Computational Form is a class about making all kinds of things with code.
Computational Form is a class about making all kinds of things with code. The class introduces a variety of tools, methods, and concepts related to procedural generation and emphasizes using the computation as a medium of aesthetic experimentation.
The class provides a broad introduction to creative coding. Students create algorithmic images, parametric objects, procedurally generated posters, aleatoric music, and generative art. They try a variety of programming languages, libraries, and paradigms. They work both on screen and off, combining code with laser-cutters, 3D-printers, markers, felt, and paper. They explore all of these topics by engaging in a practice of daily "sketching", completing five small projects each week.
In the process of creating and teaching Computational Form, I have created a number of lectures, essays, code examples, slideshows, and small libraries. These resources are collected on compform.net a web text-book for the class and for anyone interested in learning more about procedural generation.
The site was designed by a former Comp Form student, Talia Cotton.
Each week, students create five sketches—small projects representing about 90 minutes of work—related to the weekly topic. These sketches are shared online so that students can see and respond to each other's work throughout the week.
I created a custom media-sharing platform called avalanche to support sharing student sketches. The site was designed in collaboration with a student from the very first Comp Form class, Brinna Thomsen.
I have taught Computational Form as a spring elective class in the Parsons Design + Technology program since 2016. It has attracted undergraduate and graduate students from the Design + Technology, Data Visualization, Communication Design, Fashion, Media Studies, and Strategic Design and Management. Together these students have created thousands of sketches.