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Cinder Creative Coding Cookbook Paperback – 23 May 2013


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More About the Authors

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Product Description

About the Author

Rui Madeira

Rui Madeira is a computational designer, educator, and founder of the interaction design studio Estudio Ruim. He has been exploring and creating unique and engaging interactive experiences for cultural, artistic, and commercial purposes. His works are born from the intersection of several disciplines including illustration, animation, and interaction design. By using programming languages as the main building blocks for his works, he builds specific and adaptive systems that break apart from the limitations of traditional tools. He has participated in several projects, both collaborative and solo, including interactive performances and concerts, generative visuals for print and motion graphics, mobile applications, interactive installations, and video mapping.

He has collaborated for several institutions including the London College of Fashion, Belém Cultural Center, Pavillion of Knowledge, Portuguese Foundation of Communications, Moda Lisboa, National Ballet of Portugal, and the Monstra Animation Festival



Dawid Gorny

Dawid Gorny is a creative coder and a creative technologist who is into computational design, art, and interaction design.

He has worked as a professional web and Flash developer for several years, then took the lead of the research and development department at a digital production house. He has worked on concepts and technical solutions for a wide variety of interdisciplinary projects involving mobile development, cameras, sensors, custom electronic circuits, motors, augmented reality, and projection mapping. His installations engage people in malls, airports, exhibition spaces, and other public venues.

He is the founder, organizer, and program director of the art+bits festival in Katowice—the encounter of art and technology.

You can find a more about his projects and experiments at http://www.dawidgorny.com


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
For a change, a book that assumes I'm intelligent 2 Oct. 2013
By James Ashley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What I love most about this book is how it works on multiple levels.

For someone trying to get into creative coding, it provides a wonderful tour of that world from the perspective of Cinder. You're best off if you are already familiar with C++, but you actually are given enough information (without pandering) to simply copy the code and get very complex experiences working in -- say -- half an hour. At the same time, if you don't want to code and simply want to browse, this book continues to provide rich information about how OpenCV works, the importance of particle systems (no basic particle system here), some really nice coverage of optical flow and ultimately a rich introduction to the concepts and vocabulary of creative coding.

I actually appreciated the fact that some code was xcode only while other code was for windows. It doesn't really take that much effort to make the xcode version work in windows and is actually a great exercise. I even appreciated, oddly enough, the occassional instances where the code in the book was wrong or some of it was missing because this gave me the opportunity to figure out how to make the code work. I'm an adult. I don't need to have my hand held the entire way.

Finally, as someone mentioned, there are no Hello World samples here. If that's what you are looking for, then this book may not be for you. On the other hand, if you want to read a very smart book written by people who think you are also smart, then this is most definitely the creative coding book for you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Practical and useful reference with some shortcomings 9 July 2013
By A.Owed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is extremely practically oriented as it is almost completely comprised of code examples. The analogy of a cookbook with recipes is spot on. The table of contents is very clear and it will give you both an idea of what to expect and an easy reference of where to look when searching for a specific answer. This is a very flat book in the sense that it doesn't build towards something as the chapters progress, rather each chapter is a sideway step into a different topic. Each chapter is handled according to the same format, namely several practical code examples. In turn, each code example in the book is handled in the same manner, namely through a few standard building blocks "Getting ready", "How to do it..." and "How it works..." sometimes complemented with "There's more..." and "See also". This format is as restrictive as it is useful for this particular type of book. The reader will know what to expect and where to find it. The examples are all useful and together cover almost every relevant aspect you'd want to see covered in an introductory textbook. Because of the practical nature of the book the reader is stimulated to actively start working in Cinder, which is of course a big pro. This leads to a lot of learning-by-doing which is a great way to learn creative coding frameworks or in fact coding in general. As a service, the code examples can be downloaded from the publisher's website. The great number and variety of code examples is the greatest strength of this book.

After such a positive story you might be wondering why I gave this book 3 stars instead of 5. The reason is that there are also quite a few critical remarks that can be made about this book.

This book dives in so quickly that it completely forgets to give any type of overview or introduction to the reader about Cinder. For a book aiming to introduce people to Cinder this is strange. A few pages on things like the architecture of Cinder, its namespaces, how its opengl wrapper relates to pure opengl calls, its main contributed code blocks and where these are covered in the book wouldn't have been a luxury. While getting practical at the ground level is great, getting a good overview of an unfamiliar framework at the start is just as important. I for one would have liked to see a bit more guidance in the form of an introductory chapter (expanding on the currently overly concise preface). Such a solid groundwork for the book is all the more important, since the examples tend to jump from one to the next without much order or progression, apart from the general chapter it's in. So while the table of contents makes it very clear what the book covers, this isn't the same as painting Cinder's big picture to a new user. I suppose these are in part deliberate choices by the authors, that make the whole book more of a reference guide for solving specific problems, rather than a book that you read from cover to cover. While the standardized structure of a book filled with code examples definitely has merits, it also has downsides. It's a very dry read and it has no variance whatsoever in its teaching style. I have read many other books on creative coding frameworks. One example of a book that is much better in combining practical code examples with a greater storyline, progression and variance is "The nature of code" by Daniel Shiffman (covering different topics in a different framework though).

I also want to add some critical remarks on a more practical level that can and hopefully will be fixed by the authors in a future edition. Some of these may be minor points, but they shouldn't have been there to begin with, especially for a book that heavily relies on code examples. There are a few mac-only and/or windows-only examples and the use of Cinder blocks in the OpenCV example is only explained for XCode. This is sloppy and not very friendly to the reader. Also while there are comments detailing the code snippets, there are times when a single comment covers many, many lines of code. Especially towards the end of the book. This is lazy and not very forthcoming to the reader. The downloadable code examples lack comments completely. The printed and downloadable code examples are not numbered, making it somewhat inconvenient to find the matching one. Not all code examples from the book are provided as downloadable examples. There are some typos left in the book's printed code examples, but not a lot. Finally the appendix chapter on bullet physics is currently unavailable.

As it stands this is a good book that really earns its 3 stars with a collection of useful code examples that serve as a practical reference for anyone who knows C++ and wants to learn Cinder. Notwithstanding my critical remarks, I can recommend the book based on it's strong points and the fact that there is no better / other Cinder book around at the moment.
A solid reference book for Cinder Framework 1 July 2013
By Deniz Saglam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book ([...] is one of the most helpful and most comprehensive books available out in the market. It does not only present the basics and the simple conventions of creative coding but it also provides a vast coverage of related topics such as integration of the code with other technologies or other software structures. You can find the basics of an iOS application that can be created with Cinder Framework, create a Kinect based interactive artwork or focus on digital image processing and virtual physic rules to create the top notch collisions for your new indie game.

The thing about books that deal with creative coding is that they either focus on the most simple approaches and conventions in creative coding or the focus only on how coding can be used creatively and instead of talking about the coding itself, they rather focus on different uses of coding and merely ideas. This book has a nice way of tackling with both sides that and I find this to my liking. It provides you with clear examples about the topics it deals with and and explains each example code snippet roughly, so that you can clarify your mind.
There aren't dozens of books in the market about Cinder Framework but Cinder - Creative Coding Cookbook is definitely one of the best reference books available and I would suggest it to everyone interested about Cinder Framework.

I believe that it is also very important to have a good reference book about the framework that is dealt with and in our case the references about Cinder can mostly be reached by a Google search and you wouldn't be too surprised to see that the answers (if there are any) to your problem have been typed to an online forum by a top contributor of the forum, who is one of the very few dedicated contributors of that forum. As there are other options for C++ based frameworks such as Open Frameworks, which has more references than Cinder (since it is older than Cinder), this book has also another type of value in that sense.
Great for newcomers 24 Jun. 2013
By Charlie Whitney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Cinder Creative Coding Cookbook is a new release from UK based Packt Publishing and is the first serious endeavor I've seen to tackle the comprehensive C++ framework, Cinder in a easy way for newcomers. The book really does serve as a great primer to get you up and quickly working with this framework which is not necessarily intended for novice users. Examples are clear and the code is well written overall.

I was pleased to see a great variety, especially in the beginning. This book does an excellent job of introducing a very large variety of material, and does so adeptly. The Creative Coding Cookbook touches on most if not all of the most important features or Cinder such as OSC and using blocks (Cinder's add-on system), drawing in 2D and 3D, and even dips a couple toes into using shaders. The index itself reads as a great list of just what is possible and within reach for novice Cinder users.

While the recipes are quite varied, there is little continuity between them. I was left slightly wanting to have the examples build on each other a bit or at least have a common thread tying them together, just for the reason that you rarely have a project that relies on just one of these tricks. Additionally, some of these recipes cover material that is already pretty well documented in the samples that currently ship with Cinder. While, the flocking tutorial is nice in this book, the native Cinder sample is really a great work and insight into understanding why flocking even works.

Also worth mentioning is that there are some platform dependent examples that you'll undoubtedly run into. For example the audio FFT examples is OSX only while the Kinect guestural examples uses the Windows-only Kinect SDK. With a bit of help from Google, you'll find out that you can use the platform agnostic KissFFT, and openNI libraries, but no such mention in the book itself.

Lastly, nearly all of these examples are made up of lines and circles. While I understand the value in keeping this graphically simple for examples, I wouldn't have minded slightly more bombastic material from a creative coding book. Having said so, this book does do a great job of setting you up with parameters windows so you can tweak several of the examples. Any ambitious person would do well to fiddle with settings before moving on to subsequent recipes.

These gripes are however minor, and I would myself recommend this book to someone starting out. That fact that I have to reach for such specific examples is to the book's credit. Cinder is a remarkable, albeit challenging framework to learn, and this book would serve as a fantastic primer for anyone coming from Processing, or openFrameworks who is looking to expand their knowledge.
Perfect hands-on introduction. 20 Jun. 2013
By Thomas Helzle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I work with 3D for 20+ years, have coded in C and C++, Processing and other langauages and recently found out about Cinder through the work of Robert Hodgin (http://roberthodgin.com/) who's a real master of the art.

The framework appealed to me, the available tutorials are very well written and inspiring...

But you may know the moment when you understood the basics and the principles, but suddenly find out when you try to create your own projects, that you don't have the right questions to ask? You want to do something specific but are not sure yet where to look. The main cinder documentation beyond the tutorials and basic explanations is rather nerdy: namespaces, classes, files... so there's a serious gap between the tutorials and this main part.
I know I can hack myself through this (and did so in the past), learn a lot by trial and error about things I never imagined, but it will take me a rather long time and sometimes this time would be better spent on other work.

Enter stage left: "Cinder Creative Coding Cookbook" :-)

On the cinder forum, the book was offered for review. I read the chapter list and it read basically like everything I wanted to do with Cinder - Not bad. So I applied and got the book.

Now I can be pretty critical with books. Often they seem to be written for dummies or repeat themself all the time or overexplain stuff. I get impatient with such books really fast. ;-)

No such things here: There isn't even a "hello world" example (which is a good sign IMO).
From the first lines of code, you are expected to know what common stuff does and how things work in general programming.

And right from the first chapter you do useful things: create your application files with Tinderbox, respond to mouse, key and touch input, deal with drag and drop, resize the window adjusting your content and use resources on windows and OSX/iOS. And that's just the first chapter of 12!

The book continues at the same pace showing how to create a GUI, save and load parameters and presets as XML, use 3D space. In the third chapter you already use OpenCV to track features and recognize faces in images...

It's well written, short and to the point, perfect for people like me who want to create right away without going through explanations what variables are...

So to my great pleasure, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to people coming from processing or other frameworks that have a general understanding of coding and audio-visual art, but want to take the next step with this very powerful C++ library.

And that Cinder is worth your while was nicely proven some days ago, when it won the first "Innovation Grand Prix" at the "Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity".

Have fun creating!
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