Processing: A programming language for visual artists

So I’ve been into the idea of writing some controls for a projection mapping software that accepts MIDI input. The projection mapping software is called VPT 7, and it’s free software available here.

For an upcoming exhibit at the Natural Science Museum, there has been talk of an exhibit concept that would involve projection mapping on blank forms in a theater of sorts that would have interactive controls that would allow the user to direct the flow of the story in the exhibit using a simple “Choose Your Own Adventure” style. The user will interact with a touch-screen monitor.

After discussing the problem with Matt Faerber in the Visual World Investigate Lab, he suggested I look into Processing. He has previously used it for controlling all kinds of devices from a laptop computer, and Yay!!, there’s a MIDI library for it!

So now to learn a new language. The Processing site is a great resource. It contains the download for the programming environment and compiler, and it has a wealth of information on using Processing including tutorials aimed at introducing programming to artists. I found the way the language was presented to be really straight forward, and was able to pick up the information in the basic tutorial fairly quickly.

I’ll cover the results of this in future posts.

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