The Nature of Code

Sunday, December 7th, 2014 | Blog, Downloads, Work

Authored by Daniel Shiffman, the goal of the Nature of Code is to simulate natural systems using computational tools. I’d like to extend it to common motion graphics tools — Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D.


Nature of Code — C4D Effectors
Nature of Code — After Effects

Want to watch the talk I did at NAB? Check it out at Cineversity.

Simulating natural systems and learning programming are fascinating topics for me. I’m happy that much of the type of work that seemed beyond my experience and skill level was made accessible by Daniel Shiffman. This textbook utilizes the Processing programming language to demonstrate and demystify a range of topics. What made sense for me to learn the material was to apply the examples to the motion graphics environments I was familiar with — namely, Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D.

I started with some of my light AE expression knowledge and then began taking some classes, got some help from some friends, and started doing some online training. Creating Moldover Animated was a great opportunity to learn some ExtendScript scripting for After Effects, but the Nature of Code training videos really made things clear and exciting.

When it came time for Cinema 4D implementation, I began learning the python scripting language. Python is integrated in many key areas in Cinema 4D. Additionally, you can extend many of the concepts and exercises in the Nature of Code directly using the mograph module in the form of custom python effectors!

I’ve commented out the code with many stumbles and roadblocks left in, so that others may follow my twisty journey into programmatic motion. This is a work in progress, and my next task is to synchronize the development between the two packages (I currently have more After Effects done then C4D), and roll out new chapters of examples. The After Effects scripts are primarily .jsx files for use in the ExtendScript Tookit, with a corresponding After Effects Project file.

Promo music by Nonagon and Ronan O’Hara