A conversation with Tomáš Kostrzeva

Published by Tim on Thursday October 12, 2023

Last modified on January 25th, 2024 at 14:06

Hi Tomáš, thanks for answering a few of my questions! Let’s start with the basics. Who are you, and what led you into Creative Coding?

Hi Tim! First of all, thank you for having me, it’s an honor! Primarily, I am a graphic designer with a focus on creating visual identities and editorial design. I am also tinkering with creative coding because it’s great for doing visual research and looking for new, unconventional ways of visual expression.  

Can you recall the moment when coding suddenly made sense to you? Describe that “Eureka!” moment?

To be honest, I can’t recall the very first moment of “Eureka” moment, I experience it very often with coding. 😀 I guess, the first time I realized that creative coding skill provides great value for graphic design, especially visual identities right from the beginning. All graphic design programs have plenty of useful tools to play with, but they are in certain ways limited. With code, you can create almost anything from scratch, plus you can decide how you’ll be interacting with it, and therefore come up with something unexpected. I guess this was the moment. 🙂

Tell us about game changers in your learning process. Are there any?

Yeah, learning creative coding is a really great school of thought (and math) as well! At first glance, it can look a bit scary because of its technical and logical nature. However the more I learn to code, the more it teaches me how to organize my thoughts and keep clarity over the process. The creative process can be really messy sometimes, but coding gives me structure and creative freedom at the same time. Also, I think it helps me discover what I like to do and what not.  

In a nutshell, how would you explain Creative Coding to someone who has never heard of it?

For me, creative coding is a borderless playground where you can rapidly test out your ideas, even if you’re not good at drawing by hand like me. 😀 The best thing about creative coding is that you can simply turn almost every type of data or content into something else. For example, you can draw a picture using sound, or create music from weather data and so on. With creative coding, there really aren’t any limitations, it’s all about your imagination and coding skills.

Tell us about a coding mishap or bug that turned into a serendipitous design element.

I still consider myself a beginner so this happens a lot. My favorite bug so far was when I was playing with textures and noise() function and texture mapping went wrong. The result was quite interesting, it looks like water flowing over the steel structure. Actually, this is another great benefit of creative coding – the errors always bring something surprising, sometimes even more interesting than idea we’ll trying to achieve.

What’s the most mind-boggling coding puzzle you’ve encountered, and how did you conquer it?

Recently I fell in love with the noise function because of its natural-like appearance, so I’m experimenting mostly with it these days. Most recently I was trying to figure out how to use the noise values for controlling the array of vectors. I was stuck at the dead end, but the great TRCC community helped a lot with this! (the left video above this text)

If you could instantly master any programming language or framework, which one would it be, and what extraordinary project would you tackle?

Whoa, this is a tough one! 😀 I strategically chose plain Java script because of its similarity with processing and the possibility of use in web design.

You recently created a great visual identity for TEDx Bratislava which turned out into a great project. Tell us a bit about it and the process behind.

Thank you for your kind words! Yeah, the process was really cool I enjoyed it a lot! Every year TEDx needs a central theme or claim, so firstly we have an all-day brainstorming session with the whole team to figure it out. We all bring a lot of great ideas to the table, but we need to pick just one. So we pick the best ideas by voting. The selected claims were quite similar but with different words, so the next step was on me. I started experimenting with the selected claims in Processing. Then we narrowed the selection to only a few ones, backed with possible visual directions that come up from the experimenting. Then we agreed on the best one and I started looking for ways of interpreting the final claim in visual identity with flexibility kept in mind.

What’s the next big project you’re itching to tackle with your Creative Coding skills?

I’m trying to implement Processing more and more into works for clients. Mostly in the research phase, but sometimes I come up with an interesting tool that is very useful for concrete visual solution. It’s hard to tell what the future will bring, but I got an idea on my mind, about using creative coding for my own products. The idea is to create a platform where people can create their own designs by experimenting with the tools I made for them.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring Creative Coders who are just starting their journey?

Not sure if I am in the position of mentoring others, but what I learned so far is that things don’t always go as planned, but there is always a solution. There will be a lot of failed attempts at the beginning but it is a hell of a ride! So I guess loving the “process” and a bit of patience is the best recipe for success. Also, the Creative Coding community is full of really cool and supportive people so don’t be shy to reach out and ask for help. ✌️

Links

Please note: I decided to mark AI-generated content as such in the future. So far, I’ve only used artificial intelligence to translate texts from German to English, but in this case, out of curiosity, I used ChatGPT to generate the questions. Read more in my AI Statement

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