Daily Archives: 23 Aug 2011

Processing Makes Its First Appearance

I’m going to meet with my own class today, FA3800 Generative Art with Processing. (I wore one of my Processing shirts for the occasion.) But I also thought it would be nice to include a little bit of Processing right here. I just ran this code and looked for a pretty frame (as it changes constantly):

// Create variables for the attributes I want to randomize.
float r;                           // For the red component of the line color.
float g;                           // For the green component of the line color.
float b;                           // For the blue component of the line color.
float a;                           // For the alpha (transparency) component of the line color.
float topX;                        // For the X dimension of the top of the line.
float bottomX;                     // For the X dimension of the bottom of the line.

void setup() {
  size(300, 150);                  // Create a screen 960 pixels wide and 320 pixels tall.
  background(0, 64, 32);           // Puts in a dark green background.

void draw() {
  r = random(0, 64);               // Randomizes the red component with low values.
  g = random(64, 255);             // Randomizes the green component with mid to high values.
  b = random(32, 128);             // Randomizes the red component with mid values.
  a = random(0, 200);              // Randomizes the alpha component with low to highish values.
  strokeWeight(20);                // Make the lines 20 pixels wide.
  stroke(r, g, b, a);              // Inserts the variables in the color definition.
  topX = random(0, width);         // Gets a random X coordinate for the top of each line.
  bottomX = random(0, width);      // Gets a random X coordinate for the bottom of each line.
  line(topX, 0, bottomX, height);  // Draws each line from top to bottom with the random Xs.

Then I just ran it and waited for an opportune moment to take a screenshot. Here’s the result:


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The Motley [Processing] Crew

I met with my class this afternoon (FA3800: Generative Art with Processing). Lots of fun! There were 10 people in the class, although only 5 are currently registered (but I expect more by Thursday, I hope, I hope). We had a recent high school graduate, undergrads in political science and art, PhD student from Biomedical Informatics and Sociology, and professors from Visual Art, Film Studies, and Computer Science. This may make it the most diverse college class EVER. (Certainly for me.)

We spent time introducing ourselves and discussing what was meant by the term “Generative Art.” The basic idea, by the way, is that the artist creates a process or procedure that includes some unpredictable elements – either random variables or user interaction, for example – and that creates different results each time. This concept predates computers by a long shot, with examples from Mozart and John Cage/Merce Cunningham, among others. Anyhow, we then got into playing around with some Processing code, which I think was fun for everyone to do on the first day. We’ll get much more structured but, for now, it was nice to get our feet wet.

Now we just need 15 more people to show up on Thursday….

Update: Real life and attrition reared their ugly heads and I ended with only 4.5 people coming regularly and, of those, only two enrolled. Shoot. As such, the class was officially cancelled but I managed to get it rolled over to a supervised research course and have continued to teach it (except without being paid). Better luck next time!

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