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.