Gauging Interest in Introductory Level Pixelblaze Workshop

Hey All,

I have some experience teaching kids to code, both online and in the classroom, and, with @wizard, have been discussing holding a “Introduction to coding with Pixelblaze” online workshop aimed at people who want to start coding their own patterns with PixelBlaze but may not be super comfortable with coding/Javascript/pixel mapping/animation timing or whatever issue might be holding them back. Having collaborated in creating a Pixelblaze powered-product (see LuxLavalier.com) whose purchasers don’t always have coding experience, I’d love to see more of the people who buy it take the time to learn to use it to its full potential.

I’m thinking that an introductory workshop could be streamed live with chat (probably via Streamyard) and that it would be about half (or slightly less) demonstration of PixelBlaze basics, including the mapper and creating/modifying a simple pattern, and half Q & A. The level would be appropriate for a novice coder and aimed at clarifying the basics via a live demo.

I’m curious whether:

(a) There is interest in attending such a session?
(b) If so, what topics would you most like to see covered?

Thanks so much for any feedback, and if there is interest, I’ll work with @wizard to make it happen.

Best,
Debra (GeekMomProjects)

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Oh dear god yes please. 100% in

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I’d love to learn how to get the most out of Pixelblaze and the displays I’ve created. Your idea sounds wonderful to me.

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This is a great idea, I’m in!

As my coding knowledge is one hell of a patchwork atm, an introductory workshop would probably fill a lot of gaps.

If I had one specific request, it would be arrays:)

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Ive had zero coding experience, but an interest in the magic LED’s can bring. I bought my V3 pico a few months ago. It has been a slow crawl toward understanding the language. (not to mention I am not a mathematically oriented individual) I would be thrilled to participate in a PB workshop. More available information about using this amazing program could be beneficial to the whole user community.

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I think that would be great, I’d like to do the workshop. One thing is - we are probably all over the globe, so timezones can make a realtime workshop difficult.

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Yeah i’d be super down!

I have some coding experience but not as much with javascript.

Would love to learn more best practices and syntax-y stuff!

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When we starting? LETS GO!!

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Seems like the interest is there, and @jeff has offered to collaborate, so it’s a go. I’ll get on it!

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Very interested! My main difficulty isn’t necessarily programming, but the math (I consider myself fluent in Go and Python… probably :slight_smile:).

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same boat here. I have been programming JavaScript for 2 decades, but spent all of geometry and algebra 2 cheating off the cute girl next to me. As much as I love PixelBlaze, the math is the main reason I’m not writing my own patterns/maps.

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Very interested here as well, a hearty “Hell Yeah”

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I’m a software engineer with a background in mathematics and I’m very comfortable writing code for PB. I’d like to join too!

My focus is 3D patterns for primarily spherical and non-rectilinear objects. I recognize that’s not exactly introductory, but I’m eager to learn more about how others use PB to iterate towards pleasing designs.

Advanced topics like performance/LUTs/memorization/coordinate systems/input would be awesome, if only a blog post.

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My intention is to start with pattern coding basics. I think that topic by itself could fill a session. It’s intended a novice coding level. I would include basic use of the mapper, but nothing super sophisticated mathematically for the first session. Mathematically, I’d want to introduce the different oscillating wave functions, and simple ways to combine them to produce interesting effects. I’d also talk about the normalized coordinate system Pixelblaze uses and how that integrates with pattern creation. I’d like to cover some Javascript and pattern editor basics, specifically functions, arrays, and the relationship between beforeRender and render as well as the use of variables (and how to export them to see the values in real time)

I’d also want to go over the difference between creating 1D, 2D and 3D patterns and when one might want to use those different options. Additionally, I think it would be useful to cover RGB vs. HSV color space and the differences between the two.

I’m comfortable with mathematics, but am far from an expert in how to use it to create interesting LED patterns. I’m happy to try to plan a second session based around mathematical topics. I’d include rotations/transformations in that session, and could talk about spherical/polar coordinate systems vs Cartesian and how to switch between the two. I’m happy to talk about writing code to map different LED layouts as well, but often the math required for mapping is very specific to the layout of a particular project. If anyone can suggest specific mathematical topics that are of general interest, I could try to include them, but I’m not sure what would be the most useful here.

I am not able to teach advanced coding topics like performance/LUTs because I do not have enough experience with them to know the best way to use them with Pixelblaze. I’m sure other people could share their knowledge of those topics.

Those are the thoughts I have off the top of my head. Happy to hear further suggestions. Specific topic suggestions are particularly helpful. I’ll coordinate with @jeffvyduna and @wizard and try to come up with some good times for sessions. It seems to me that this is (probably more than) enough material for two sessions, and it seems like a good place to start.

Best,
Debra

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Hmm, I’m detecting a common thread here

I hear this a lot, not just here and now, and to be completely honest when I write patterns I don’t math it out, even as I’m writing expressions that are applying math. For me, it’s 95% experimental / exploratory. It’s the main reason I created the live-coding system in the first place.

I feel like since this part especially is my groove, I should do a follow up class about “How to suck at math and improvise expressions that make LEDs do pretty things.”

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I think that hard part when starting is that I don’t have a good sense of based on what I see, and what I’m wanting, what do I start to even tweak? Building up the knowledge of oh, if I want the pattern to do something more like this, then I probably need to tweak this, is what might be helpful.

One thought I had was starting with the fire animation from the Perlin noise, and how you then got it to be the eye of sauron. That would be a fun way to experiment with I see a thing, I know what I want, how do I get there?

I think a workshop series would be a great idea, but a live session is of limited value unless it is recorded and provided for others to ingest at a later time. Additionally, I think beginners would greatly benefit from some consolidated documentation/education resources and rounding out of the basic concepts. After spending a couple months with PB, I’ve found the current documentation to be valuable (if incomplete), but very difficult to track down. The fact you mentioned another website to browse to find this workshop makes me wonder how many people will just miss it altogether.

In terms of topics, I’d echo the comments from others, the math was a major stumbling block for me. Not so much wrapping my head around using formulas to map pixels, hues, etc, but rather the implications of floating-point math.

It sounds like you’ve done more than a couple 3D patterns on the pattern page and I just want you to know I am absolutely using the hell out of them. They’ve brought a lot of people a lot of joy when I bring my stuff to events.

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Yes please that would be awesome!
I want to learn but have a hard time figuring out where to begin.

Twilight

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