Attended Broken Memories: Generative Image Manipulation with p5.js

Today I attended Broken Memories: Generative Image Manipulation with p5.js, part of the Masterclasses @ Centre for Creative Technologies collection in the University’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.

The masterclass was given by Dr EL Putnam, Assistant Professor in Digital Media at Maynooth University. She uses JavaScript code (p5.js) to manipulate photo-based images on the fly. It’s absolutely open my brain to the possibilities of how to present images online. I asked her a question about how one might host such an image on a website, for example, would the code run within a browser or was it necessary to embed. By way of explanation, she coded a simple drawing app in about 10 lines of code, then showed me how that could be embedded in the website. I simply did not know that code could be used to represent images this way. I don’t know how to code other than some rudimentary HTML, and even then it takes some furious googling to figure out how to get the whatsit to do the thingy. I really had to bend my brain a bit to follow the coding aspect (I’m not too bad with image manipulation, layers, masks, et cetera in an app like Procreate or Photoshop) but what could be achieved in just a few lines of code acting on ‘assets’ (prepared, hosted images that the code calls on and affects based on what it has been told to do) blew my already strained brain.

Being a self-employed caricature artist often means working in isolation, without ever getting to bounce ideas or receive ideas from other real professionals in the real world. This was the second event I attended recently in the University, and both of them have been of immediate effect on my conceptions of how to approach my own work. Getting to talk to other attendees who aren’t necessarily artists, but are working in areas where technology and art merge or are beginning to merge, was fascinating and exciting for me. Even conversations that lasted just a few seconds gave me a fizzy brain.

I suppose I need to get out more.

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