There are six Families of Operators. Of the six families, five are basic operator families and one is the Component family which can further contain networks of operators. Components containing components form the TouchDesigner hierarchy and give rise to the operator Paths.
- COMPs - Components - Object components (3D objects), Panel components (2D UI gadgets), and miscellaneous components. Components 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.
Within each operator family, "generator" operators have 0 inputs and create data, and "filter" operators have 1 or more input and filter data.
Each operator family is a unique color. Only operators of the same family (color) can be Wired together. Many operators have parameters that are references to operators in other families: Links. Also Exporting flows numeric data from CHOPs to all operators.
See also: OP_Class
To add new operators to a network, use the OP Create Dialog. The OP Create Dialog can be opened by pressing the <tab> key, double-clicking on the network background, clicking the "+" button in the Pane Bar, selecting Add Operator from the right-click menu in any network, or by right-clicking on the input or output of another operator.
Converting data between OP Families
You can convert data between different Operator families using the following conversion operators. For example, you can convert geometry into a DAT list of point positions using the SOP to DAT operator, or convert a TOP image's pixel values into red, green, and blue channels in CHOP using the TOP to CHOP operator.
- TOP to CHOP
- CHOP to TOP
- CHOP to DAT
- CHOP to SOP
- DAT to CHOP
- DAT to SOP
- SOP to CHOP
- SOP to DAT
- Object CHOP
Any of the procedural data operators. OPs do all the work in TouchDesigner. They "cook" and output data to other OPs, which ultimately result in new images, data and audio being generated. See Node.
An Operator Family that reads, creates and modifies 3D polygons, curves, NURBS surfaces, spheres, meatballs and other 3D surface data.
An Operator Family that creates, composites and modifies images, and reads/writes images and movies to/from files and the network. TOPs run on the graphics card's GPU.