“What’s creative coding?”

At last, we have a five-minute video that, in rapid-cut wonder, explains the answer to lay people – and can be a serious dose of inspirational adrenaline to people doing it. (If designers and artists had locker rooms, watching this before tackling that next Processing tutorial might be in order.) Cover the big three of open-source, free-software toolkits for artists – Processing, OpenFrameworks, and Cinder – and showing everything you can do with them (from big-screen video walls to generative fashion), the video has nearly all the bases covered.

In fact, the only thing missing is you: as Dan Shiffman points out, it’s the contributions from the community that make these things work, and the incalculable number of students and artists learning now who will be the stars of this video in short order.

Lisa Romagnoli, Associate Producer of PBS’ Off Book, sends in the video to CDM.

(Those of you who aren’t from the USA, PBS is public broadcasting in the United States. Unlike most public media in the world, it receives only a sliver of its funding from the state; in a unique arrangement long before the age of Kickstarter, it has been funded largely by viewers, which gives it a uniquely-independent focus that I find inspiring as a Web publisher. It’s a non-profit, non-governmental network collectively owned by stations.)

Lisa describes the segment:

Programming plays a huge role in the world that surrounds us, and though its uses are often purely functional, there is a growing community of artists who use the language of code as their medium. Their work includes everything from computer generated art to elaborate interactive installations, all with the goal of expanding our sense of what is possible with digital tools. To simplify the coding process, several platforms and libraries have been assembled to allow coders to cut through the nitty-gritty of programming and focus on the creative aspects of the project. These platforms all share a strong open source philosophy that encourages growth and experimentation, creating a rich community of artists that share their strategies and work with unprecedented openness.

As for the series, “Off Book is a web series from PBS that explores cutting edge art, the artists that make it and the people that share it online.”

Side note: we need more people using Cinder, so it doesn’t auto-complete to Cinderella. (Why grow up to be a bland princess or Prince Charming when you can grow up to be a coding queen or emperor of data? And yes, you can still go to the ball – you’ll just use generative tech to produce both the visuals and your outfit.)

Now, send this to your family, friends, and anyone else who doesn’t know what the heck it is we mean when we say creative coding.