Open For Enrollment

Would you like to enroll?

Enrollment for this course has closed. But you can enroll in a future offering (please select)

Enrollment has closed

Enrollment for this course is currently closed, but the next offering will be available shortly. Check back soon!

11 Sessions (adaptive)
Audit (Free)
Certificate (Incl. w/ Premium)
University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Arts
Visual Arts, Creative Computing, Computational Graphics
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
p5.js, Interactive Artwork, Javascript
Course Description

This course is an introduction to writing code within the context of the visual arts. It asks two primary questions:

What is the potential of software within the visual arts?
As a designer or artist, why would I want (or need) to write software?

Software influences all aspects of contemporary visual culture. Many established artists have integrated software into their process. Prominent architects and designers not only use software, they commission custom software to help them realize their unique ideas. The creators of every innovative video game and Hollywood animated film write custom software to enhance their work.

As a comprehensive first introduction to the potential of software development within a broad range of the arts, this course aspires to teach you to engage the computer more directly with code. Programming opens the possibility to create not only tools, but systems, environments, and new modes of expression. It is here that the computer ceases to be a tool and becomes a medium.


This course is in Adaptive mode, and is open for enrollment. Learn more about Adaptive courses here.

Session 1: Hello
In this session, we will cover the following topics: 1) What is Code? 2) Form and Computers 3) Drawing: Define and draw simple shapes; and 4) Color: Change the fill and stroke for shapes. You will also be introduced to p5.js so you can start creating your own work!
Session 2: Variables and Loops
This session will cover variables and how to store, modify, and reuse data; loops, and how to use Random to get random values from the computer.
Session 3: Flow and Response
In this session, we will cover the following topics: 1) Setup and Draw: Creating programs that run over time. 2) Input, Responding to the mouse and keyboard. 3) Drawing. 4) Make different tools with code. 5) Conditionals, Making decisions in code. 6) Easing.
Session 4: Media: Load and display images, shapes, and fonts
This session will cover external media, file formats, how to load and display images, how to load and display vector shapes, how to load fonts and display text, and how to handle sound files.
Session 5: Synthesis A, Nonlinear Narrative
In this session we will begin putting the elements together. We will use longer examples including modes, events, and transitions.
Session 6: Motion: Move and choreograph shapes
In this session you will learn about types of motion in code, how to create motion with code, transformations, and timers.
Session 7: Functions: Build new code modules
This session will introduce functions. We will cover the basics of functions, functions with parameters, and returning values from functions.
Session 8: Objects: Create code modules that combine variables and functions
In this session you will learn how to define a class, add fields and methods to a class, create an instance of a class, and create multiple instances of a class.
Session 9: Arrays: Working with lists of variables
In this session you will learn what arrays are, how to declare and create arrays, how to assign and ready values, and more.
Session 10: Synthesis B, Game
This session will focus on putting the elements together to create work including motion, objects, and arrays. It will also cover collisions.
Session 11: Extend: Adding cameras and more
This session will cover using video and video playback, adding camera images and analysis, manipulating the DOM, integrating existing JavaScript libraries, and working with p5.js in instance mode.
Show off your Certificate of Accomplishment

Verify Your Achievements
Whenever you complete a course as a premium member, you can earn a verified Certificate of Accomplishment. These certificates are proof that you completed an online course on our platform.

Easily Shareable
Using its unique link, you can share your certificate with everyone from future employers and schools, to friends, family, and colleagues. It's the perfect tool to help you land that new job or promotion, apply to college, or simply share your achievements with the world.

Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Grading Policy
Course Great Breakdown Chart
Total: 100.00%

Plagiarism: We learn by doing our own work, and by collaborating with other students. Discussing course content and assignments with your peers is an important and helpful way to deepen your learning. However, encouraging others to copy your homework and submit it as their own is a form of cheating. So please don't post your completed assignments or correct answers to quizzes, tests, or other assessments to the discussion forums or in repositories outside of Kadenze.

Instructors & Guests
What You Need to Take This Course
Additional Information

Please note: Taking part in a Kadenze course as a Premium Member, does not affirm that the student has been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by UCLA. 

Peer Assessment Code of Conduct: Part of what makes Kadenze a great place to learn is our community of students. While you are completing your Peer Assessments, we ask that you help us maintain the quality of our community. Please:

  • Be Polite. Show your fellow students courtesy. No one wants to feel attacked - ever. For this reason, insults, condescension, or abuse will not be tolerated.

  • Show Respect. Kadenze is a global community. Our students are from many different cultures and backgrounds. Please be patient, kind, and open-minded when discussing topics such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other potentially controversial subjects.

  • Post Appropriate Content. We believe that expression is a human right and we would never censor our students. With that in mind, please be sensitive of what you post in a Peer Assessment. Only post content where and when it is appropriate to do so.

Please understand that posts which violate this Code of Conduct harm our community and may be deleted or made invisible to other students by course moderators. Students who repeatedly break these rules may be removed from the course and/or may lose access to Kadenze.

Students with Disabilities: Students who have documented disabilities and who want to request accommodations should refer to the student help article via the Kadenze support center.  Kadenze is committed to making sure that our site is accessible to everyone. Configure your accessibility settings in your Kadenze Account Settings.