Chapter 5. Adding Dimensions


Imagine you’re a tiny creature clinging to the surface of a large ball.[1] You walk the surface of that ball for a lifetime, until you feel you’ve covered every part of its surface and know it intimately. At this stage, it feels as though there is nowhere new for you to go, nothing new to see. That is, until you discover up, and suddenly you find a perspective from which everything looks very different.

1 This shouldn’t be hard to imagine, given that you actually are.

Often, we meet barriers like this in our work, when it seems there is nowhere else to take an idea. This is the point at which you should consider adding extra dimensions. If you’ve been working in one dimension, try it with two. If you’re working in two dimensions, try three.

The computer monitor, printed page, or gallery wall has only two dimensions. Anything you create for these media will always be flattened for presentation. But that doesn’t mean your work is limited to those dimensions. You’ve already learned, in chapter 2, how to make your work animate, giving it an extra dimension: time. In this chapter, we’ll revisit that idea, as well as learning how Processing renders three-dimensional drawing.

5.1. Two-dimensional noise

5.2. Noisy animation

5.3. The third dimension

5.4. Summary