Programming is a powerful creative medium. It enables artists and designers to build custom tools, automates forms of production, and opens new domains of creative practice. Yet the substantial creative opportunities of programming are restricted by the limits of mainstream programming platforms. General-purpose programming languages present significant learning barriers for new programmers, contain abstractions that are orthogonal to specific creative disciplines and impose forms of interaction that conflict with practitioners’ established skills. My objective is to broaden the creative potential of computation by building domain-specific programming platforms for creative practice. I’ll present two programming platforms that bridge programming and traditional forms of creation through programing models that are compatible with direct manipulation and manual control. The first, Para, is a digital illustration tool that enables artists to create procedural artwork entirely through direct manipulation. The second, Dynamic Brushes, is an integrated programming and stylus-based drawing environment that allows artists to create ad-hoc procedural drawing tools.
Jennifer Jacobs is a Brown Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. She builds creative tools, software, and programming languages for artists, designers and craftspeople. Jennifer received her PhD from MIT in the Lifelong Kindergarten Research Group. She has conducted craft and technology workshops around the world and her work has been presented at international venues including CHI, SIGGRAPH, Art Basel, and Ars Electronica.