Instructor: Michael Kontopoulos
Teaching Assistant: TBA
Cross-listed As: IxD 202
Time:  F8-1
Room: Annex A8
Office Hours: By Appointment.
TA Lab Hours: Announced in Week 1

The Course

“Today we’re beginning to realize that the new media aren’t just mechanical gimmicks for creating worlds of illusion, but new languages with new and unique powers of expression.”
-Marshall McLuhan


This course is focused on developing a practical, hands on understanding of how scripting can be used as a tool for design. We will be practing the fundamentals of scripting and coding, through the Processing environment. Throughout the semester, these fundamentals will feed into and enrich your graphic and interactive design work in order to explore the potential for custom software as a fundamental tool in your toolkit. This is an opportunity to not just expand your skill set, but expand what you think is even possible; To introduce new methods of problem solving into your practice.

Specifically, this course is designed as a companion to or a primer to advanced studios such as Mediatecture, Type 5, Information Visualization and CD4. We will review a broad array of procedural and technical strategies that may be useful to you in large scale projects across advanced studios.

Class time will take the form of lectures and technical demos by your instructor, and plenty of in-class help time, where you will be exposed to different strategies for creating interactive software (and possibly hardware) applications and investigating their uses both on-screen and in physical space.

Weekly critiques of work will be an important part of the class, to ensure your constant development. We’ll also look at a wide variety of projects together, so help you understand what this exciting medium is capable of.


  • Gain a practical understanding of code, using the language of Processing.
  • Learn commonly used techniques for creating robust interactive applications.
  • Explore Processing for the context of print design, design for the screen, and off-screen applications.
  • Develop an aesthetic, critical and cultural framework for assessing generative and interactive software applications and interactive installations.



The class website will be the most relevant place to look for changes to the schedule and information about assignments and scheduling. I will post resources, tutorials and required additional readings here, when applicable.



  • Casey Reas and Ben Fry. MAKE: Getting Started with Processing. O’Reilly Media
  • Casey Reas and Ben Fry. Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists. MIT Press, 2007

(Not Required, but  recommended)

  • Casey Reas and Chandler McWilliams. Form + Code. Princeton Architectural Press, 2010
  • Pearson, Matt. Generative Art. Manning Publications, 2011
  • Shiffman, Daniel. Learning Processing. Morgan Kauffman press. 2008
  • See the Books page of the Processing website for more!

Grading (Subject to change)

  • Out of 100 total points.
  • Participation and Professionalism 20%
  • Class Work and Projects 35%
  • Final 45%

A Exceptional student, High work standards, Surpasses Instructor.
A- Exceptional student. Above average work and participation.
B+ Better than average work and participation. Room for improvement.
B Average work. Completed all assignments. Room for improvement.
B- Average work. Missed some assignments. Room for improvement.
C+ Satisfactory work. Minimum effort.
C Understands basic concepts. Poor work.
C- Needs work with basic concepts. Poor work.
D–F  You’re an Art Center student! Let’s hope you don’t wind up here.

Evaluation Criteria


This class is at 8am. ‘Nuff said. Please try to be on time. We will typically start class by 8:30 but you must be here at 8am. This critical 30 minutes can be used to ask questions, finalize hand-ins, set up work, wake up, get coffee, do jumping jacks, etc. Critiques will begin at 8:30 sharp with no exceptions. If you are late and miss your classmates critiques, you do not receive the privilege of publicly presenting your work and getting feedback from the group but your work will still be accepted.

Effort and Ambition:

Work will be evaluated on how well it demonstrates understanding of the material, originality, aesthetics and ambition. Considering that scripting is new to many of you, projects will not be graded on an objective rubric of technical savvy, but chiefly on your effort and engagement with the material– commensurate with your personal potential and the growth you exhibit through your work. A large portion of your grade also comes from how involved and engaged you are during class meetings and *especially* during critiques and peer-reviews. A small part of your evalutation is devoted to digital hygiene and best-practices coding. A more detailed rubric for your final will be presented after Week 6.


All Processing sketches uploaded into the class dropbox folder. We will review how to do this in class. The Final will be submitted “Gallery Ready”.
Under edustore > classes > mkontopoulos > public > id3 > TermAndYear…. create a folder with your name. Within this folder, submit your projects (the entire Processing sketch and containing folder) in a folder, labelled by the week number from the week the assignment is due.

Spring 2014 > Kontopoulos, Michael > Week 2 > Draw
Spring 2014 > Kontopoulos, Michael > Week 2 > PatternMod

At the end of the term, I need to need to be able to navigate through your folder, week by week and make sure the assignments were handed in. I must be able to open and run any sketch from those folders without errors. Be extremely organized.



Each week you will have 1-3 homework exercises to complete. Some will be separate technical exercises which follow up on work we started in class. Some will be creative challenges.

Projects 1 and 2

You will have 2 short mini-projects designed to utilize the skills learned in Weeks 1-7. These two short projects will fill the part of the rubric traditionally filled by a midterm. At some point (W07 or 8) I will introduce the Final.



You may miss one class with impunity. I won’t even ask. After that, I will deduct 10% from your grade with each unexcused absence. We only meet once a week! Three latenesses (more than 20 minutes late) will result in one unexcused absence. In keeping with ACCD policy, you can not pass the class with more than 3 absences. I can make exceptions for extenuating circumstances, as long as you are responsible for making up the work.


Weeks 1-3: Hello Processing, Code Structure and Functions. Static vs. Looping. Drawing with code. Exporting for print.

Weeks 4-7: Structure and Organization. Modularity. More advanced motion and interactivity.

Weeks 8-11: Data Structures. Advanced motion.

Weeks 12-14: In class work time for Final.