Process This!

On March 8, Ben Fry offered a hands-on workshop at Cooper-Hewitt devoted to Processing, the open-source visual design software that he co-authored. For more information, visit our calendar.

The Processing workshop is part of our “Tech on Your Terms” series, which invites the public to come to the museum and try out various design technologies. Ben’s workshop is our most ambitious in the series. This is a unique opportunity to work with one of the world’s visionary design minds. No previous experience with Processing is necessary.

Why write your own code? Today, people are accustomed to creating all sorts of graphics using commercial software packages—from Photoshop to PowerPoint—that hide the working methods of the computer. Writing your own code allows you to see into how computers think, and to create complex visual effects that would be difficult to achieve otherwise.

I’ve been experimenting with Processing in a sophomore design class (with help from my graduate student Yeohyun Ahn). Students were able to generate intriguing graphics using a few lines of computer code.

As you develop more skills, Processing is a great tool for animation and interactive projects involving audio and video input.