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Creative Coding: A Beginners Guide

Web Design | Anurag Gupta | Updated: 2019-04-04

Creative Coding: A Beginners Guide

The juxtaposition of art and code is what we technically term as creative coding. It takes place when a coder tests his/her creative instincts and questions the foundation of the programming world that only believes in creating fully-functional renders. It uses code to express an idea in visual format instead of the clich'd functionality it is expected to offer. Be it through image manipulation or by visualizing data, there are several opportunities presented to the coders by various interactive technologies for the creation of unique art and expressive work. Creative coders can also hone their skills and take their creative coding to the next level to create unique applications for software or visually powerful programming structures. So, if creative coding is next on your mind, this write-up will help you tap on your creative side and enable you to design versatile sketches using the power of codes.

Understanding Creative Coding

The first thing before getting into creative coding is to understand what it actually is. Unlike the usual coding required for programming systems, creative coding is used for expressing things in a more beautified manner. It need not be functional like other programs, interfaces, websites, applications, etc., made using coding programs; the major requirement for a creative coder is to understand the visual and expressive aspect of the creation. Creative coding usually results in the creation of visual design and art, projections, art installations, advertising, projection mapping, product prototypes, etc. Some of the different types of creative coding designs are:

  • Interaction Design: A design that not just revolves around offering smooth functionality to the users but also around making them interact with the elements is something creative coders need to be well-versed with.
  • Information Visualization: Another aspect of creative coding is to ensure the entire information that is to be imparted to the audience is in the visual form which appeals, engages, and stays on the minds of the viewers.
  • Generative Art: Creative coders are the heads behind the creation of generative art or algorithmic art that has an autonomous or self-governed system. It has a central character and creative coders need to be able to create such art.

Ways To Get Into Creative Coding

Those who have mastered the art of coding or even have some basic idea about programming systems think of creative coding as the next level of designing. Web designing and developing companies can also make use of creative coding to create uniquely enticing designs and art forms. However, getting into creative coding is nothing like the code for functional designs. Given below are some simple ways that would help you get started with creative coding.

Choosing The Perfect Creative Framework

The first thing that programmers need to choose the path of creative coding is to choose the perfect creative framework for the same. There are a number of creative frameworks and client-side libraries that are helpful in creating graphics and interactive experiences. These libraries offer built-in techniques and methods for creating unique and generative objects. There are a number of frameworks that make the creation of creative art simpler. Some of them are

  • D3
  • P5.js
  • Three.j3
  • Sketch.js
  • Max/MSP

Visualizing Muse From Available Data

Another way to become a creative coder is to find the muse for your next creative code and create another stellar piece of creative art. The data made available through Twitter API's retrievable objects like users, tweets, locations, and entities, can serve as a great tool that can be visualized for unique generative and algorithmic sketches through creative code. Instagram and Flikr also have APIs with limited and complete access respectively to find new content and virtual muse for the creation of new expressive art. The photographs and other media content on these several platforms can help a creative coder in bringing our new objects in their creative design projects.

Aiming For Self-Generative Art

The aim of a creative coder should not just be to create generative art forms but to be the creator of a self-generative art. For this, it is important to add a small element of randomness in the design or art to ensure there is some refreshing change in the visual output each time. specific code runs. Creative coders can make use of the element and requestAnimationFrame() in JavaScript to create a pathway where the last frames output would become the next frames input for creating an art form that is self-generative.
Utilizing Mobiles Sensors With the mobile user base expected to cross the 5 billion mark by the end of 2019, the world is definitely undergoing a transformation from desktops to mobile-first. Creative coders can also make use of this increasing inclination of people towards device and mobiles sensors for creating new designs. The coders can use changedTouches property on the event to map gestures through the touch events. The gyroscope, geolocation, accelerometer, and other sensors on mobiles also offer inputs to the coders to create something special. For example, a virtual snow falling or stargazing experience can be created by the creative coding team using the orientation and the location on the device.
While creativity is a must for the UX designers, the coders and programmers can take their art of creative thinking to the next level by creating some exceptional creative codes. This creative coding facilitates the creation of expressive and generative art that is not anyhow functional like regular coding programs but invokes the hidden Picasso in its gazers.

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