Twitter Handle: @deathbearbrown Occupation: Open Web Developer What she makes with p5: Experimental Art

Sue learned about p5 from her colleague at Bocoup, a open web consultancy. Her colleague shared an experimental drawing application (making a realistic pencil stroke) at a staff show and tell. Sue was inspired and embarked on her own tinkering journey. As an Engineer, she came to p5 with quite a bit of past coding experience. In fact, Sue used processing.js when she was in graduate school. At that time she was interested in manipulating datasets and crafting data visualizations.

What do you like about p5?

Pretty much all of my processing code from back in the day works in p5! I currently use it for experimental art stuff. I like doing stuff with repetitive algorithms and fractals and then trying to modify it … and modify it until it gets really bizarre and interesting.” Sue often tinkers with opacity and different variables to achieve the effect that she desires.

What are your barriers to entry?

Random and random seed - while it’s a completely normal thing in other programming languages. It’s baffling to me and it’s baffling to anyone who is using this. I have a hard time figuring out how to structure my code so that what I think will happen will happen.

Have you used any other introductory creative coding tools?

2js and 3js a bunch. 2js is a 2d implementation that 3js is (a google experiment) - you can make shapes, animations and effects. I don’t use 2js because I was getting annoyed with the performance - the things that I was doing were crashing the browser. When I got bored with 3js I just went directly to canvas.

What are your goals for using p5?

I have an art project that i want to do. I guess getting through each step of that, and learning how to make that possible. # How are you going about learning? I’ve been doing “Fractal Fridays.” I got the algorithm from wikipedia and then go on to mathoverflow to convert the formula. A lot of it was really basic algebra. I got into fractals because they look cool. I had taken a course in computer graphics - the math that goes into that. That helped me to see that math could be fun. I realized that I liked learning math through graphics. Everything that I know about p5, I know because I’m converting it from Processing. Ill convert it and then run it, if it breaks, I go to the p5 documentation to see if anything has changed or been renamed.

I like to see inspiring things made with p5, but I need them to be modifiable so I can play with it.

How do you handle receiving error messages?

If it’s an error message that makes no sense to me then I copy, paste and google - I usually end up looking on stack overflow. If it’s a situation where my code is just breaking - then I’ll add breakpoints in my code to see where it fails. I read error messages all of the time. I can’t even think of an error message in p5.

Most of my problems with p5 aren’t errors. It’s working fine but it’s just not doing the thing that I want it to do.

Here are some projects that Sue has made with P5: