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.