Back to Processing

About 9 months ago, maybe more, I put up a couple of examples of early attempts to grapple with the graphics/animation program called Processing. I was originally trying to learn the program because I’m interested in the possibilities of marrying visual and (eventually) musical elements and interactivity, and I was hoping to learn the program to use it for a large multimedia project that was premiered here in Riga in May. I quickly realized that I couldn’t apprehend this code-based language fast enough to use it for the project, and in a mad dash threw myself into learning Adobe After Effects instead. Yet the allure of Processing, with its potential for creating a sort of guided generative art is powerful to me indeed. (Go to to view hundreds of examples where you can also view the code used to make them).

Anyway, I’ve now fought my way through about eight and a half chapters of Daniel Shiffman’s book Learning Processing. Today was the first time I created something completely from scratch that I thought was interesting. I was exploring the distance function, or dist(), that calculates the distance between two points, most often (I guess) used to calculate the distance between the X and Y location of your mouse. So here is a drawing program. Roll your mouse over the screen. If you press a key on your keyboard, it should clear the screen. Have fun. I thought it was pretty meditative. The best results seem to happen if you take your time and move your mouse in a slow, controlled way.


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