Tag Archives: Computer

Six Programs for Starving Artists

A Program List

Like most freelancers out there, I don’t have spare cash for subscription fees. Approximately 99.9% of my disposable income goes toward coffee, booze, and books.  Side-note: If you haven’t read Stiff by Mary Roach, you should. Informative but also surprisingly lighthearted.

Back to the point. Graphic design, photo editing, 3D modeling, GIS packages—the serious stuff can swallow your wallet whole. Luckily, the internet is a magical place, full of open-source alternatives to help level the playing field. Here’s my top picks.

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Blender: How to Scale Down Coordinates for a Map Scene

A GifGuide 2 Maps

Getting coordinates to scale properly to Blender units has been extremely frustrating for me since I started attempting more 3D maps. So, finally, in a fit of rage this weekend, I wrote a function to do it for me.

It scales the latitude and longitude down along the Z (height) and X (width) axes, taking into account the size of a base map oriented along those axes. In my version, it places a sphere at each coordinate set, but that can be easily changed to other objects.

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VBA: How to Use VLookUp in a Macro

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Alright, here’s something I’ve been meaning to learn for weeks. It’s probably going to be the most boring post of all time for anyone who isn’t an Excel nerd. In fact, if you aren’t an Excel nerd, just run. Run far, far away.

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Blender: How to Loop an Image Sequence into Textures

Animating Blender Textures With Processing

Animated textures in Blender is a thing! Immediately after finding that out, I set out to script a grid crawler texture in Processing. Because no one in their right mind would want to draw that by hand.

A Bit Of Everything has a post with the logic for a static grid, but somehow getting an animated version ate 3 hours of my life. All in all, it took about 12 tries. What I love  about Processing is that even bad guesses can have pleasing results.

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Python: How to Automate Word Docs

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Every time I start thinking that my job is bad, I try to remind myself that Stanley Kubrick had a secretary. The guy was notorious for driving actors into the ground. Making them do takes over and over and over. Can you imagine having to handle his administrative work?

If IMDB’s trivia page is to be believed, that poor soul had to spend weeks typing out the infamous ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ novel from hell. On the off-chance I ever find myself similarly working for a maniac, I’m attempting to master the Python docx module, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how far you can get with just the basics.

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VBA: How to Write Your Own Function

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So last week, I learned that VBA buttons are supremely helpful. For moving data between workbooks or breaking down information from a KML file, these are ideal. Especially the KML file importer because it’s basically populating a full on spreadsheet.

But if you want to have a function run very specific math or customized scraping on a string that’s only going to affect one cell, go with the UDF. Sounds like a terrible disease, doesn’t it? In Excel, it stands for User Defined Function.

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AHK: How to Fix an Airbnb Scraper

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Just when I thought I was going to have a nice, relaxing Processing weekend, I realized my Airbnb scraper is broken. Fun fact: If they change their HTML, this script is WILDLY unlikely to work. I’m getting the sense that Airbnb is going to be the wild duck to my Sumatran tiger.

Since the scraper is how I’m gathering data for all the other scripts I’m trying to write, I spent the weekend fixing it.

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