Summer, Jul 30th — Aug 3rd, 9:00am-12:00pm

Instructor: Bruce Donald Campbell

Faculty, Continuing Education - RISD, Providence, RI
Director, Watersheds Project, Providence, RI


Prerequisites: None


The ability to visualize abstract concepts is made easier with digital tools, and one of the most versatile of these tools is the open-source program known as Processing. Initially developed to serve as a high tech sketchbook, Processing has evolved into a genuine medium for the delivery of creative content. A programming language at its core, it offers a practical environment for the creation of images, animations and interactive experiences. Free of cost, and even freer of difficulty, it also provides an introduction to computer programming basics that is ideal for the hands-on visual learner. As you learn, you become part of a broader community of artists, designers, scientists and other curious people using Processing for documentation, illustration, prototyping and production.

Applies to: AD-E, AN-E, DI-E, GR-E, VE-E, WE-E


Class participation - 20%
Homework exercises - 20%
Class project - 60%




getting started with processing

  • Shapes (fill, stroke, ellipse, curve, quad, attributes, grayscale)
  • stroke
  • fill
  • primitives
  • curves
  • quads
  • attributes
  • grayscale

Our First Example based on an example from the Processing website.

Topic One Challenge: create a visual mode of transport using processing.


  • Do the first homework set.
  • Get active in the on-line Forums.
  • Read the Welcome to Class document I've provided you.
  • Read the Topic 1 lecture support I provide you.
  • Here's a car and bicycle project from students.


useful language structures

  • data types and structures
  • variables
  • arithmetic operators
  • conditional comparison operators
  • continuous
  • random

Topic Two Challenge: create an interesting bouncing ball using processing.



creating interactive inputs/outputs

  • mouse interactivity
  • keyboard interactivity
  • clock interactivity
  • touch interactivity
  • note: we will also discuss the Java environment in anticipation of topic 4
  • Here's a city skyline project from our class.

Special Pi Day Extravaganza: We saw the message flash together in class!

Topic Three Challenge: create an interesting three-dimensional scene using 2-D processing canvas.



gaining efficiency via arrays

  • Java v. Javascript
  • using Processing with Java
  • all you want to know about arrays
  • applying arrays to all situations
  • using trigonometry functions (circle example)

Topic Four Challenge: create an interesting collision scene using 2-D processing canvas.



looping constructs

  • loop types (frame, for, while)
  • frame loops and update rates

Topic Five Challenge: create an interesting looping scene using 2-D processing canvas.


  • Read the Week 5 lecture support I provide you.
  • Review a Topic 5 final examples from a previous class.
  • Continue to work on Project 1 — using the distribution list in
    e-mail to share ideas and questions with your classmates and instructor.


integrating libraries and frameworks

  • libraries
  • frameworks
  • the power of particle effects
  • open project lab and discussion

Topic Six Challenge: create an interesting 3-D scene using 3-D processing canvas.



Turn in your class project on the last day of class.