Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity
Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity


Play and Abstraction


Making an abstract project in Touch Designer


For this week’s project I had a look at Paul Fletcher’s paper in Render Journal called, An Artist’s Appreciation of the potential of animation and abstraction. In this paper Fletcher defines abstraction with an example from his own work and later explains “In this schema of film there may be no single storyline, or any easily identifiable progression of narrative logic but there is a tightly woven pattern or musical structure. This construction attempts to purposefully combine simultaneous pure abstraction based on color fields and geometric shapes with rich associations of organic looking forms and recognisable movements, the anima or life force of animation.” He also explains Abstraction is too often simplistically referred to as visual abstraction or distortion of actually clearly referent or recognisable images. Just as interesting and important is the idea of abstract connections, the mad morphing associative and lateral jumps possible with all forms of animation or the dream logic of surrealism, dada, David Lynch, Michel Gondry et al. Sudden jumps, shifts in tone or distortions, morphing of styles, time and space are all easily accommodated in animation form.


Link to response

As I am getting familiar with Touch Designer recently, I thought to explore the abilities of the software for the project that I had in mind for APD. Touch Designer has a very unusual way of distorting and changing the image and that might be due to my lack of knowledge of every operator… my experience has been to some degree the results can be unpredictable with touch designer. Hence, I decided to use this software solely and started following step by step tutorials on YouTube. I ended up making something that somewhat looked like an abstract landscape.

To be a bit more technical and get in to more detail in the node-based system, I will give a small overview of the scene. For this scene I used many texturing operators that send information to pbr which is hooked to the 3D geometric parts. Like the majority of the projects that are made in Touch Designer I also added, lights and camera as well as render parts. The top operators that can be seen above are for controlling the scene mainly. For the effects that can be seen in the video (as I gathered from tutorials on Youtube) I started with the basic noise, and used some slope, displace and level as well as feedback to get the basic textures.


To reflect upon this project, I am quite happy with the end result, I understood that there is a lot to learn about this software and I hope I would become quite comfortable using it one day. Conceptually speaking I based my work on the idea that the experience of abstract work is potentially a dynamic way of considering the unknown, the infinite, the inexpressible the inarticulate…


An Artist’s Appreciation of the potential of animation and abstraction by Paul Fletcher

About This Work

By Helia Ghasemzadeh
Email Helia Ghasemzadeh
Published On: 05/05/2021