interactive elements that can scale from single to multi-touch and virtual reality – all without changing anything about your setup?

Are you still trying to use 2D interactive hotspots and invisible UIs in your 3D TouchDesigner installations?

If this sounds like you, I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that you’re not alone – this is how most designers start out (even some experts get away with it). It actually works okay if your 3D installations are static and the interactions are simple.

The bad news is you’re going to miss out on rich, dynamic and complex 3D projects. Anyone who has tried to create dynamic interactive 3D elements using invisible 2D UI hotspots to trigger interactivity has seen this firsthand.

Fortunately, TouchDesigner lets us use render picking to integrate 3D interactivity directly into our projects:

  • We can create complex 3D scenes that can be transformed dynamically without sacrificing or continuously re-calibrating interactivity.
  • We can also scale our 3D installations for unlimited multi-touch points without ANY adjustments to code.
  • TouchDesigner enables us to build virtual reality experiences and render picking allows you to create 3D UI’s and interactions in VR.

But render picking isn’t easy. It requires unintuitive Python scripting techniques. And to implement effectively, render picking assumes a deep understanding of TouchDesigner and the connection between instancing and multichannel manipulation of data.

It’s with this in mind that I created the “How to Create Multi-Touch 3D Installations Using Render Picking” training. In this training, I teach how you how to use Python to build native 3D interactivity directly into your 3D TouchDesigner installations.

In this training, you will learn:

  • How to create interactivity for multi-touch systems. Using Python, we can setup a scene that enables unlimited interactivity – as many touch points as we want. This training assumes familiarity with Python, and is therefore intended for intermediate to advanced TouchDesigner users.
  • The practical difference between 2D interactivity with 3D interactivity, so that you understand the difference between the limitations of 2D interactive hotspots – and the limitlessness of 3D.
  • How to save time by eliminating the need to build 2D invisible UI’s and hotspots into your 3D projects.
  • Intermediate Python techniques required for render picking. These include iteration (for loops), basic understanding of classes, and scripting in TouchDesigner.
  • How to optimize render picking setups.

Categories: Workshops