A friendly approach to coding for visual artists: Processing


Coding is not hard,

or at least it should not be the barrier between visual thinkers and the power to open numerous possibilities of making great things.

But why coding when we have a bunch of advanced design softwares and plug-ins already? It sounds obvious but basically just play around with tools people wrote and developed for you already. It is not your pure creation by any means even you pay for the membership or the license to own your key weapons. Yet, you would argue that it’s your concept, your thought, your reflection so it’s your intellectual property 200% for sure. It makes perfect sense, you’re totally right.

Hang on. It could be the same thing when you buy a flat with the cosy interior design by your steady income in such a legal way. But that fact does not make ‘the house’ become your ‘home’ immediately right? A little care, a little decoration, a little mess might create the warm sense for space. In brief, you need to build up the core working for you.

Let come back to our little discussion about medium to create oeuvres, a basic understanding of computer science and the code language can save a lot of struggles and headaches when something wrong happened with the software you work, the app you enjoy toying around in the spare time. Moreover, you can benefit from this crucial skill later when technology keeps updated and you are somehow still familiar with the UI/UX design of 3D, graphics or rendering movie softwares that you master. Even further, you are able to build your own tools and customize your workflow for specific tasks and projects. Instead of being updated with industrial standard softwares, you can move forward and create ones because of the high demand for certain works that are not available yet.

After Effect is not the only choice for motion design, you can build the motion by coding in Processing and export the video by Saveframe function or export the video for various formats. You can trigger music and create songs too with coding. You can play around with the algorithm visual such as Perlin noise, Attraction, Matrix and so on. It could be a good start for further creation in game engines like Unity with C# and Unreal with C++ when you feel comfortable to build couple sketches from scratch.

If you are still with me till this line, please feel free to check out those resources for better understanding of Processing and fruitful resources to create your first sketch ever:

  1. Step one: Download https://processing.org/download/
  2. Step two: Play around with interesting examples, import “Pixel Flow” library into your Processing
  3. Step three: Make your first sketch ever with this nice tutorial

4. Step four: Learn the foundation of coding in Processing with Coding train a bit every day:


4.1 Trigger around with other sketches on https://www.openprocessing.org

4.2 Join Processing community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/creativecodingp5/

4.3 Follow some artist make great things with Processing such as

Raven Kwok https://www.facebook.com/ravenkwok.art/

Necessary disorder https://necessary-disorder.tumblr.com/

Beesandbombs https://beesandbombs.tumblr.com/


Oh, step 0: Enjoy : )







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