Tag Archives: FA3800

Processing & Baba Yaga: Part 6

This sketch uses a custom “babaHouse” function to draw the house. (You can try it here at OpenProcessing.org.) Here are shots of the original code and the function:

And two versions of the output:

It may not look so different from earlier version, but the mechanics are different. Whee!

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Processing & Baba Yaga: Part 5

This time, the chicken legs move if you use the live version in OpenProcessing.org: a, s, d control the left leg; j, k, l control the right. Here’s a picture of part of the code:

And here are two versions of the result:

And there you have it. Baba’s hut is doing The Chicken Dance.

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Processing & Baba Yaga: Part 3

The third installment in the Baba Yaga series involves interaction. That is, the hut follows the mouse (with some delay built in), it gets taller if the left mouse button is pressed, shorter if the right button is pressed, and, if any key on the keyboard is pressed, there’s a special, secret surprise! (Well, not so secret because I’ll show it to you below.) I also think it has much cuter graphics. You can try the interactive version at OpenProcessing.org by clicking here.

Here’s the code:

And here’s a still shot of the Nickelodeon-style house:

And the special, secret surprise that you get when you press a key:

Whee!! Fun!!

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Processing & Baba Yaga: Part 2

In an earlier post I showed my first, primitive, stick-figure drawing of Baba Yaga’s hut on chicken legs. That version was what we called a “static” drawing, in that everything was spelled out exactly how it was to appear and nothing changed. This version is still static but it uses global variables with random arguments for some of the elements of the drawing. (I chose to vary the color, the height of the roof , the length of the legs, and the width of the feet.) Consequently, the picture is a little different every time that it’s drawn. (You can try it out at OpenProcessing.org by clicking here.) Here’s the code:

And here are three different iterations of the drawing, each using different random values:

Aren’t they just the cutest little huts (for cannibalistic Russian witches)?

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Processing & Baba Yaga: Part 1

The first real assignment in my Processing class is for each person to create a simple sketch of an object that they will then use for variations and elaborations as the class progresses. The students chose flowers, aliens, dogs, Jedi, and squids (as there are only five students now). I chose something from a book of Russian fairy tales that I read when I was little: Baba Yaga, the child-eating witch who lived in a hut with chicken legs. (Although I am a psychologist, I choose not to pursue any Freudian investigations for my choice. For now, let’s just say the hut sounded like fun.) In case you’re not familiar with Baba Yaga, here’s her Wikipedia entry and here’s one illustration of her hut (notice the skulls on the fence posts!):

So, here is my most basic version of Baba Yaga’s hut. First, the code:

And then the resulting stick-figure house:

A thing of beauty, is it not? Anyhow, it’s a beginning. More to come later.

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OpenProcessing.org Makes Life Beautiful

In my lovely class on creating generative art, we’re using the fabulous, free software Processing (see processing.org). It’s wonderful software but it does have two relatively minor disadvantages: (1) it needs to be installed on your computer; and (2) it’s not obvious how to share sketches with the class. Fortunately, several online versions of Processing have been created to solve these problems, such as HasCanvas, Studio Sketchpad, or Processing.js, among others. However, one that is particularly well suited for classroom use, because you can create “virtual classrooms” as well as code online, is OpenProcessing.org:

In fact, our class has its own darn virtual classroom there, creatively entitled “Generative Art (FA 3800), Fall 2011, University of Utah” (and here’s the link to it):

Anyhow, we love it because we can post our sketches there and because we can use it even when we’re away from our own computers.

[Note: it is also possible to install the desktop version of Processing to a flash drive and run it from there. I do this, also, as it gives me the links to all of the built-in reference files and syntax coloring.]

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My Old Friend, Design

Today in FA3000, Design for the Web, we talked about general principles of design. It was nice to see references to research – know your audience, what they want, how they use computers and the web – and to functionalism – know the purpose of your web site and work to meet it for your intended audience. Both very refreshing. But what was really nice was having a quick (about 10 minutes each) overview of design, especially color theory and typography.

I took a color theory class back when I was an undergraduate Industrial Design student at BYU back in 1985. (That coincided with the time when I generally didn’t go to my classes, so things didn’t go quite as well as one would have hoped. Oops.) Nevertheless, I had my color cards and I could talk harmonies at least for a little while. I may not have my Pantone stack anymore, but I did have an interesting déjà vu experience last year while attending a conference on computer science, of all things. Actually, it wasn’t so shocking because it was VisWeek, the data visualization conference (which was, conveniently, in Salt Lake City last year) and so there was, in fact, a big turn out for the talk on color theory. I learned all about the differences between RGB and CMYK color systems (basically, screens vs. print) and the incompatibilities that exist between them. The speaker… oh, wait! I took the notes on my computer! Let me look them up… Ah, the speaker was Theresa-Marie Rhyne and her personal web page is called Theresa-Marie Rhyne’s Viewpoint (and it’s at http://web.me.com/tmrhyne/Theresa-Marie_Rhynes_Viewpoint/Welcome.html, at least until Apple shuts down MobileMe next year). She talked about RGB and CMYK, as well as the Munsell system (which I believe is the basis of the HSB – Hue, Saturation, and Brightness – model, although Munsell used the terms Hue, Value, and Chroma; and in which the color orange did not exist, just “red-yellow”), and the Pantone system. (I also just looked up Munsell in Wikipedia and found a huge number of color systems; more systematic coverage is at the article “List of color spaces and their uses“.)

Okay, so lots of color theory available. Here are several online color tools mentioned by Martin (my FA2000 and FA3000 teacher – Hi, Martin!), Theresa-Marie, or things I found on my own:

I also have some nifty color apps on my iPod Touch:

And there’s a lot to say about fonts, too, but it’s late and I’m getting tired. For right now, I’ll just mention a few other apps I have that are wonderful:

Lovely stuff. By the way, I just found out that Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO of Apple (although he IS staying on as Chairman). Who knows what that will mean for the Apple faithful like me. We’ll see.

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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:

Fun!

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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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