Design by Numbers

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Overview

Most art and technology projects pair artists with engineers or scientists: the artist has the conception, and the technical person provides the know-how. John Maeda is an artist and a computer scientist, and he views the computer not as a substitute for brush and paint but as an artistic medium in its own right. Design By Numbers is a reader-friendly tutorial on both the philosophy and nuts-and-bolts techniques of programming for artists.Practicing what he preaches,Maeda composed Design By Numbers using a computational process he developed specifically for the book. He introduces a programming language and development environment, available on the Web, which can be freely downloaded or run directly within any JAVA-enabled Web browser. Appropriately, the new language is called DBN (for "design by numbers"). Designed for "visual" people — artists,designers, anyone who likes to pick up a pencil and doodle — DBN has very few commands and consists of elements resembling those of many other languages, such as LISP, LOGO, C/JAVA, andBASIC.Throughout the book, Maeda emphasizes the importance — and delights — of understanding the motivation behind computer programming, as well as the many wonders that emerge from well-written programs. Sympathetic to the "mathematically challenged," he places minimal emphasis on mathematics in the first half of the book. Because computation is inherently mathematical, the books second half uses intermediate mathematical concepts that generally do not go beyond high-school algebra. The reader who masters the skills so clearly set out by Maeda will be ready to exploit the true character of digital media design.

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Editorial Reviews

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Designers and artists who wish to work in the digital world often experience frustration at having to turn over some of the nuts-and-bolts aspects of their work to programmers. It's a bit like a painter letting someone else mix his paints or a photographer giving her exposed film to a stranger to be developed. That's why John Maeda's Design by Numbers has created a buzz among digital artists and programmers alike. The book is a reader-friendly tutorial on both the philosophy and techniques of programming, written with designers and artists in mind. The book introduces a basic programming language, DBN (Design by Numbers), which was designed for those who create visually.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262632447
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

John Maeda is President of Rhode Island School of Design and former Associate Director of theMIT Media Lab. In 2008 Esquire magazine named Maeda one of the 75 most influential people of the twenty-first century. He is the author of The Laws ofSimplicity (MIT Press, 2006) and other books.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Preface 13
1 Begin 19
2 Commands 23
3 Line 29
4 Lines 35
5 Variables 45
6 Repeat 55
7 Calculate 69
8 Dot 83
9 Dots 99
10 Nest 109
11 Question 121
12 Commands 135
13 Time 149
14 Paint 165
15 React 175
16 Touch 189
17 Network 203
18 Change 217
19 Numbers 235
20 End 251
Bibliography 255
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