Democratizing Visual Computing

Book Review of "Cinder Creative Coding Cookbook"


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I have been using Cinder for commercial projects for two years and this is the second book I read about Cinder. Now I am sure it will stay on my recommended list for a long time.

Cinder is a great creative coding framework, however I have always find it difficult to explain the notion of creative coding to others, even to software developers. Since the birth of this book, I can point them to the book menu to make the problem clear.

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started
  • Chapter 2: Preparing for Development
  • Chapter 3: Using Image Processing Techniques
  • Chapter 4: Using Multimedia Content
  • Chapter 5: Building Particle Systems
  • Chapter 6: Rendering and Texturing Particle Systems
  • Chapter 7: Using 2D Graphics
  • Chapter 8: Using 3D Graphics
  • Chapter 9: Adding Animation
  • Chapter 10: Interacting with the User
  • Chapter 11: Sensing and Tracking Input from the Camera
  • Chapter 12: Using Audio Input and Output
  • Appendix: Integrating with Bullet Physics

The first two chapters are for environment setup, while the other chapters precisely explains what techniques are used in creative coding. Camera, audio, video, opengl, Kinect and Bullet, these software / hardware terms are all parts of creative coding.

The book is a standard Packt-style cookbook, each chapter solves one problem. Let’s take chapter 11 as an example:

  • Capturing from the camera
  • Tracking an object based on color
  • Tracking motion using optical flow
  • Object tracking
  • Reading QR code
  • Building UI navigation and gesture recognition with Kinect
  • Building an augmented reality with Kinect

This chapter covers computer vision and Kinect interation, both of them are hot topics these days. The solution to each problem is made up with:

  • Getting ready
  • How to do it…
  • How it works
  • There’s more…

How it works explains Cinder knowledge in detail, There’s more… leads you to other chapters, important websites and even similar implementations from other creative frameworks such as Processing and openFrameworks. It makes me believe the authors are really the experts in this industry.

Since each chapter is stand alone, you can read as you wish. If extra knowledge is required to better understand the content, you can find them in There’s more….

This book also serves as a Cinder-block gems, some of the best Cinder-blocks are collected such as Cinder-Kinect, ciUI. Learning from the experts makes you stronger.

The final chapter is offerd free of charge, so you are welcome to have a taste of creative coding.

If you want to learn Cinder, I would definitely recommend it as your best choice.