Working with COMPs

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Components are unique from other operators in TouchDesigner since they can hold entire networks inside of themselves. COMPs have four different types:

  • 3D Objects – used for rendering
  • Panels – used for creating user interfaces
  • Dynamics – used for simulation
  • Other – used for miscellaneous tasks

A common COMP configuration is the set up for a 3D render network. A typical render network usually requires a Camera COMP, a Geometry COMP, and a Light COMP. All three of these operators are in 3D, and to create a 2D rendered image (like what we use on a screen or on a projector) we need to use a Render TOP.

Another common COMP configuration is the set up for a 2D user interface. There are lots of ways we can configure interactable screen elements. One of the first things many users want to know is how to create a floating output window for their creative work in TouchDesigner. The Window COMP can be used to create a floating window from any Operator. Most frequently we used TOPs and COMPs to create these output windows. 

While we can create as many floating windows as we like, it’s not usually best practice to open many windows at the same time. For the best project performance you typically want to open only one Window COMP for your project, and to arrange your output and UI within that single window.

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