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Online course

Creative Coding

Use computer programming as a creative discipline to generate sounds, images, animations and more, with this free online course.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Creative Coding

Why join the course?

Learning to program is no longer just for computer specialists and software developers. People from many different backgrounds now want to understand the basics of programming, because it’s both fun and an increasingly valuable skill.

One of the most exciting ways to learn programming is through authoring your own creative programs. Known as “creative coding,” this growing field uses computer software as a medium to develop original creative expression.

So if you’re an artist, designer, architect or musician who’s interested in how you can expand your creative skills, or even a computer programmer looking to work in creative applications, you will find this free online course extremely useful.

Explore the concepts and skills of creative coding

Throughout the course we’ll help you develop practical programming concepts and skills by exploring creative ideas and challenges. We’ll be looking at the history and philosophy behind artistic uses of technology, so you can gain a greater understanding of how best to express your own creative vision using the software you write.

The aim is to teach you “algorithmic thinking” – ways to conceptualise and model the world so you can express creative ideas using computer programs.

Each week we’ll start with a simple creative idea and guide you through turning that idea into a working computer program. We’ll be exploring programs that can generate images, animations and sound. You’ll learn how to interact with them to change their behaviour, creating increasingly complex and nuanced visual and sonic artworks using generative programming techniques.

Learn with professional artists and designers

We will also look at how leading professional artists and designers work creatively with computers, technology and robotics, examining their creative process and the ideas that inspire them.

The course is very different from technical courses on programming. We will place creative programming in context through discussion about some of the most interesting questions raised by computer-generated art, such as:

  • Can a computer be independently creative?
  • Who is the author of a work of computer art: the programmer or the program?
  • How is our understanding of art and creativity changed by technology?
  • Does the computer bring anything that is really new to art?

If you’ve ever wondered about these questions or wanted to learn how to program a computer for creative purposes, then this course is for you.

(Image © 2010 Jon McCormack)

What topics will you cover?

  • Generative art and artists
  • Creativity and computers
  • Basics of programming
  • Digital patterns and interaction
  • Algorithmic thinking and creativity
  • Colour, image, sound and randomness
  • Randomness and variation in art, culture and code
  • Text and typography
  • Evolution and ecosystems

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Produce a simple graphic using the Processing programming environment.
  • Apply programming concepts of arrays and lists.
  • Perform different branches of code based on conditions.
  • Synthesise images and sounds into programming work.
  • Apply code statements to loop and repeat sections of programming code.
  • Investigate the basics of object-oriented programming and coding with objects.
  • Explore an artistic approach to translating physical motion into an algorithm and implementing the algorithm as a program.
  • Reflect on the history and significance of typography and letterforms to human culture.
  • Describe and explore some of the basic ideas behind processes used in generative art, such as feedback, aesthetic selection, evolution and algorithms.
  • Describe ideas and thoughts on some broader cultural issues concerning artificial life and what it means to be creative for people and machines.

Who is the course for?

No prior knowledge of programming is necessary, but having an interest or background in any creative area would be beneficial. It is assumed that you have basic computer skills (including how to download software applications) and basic knowledge of files, directories, images and movies. The course involves programming using the Processing environment, so you will need access to a computer that you can download and install this software on.

Who will you learn with?

Jon McCormack

Jon McCormack is a researcher in computing and an internationally acclaimed electronic media artist. He is currently a research fellow in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University.

Mark Guglielmetti

Mark Guglielmetti is a researcher, academic and media artist. He currently lectures in Digital Art and Communication Design at Monash Art Design & Architecture (MADA) at Monash University.

Who developed the course?

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $69 you’ll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose to take a course for free.

A Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your Linkedin or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join: