Processing Books

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, but things have been moving. First of all, I took some time to upload my graphic design portfolio. Have a look on either Behance of Cargo. Second, I just finished reading my second Processing book, this one over 700 pages! So I think it is a good time to reflect and look at some other interesting titles that are out there. I believe the two books I’ve read so far make for a good entrance into programming with Processing. One as an easy hands-on introduction and the other as a diverse reference covering many topics with very clear examples throughout.

The first book I read is Learning Processing: A Beginner’s Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction by Daniel Shiffman. The book lives up to it’s title because it truly is a perfect start for beginners without a programming background. I found this a very suitable entry-level book, which introduces – in a structured manner – many essential concepts. I first read the whole thing from cover to cover and afterwards revisited some of the more difficult chapters. For example chapter 9 on arrays and chapters 13 and 14 on mathematics, translation and rotation. When you are looking for that “first book” to step into Processing, I can highly recommend this one.

All right, the second book is Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists by Casey Reas and Ben Fry. Yes, going straight to the source indeed! I would say this one is intermediate. When I first saw it, it seemed a little too difficult. But after playing around with P5 for some time and having read Shiffman’s book, I found it to be the perfect follow-up. It functions almost as a Processing reference aka bible, because with it’s 700+ pages it covers many different subjects. What I like about the book are the clear examples (no excess baggage) and the way the chapters are structured, which is by theme. So instead of chapters 1 to 99. You have like Images 1, 2 or Input 1, 2, 3 etcetera. This works very well as topics are mixed around a lot, meaning you could read the book in different ways (from start to finish or by theme). The chapter sizes are also very reasonable, so on most days I could find the time to read two or three chapters. I bookmarked some of my favorite chapters, which I will be returning to at a later time. Subjects I’d like to explore further include recursion, simulation of nature and object-oriented programming.

Currently I’m reading Algorithms for Visual Design Using the Processing Language by Kostas Terzidis. Unlike the first two books, I probably won’t be reading all pages intensely. Instead, I’m planning on speed-reading through it and just picking out new or interesting stuff. I’ll do the same with Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art by Ira Greenberg. The reason I didn’t start with either of these two books is because they just seemed less accessible when browsing through them earlier. Another book I’d like to mention is Visualizing Data by Ben Fry. I glanced through this one, but didn’t really read it yet. Although it seems interesting, it is very focused on (obviously) one subject. Perhaps I’ll return to it later when my interests match this subject.

Last but not least I’d like to point out some future titles that I’m looking forward to. They are not out yet, but they will be coming out for sure. The first is Processing for Visual Artists: How to Create Expressive Images and Interactive Art by Andrew S. Glassner. According to the publisher’s website this one is due for August 2010. Clocking in at almost 1000 pages it will be the new king of quantity among P5 books. Hopefully it’ll be as interesting as it is long 😉 All right the second book on my watch list is the english language translation of Generative Gestaltung by Hartmut Bohnacker, Benedikt Gross, Julia Laub and Claudius Lazzeroni. This book really stands out aesthetically. So it makes for a very welcome addition! First published in german, an english version has now been announced on the official website. So that’s great news!
All right, I’ll stop talking now, cause it seems I kind of went overboard with my ‘comeback post’ 🙂

2 Responses to “Processing Books”
  1. Abhiraj says:

    Thanks a lot for guiding with the references, I am a beginner in the field of processing. I am really enjoying it a lot. The open source has really broken all the barriers of the nations and cultures bringing closer all the like minded people. I really respect you for all the effort you put in to share your work and knowledge with this community.

    I want to be able to control the pixels on the screen through runtime sound input (microphone)……I have installed some of the sound libraries from the processing website(bead and krister ) but am not being able to figure out how to use them…….My basic motive is to create sound reactive visuals.

    Can you please help/guide me how i can do that?

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