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Intro to
Generative Art

by Ali Spittel && James Reichard

We are going to talk about...

  • The intersection of art and code
  • What generative art is
  • How cool generative art is
  • Where to start
  • P5.js
  • Q && A

Code Art: any type of art created with code

What is generative art?

  • Some sort of autonomous system is involved
  • Creator does a lot of the work, but re-running the code results in a different outcome
  • Lots of tweaking and iterating

Let's look at some art...

1D Cellular Automata and the Edge of Chaos

Kate Compton's Flowers

Some Possibilities for Generative Art...

  • Incorporate randomness
  • Make use of algorithms
  • Geometry
  • Can have a result in mind
  • Can also do without a result in mind

Where to start...


  • Goal is to "make coding accessible for artists, designers, educators, and beginners"
  • Written in JavaScript, wrapper on the HTML Canvas API
  • Lots of drawing, but also sound, video, and webcam

Set it Up





Color Picker

Everything Together!

What to Build

  • Even simple scripts can make really cool stuff
  • Start with tutorials (or CodePens!) and tweak them

Example Creative Process

I took one of Dan Shiffman's Code Train videos and developed examples to demonstrate a creative process with successive iterations!

Q && A

More Resources

Coding Train

Blog Post on this Talk

Keep in Touch!