Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps on Coursera

I just wanted to let you know that another interesting course is starting today on Coursera - Creative Programming for Digital Media and Mobile Apps. I've just gone through the first week of video lessons and they are quite cool. They feature Processing - a development environment for visual arts and various creative projects. It's basically Java with a convenient library of functions that let you write graphic applications much faster. What is great about it is that it lets you export your projects as JavaScript or Android code, so you can easily run them on mobile devices (including iPods and iPads). I used Processing in the past and I quite liked its simplicity and power, although debugging was somewhat difficult.

Using the occasion, I'd like to present to you a site that inspired me a couple years ago to play with computational graphics and various visual effects: Complexification. Although it seems discontinued, you can still find there lots of awesome yet simple pieces of computational art... and the source code is mostly available as well (everything is written in no other than Processing again).

My firts Android live wallpaper has been inspired by the Binary Ring effect from Complexification. Later on, I created another one - Blender, which was based on a submission to the Processing's Exhibition section. It was all before I discovered that live wallpapers were extremely difficult to monetize (especially after notification ads have been banned by Google) and that people didn't download them almost at all, despite being advertised on sites like LiveWallpapers.org...

If you browse through the exhibition archives some more, you'll find plenty of mind-blowing ideas like Mycelium or Shadow Monsters. I've been trying to code up something as awesome ever since I discovered them, but never with much success. Nonetheless, I had a chance to experiment with fractals (Mandelbrot Set rules) and decomposing images into single-colored rectangles, which resulted in a pretty neat effect as well. Hell, at some point I even decided to give my whole family huge prints of computational art interpretations of their photographs for Christmas. How geeky is that!

But I got excited again, so let's come back to the main subject for a while longer. Sign up for the Coursera course, if you haven't done it already, because it's cool, educating and doesn't cost you a dime. If you come up with a Processing app that you'd like sharing with the rest of the people here, feel free to post it in the comments section. I'd be happy to give it a try. Perhaps I'll manage to create something worth mentioning as well...

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