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[Mostly] Helpful Snippets

I’m not a programmer. However, I have been known to crank out a few lines of code every now and again. Most of the time, these are you little utilties to help me work faster and weed out tedium from my workflow. If I find myself doing any task more than three times in a row, you can be sure that I’ll hack together a script or small program to ensure that I don’t have to manually do that task ever again.

So this is a selection of some of those utilities that you may possibly find helpful in your own work.

Blender Scripts and Add-ons

Lock View

Blender add-on for exposing the 3D View’s rotation locking feature
Lock View

If you’re using a CAD-based workflow in Blender or you’ve set up your own custom quad-view layout in the interface, you may want to prevent Blender from letting you rotate the 3D Viewport. The feature has actually been in Blender for a really long time, but it’s never been exposed in the user interface. This simple little add-on exposes this function in the interface so you can make use of it.

Lock View

Edit Linked Library

Work with linked assets in multiple Blender files
Edit Linked Library

When working on large 3D projects, it’s really handy to link assets between project files. Blender has this asset-linking capability built into it, but it can be pretty time-consuming to save your current scene, track down the proper linked .blend, make your modifications, save, and return to your original scene file. This add-on allows you to accomplish this process with only a pair of mouse-clicks (one to get to the linked library and one to resume work on your scene). Select your object, click the Edit Linked Library button, and you’ll either have a new Blender session to edit your linked asset or it can all happen within the same Blender session.

Even better, there’s no special installation you have to do. This add-on ships with the official release of Blender. So if you have Blender, you have my add-on already!

Edit Linked Library

Render Music

Elevator music for your listening pleasure
Render Music

While you render in Blender, “elevator” music automatically plays. When the render job is complete, a bell rings.

This one has a pretty fun story. I thought it would be funny to have an elevator music add-on for Blender. At the time, though, the event handlers in Blender’s Python API didn’t have very fine-grained support for when render jobs completed or were canceled. So I wrote a patch for Blender to add that support and it actually got accepted. It turns out, that beyond my goofy little joke add-on, there’s real value in having those kinds of event handlers in the API. They’re really useful for renderfarming and estimating render times.

So my one little patch to Blender got added because I wrote this joke add-on.

Render Music

Spritify

Turn render frames into 2D game sprite sheets
Spritify

If you’re using Blender to create 2D animated sprites for games, the process of converting render frames to a sprite sheet can be a bit tedious. When you complete an animation render job, this add-on automatically takes those frames and compiles them into a single sprite sheet for you. Optionally, it can also create an animated GIF of those frames as well.

Spritify

Writing-related

Book Widget Plugin for WordPress

Simple book widget plugin for WordPress
Book Widget Plugin for WordPress

This is a really simple WordPress plugin that adds a sidebar widget. The widget has your book’s title, an image of your book cover, and links to places to purchase the book at various retailers (i.e. Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iTunes, etc.)

Quite a while ago, another author I know was lamenting the fact that he was losing access to a Wordpress plugin that he’d had which added a set of links to his book in the sidebar of his WordPress-based site. I’ve banged around PHP before and at the time I had a WordPress site of my own. So I figured I’d cobble a widget together for him. This is the result. It’s a bit outdated now and should probably get a little bit of sprucing-up for the latest version of WordPress, but it did the job and I had fun writing it.

Book Widget Plugin for WordPress

Word Pacer

A little web app to help control pacing in your stories and other writing.
Word Pacer

In short, Word Pacer is a little web app designed to help you adjust the pacing in your writing. Whether it’s fiction, essay, or poetry, the idea is that you can control how fast your audience reads (I call it reader velocity) by adjusting the length of your words, sentences, and paragraphs.

This all came from an idea I had while editing that it should be possible to graph the average rate that a reader reads any given text. If you can do that, then you can use that to inform how you write and therefore influence the pacing of your text quantitatively. It was a fun experiment and I’d like to return to it at some point. In the meantime, it works, but it runs pretty slowly.

Word Pacer

Other Fun Stuff

ConkyFlynn

Flynn is a guy who suffers from your activity… now in Conky!
ConkyFlynn

Conky is a light-weight system monitor for X. For years and years, I’d used gkrellm as a system monitor, but it got awfully long in the tooth, so I found myself hunting for a new one and found Conky. I quite liked Conky, but one of the fun things I missed from gkrellm, was the GKrellFlynn plugin by Henryk Richter. It shows Flynn (the “Doom Guy” from Id Software’s Doom series) and he suffers from your activity. The higher your processor load, the more he bleeds. I missed that fun little feature, so I ported it to Conky!

ConkyFlynn