Processing Visuals

Of late, I have been tinkering around with a new, Java-based IDE (integrated development environment) – Processing 3. Also offered as Python and JavaScript libraries (as processing.py and p5.js respectively), Processing is an open-source initiative by Benjamin Fry and Casey Reas to automate visuals.

Having seen several output demos and YouTube tutorials about this platform, I decided to try it out myself. After downloading it, and going through several Processing sketches – both on GitHub and elsewhere – I came up with a sketch of my own. Here is its GIF:

Hypnotic-Spiral (my first Processing sketch)

The Interface

Several factors have influenced my latest IDE choice, one of them being the sheer abundance of tutorials and sketch ideas on the Internet. This, along with its simple sketchbook interface, enhances its usability.

What really encouraged me to install Processing in the first place was its integration with Arduino’s IDE. For quite some time, I had been looking for ways to create some visually useful programs that would interface with my Arduino board. To be more specific, I wanted better control of the output received by the Morse Code machine I built using this tutorial:

http://mypetarduino.com/ReadCode/readCode.01.html

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Arduino sketchbook was inspired by Processing’s interface itself. Here is a side-by-side comparison of both –

Processing and Arduino – note the similarities.

Processing – which has inspired several more projects, apart from Arduino – is rightfully credited to the painstaking efforts put in by its community of developers. Hats off to them!

Graphics Programming – Not a New Venture

For me, at least, it’s not a new thing. In fact, the sole reason I picked Computer Science as my optional subject in high school was to understand computer graphics better. At that time, I had read ‘Masters of Doom’ by David Kushner, and was particularly interested in the programming of Doom – a game that paved the way for FPSes(first person shooters) in the DOS era, partly due to the revolutionizing effect of its (pseudo) 3D graphics.

The Computer Science classes were quite useful, since they taught me about the basics of programming in Turbo C++ – flow of control, classes, constructors and destructors, pointers, arrays, read – write sequences etc. To my dismay, all the graphic functions for this IDE were stowed away in the elusive <graphics.h> file, which was never invoked even once in our lessons.

From there, I embarked on a solo mission to educate myself about the same. Equipped with a book on Borland Graphics that I found in my school library, I installed the required software – Turbo C++ 4.5(the IDE), DOSBox(the DOS emulator), and taught myself C code – a process that took me at least two months.

Having experienced this, I find Processing a much simpler IDE, both in installation and usage. In fact, I won’t be surprised if Processing becomes the de-facto for programming in schools and pre-university courses, in the coming years.

I look forward to creating more Processing and Arduino sketches in the future.

External Links

  1. Processing (programming language); a Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Processing_(programming_language)

  1. Download \ Processing.org; the download page:

https://processing.org/download/

  1. Hypnotic-Spiral; the GitHub repo:

https://github.com/the-visualizer/Hypnotic-Spiral

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