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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (10 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935182625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935182627
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Matt Pearson is an artist, coder, and award-winning blogger based in Brighton, UK. His popular blog https://zenbullets.com/ recently won "best blog" at the DiMAS awards. Matt is also the creative force behind the 100 Abandoned Artworks Generative Art project https://abandonedart.org/, where you can see many examples of his work.


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert O'Rourke on 13 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Buy this book if you are looking for something in between a coding manual, reference book, discussion of and a history of Generative Art. Matt has hit upon a good balance for those who find a pure programming book makes their eyes glaze over and want to understand the why aswell as the how. The book is structured so that the introduction is gradual without getting too heavy on the coding side of things for too long. After that the book deepens your understanding and teaches you some of the more complex and beautiful algorithms used in GenArt. Not only is it an informative an interesting read in its own right it is also a useful reference to come back to again and again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Charles Crammond on 6 April 2012
Format: Paperback
Written in a light and humourous style this book provides an excellent introduction to creating generative art via Processing and Object Oriented Programming. It would make a great first book for anyone wanting to learn programming from the ground up, the genertive arts focus, and the open, easy to learn nature provides the perfect framework for learning. It is in someways an up to date version of the BBC Micro, Turtle robot with a pen and the Logo programming language back I remember using at primary school back in the early 80s!

The programming side is good for artists wanting to learn programming graphics, however the arts side isn't developed enough for programmers wanting to learn about arts, however it isn't intended for that, so thats not really a critism.

I started out using my iPad 2 and the only currently availible Processing app. I managed to get as far as Chapter 5 when 3d graphics where introduced (it seems Apple havn't opened up WebGL on the iPad yet, except for advert, no surprise really, bunch of joyless, humourless, grasping meanies that they are).
I then jumped onto the PC to finish the rest off.

What I was left with after finishing was a smile and some nice code and templates for my own explorations.

Overall it's entertaining and is great for teaching anyone the fundamentals of programming (on anything, what you learn is easily transferable to say JavaScript) and fun book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Filip on 18 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
The book starts with foreword by Marius Watz giving a very good overall introduction to computers in the arts especially the history of processing Processing. This is followed by Matt setting context for the reader, giving his background and how his interest in generative art developed. My favorite "about this book" section, positions the book in terms of how it should be read and making clear that by no means the book attempts to teach you how to be an artist, but rather how to think about the process.

Following chapters are about methods and algorithms, both existing and about creating your own. Very much about building a generative machine, Matt has a great skill in making it all sound very easy. This leaves you wanting to launch Processing and begin playing right away. Whether this is related to Matt just being British but the book is filled with small fragments of humor, inserted at places where things are just about to get serious and complicated. Matt's tone makes it an easy and fun read and where other books of this nature tend to be either slightly too technical or conceptual, Matt seems to have found the perfect middle ground, being both practical but also pointing out the technical and conceptual issues that should be addressed. This book will by no means provide you with great technical knowledge or set a conceptual ground for your work. Instead, you will quickly become accustomed with the basic principles and algorithms used in the making of generative art together with most certain desire to learn more.

If you are new to creative code and have always been interested in how some of these images have been created, Generative Art: A Practical Guide is a fantastic start. Also those that have some programming skills may uncover some techniques that have not been apparent before.

full review available on [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Willis on 16 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback
"Generative Art" is easy. And fun. It takes two things: technique and enthusiasm, and this book gives you both.

If you wanna make generative art, you have to code, and this book teaches that. Every artist needs craft. But making coding boring is easy, and this book avoids that by tying exercises in with interesting philosophical and artistic debates. Look at the chapter titles: "Emergence", "Autonomy", "The Wrong Way to Draw A Line". Take this last chapter for example. It introduces you to key generative tools like randomness, noise, and trigonometry, but with a light touch, and a continuing focus on their effect on the actual artwork, which is more ambiguous. The chapter title itself suggests this. What is the "wrong" way to draw a line? Artists have been arguing about it forever. Nowhere in this chapter is it explicitly stated. Tools are definable, art is not. Matt gives you the tools (the Processing language, emergent behaviour, Perlin noise, and the rest), and leaves the creativity to you.

Except the images of course. The book is full of illustrations from generative luminaries like Robert Hodgin, Jared Tarbell, and of course Matt himself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kate genevieve on 9 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book about making art with code: how you might do it and why you might do it. Unlike other books on this subject, it is written in a direct, committed and humorous style that keeps you reading. The author provides an easy to follow intro to Processing but keeps the emphasis on equipping the reader with the know-how to start exploring for themselves and thinking independently. Pearson writes:

"There is no right or wrong way to be a generative artist. There are no rules or recipes. Generative art is about the organic, the emergent, the beautiful, the imprecise, and the unexpected. It's about exploring these within a world of logic and precise mechanics."

The book itself is a celebration of this approach to Generative Art and packed with beautiful images of the author's work, as well as visuals from some of the most interesting artist / coders about - Robert Hodgin, Marius Watz & Jared Tarbell to name a few. Definitely one of the most readable, inspiring and helpful books on creative code I've encountered.
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