OpenTechSchool Generative Art Workshop with Processing

Welcome to your Generative Art Processing Workshop!

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Course by Roman for OTS Brussels

I'm glad you're here, and I hope you're too! In this workshop, you will learn 3 things. First, you will discover what a programming language as well as some basic stuff you find in most of them. Second, you'll learn specificities of Processing, which let you quickly draw and have sweet visualisations. Last, the topic of this workshop, you'll get your hands on generative/procedural art: using your computer to generate complex artful representation out of simple rules. We hope you will enjoy your stay here!

This material is not stable yet, so it might still be a bit messy. Don't hesitate to give us some feedback on how well (bad?) we did! Unfortunately this time the workshop is picture free but we promise we'll add some for its next iterations.

As for programming, the main aim is for you to have a basic grasp of it and what you can do with it as well as to realise its potential as an artistic medium. For that we’ll use Processing. As any OTS workshops, you will have a guideline to make you discover things bits by bits. But on the other side, the emphasis here is on creation, your creation. Please, don't be afraid to get out of the beaten track: experiment on what you've learned, express yourself. That's the main aim of the artistic part of the workshop. Don't be in a rush to finish the material, you can always come back to it later, it's meant to stay online.

Some BLAAAAAAAAAA fundamental advices for beginner programmers (you might want to come back here if you have issues):

  1. Get your hands dirty. You'll only learn if you write and run some code. Each piece of code shared has some meaning, would that be for educational purpose, or just to show some neat visualisation. Run them all, and don't hesiate to tweak them, push them forward and explore both your sensibility and what you can do with it.
  2. Understand what you're doing. You need to understand each line of your code, especially in this workshop since we'll probably reuse them and make you modify them short after. If you're not 100% you understand, reread the course. Maybe try the next paragraph. Ask a fellow student, a coach, search online... Anything, but don't continue if you don't understand.
  3. Understand what you're doing! It's fundamental to undersand the grammar of your lines of code, but it's as important to understand its meaning, and place in your code. You're coding your line at a specific place, it has a specific role. Understand that role. Not only of your line but also of your group of lines so that a structure of your code emerge. Sometimes you'll be asked to replace some code, it'll be up to you to understand what to replace.
  4. Don't copy paste. While it might seem as a quick way to advance the material, you will learn less. The more you will write, the more you will remember. And even better, whenever there are number used, try to tweak them, modify them a bit, see what happens.
  5. Regularly clean your code. It's easy to get lost, even more when you're discovering something new. Cleaning your code means getting rid (or commenting) unused part of the code, so you don't surcharge your code and wonder where is that specific part you're lookign for. It means too organising it, so you can infer better meaning from it. And last, the graphic structure. Don't forget to indent (put space at the start of the line) when you enter a new block of code, it eases both the reading and the spotting of bugs.
  6. Learn how to search out the answer when you're stuck. You are part of a group during the workshop, you can always ask the other students, or the coaches but it's a good reflex to always try to find out by yourself why there is an issue and how to solve it. You can search the Processing reference page, tutorials, forums or even post a question online yourself (knowing how to post a good question would need its own tutorial too...).

During the workshop, you’ll be granted the superpower of the Screenshot! Ancient technology will allow you to get straight from Processing a screenshot of your realisations. Please, share them with coaches, and don’t hesitate to add them in the Processing OTS event on meetup!

Now that we get to know each other, let's dive into the course itself.