Intro to Processing

You'll need to download the latest version of Processing for your computer. It will run on Linux, Windows, or Apple computers. You can get it from Just unzip the program and run it from the folder. I've found students often like to drag the application out of the folder to the desktop. If you do this it will not run. If you want it on the desktop just create a shortcut.

On the processing website you will find some really good tutorials to get you started. I'll be referring back to these quite often. I also highly recommend the book Getting Started with Processing by Casey Reas and Ben Fry. It is by far the most useful resource I've found for beginners to both processing and programming in general. I will also re-presenting material here that I created for my Pre-Engineering: Physical Computing class.

When you're ready to add some more complexity to your programs, particularly if you're thinking about creating simulations for math or science you should check out the Nature of Code by Daniel Shiffman. Right now it's just a collection of web based tutorials, but it will soon be a complete book.

  1. Download and Install Processing
    1. Download from
    2. While you're downloading the appropriate version Read Chapters 1 and 2 of Getting Started with Processing or goto the free tutorials Getting Started and Overview
  2. Learning to Draw - Instructions and Videos
  3. Variables and Math  - Now we're starting to look like Computer Science
  4. Functions and User Input - What happens when you poke it?
  5. Animation - Lets make things move.
  6. Working with Media - Lets add in some interesting elements, including pictures and sounds.
  7. Learning by Example - You can often learn a lot by looking at what other people do.