26 April 2011

Processing Paris

Woo hoo! Went to another Processing workshop, this time in bohemian Paris.
Unfortunately haven't had a chance to stay too long, but I love the city:
warm, colourful, busy, dirty. For some reason Parisians seemed a lot more chilled out
than Londoners and I definitely enjoyed the vibe.

I attended the Masterclass at Processing Paris taught by Hartmut Bohnacker. The workshop
focused mostly on Physics simulations. The first day Verlet and Rigid Rody Physics systems were explained, with pros and cons for each. We used multiple implementations:
coding from scratch or using libraries (like traer, toxiclibs, JBox2D and the Fisica wrapper.

It was a pretty cool workshop and I promise update this post later with resource.
The people there were great! Had the chance to meet Andreas Gysin, Miguel Vaz, Will Ismael, Bert Balcaen and many other. The awesome part was I had a chance to chat with the talented Nicolas Barradeau whom I had the pleasure to see on stage at Flash On The Beach. Check out Nicolas' post with some handy resources and thoughts as an actionscript developer jumping into Processing. Met Mathilde who was kind enough to share knowledge on technology/choreography and how they blend and met Coline from whom I got to know a bit more about Digital Agencies in Paris.

Unfortunately there's a lot of things that keep me busy so I won't be able to go into great detail for now.


Ok, it's been a couple of weeks since Processing Pars, and I didn't expect to be this busy or that documenting a few sketches will take so long.

I started out with the Fisica Wrapper, which was easy to setup and made a polar grid/spider web
You can use the q/a/w/s keys to change the paramaters a bit, also you can drag nodes around.
Note: You will need the Java Runtime to see the sketches in realtime. Also, some might require you to trust/allow access to your microphone to pickup the sound.

I tried some basic FFT analysis using the Minim Library:

FFT Polar Plot from George Profenza on Vimeo.

Run this sketch here

Then used that affect the nodes in the grid:

Audio reactive spider web from George Profenza on Vimeo.

Run this one here

And since I started using Lee Byron's Mesh Library and I didn't have to worry about connecting the nodes manually and keeping track of indices, I randomized the grid a bit:

Audio reactive drunken spider web from George Profenza on Vimeo.

This sketch is available here.

DigitalShoreditch is progress and I have to dash to see the lovely people from SketchPatch to get involved with a Processing session.


20 April 2011


At the start of the year, I got involved in a pretty interesting group purchase: a MakerBot. Makerbot essentially is an affordable 3D printer. It's clearly not a fancy and expensive ZCorp, but it is a solution for 3D prototyping.

The group is formed of very talented people from design, development, animation and architecture backgrounds and this was the initiative of Fiddian Warman. I wasn't sure why Soda sounded so familiar, then I remembered we learned about SodaPlay in the Digital Media course I was doing back in Canterbury a few years go, so it's pretty damn cool to work with great people you study about :)

I feel a lot of interesting projects will emerge from this group known as 3DQuorum.

Here are a few materials documenting our progress with building the Makerbot:

Image 'kindly borrowed' from Kirsten Campbell

Here's a short video of the Makerbot running:

Makerbot thing-0-matic first moves from fiddian on Vimeo.

To be honest, I didn't expect it to run from the first go, but tests went surprisingly well so far.

Looking forward to get some of my weird geometries print ready and out in the real world.
Luckily there are a couple of useful Processing libraries out there, like codethread by diatom studio and Marius Watz's(Makerbot artist in residence) ModelBuilder.

Speaking of diatom studio, they have a very cool project called SketchChair which allows everybody to easily sketch, test/simulate and physically create a chair. Pretty impressive!

If you find this project interesting, you can get involved and help out on kickstarter.

29 March 2011

Computatonal Design using toxiclibs

I had the chance to attend a brilliant workshop at the V&A taught by the amazing Karsten Schmidt.

The workshop every Tuesday from the start of February to the start of March it covered a lot interesting topics. That was partly because, we, as attendees were coming from different backgrounds: Mathematics, Graphic Design, Web Development, GIS, Digital Arts, Architecture, etc.

Since the majority did not have background in programming, we started with the basics, and managed to get some bouncing shapes on the screen, which is not a bad start.

Then we moved on to recursion and symmetry, which was a bit of a mental exercise for some to fully absorb through code, but as the saying goes: "To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion".

The course moved to more advanced topics like Spring (Verlet) Physics, which we later applied to simple data visualisation using clusters. Here is a sample which loads a csv file containing attendee names and a table id:

As the projects got more complex we moved from the minimal Processing IDE to Eclipse.
After learning how to use external Java libraries, like JFlickr (a java wrapper for the Flickr API) we used geolocation data to plot images on a sphere:

The part I enjoyed the most was moving to 3D and procedural modeling. Karsten was kind enough to bring his CraftRobo and an unwrapping library he is working on. What this means is, we could generate 3D structures on a computer, which could be unwrapped into 2D to be cut and folded in paper and assembled in 3D in the real world. Pretty impressive stuff!