Open Frameworks

Last month, I was fortunate to find a slot in Zach Lieberman’s Summer session at SVA’s MIxD department. Zach Lieberman is one of the creators of OpenFrameworks, an open source framework for programming all kinds of astounding interactive compositions. Zach’s own projects are, in a word, magical, and by naming his course “Leaving the Screen,” Zach set the bar extremely high.

OpenFrameworks complements Processing quite well. With a few adjustments to the vocabulary and setup of projects, it was possible to easily translate coding concepts between the two frameworks. One very nice dovetail is that while Processing is great for publishing to the web or outputting PDFs, OpenFrameworks generates Mac or Windows native applications and can be published to iPhone or iPad apps without much tweaking.

The more I tinker in the world of code and electronics, I find the constructions become less confusing and the results more fantastic. At the most basic level, we learned the mechanics of how strings of numbers are converted into images and video. From there, it was a short leap to generating synthetic images from code and to manipulating images with hand-built filters until finally we hijacked the output of the laptop cameras to create moving images like the one above.

You can download OpenFrameworks here. It requires Apple’s free development tool XCode.

You can find all my code from the course here, and download the source code for all of the examples.

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