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Week-2 in ICM was pretty fun and deep. The class-work was focusing on manipulating shapes using variables and a short introduction to transformations (Link) As a take-away assignment, We were asked to create a piece in which:

  • One element controlled by the mouse.

  • One element that changes over time, independently of the mouse.

  • One element that is different every time you run the sketch.

While trying to figure out what to do, I chanced upon the clocks assignment which sent me down a deep rabbit-hole. (Thanks Cassie!) Going through John Maeda’s work has always been educational but the clocks piece blew me away. I also realised that its a wonderful, self-contained assignment for visual programming newbies to test the limits of their creativity. More details can be found below:

Maeda’s 12 clocks

The JS port of the original 12 clocks by Coding Train

Golan Levin’s assignment based on clocks

Golan Levin’s INSANELY DETAILED lecture on clocks, time-keeping and it’s representation in New Media. (It’s really worth your time to read through!)

As a first exploration, I decided to focus on being able to capture the current time and represent it using simple shape creation techniques that I learnt in Week 1. I got stuck with trying to calculate the arc angle but Shiffman’s coding challenge on clocks came to the rescue.

  Tycho’s new album-cover. Prints available on request.

Tycho’s new album-cover. Prints available on request.

The first clock: Link

So now that I was confident of being able to capture and manipulate the time variables, I decided to go for a number representation. I was looking at Shiffman’s background fade sketch and that jittery pattern was quite interesting. I decided to use that as a base for the fill of my number shapes.

The numbers were then drawn with a simple grid and by manipulating the frame rate and opacity, you could achieve a nice blur effect:

  Find light in the beautiful sea

Find light in the beautiful sea

I added some interactivity but being able to change the background color on mouse click. I did not have time to try out more effects (Which I am coming to believe will be the leitmotif of projects at ITP) but I was pretty happy with the outcome this time. The full sketch can be found at: Link

While I am pretty happy with the lessons so far, I think that I need to update my ability to manipulate shapes using Maths(!!!). I wonder if there is a “Maths for programming newbies”. Adding interactivity to shapes using co-ordinate based manipulation is not going to get me too far.


Confidence: +3

Missions: 3/3

Secrets: 0

Currently listening: Clocks-Coldplay