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Coding art: a guide to unlocking your creativity with the Processing language and p5.js in four simple steps
Funk M., Zhang Y., Apress, New York, NY, 2023. 333 pp. Type: Book (9781484297797)
Date Reviewed: Jan 29 2024

Coding art is a remarkable resource that expertly bridges the gap between artistic imagination and computational skills. The book, grounded in the Processing language and p5.js, serves as a practical handbook for integrating “art thinking” with “computational thinking.” What stands out immediately is its structured four-step process, which is thoughtfully spread across 74 code examples and an extensive case study of a larger artwork.

The primary aim of Coding art is to instill a new approach to the creative process, one interwoven with computational methods. This objective is achieved with great success, making the book an inspiring read for artists and designers seeking to engage with computational tools in a confident and effortless manner.

The focus on practical examples is another commendable aspect, where each example is accompanied by high-quality renderings and code. Importantly, all these examples are accessible in an example Processing library, enhancing the learning experience. The authors share their wealth of experience in teaching computational techniques to students, offering insights that are both tested and effective.

Readers are taken through a real-world case study in computational art that cleverly ties back to the four central pillars of the book. This approach not only addresses potential challenges in the creative process, but also makes the learning journey relatable and grounded in practical application. The work elevates the book’s value with significant enhancements. Incorporated feedback on the text and code examples refines the overall content.

The addition of two new chapters on p5.js is a major highlight. These chapters introduce readers to generative art and interactive pieces for the web, utilizing the versatile p5.js framework. Particularly noteworthy is chapter 8, which delves into creating mobile experiences using device acceleration and orientation with p5.js, thereby expanding the scope of generative art into the realm of interactivity.

Coding art achieves a delicate balance between skill acquisition and creative process development, making it an invaluable reference for both professors and students engaged in creative programming and computational art. The book’s approach to teaching and its comprehensive coverage of both theory and practical application make it a standout resource in the field of creative computation.

Reviewer:  Mihailescu Marius Iulian Review #: CR147696
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Arts And Humanities (J.5 )
General (D.3.0 )
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