sexybiggetje writes "A piece of algorithmic art and a bright orange cover, that's how Matt Pearson's book “generative art, a practical guide to processing” greets you. This book dives into the world of art generated by, often very simple, math and lots of recursion. The author focusses on the Processing language and toolkit which provides an easy and complete environment for designers and programmers to work with.
The book starts out with a preface containing a small introduction to the level of knowledge required for the book. The author explains that this book is suited for someone that has knowledge of both designing and programming, but you don't have to be an expert at both. You don't need to be a wizard at math neither, as later in the book you are presented with a postcard which on the back has all the trigonometry Matt has ever needed during his endeavor in generative art. I have found that the book really matches this tone set in the preface to the book. The book isn't just your average text book neither, it's illustrated with artwork related to the currently presented methodology. Next to the rich artwork present throughout the pages the author and publisher have accomplished a nice design in all chapters. The black and white texts are alternated with black and gray pages with orderly visual violence.
Inside the introduction of the book you will be presented with the required background knowledge for the topic of the book, which consists of both simple theory and the beginnings in Processing code. The author once again lets you know how easy it is to do some simple algorithmic art and that the code shouldn't scare you away as a non-programmer. Even as a seasoned programmer I can value this book for it's simplicity and it's orderly chaotic code.
Most of the theory discussed in the book isn't limited to the Processing language, but can be applied to any other visualisation language like nodebox or vvvv as well. Albeit being a very thorough and practal guide to processing you shouldn't be scared to try out other platforms as well, the author explains his choice for Processing as it being the easiest solution if you're looking for a low learning curve and are new to programming. Also pointed out here is the street credit that the language and toolkit have built up during the past few years.
I would recommend this book to anyway wanting to grasp the world of programmatic arts or the data visualisation world. Although only touching a small part of data visualisation in the latter part of the book I think it's still useful to learn Processing for this purpose using the basics explained in this book. A great starter for many companies or enthusiasts dabbling in this field. You shouldn't expect too much interactivity from the samples provided in this book, but with the basics being there it shouldn't be any problem touching this surface yourself. Last but not least the guide ends with a large chapter about fractals, this is what you were waiting for right? It's good that this is the last chapter, both for it's complexity (or rather simplicity trough repetition) and the fact that most people think of fractals when talking about generative art, giving the author a chance to show you the other aspects as well.
The book is available in stores, online retailers and directly from the publisher.