Processing is a programming language, development environment and community. With processing you can easily develop visually oriented applications like animations. Processing is based on Java language, but you don’t need to know Java to start developing in Processing language. Projects are called sketches because you can try out your new ideas pretty fast in the processing development environment.
The language itself was initiated by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. It is developed by a small team of volunteers. Originally it was just a sketchbook targeted towards artists and designers, but now the whole project evolved into a prototyping tool used for large-scale installation work, motion graphics, and complex data visualisation.
Processing is free, open source, it is availbe for everyone, the community and available libraries are great.
Check out my favorite animation created with Processing:
Students at hundreds of schools around the world use Processing for classes ranging from middle school math education to undergraduate programming courses to graduate fine arts studios. There are libraries for music / sound processing, animations, 3D, webcamera functions etc.
A few facts copied from the Processing website.
* Design firms such as Motion Theory provide motion graphics created with Processing for the TV commercials of companies like Nike, Budweiser, and Hewlett-Packard.
* Bands such as R.E.M., Radiohead, and Modest Mouse have featured animation created with Processing in their music videos.
* Publications such as the journal Nature, the New York Times, Seed, and Communications of the ACM have commissioned information graphics created with Processing.
* The artist group HeHe used Processing to produce their award-winning Nuage Vert installation, a large-scale public visualization of pollution levels in Helsinki.
* The University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab used Processing to create a visualization of a coastal marine ecosystem as a part of the NSF RISE project.
* The Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies at Miami University uses Processing to build visualization tools and analyze text for digital humanities research.