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Generative Art 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1935182627
ISBN-10: 1935182625
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matt Pearson is an artist, coder, and award-winning blogger based in Brighton, UK. His popular blog https://zenbullets.com/ recently won "best blog" at the DiMAS awards. Matt is also the creative force behind the 100 Abandoned Artworks Generative Art project https://abandonedart.org/, where you can see many examples of his work.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (July 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935182625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935182627
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joshua J. Noble on September 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Yes, this book is a good overview of the major themes in generative art and an excellent intro for techniques to generative art-making and Processing in general. More importantly though, it's also filled with insights into the why's and how's of Mr. Pearsons own work and that of the work that he's writing about, which is just as important; understanding not just what a pretty graphic is, but what it models, how it relates to the world. I find this lacking in a lot of texts about generative art or computer art and it's one of the fundamental elements of understanding and creating your own generative artwork, the correlations between what we see on the screen and what we see in around and beyond it. Mr. Pearson not only codes well and makes pretty things but also thinks and writes quite clearly, and he puts all those skills to use here to tell a story of curiosity and its dividends.
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Format: Paperback
This book may be a little different than your average book on programming. It doesn't start with the obvious computer science theory like functions and variables you would expect. The first chapter immediately dives into the world of generative art, teaches you some theory, and shows you art by by some key figures in today's generative art scene.

Chapter two was kind of boring for me, as it just teaches the basics of programming in the Processing language. But if you haven't programmed before, you'll definitely need this bit. It's written in clear, understandable language, and takes you through all programming concepts you need at a good pace before you can dive into the more complex stuff.

Starting with chapter three, the author turns it up a notch. Whereas other books briefly mention perlin noise, this book digs deeper into the subject, showing you how it can be used to deform lines and circles. I've learned a few new tricks reading these chapters. The book ends with traditional computer algorithms like fractals and cellular automata, and shows you how they can be used and adapted in a creative way.

This is a great book to learn a programming language by exploring how small changes can create a different visual output. You'll learn that the process in creating art is equally important as the output you create. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I hope you do too.
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Buy this book if you are looking for something in between a coding manual, reference book, discussion of and a history of Generative Art. Matt has hit upon a good balance for those who find a pure programming book makes their eyes glaze over and want to understand the why aswell as the how. The book is structured so that the introduction is gradual without getting too heavy on the coding side of things for too long. After that the book deepens your understanding and teaches you some of the more complex and beautiful algorithms used in GenArt. Not only is it an informative an interesting read in its own right it is also a useful reference to come back to again and again.
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I've read most of the books available on Processing, and Pearson's is unique in that it thoroughly covers the philosophical side of Genart, namely the struggle between chaos and order. Fantastic.
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I am a professional developer and I enjoy writing code, but at times the strict requirements, testing and strive for order and perfection can take some of the joy from creating something new. This book is great if you just want to play with code and see what happens when you embrace the weird side-effects that happen because of randomness, noise etc...

I suspect that this book is a great way to get people who are afraid of coding into playing with computers and writing software - and it is enjoyable if you just want to learn new techniques for drawing abstract art with code.

The book uses Processing which is not my favorite environment, but the concepts are simple enough and the writing is clear - and it was a non-issue to follow along in Javascript.
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I know that we can't judge a book by its cover, but Manning did a poor job printing this book on low quality paper and in black & white. This book is full of amazing illustrations and colours that you can only see in the PDF. Also, due to the low resolution printer used, the text is in low contrast.

About the contents, well the author did a REALLY GOOD job and I learned a lot while reading this.

If you're going to buy it, go for the digital version because the print version doesn't worth it.
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Without doubt an excellent book, but not for the complete beginner. The beginner will be confused with the lack of explanations as to why things are so and the code jumps to advanced syntax very quickly. As a beginner myself I'll put this on the shelf for a while and come back to it in a few months time.
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As someone that was not completely new to processing, but wanted to get more into generative art, this book was perfect.

He goes over some basic concepts in a not too detailed, but detailed enough way to get you up and running. I don't think this book was meant to be a comprehensive guide to processing, but more to expose you to techniques and concepts within the world of generative art. And that it did. It's sparked many ideas that I now have and can't wait to explore. I'm confident that the concepts that I learned in this book will be transferable to whichever creative coding programming environment I choose to explore next, be it flash, cinder, javascript/HTML5/canvas, etc.

Thanks Matt.
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