The Art of Creative Coding | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

The Art of Creative Coding | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Creative coding translates the world of
computers and code to everyday experience. They’re not setting out to solve a
problem. They’re setting out to express themselves. And there is this really active, energetic
community of people who make libraries, who write tutorials, who teach with it. You can write
words, you can do photography, you can dance. Why not also write code? If you’re gonna program in C++ or
you’re doing stuff for the web in javascript, you’ve gotta kind of piece together a lot
of different elements and processing will just let you get started on day one immediately. There isn’t this need for formal computer science rigor where
you have to understand how every little bit of code line works. It’s fine to
just try to learn about how things work through doing. I think for the most part it’s used for
computational design. For a lot of visual artists and designers
who want to create something visual but don’t want to make it manually, which
could mean they don’t want to draw it, it’s something that needs to be generated by an algorithm or
a process; that’s something you can do with processing. People do so much stuff with it. They use
processing to put content on a hundred-twenty foot wide video wall. People use it to make prints,
physical things. It’s used to make clothing. You can make data visualizations
with it. This is a starting point and it is a conversation and it is a way of
introducing this realization that the computer isn’t just a tool that has a set of possibilities that you have been given.
As systems and systems get more and more closed, the more that we can actually understand how
to write our own software. That is really a way one can express themselves and sort of break the bounds and limitations of what larger institutions and corporations have made available to us to do on our computers. And so it can really open one’s eyes to things that you weren’t aware of. We started developing a couple projects way
back in the mid two-thousands. One turned into the iTunes visualizer for Apple. We took
all the code that was created, refactored it and started the base layer of what later grew into Cinder. Cinder is a library of code written in C++ that allows
creative people to not have to do the boring stuff and focus actually on creativity and
making the art side of things. We really focus on high-level
professional people who are doing this for their job. Cinder’s been used in a lot of big scale and
small scale projects. For example, the Nike fuel band wall was done in Cinder. That was at South by
Southwest. Mill produced something called Mill Touch where
you could navigate through their portfolio. You could
scrub video with your hands. Cinder is open source for a few
reasons. One of which is that my company, Barbarian Group, benefits greatly from
other open source projects. And so there’s this desire and need to give back.
Another reason for it to be open source is that we benefit greatly from other
users who help write the library and grow the library to where it needs to be. You know, some
people write, some people paint. There are some people who can basically think in
visual code and do some of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen. openFrameworks is a really powerful
environment for creative coding. it’s borrowing from libraries developed by a community. We
decided to use openFrameworks because it enables us to kind of explore these new possibilities. Both of us coming from a video background, we’re really interested in
using the kinect as a camera and exploring its potential for new forms of cinema. So
that was the birth of the RGBD toolkit. We’re working with traditional
DSLR video cameras and combining that with the kinect that perceives the world in three
dimensions. What is the aesthetic of right now? I think a lot of people are sort of seeing themselves as avatars, being represented by digital systems, kind of living in digital worlds. And, for me, it’s really interesting
conceptually for us to kind of create a way for people to look at
themselves through these lenses. Now we’re really interested in bringing this into
a different domain, letting people experience that footage real time so that you’re
engaging with the content. It’s not necessarily the future of cinema but it’s a
future. We didn’t feel that we were capable of exploring that ourselves
and so we decided use openFrameworks because it’s based on the philosophy of
sharing. They create their artwork and then also
give back the things that they learned and the new tools they created so that
other artists can use that. Creative coding is really distinct from previous
art movements in the sense that they are all sharing the bits and pieces that underlie these
artworks that they produce. Extending from that philosophy the toolkit then,
we release that software open-source to present it as something that
filmmakers could explore and try new things with it. I think that we’re seeing the
emergence of a new kind of creativity, one that’s highly interconnected and necessarily
so. What the future is is kind of up to the community. It’s up to the people who choose to
volunteer, who make libraries. Now we actually have companies coming to the openFrameworks community before they release a product saying “Surprise us with this. Let us know what you think we want to do with this.” It shows how artists using technology
in new ways can actually influence future commercial products. And I think the community is really
supportive but also competitive at the same time so it’s pushing everything forward.

92 thoughts on “The Art of Creative Coding | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios”

  1. Belinda Washington

    That is so cool. I'm not a computer person at all. I'm more of a dancer. I'd love to do a collaboration with a coder though.

  2. Just start. If your interested in the creative art aspect like what you see in this video, you can grab already written code and just change a few number parameters to see how it changes things. Through doing you can start to see how the code works and copy and paste to make your own code. As you learn more, you can write more code from scratch too and there's lots of books and tutorials out to help. Or you could take a class or two.

  3. When he said "i think a lot of people are seeing themselves as avatars being represented by digital systems living in digital worlds" is where i stopped listening.

    This sort of detachment from traditional reality needs to seriously be addressed psychologically and not encouraged as a form of artistic expression.

  4. Periodic detachment from traditional reality is necessary for human development. Humans have always immersed ourselves in story telling & alternate forms of reality through imagination. Extending that imagination to digital planes isn't anything particularly new at this time in history. Artistic expression in a variety of forms is used to help strengthen psychological development. We tend to fear monger about each new form of expression only to find that its beneficial unless over-indulged.

  5. Don't stop. The hyperbole was a bit nauseating. Get over it. Watch folks connect, sharing ideas, tools, encouraging derivative works. All very human in the best sense. Where's the detachment? Why call for psychological intervention? BTW, your avatar needs work. The pic is too dark and the background cluttered.

  6. We are spirit and eternal but our reality is a program being run on a limitless quantum computer. We exist in a simulation, where we can learn and not do any damage. I do not suspect anything nefarious. All of the great yogis tell us that our reality is not real. Evidence is building, to support that.


  7. Great web documentary, congrats guys, and thrilled that on of our projects (Silo 468) is featured there, with such fantastic projects around!

  8. My software was in this video (briefly) at 2:51. You can see some more at reuben-thomas(dot)tumblr(dot)com if you're interested. I've only been coding for a year and a half, so great to find my work here!

  9. maybe we have ti deal with this kind of shift of reality wich is already here , and is going to evolve in a mixed ditital -real life world

  10. Wasn't Radiohead's video for 'House of Cards' ( v=8nTFjVm9sTQ ) creatively coded?

    Either way, brilliant song, brilliant video.

  11. "What's that application at 3:00 – 3:02 with the fingers throwing boxes around on a screen?", asked no one. "Why, that's Momo the Monster performing with FiddlyBits!", said Momo, blatantly-self-promoting.

  12. Does it matter what it's called pronounced the contents great
    Its quick and edgy but covers a lot of ground and colour is clearly emotive any emotion is better than no emotion it got you talking about it job done


    You did a video on creative coding but didn't use Actionscript? Flash is installed on over 90% of computers, but none of the other programs you mentioned are. Flash can do particles and everything else mentioned here and is even open source through the Flex SDK at Adobe's open source site.


    Each of these programs here has its own website where you can learn to code. Processing has branched out to Javascript so you can code right into a website. Processing is perhaps the easiest to learn and implement because of its Javascript branch. I tried to code in Cinder in Windows 8 but after a day of trying I couldn't get it to work. The problem with learning to code is that the instructions and tutorials are always slightly out of date.

  15. PBS needs to update like NPR has been (Snap Judgment, Radiolab, This American Life). 🙂 More of things like THIS, please!

  16. If you want to see the visual work of a truly gifted coder, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Google the POV-Ray artist Gilles Tran from France. His site is at oyonale . com; I recommend The Book of Beginnings. Gilles is also a believer in open source; I have used his tree-generation and grass-generation macros in my own POV-Ray work.

    Also check out the gallery at povray . org — there is some amazing work there, all created in text (SDL: the POV-Ray Scene Description Language).

  17. I practically think in code and mathematics. It's one of the reasons why I'm getting one of the highest grades in a programming class at my school, even when I skipped the introductory class.

  18. passive_annihilation

    So true. Everyone who uses a computer regularly should know how it works. Just like anyone who drives a car should at least know how to service it. I think the ease of use that flashy operating systems have brought with them has really kept the general public in the dark. We know how to use Windows 8 and our iDevices but have not the slightest clue how they work. This is bad! There a lot of big and sometimes scary things happing in technology but no one cares because there's not an app for it.

  19. Is there difference in coding used for apps, websites and other things if you know what i mean. If you want to code a website or something, do you need to know all the different types?

  20. "The internet is a gold mine for education." I wish the whole world saw this. I have learned (and still am learning) so many languages, both computer and foreign, thanks to this magical box that connects me to anyone/anything in the world.

  21. whats the best way to start learning if you don't know anything at all? i might want to do computer science at university but for now where can i just learn some stuff of the internet, any resources or videos would be welcome

  22. all the things you mentioned could be using the same language (like java or c++) or using different languages. But they are all made (usually) using tools others have created.
    For example, to make an android app, you use the android SDK (software development kit) and coding it is in java.

  23. Impressive demonstration of the inextricable nature of art AND science. Also, it impresses on me the availability of libraries of existing code, so individuals don't have to 'reinvent the wheel' and can instead quickly assemble new creations.Excellent video. Thank you.

  24. I'm high and I'm a programmer and this is tripping me out man I love coding shoutout to my other cs nerds out there 🤑

  25. Cool stuff in the video, but the editor tried to make it way too edgy. Didn't have any time at any point during the video to soak in what I was looking, which defeats the purpose of it.

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