Book Review: Cinder Creative Coding Cookbook

Cin­der is a widely used C++ com­mu­nity-deve­lo­ped, free and open source library for pro­fes­si­o­nals coding mul­ti­me­dia appli­ca­ti­ons. Cin­der Cre­a­tive Coding Cook­book is all about get­ting star­ted with Cin­der. The book was writ­ten by Dawid Górny and Rui Madeira and published by Packt Publishing. It comes as a more com­prehen­sive fol­low up to another book published by Packt about get­ting star­ted with Cin­der.

This book has 352 pages divi­ded into 12 chap­ters, pro­gres­si­vely cove­ring from the most basic to the rela­ti­vely advan­ced.

It will not teach you how to pro­gram, it will not do your pro­ject for you, it will not turn you into the uber cin­der guru. What it will do is get you acquain­ted with the cin­der deve­lo­per envi­ron­ment, and give you a good insight on how to get the most out of using it. In short, if you’re a pro­gram­mer loo­king to deve­lop an inte­rac­tive mul­ti­me­dia appli­ca­tion with one of the hot­test fra­meworks around this book should be more than enough to get the ball rol­ling for you with a small amount of time.

If you’re an advan­ced user of cin­der loo­king to expand your kno­wledge you can find some solid exam­ple code refe­ren­ces. The book inclu­des plenty of exam­ple code and clear expla­na­ti­ons of what does what. The chap­ters often include “there is more” sub-sec­ti­ons, poin­ting to addi­ti­o­nal infor­ma­tion for advan­ced use.

I can tell you as an advan­ced user of cin­der that this book does not cover all of the pit­falls and small annoying quirks, you will still have to put your foot in the hole and look them up on the online forum. But it does do a very good job at it’s main goal: being acces­si­ble and clear for the new user.

Some spe­cial fea­tu­red sub-chap­ters like the Maya­Gui, OSC, OpenCV, Syphon inte­gra­tion are quite use­ful for folks who are inte­res­ted in set­ting up those spe­ci­fic modu­les.

Nega­tive men­tion to chap­ter 11, after rea­ding the book des­crip­tion and con­si­de­ring how there were even a few chap­ters about get­ting OpenCV wor­king with Cin­der, one would expect some dee­per exam­ples on the topic of camera inte­rac­tion. The exam­ples are good, but the topic was har­dly well cove­red, com­pa­ring for exam­ple with how well par­ti­cles were. Simi­larly, regar­ding the Kinect, des­pite being a keyword on the book des­crip­tion, it’s only bri­e­fly cove­red in two exam­ples, both of them using the offi­cial Win­dows SDK, igno­ring all the work that has been done with OpenNI on multi-plat­forms before Micro­soft laun­ched the offi­cial SDK.

Posi­tive men­tion goes out to the par­ti­cles chapter(s) which are quite com­prehen­sive. It inclu­des both basic and more high level infor­ma­tion, cou­pled with expli­cit exam­ple code, which you’ll find use­ful regar­dless of your prior kno­wledge on par­ti­cles.

Ove­rall i genui­nely beli­eve new peo­ple wan­ting to get invol­ved with Cin­der will find this book use­ful.