As a multimedia developer, actively involved in user communities and tech/geeky forum, I recently come across this interesting publication by Patrik Lechner, from Packt Publishing.
Max/msp and Touchdesigner are 2 massive pieces of software, for sure at the forefront in terms of audio generation and visualization for a wide range of real time performances.
Getting started with them anyway, is not always a piece of cake, and might require perseverance.
This book is aimed to take the user by hand and give him a step by step path into the platforms.
Obviously is not intented to substitute the official documentation but surely it is a great complimentary tool which provides examples and tips that will clarify things and avoid a lot of troubles.
The first part is dedicated to Max, and will introduce its basic concepts, signal processing, jitter and how to handle streams of data followed by a chapter fully dedicated to setup and basic settings.
After a "hello world" patch, things start to get fascinating, and the reader will find advanced programming techniques, an extremely detailed section about audio, and one part about jitter and interaction with third parts (plugins, midi, api).
Touchdesigner section, from my personal point of view,is even more exciting, because of the incredible potential of this framework.
Touchdesigner is flexible, expandible and highly compatible with a lot of third parts which makes it very efficient for real-time video processing, 3d rendering, prototyping and realizing interactive interfaces and installations.
However it might need a little time to understand and get used to his visual nature that in my opinion will eventually become his strenght.
The book starts by illustrating the basics components divided in 6 categories depending on their functionalities and features (ui components, texture, signal, surfaces, materials and data) and after an explanation of the way they work and interact, it goes thorugh python scripting, animation and timing.
It offers a detailed section that illustrates 3d, rendering techniques and a chapter about interfacing with other programs (max), hardware (arduino) and controllers (midi, osc).
To sum up this book it is ideal both from beginners and advanced users, and a variety of professionals and enthusiasiast with both a technologic or artistic approach.
Beginners will follow a linear itinerary that will guide them from basic to advanced, while more expert users can skip directly to specific techniques they are interested in.