CPSC 120: Project 1

Due on Saturday, 03/01/2014

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Generative Art

Construct a program in Processing that is an original work of art. The work should use primitive shapes, lines, color (RGB and/or gray, with or without varying degrees of transparency), and it must interact with the user in some fashion. What you do with this is up to your own vision.

Minimum Requirements

  1. Your work must interact in some way with user input: specifically, you should have definitions for at least two kinds of mouse-related events, and also an implementation of keyPressed().

  2. At least one aspect of interaction with the user must be affected by a conditional statement (obviously, more than one is fine).

  3. There must be at least one use of a loop (again, that's a minimum number, not a maximum).

  4. Your work should organize significant pieces of code into methods that you define (definitions of setup(), draw(), keyPressed(), and mousePressed() are fine, but they don't count here). At a minimum, you should have one function that does not return any value (i.e. void return type). You should have at least one function that takes no arguments and another that takes at least one argument.


The term "generative art" encompasses more than just interactive visuals constructed by computer programs, though this has become the dominant tool for making such works. Here's a general overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_art.

Generative.net (http://generative.net) has a good collection of links to various works

There's a particularly nice (and cheap) book by Matt Pearson that you might enjoy. He keeps a website for it at http://zenbullets.com. Pearson keeps a second gallery at http://abandonedart.org.

There is a particularly beautiful work called "Silk", which you'll find at http://weavesilk.com. Even a search with the terms "generative art" and "silk" should turn up dozens of beautiful images, which can serve as ideas for you own work.

Turn In:

Submit the folder containing your Processing sketch and your documentation. This should be a single folder named "project1", which will contain all source code files. Again, the turnin directory is



Other Criteria

  1. Your work will be assessed in part on the elegance and clarity of your code, that is, the clarity an simplicity with which you accomplish complicated tasks. This is a somewhat subjective criterion, but it mainly boils down to the idea that there should be exactly as much code as you need to get a job done, neither more nor less, and what's there should be comprehensible to an independent reader.

    As a partial (but not complete list), variables should be used instead of hard-coded values, but the scope of a variable should be neither more nor less than what is needed (e.g. only make a variable global if there's no other choice). Loops should be used instead of repeating a related series of operations one at a time. Tasks that are repeated should be defined as functions that are called, rather than copying and pasting the same text over and over.

  2. Work whose visual presentation reflects a particularly thoughtful attention to grace, detail, and coherence of presentation will count favorably.

  3. Your source code file must begin with a "header" comment of the following form:

       <file name> ( < n > of < number of files > )
       Author: <your name>
       CPSC 120, Project 1
       Last modified:  < the date > 
  4. Extra credit may be given for the incorporation of ideas you learn on your own that we have not covered in this class. Be sure to document these.

John H. E. Lasseter