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Creating Geometric and Generative Art with Code: An Introduction to Processing Software

This course, “Creating Geometric and Generative Art with Code: An Introduction to Processing Software” is designed to provide the necessary instructional materials and activities to enable students, through the use of Processing software to produce two-dimensional artistic images, to: (1) gain a strong understanding of some examples of two-dimensional geometric artworks and the artists/cultures who produced them, (2) improve their knowledge of art concepts/principles and apply them in their own unique artworks, (3) apply mathematical concepts/processes in the creation of artistic works, and (4) gain abilities in the writing of computer code and applying programming principles.

NOTE: This course is also available via hosting on Blackboard Coursesites where students can take online quizzes, participate in discussion boards, and submit artwork to the instructor for feedback. Students are also (optionally) posting their work on our Open Processing class gallery.

The Orientation is intended to make sure all students are enrolled in the course site and have downloaded/run the Processing software successfully. The next lessons allow students to explore the main lessons which explain how to create images (for example, draw lines or use color). The last lesson is provided for further exploration and completing the Final Project.

Upon completion of the course, you will have gained:

Art History: Looking at Art

--- familiarity with some artists and cultures who created two-dimensional geometric and generative art throughout time and across geographies

Studio Production: Making Art

--- understanding of design concepts increased ability to apply design concepts

Art Criticism: Talking about Art

--- an increased ability to observe, analyze, and discuss two-dimensional geometric and generative artworks

Aesthetics: Seeking to Understand Art

--- understanding the impact design elements have on us

Mathematics: Applying Math Concepts and Skills in Unique and Creative Ways

--- heightened understanding and appreciation of mathematical concepts and processes

Computer Science: Creating Computer Code to Produce Works of Art

--- increased ability to write programming code and apply programming techniques to produce two-dimensional geometric and perhaps “generative” artworks


Texts and Resources

All required texts and resources are freely available online and will be clearly linked from their associated course lessons. There may also be references to suggested (optional) material.

Lectures
Prerequisites

Basic computer literacy, access to an Internet-connect web browser, a Macintosh or Windows computer, the ability to install the Processing software, and (most importantly) the desire to create art works using your imagination, creativity, and newly-acquired coding and math skills.

Syllabus

Creating Geometric and Generative Art with Code: An Introduction to Processing Software

Instructor: R. Scott Wennerdahl
Email: kunstwurfelspiel.instructor@gmail.com
Online office hours: By appointment

Course Description and Goals

This course, “Creating Geometric and Generative Art with Code: An Introduction to Processing Software” is designed to provide the necessary instructional materials and activities to enable students, through the use of Processing software to produce two-dimensional artistic images, to: (1) gain a strong understanding of some examples of two-dimensional geometric artworks and the artists/cultures who produced them, (2) improve their knowledge of art concepts/principles and apply them in their own unique artworks, (3) apply mathematical concepts/processes in the creation of artistic works, and (4) gain abilities in the writing of computer code and applying programming principles.

Lesson 0: Orientation and is intended to make sure all students are enrolled in the course site and have downloaded/run the Processing software successfully. The next lessons allow students to explore the main lessons which explain how to create images (for example, draw lines or use color). The last lesson is provided for further exploration and completing the Final Project.

Upon completion of the course, you will have gained:

Art History: Looking at Art

  • familiarity with some artists and cultures who created two-dimensional geometric and generative art throughout time and across geographies

Studio Production: Making Art

  • understanding of design concepts
  • increased ability to apply design concepts

Art Criticism: Talking about Art

  • an increased ability to observe, analyze, and discuss two-dimensional geometric and generative artworks

Aesthetics: Seeking to Understand Art

  • understanding the impact design elements have on us

Mathematics: Applying Math Concepts and Skills in Unique and Creative Ways

  • heightened understanding and appreciation of mathematical concepts and processes

Computer Science: Creating Computer Code to Produce Works of Art

  • increased ability to write programming code and apply programming techniques to produce two-dimensional geometric and perhaps “generative” artworks

Texts and Resources

All required texts and resources are freely available online and will be clearly linked from their associated course lessons. There may also be references to suggested (optional) material.

Flatland

This course will make frequent reference to the novel, Flatland, written by Edwin Abbott in 1884. On one level, it is an exploration of physical dimensions from the perspective of the main character, a two-dimensional being called A. Square. It was also been seen as a depiction of Victorian society (as will be readily seen in Flatland's description and characterization of women, who are expressed as one-dimensional lines and not the "complete shapes" of men. We will focus mainly on the mathematical and geometric nature of the book as it assists us in illustrating many of the concepts involved in the learning of code to produce visual images.

Course Lessons

The following is a list of the lessons contained in this course.

  • Lesson 0: Orientation
  • Lesson 1: Points
  • Lesson 2: Lines
  • Lesson 3: Triangles
  • Lesson 4: Squares
  • Lesson 5: Rectangles
  • Lesson 6: Other Polygons
  • Lesson 7: Circles
  • Lesson 8: Final Project

Additional material and activities will be presented in the "Extra Topics" section of the course and will be referred to through the main course lessons as appropriate.

Lesson 0: Orientation

The objective of this lesson module is to enable students to be able to:

  • access the course site
  • recall the goals and objectives of the course
  • describe the lesson modules of the course
  • list the major activity and assignment types of the course
  • download, install, and successfully run the Processing software

Other Lesson Structures

Generally speaking, the course content lessons are organized in the following manner:

READ

  • read and review materials (for example, text, audio, and video)

REMEMBER

  • recall your knowledge (for example, through a quiz)

UNDERSTAND

  • explain ideas/concepts (for example, in a discussion forum)

APPLY

  • actively your knowledge (for example, making a simple digital sketch using code)

ANALYZE

  • experiment and criticize (for example, reviewing and/or adapting the work of others)

EVALUATE

  • select, support and value (for example, discussing art, artist, and process)

CREATE

  • generate something new (for example, making a unique artwork using code)

Final Project

A Final Project option will be presented at the end of the course. Students will be invited to create an image (or series of images) that represents their best work and highlights his/her knowledge and creativity.

Course Participants

We recognize that this course will contain a vast diversity of student artists --- age, experience, current skill, goals, desires, interests, and so on. This course will aim to capitalize on the strength in diversity through our interactions and sharing. Further, to help insure that all can succeed, we have added both refresher and advanced materials/activities to supplement the core body of the course.

Student's Bill of Rights

  • I have the right to learn at my own pace.
  • I have the right not feel put down or stupid if I'm slower than someone else.
  • I have the right to ask whatever questions I have.
  • I have the right to need extra help.
  • I have the right to ask my teacher for help.
  • I have the right to say I don't understand until I do understand.
  • I have the right not to understand.
  • I have the right to feel good about myself regardless of my current abilities.
  • I have the right not to base my self-worth on my current skills.
  • I have the right to view myself as capable of learning.
  • I have the right to evaluate my instructors and how they teach.
  • I have the right to relax.
  • I have the right to be treated as a competent individual.
  • I have the right to define success in my own terms.

(Adapted from Math Anxiety Bill of Rights by Sandra Davis as cited in Kellermeier, 1996)

Communication

The Instructor

The instructor can be contacted privately via email (kunstwurfelspiel.instructor@gmail.com)

Rules of Netiquette

Please follow the following guidelines and policies related to online communication and behavior.

  • Interact with the instructor and other students with courtesy and respect.
  • Keep your discussion post clear and focused.
  • Remember that in an online format, you will be known largely through your discussion posts and other communications. Make your posts the best that they can be --- upbeat, positive, and constructive.
  • Use a clear title in all discussion posts and emails.
  • Avoid funny or sarcastic messages. These tones do not carry over well in an online format. Such messages are often misunderstood and may reflect poorly on your online image.
  • When responding to others in discussion forums and email, briefly summarize the message to which you are responding before beginning your ideas/views.
  • Cite references whenever using someone else’s ideas, thoughts, or words.

General Course Policies

Course participation

The success of this course is dependent on the full and committed participation of the learners. Many of the activities will require all learners in the course to be considerate of fellow classmates, meet due dates, and be committed to developing a learning community.

Timeliness of Activities and Assignments

The instructor has made a commitment to review student work, give assistance, and provide feedback. Students should therefore submit activities and assignments by the deadline to receive the fullest personal benefit from the course experience. If you have any travel or schedule conflicts, please contact your instructor so that special considerations may be considered. We wish you to succeed and have a fantastic learning experience.

Equal Opportunity, Diversity, and Accommodations

Kunstwurfelspiel Academy is committed to equal opportunity, cultural diversity, ethical values, and respect for the diversity for all learners. The diversity we bring to this course is both a resource and strength. Materials and learning activities that have been chosen are respectful of diversity. Individuals with accommodation needs should contact the instructor or the Director of Kunstwurfelspiel Academy at kunstwurfelspiel.academy@gmail.com

A Final Quote to Get You Started Off Right

“I went through a talk I gave in 2004 and saw a slide that, though a bit harsh, still represents the best advice I can give to young idealistic coders. It said, in bright red on white, TAKE TINY STEPS OR FAIL!!! Knowing exactly what you want to make can often be the largest barrier in your creative journey. Work on little prototypes. Explore each tiny concept and eventually, start to put them together. If you are too focused on the gap between what you envision and what you currently have, you will likely lose faith. Plus, if you have a bunch of well-understood bite size pieces, it will make it much easier to combine them into bigger projects. But if you start in with building a big project, it is much more difficult to pull out the pieces you want to repurpose later” (Robert Hodgin from the blog, Flight 404).

Additional information

The instructor, R. Scott Wennerdahl, can be contacted via email to kunstwurfelspiel.instructor@gmail.com

Teacher qualifications

R. Scott Wennerdahl, your instructor for this Kunstwurfelspiel Academy course, is an artist, art educator, and eLearning consultant based in Urbana, Illinois, USA. His artmaking and teaching focus is centered on use of computer programming to produce planned geometric images as well as semi-random "generative" works. He is interested in increasing his own and his student's skill in the areas of (1) mathematical thinking, (2) programming literacy, and (3) artistic production. Neither mathematician nor computer scientist by training, Scott nevertheless seeks to learn more about and make use of these concepts in the area of artistic production. His founding of Kunstwurfelspiel Academy represents his effort to make these concepts and skills increasingly accessible to both himself and to others.

He holds an Associates in Art (1986) from Rock Valley College. He completed a Bachelors in Elementary Education (1988) and a Masters in Art Education (1996) both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a life-long learner, he has taken courses as a non-credit student at UIUC as well as participated in the recent offering of MOOC courses. He is currently taking online courses in the completion of a "Master Online Teacher" certificate from the Illinois Online Network.

Scott has taught a wide range of students including children and adults. He was Head Teacher of the 4-5 year-old room at Children's Development Center in Rockford, IL (1988-1990) and Lead Teacher of the Preschool-Kindergarten Room for the Saturday School Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1990-1995). As a residential trainer at the Developmental Services Center (1990-1993), he worked with adult with developmental disabilities. He was taught as Adjunct Faculty at both Parkland College (1996-1998) and Joliet Junior College (1998-2001). He has taught numerous community workshops including College of Kids, Champaign-Urbana's Mini-Maker Faire (2012 and recently in 2013), and various events at local K-12 schools.

His current work focuses on the use of free software programs including Logo, Context Free, and Processing to use computer programming to produce visual forms. Using this software, he produces both intricate geometric and surprisingly soft organic forms generated only from his comparatively harsh, non-visual computer code. He has shown work at Champaign-Urbana's Boneyard Art Festival (2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013), Pens-To-Lens 2013, and the recent Tandem art show. Works are displayed as mounted two-dimensional pieces as well as three-dimensional panels and cubes.

In April 2012, Scott spoke at the Krannert Art Museum as an invited presenter for one of Champaign-Urbana's Pecha Kucha events. In this presentation, he outlines his personal transformation in moving from a strict "teacher" identity to a more enriching and flexible dual "teacher-artist" identity.

Scott has served as an Instructional Designer of online courses and as an eLearning consultant at Parkland College (1996-1998), Joliet Junior College (1998-2001), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2001-present). He is a frequent presenter at local, state, and national conferences for both K-12 and higher education audiences. Topics have included using the iLife suite in K-12 teaching and learning, the development of online courses in higher education, and using Blackboard Collaborate to deliver real-time online instruction.

Latest Update
Additional participation option (2014-01-11 06:30:35)

"Students,

You can expect more lesson modules to be added to the course, Creating Geometric and Generative Art with Code: An Introduction to Processing Software, on University of Reddit very shortly. In the end, there will be seven lessons and a Final Project module.

However, I wanted to inform you of an additional access option hosted via Blackboard Coursesites --- http://alturl.com/tcdwb

We have a good number of active students and you can even review some of their course work, which they have optionally uploaded for public view, at http://www.openprocessing.org/classroom/3509

R. Scott Wennerdahl, Instructor https://www.facebook.com/KunstwurfelspielAcademy kunstwurfelspiel.instructor@gmail.com

"

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