Processing Workshop

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Scott will be teaching a workshop on Processing, a free, open-source programming environment for artists, designers, and anyone interested in getting the computer to do work for you. RSVPs are required, as space is limited to 15 people.


Do you remember the triangular "turtle" from Logo? "Pen down, move forward, turn right..." It was an early, easy way to tell a computer how to draw something on the screen. Processing is just like a modern, really buff version of that turtle. Think of it as being like Flash, only less flashy. If you've ever had a vision of something you wish you could make on a computer screen, you can probably make it in Processing. Well, maybe. This workshop will get you started, anyway, even if you've never typed a line of programming code in your life.

This workshop is intended as an introduction for complete beginners. No programming is experience necessary, although you should be generally familiar with how to use your computer, download files, install programs, and so on.

While the emphasis of this workshop will be on visual expressions of code, the concepts learned here can be extended to get Processing to generate audio, talk to microcontrollers (e.g. Arduino boards, MAKE boards, OSC devices), and generally interface with all kinds of other neat stuff.


Saturday, September 13, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.

  • 2:00—4:00: Direct instruction
  • 4:00—4:15: Break
  • 4:15—6:30: Open workshop (optional—free time to hang out and work on your projects with the benefit of some one-on-one guidance)


San Francisco, in the Mission District. RSVP to Scott to receive an email with the address.




Introduction to Processing

  • What is Processing?
  • What can you do with it?
  • Examples/demos


  • Opening the application
  • How to learn more (see examples)
  • Counting pixels (the coordinates system)
  • Basic syntax (how to talk to Processing)
  • Drawing a line
  • Drawing a box
  • Making it bigger
  • Changing the color
  • Variables


  • setup() and draw()
  • Mouse input
  • Translation
  • Rotation
  • Compounding translations (pushMatrix & popMatrix)


  • If statements
  • If/else statements
  • For loops
  • Using loops with translation & rotation


  • Loading fonts
  • Displaying text
  • Measuring width & size

Advanced Topics (time permitting)

  • Functions
  • Classes and objects

What You Need To Do

  • RSVP to Scott in advance. He'll send you an email with the location details.
  • Bring a laptop (recommended). Computers will not be provided, but we'll have wireless Internet access and lots of power outlets. Processing works on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, so any kind of computer should work fine.
  • Consider downloading the Processing application and installing it in advance.


General Resources

Neat Stuff People Are Doing With Processing

Courses and Workshops

Recommended Books

Expressions of Interest

Add your name to the list here if you'd be interested in participating! Don't worry — we won't hold you to it.

  • Scott Murray (instructor)
  • Mitch Altman (though I'll be out of town all August)
  • Brian Ferrell (I'll bring a webcam to demonstrate video input)
  • Andy (I'll bring a 720p projector)
  • User:BuddhaHacker (Jonas) (not sure where I am)
  • Rachel If we don't have a space by the time you're ready to give this, Scott, I will volunteer my house which is reasonably arranged for such a thing.
  • DavidMolnar (August is not good, but most of the Fall should be fine)
  • User:Daniela Steinsapir I hope to make it
  • User:mtbf0 i want some o' that, but i works most saturdays
  • Audrey