Introduction to Programming for the Visual Arts with p5.js

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This course is an introduction to writing code within the context of the visual arts. It asks two primary questions:

What is the potential of software within the visual arts?
As a designer or artist, why would I want (or need) to write software?

Software influences all aspects of contemporary visual culture. Many established artists have integrated software into their process. Prominent architects and designers not only use software, they commission custom software to help them realize their unique ideas. The creators of every innovative video game and Hollywood animated film write custom software to enhance their work.

As a comprehensive first introduction to the potential of software development within a broad range of the arts, this course aspires to teach you to engage the computer more directly with code. Programming opens the possibility to create not only tools, but systems, environments, and new modes of expression. It is here that the computer ceases to be a tool and becomes a medium.


Session 1: Hello 
In this session, we will cover the following topics: 1) What is Code? 2) Form and Computers 3) Drawing: Define and draw simple shapes; and 4) Color: Change the fill and stroke for shapes. Session 2: Variables And Loops 
This session will cover variables and how to store, modify, and reuse data; loops, and how to use Random to get random values from the computer. Session 3: Flow And Response 
In this session, we will cover the following topics: 1) Setup and Draw: Creating programs that run over time. 2) Input, Responding to the mouse and keyboard. 3) Drawing. 4) Make different tools with code. 5) Conditionals, Making decisions in code. 6) Easing. Session 4: Media: Load And Display Images, Shapes, And Fonts 
This session will cover external media, file formats, how to load and display images, how to load and display vector shapes, how to load fonts and display text, and how to handle sound files. Session 5: Synthesis A, Nonlinear Narrative 
In this session we will begin putting the elements together. We will use longer examples including modes, events, and transitions. Session 6: Motion: Move And Choreograph Shapes 
In this session you will learn about types of motion in code, how to create motion with code, transformations, and timers. Session 7: Functions: Build New Code Modules 
This session will introduce functions. We will cover the basics of functions, functions with parameters, and returning values from functions. Session 8: Objects: Create Code Modules That Combine Variables And Functions 
In this session you will learn how to define a class, add fields and methods to a class, create an instance of a class, and create multiple instances of a class. Session 9: Synthesis B, Game 
This session will focus on putting the elements together to create work including motion, objects, and arrays. It will also cover collisions. Session 10: Extend: Adding Cameras And More 
This session will cover using video and video playback, adding camera images and analysis, manipulating the DOM, integrating existing JavaScript libraries, and working with p5.js in instance mode.