INTRO TO COMPUTATIONAL MEDIA: WEEK ONE / by Maya Pruitt

How does computation relate to your interests?

Before thinking about the applications of computation, I think that its important to define 'computation', so here is its meaning according to the dictionary: 

com·pu·ta·tion (ˌkämpyəˈtāSH(ə)n/) noun

  1. the action of mathematical calculation.

    • the use of computers, especially as a subject of research or study.

  2. a system of reckoning

I particularly like the second definition. Computation is a way of understanding, mainly using mathematical calculation or computers. Makes sense why in orientation ICM was called "fancy programing". To sum this up, computation and computer programming mean to me, that you can be creative, using math as a method or tool for that creation. Tasks can be automated, we can take complicated actions and reduce them to simple logic. It is another way of thinking. 

In my quest to combine art and science, I think animation is a perfect blend of the two. The art of story telling, illustration, etc illuminated by algorithms that produce 3D models, actions, and graphics. Whether for a movie or a simple gif on a website, I can see coding applying heavily in those creations, and I want to learn how to do them. 

This term, I hope to start exploring 3D animation, game design, AR and VR. On a less artistic side, I am also really interested in how to use coding to organize and collect data, i.e. to make sense of the results of an experiment.

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HW #1: Sketch

For this assignment we had to create any sort of sketch using p5.js. While not limited to 2D primitive shapes, I tried to stay within this constraint. I began by coming up with my idea, which took a while! For things like this, it is often best to just pick something and commit.

I was inspired by the awesome instagram feed of @henrythecoloradodog, which features adorable images of an adventurous cat and dog pair. The cat, Baloo, enjoys laying on Henry’s head. *heart eyes* Go follow!

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ICM_HW_Sketch.jpg

I started by sketching out a simple drawing of “Cat as Hat”, mocking a rudimentary grid. I picked a point and just took off from there. Usually I am one to really figure things out by mapping it out on paper first, but because the p5.js wed editor has an “Auto-refresh” feature, I found I was able to quickly trial and error. I plugged in numbers, did simple math, and could see the drawing change as I was thinking. My biggest considerations while sketching, were the order of each shape so that things were properly overlapped or hidden, and color choices - the fun part. This is a link to the RGB Color Codes I used.

This feature of the web editor is a great example of strong UX in and of itself. It is so interactive and efficient that I can see the results of code changes instantly. I’m learning how functions work and evolving my image simultaneously.

Below is a screen recording of my process: [UNCENSORED: all typos exposed]

The biggest pitfall for me was that I didn’t really have a great plan for execution. For a drawing as symmetrical as mine, I feel there are probably much faster ways to create identical (but mirrored) shapes. Without delving too deep into more sophisticated functions, I felt I had to compromise my image a lot, or change things because I couldn’t get it exactly how I wanted. I feel like coding should make things easier. Looking forward to repeatability and automation! Bring on the loops!

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