Processing for Visual Artists : How to Create Expressive Images and Interactive Art book cover
1st Edition

Processing for Visual Artists
How to Create Expressive Images and Interactive Art

ISBN 9781568817163
Published August 9, 2010 by A K Peters/CRC Press
954 Pages

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Book Description

Learn how to create gorgeous and expressive imagery with the Processing graphics language and environment. It's easy with this practical, hands-on book. Processing is for artists, designers, visualization creators, hobbyists, or anyone else looking to create images, animation, and interactive pieces for art, education, science, or business. Processing for Visual Artists shows you everything you need to know in a friendly, project-based style designed for visual thinkers.

The projects can serve as a starting point for your own original, creative development and exploration. Walk with veteran author Andrew Glassner on a journey of shared discovery as he uses Processing to take each project from inspiration to reality. You'll closely follow every step he takes and see exactly how each piece evolves, including the big and small mistakes he's made along the way (and how to fix them!), and the times when he changed direction.

As your knowledge and skills grow and develop, you'll understand why Processing is such a powerful tool for self-expression. And you'll be ready to strike off on your own. Processing offers you a 21st-century medium for expressing new kinds of ideas and engaging audiences in new ways. This book gives you everything you need to know to explore new frontiers in your own images, animations, and interactive experiences.

Source code for each chapter is available for free download on the book's description at the crcpress website.




Table of Contents



What Is Processing?

Experiment Freely!



Entering Programs

Programming as Expression

Setting Up and Getting Started

Hello, World!


Working with Processing

Basic Ideas: Variables

Naming Things


Using=for Assignment

Semicolons and Errors

Comments and Printing

Functions and Tests

Writing Functions

setup()and draw()

Curly Braces

Integer Division

Combined Operators

Starting a Program

Animation and Global Variables

If Statements



Speed and Control


Function Overloading

Defining Colors

HSB Colors

Graphics Primitives

Naming Points

Basic Shapes

Graphics State

Irregular Shapes

Graphics Windows

Human Input


Mouse Buttons

The Keyboard

A Simple Game

Loops and Transparency




Understanding Transformations

Accumulating Transformations

Order Matters

Nested Transformations


Recursive Teacups

Extending the Teacups

Drawing Boxes within Boxes

Randomness and Arrays

Random Numbers


Manipulating Arrays

Deletingan Array Entry


Catmull-Rom Curves

Knots and Control Points

Catmull-Rom Curves

Assembling Curves

Curves from Vertices

Tightening Curves

Working with Curves

Tangents and Normals

Finding a Point on a Curve

B´ezier Curves

B´ezier Curves

Reading Code

Offset B´ezier Curves

Finding a Point

Moving Curves Around


Objects and Methods

Multiple Instances

Object Methods

Moving Disks

Using this

Controlling Access

Some Projects

Managing Memory

Objects and Arrays

Fall Leaves

Basic Skeleton

PVector Object

Drawing a Leaf

More Fun with Leaves

Pointillism Leaves


2D Arrays

Displaying Images

The Pixel Array

Image Manipulation

Applying Texture

SVG Objects

Working with Files



Final Display

More File Options

Extending the Project

Creating Patterns

Plotting a Function

Building Blocks

About Pattern-Making Functions

Finding Angles

Blending with Cosine

Building Patterns

Pattern Shaping

Circle Packing

An Action Lamp

Bell Curves

A Blobbier Lamp


Building the Lamp


Ascending Blobs

Personalizing Your Lamp



Showing Strings


3D Objects

Making Shapes in 3D

Controlling 3D

3D Camera

3D Lights


Other 3D Tools


Useful Odds and Ends

Push and Pop Styles


Time and Date

Saving Your Images

Window Wraparound


Types and Type Conversion

Offscreen Drawing

Reading and Writing Modes


Web Applets

User Events


Going Beyond


Stacked Contours

Crystal Towers


Neon Sign


Puppet Show

Spooky Plants

Big Projects

Tackling a Project

Organizing a Project

Project 1: Sandstorm

Project 2: Postcards from Another Planet


Alphabetical Listing

Listing by Function

Object Methods


View More



Dr. Andrew Glassner is a writer-director, and a consultant in story structure, interactive fiction, games, and computer graphics. He has carried out research in 3D computer graphics at Bell Communications Research, the IBM Watson Research Lab, Xerox PARC, and Microsoft Research. His many research papers and books cover theory and practice in fields such as 2D graphics, 3D graphics, interactive storytelling, and digital sound synthesis. His design work has been featured in locations from musical instruments and tattoos to iPhone applications to museum exhibits. Glassner is now a full-time writer-director and educator, and a consultant in storytelling and interactive fiction to the computer game and online entertainment industries.


Processing for Visual Artists: How to Create Expressive Images and Interactive Art teaches how to create imagery with the Processing graphics language, created for artists, designers or any using to create images and animation for arts or business purposes. It provides a project-based organization designed for artists and other types of visual thinkers, showing how to use Processing to create successful results. The step-by-step focus for each piece builds on knowledge and skills and makes for a fine pick for engaging artists who have Processing and want to make the most of it!
The Midwest Book Review, August 2011

The major contributions of this book are its uncompromising clarification of the creation of graphics using Processing and helping the reader to understand the principles underlying the language constructs to be used. … the book has much to offer to an experienced programmer. I highly recommend the book for those who already write code, but want to extend their knowledge, to clarify concepts, to clean up bad practices they acquired elsewhere, and to improve their understanding in a richer context. The book is excellent for turning a beginning programmer into a self-confident and well-equipped one, who can not only admire and adopt, but also design and create expressive images similar to the ones discussed in the book.
Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, August 2011

... quite accessible, using projects as platforms for teaching basics. A top pick, this includes color art image examples throughout.
The Midwest Book Review, January 2011

If you are a visual artist looking to take your work on a new path, Andrew Glassner's new book is an exciting and incredibly comprehensive guide to using Processing to create imagery with computation.
—Daniel Shiffman, September 2010