Friday, August 30, 2013

"The Yeti Of Creative Coding" - Who Is Mr. Doob?

Here's a link to Mr. Doob's own, short answer to this question in 2005.  This is a man you should know about because he's designing and creating your world. 

I first 'met' Mr. Doob when someone got here from Mr. Doob's Google Gravity.  I went to see what it was and discovered a clever, silly, little spoof of the basic Google page that I  then posted about.

Google Gravity Search for Mr. Doob - Click to enlarge and focus

Recently I got someone here who'd googled "Mr. Doob Fire Google." 

Mr. Doob was working for Google?  And they fired him?  Maybe, I thought, I should check on who Mr. Doob is.

It would appear that he is a rather publicity shy coder and designer who's done some pioneering web work.  There's a connection between Arcade Fire and Mr. Doob but I'm not really sure what it all means.  Mr. Doob was the technical director of Arcade Fire's The Wilderness Downtown.  If you haven't participated in that online video, then you should stop now and go there to see why I think Mr. Doob is worth a whole post like this.  The Wilderness Downtown goes way beyond Google Gravity, and is a project Mr. Doob participated in with many others.
Click image to go to The Wilderness Downtown

The Wilderness Downtown

This is a peek at the technology of the future, using technology of today.  Spend about ten minutes and be sure to make your own postcard.

A Webninja interview three years ago tells us that Mr. Doob is from Barcelona.  There's  a lot of tech discussion here which is interesting in the way it's interesting to watch people speaking in a language you don't know.  Instead of listening to the content, you start to pay attention to other things.  He did work for Google a while.  In fact he was working for Google when he did The Wilderness Downtown. 

A 2011 interview at Canonical gets into how he started out.  His brother was a big influence. They discuss many things including the relationship between code and art and why he's a total supporter of open source, 

I just like his attitude on things like this snippet about giving things out free.
Of course, there is always the risk of getting “Angry Birded” — where someone uses your code to retire early without giving anything back to the project — but that’s ok, I want to think that these people give back to society in other ways. Eventually we will be able to bring an idea into life by combining open source projects and call it a day. That would be a pretty efficient way of using human brains.
For some, the concept of giving away your work for free may sound silly, but there are many good side effects when doing that. It speeds up development and steps up global knowledge.
He says things like this that I don't understand but I like the style.
My dream Linux OS would be having Ubuntu’s hardware support, Fedora’s system code (systemd, etc), Gnome Shell desktop experience and Elementary aesthetics. Yum!

Creative JS interview with Mr. Doob.  This is an audio interview.  It's the main part of what sounds like a radio show - creative coding broadcast -  and the interview starts at about ten minutes in.  I found it fascinating listening.  Here's the JS description of this:
There was a special session at FITC Amsterdam last week featuring a live interview between CreativeJS’ own Seb Lee-Delisle and the elusive Ricardo Cabello (aka Mr. doob) . While his work is very well known, interviews or information about Mr. doob himself are pretty rare. In fact, it’s so hard to find anything about him, you might even call him the yeti of creative coding :)

Mr. Doob's Ball Pool screenshot
Here's a brief written interview with Mr. Doob at RealTime Rendering.

Mr. Doob's website. This will give you the chance to interact with Mr. Doob's experiments.

Mr. Doob's Branching screenshot

Mr. Doob's Winning Solitaire screenshot

Here's the 3JS website with examples of images in 3.JS - (Mr. Doob is, from what I can tell, the man who created 3.JS.)

I don't know how much time Ricardo spends in our world and how much time he's off in his own inventions, but it would be great to have a chat with him while he's visiting the rest of us. 


  1. My 10-yr old son just discovered Mr Doob and i got curious. Thanks for this post.

  2. This is one of my favorite posts so I'm glad you found it and liked it. And I congratulate your son on his good taste. And thanks for letting me know you dropped by.

  3. I've always wondered who Mr doob was. Thanks for the info


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