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Rapid Transit

Into the Hammie-verse
September 16, 2019, 11:19 pm

Have you seen Into the Spider-verse? That's a good goddamn movie. It's got an amazing soundtrack. It's got style up the ass. And it's got a number of really awesome messages.

"How will I know I'm ready?"

"You won't. It's a leap of faith."

That's a pretty excellent sentiment. It's been hitting me pretty hard lately. "But when will I know I can start?" You will not ever be ready to start. You must simply start. You must create. You're going to think that there's a best time to start. That time was yesterday. The next best time is today.

Stop putting off the things you could be doing. Stop telling yourself you'll do it tomorrow. Make it now. Put your all into it.

I've been putting a lot of effort into my AppTools javascript library. It's getting bigger and better all the time. I need to put some effort into documentation again soon. I'm nearing completion on a pretty big part of the puzzle. If you're interested in what I'm working on lately, that's it.

If you're not interested in what I've been coding, then maybe you'd like to know that I made a shirt I like a lot I've been calling Sisterhood. It's available on Etsy and at Redbubble. It also looks real cool as a tote.


The Toolbox Fallacy
September 15, 2019, 12:08 am

I watched a video today on youtube about a concept called The Toolbox Fallacy. As soon as I heard the title, I knew what the concept would be. As soon as I saw the video's first example, I knew it was perfect. It's such an easy trap to fall into.

I can't make anything yet, because I don't have this thing. I'll make more content, once I get this upgrade.

It's so easy to waste so much time with this mentality. It's so easy to always pass blame onto anything but yourself. The fact is, when you were a kid and drawing, you didn't have anything. When you were young and pirating photoshop and had a 4x5 wacom, it was pathetic. But you did it. You did it because you had two things. Passion! ... and time.

It's the one part of the Toolbox Fallacy that doesn't quite hold one to one. Because you see, there may truly be no time for you now. Or is there? Should you have gone to town and hung out with friends? Should you have went on that date? Should you see that concert? Or should you be creating?

When you're young you have whole swathes of time with no commitments except your own urges to create. But later in life commitments and jobs and relationships can cut a hard line through your priorities. You can create art with anything. You CAN create. But you will have to take time away from something else now.

Because you almost certainly DO have commitments. But maybe that's the dream that only comes at the end of success. To take some of those commitments out of the equation, so that the thing you had such a hard time convincing yourself to start is now the only thing you do at all. Or maybe just the thing you do the most.

Tags: personal

Who was in that film with that other guy?
September 10, 2019, 8:42 am

A while ago I made a thing, but I never really released it, because it was never really done. It still isn't, really.

Sometimes when I'm in a bar, I want to know the name of an actor. I don't remember their name though. I don't remember the name of the movie they were in. But I do remember they were in another movie with another actor, and I remember that actor's name. Playing this game of musical chairs with names is something that can sometimes be frustrating when you don't remember anyone's names, but you remember their faces.

I also sometimes wish I knew all the movies that two actors have been in together. Or all the movies an actor and director have worked on with each other. Or perhaps all the actors that appear together in two movies.

I've always wanted an app that could cross reference these things, and honestly, I always wanted to make it myself. So I started work on it recently, using VueJS and The Movie DB. It was a lot of fun, but I wasn't really liking basic VueJS. So I'm working on remaking it in my own framework. But more on that later.

For now, you can find this tool at FilmsWith.com. Check it out, see if you can figure out how to use it... I often find that it's just nice to browse a site of faces.

Existential Dread
September 10, 2019, 12:24 am

I woke up tonight after having a dream filled with existential dread.

I'm not fulfilling my potential. And life is starting to go faster. When you're twenty, life seems like it will just keep going forever. But as I near forty, I feel a wave of inevitability crashing toward me. The last 5 years have seemed so long, but they've gone by so fast. Maybe looking back on any chunk of time makes it seem small.

I need to redesign this website. I need to draw more. I've actually been doing that. I need to build myself some image uploading tools for this site. I need to use them to archive all the art that I've done within the last few years. I need to write a will. I need to write a map that leads to all the content I have hidden all over the internet.

I need to release something. I told some students the other day that it's not important whether or not something is done, only whether or not you released it. I have so much stuff that's released, and very little that's done. Teaching is a constant improvisation experiment, and sometimes you say something that's so totally right. And sometimes you say something that sounds right, until you hold it up against yourself and it shines a dirty light back on you.

I don't feel successful. I don't often feel fulfilled. I'm having a night of existential dread, and I haven't written in a while.

I like writing. I like the process of words. I like the process of distilling a free form thought into a transposed concept. But all I seem to be able to write is prose and poetry. I wish I had the discipline, drive, or ideas for writing something more story oriented. I've been drawing a comic for the last 2 years, and it has taken forever. It's so close to finished, and there's nothing scarier than finishing something. Except maybe starting something. And I didn't write it. I've never written anything except this blog, and some poetry a hundred years ago.

I'm having a night of existential dread. I pondered the notion of taking your life and waking up dead. What if you stayed in your body as they carted it away. What if your consciousness was bound to the flesh, and you screamed to the darkness as they threw dirt on your face. What if you stayed in the earth while the beasts and bugs slowly ripped apart your body until, like Theseus' ship, you weren't quite the whole anymore, but carted off to new existences. What if each of those pieces formed their own consciousness, separated off from the group. What if that's all we are is the existential dread of a being pulled apart time and time again, only to be placed back in the dirt to wait for the process to repeat.

So I've gone a little overboard...
April 23, 2019, 12:58 am

I have a new thing I've been working on recently. I may as well post about it here.

I've been teaching now for about 10 years. I've never been better at programming and design than right now. I have not been sitting back idle, I have been attempting to push myself forward. The questions my students bring, and the projects they conceive have been amazing for my own personal growth as a professional.

Recently I began trying to write down some of the things I wish I had more time to talk about or teach during class. Either things that I came up with on my own for my own work, or things that are just beyond the scope of a design oriented school. Tutsos.com is a tutorial website, that I am becoming quite proud of. It is an organic recording of my own tools and how to make them from scratch.

One of the things I made offhandedly one night was a set of icons for a mobile design tutorial. And it ballooned out of control. I now have over 200 icons in a set that I designed. As a guy that never considered himself a designer, this is a big feat for me. If you'd like to check them out, they are searchable at icon.tutsos.com. But I'll just embed that here.

Sometimes you gotta make a thing
March 25, 2019, 3:38 pm

Sometimes, you just have to sit down and look at every app you can find, and if you ever see an icon twice, you gotta make a version of it.

I learned a lot about current trends in icon design by doing this set. It was also a lot of fun to subvert some of those trends.

prev next hamburger list shishkabob-vertical shishkabob-horizontal grid-3 grid-2-full grid-2-open home
group profile camera heart search star bell pencil microphone reload
checkmark plus close minus arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up arrow-down gear target
chat-empty chat-full messages-empty messages-full send-message circle-i smiley circle-no thumbs-up thumbs-down
feed suitcase folder mail image lock-closed lock-open camera-video cart-empty cart-full
bluetooth bluetooth-full bars-reception-1 bars-reception-2 bars-reception-3 bars-reception-4 wifi-1 wifi-2 wifi-3 cast
world map-marker map-folded location-direction location-star location-driving timeline share note-location note-empty
layers layers-alt banner-bookmark banner-bookmark-plus cloud cloud-download cloud-upload battery-empty battery-half battery-full
circle-plus circle-minus circle-close circle-checkmark square-rounded-plus square-rounded-minus square-rounded-close square-rounded-checkmark square-plus square-minus
square-close square-checkmark book-open ticket paperclip trashcan phone pin paper flag

Indeed. I may have spent too much time on this. Even when in fact I didn't spend much time at all. Some of these might get a slight update, but this was a lot of fun. I think every one of my students should have to do this as an exercise.

This is for a thing. You may already know. I'll be announcing it soon.

Tags: icons

Javascript continues, so I make silly things
February 16, 2019, 2:56 pm

I am continuing my own javascript education. I have begun documenting some instructions, which I will divulge soon, hopefully, but I've also begun redesigning some old examples that I made for students, in order to make them more accessible. One such example is from my app development class where students often want to add more interesting interactions to their projects. It's difficult to suggest things to them, especially since simply pointing them at HammerJs rarely results in them spending effort to fully understand that library, and instead just confuses them by making them search all over the internet for a simple solution to that toolset.

So here's one fairly simplistic example. Not only for my students, but of my current goals. This is an IOS style list item swiper. You've definitely seen these before.

See the Pen Vanilla Javascript IOS style list item slide reveal by Hamilton (@bronkula) on CodePen.

The content inside of the elements, and the look of them, is mostly up to the developer. This particular class, which can be found on github, has a number of options, including an onupdate method which will be sent the swiper object to give the developer freedom do do lots of things.

Many interesting layouts can be created and used, and I'm still currently working on some other options. If you'd like to mess with these examples, you can find them on my Codepen.

The Unit Circle
December 15, 2018, 5:14 pm

I got a little bit obsessed with trigonometry this last year, and over the last week, I really tried to understand as much of it as I can, and how it is used in Javascript. I made a thing. There was a Reddit post about a unit circle gif, and I said to myself. I can make that, but better and interactive. And so I tried to. Here is an embedded version of my Unit Circle.

This thing is a kind of big deal to me, because it represents a lot of big things. One thing is my general shift over the last year toward actually documenting the things I make. I've been working hard on a lot of projects, including my drawtools and apptools libraries. I've been learning a lot about the latest ECMAScript in order to push my own knowledge and really be able to make these tools be great and useful.

And I'm kind of really proud of myself. People look at my art and they either like it or they don't. But people see the things I code and it feels like they think "I wish I understood this" Because I must be so excited about it. And they aren't. My code is like a high schooler's poetry. No one cares. I'm writing a pity party right now. That's what this is. I'm having a party just for me, and the topic is poor me. But it's what I feel sometimes.

I just have to say for myself that I'm proud of me. And if you're proud of me, I hope that you'll share some of the dumb things that I make sometimes.

You don't always need to be understood
October 15, 2018, 9:02 am

Yesterday I saw a car start to make a left in an intersection. After getting about 3/4 of the way through, he stopped just before entering the new lane he should be going into. It's hard to describe in words, because no one would ever do this. He was still in the middle of the intersection when he stopped. The car behind him had to stop as well, but dead in the middle of the intersection.

The second car honked. And rightfully so. A sort of nudging honk that doesn't exactly come across friendly until you step out of yourself and realize that all honks sound the same at their core, and situationally, this was just a short "hey there friend. I noticed you aren't moving, and thought you could use some encouragement" kind of honk.

The first car sort of did a hesitated bounce, then pulled forward. But only about 3 feet and then stopped again.

At this point there are three cars in the intersection, and the two cars behind are railing on their horns. What else could they do? The first car nudges forward a few more feet and then stops again once he is fully into the new lane, but the other two cars are still well out into the intersection, blocking traffic. Horns are honking. Windows are down and people are yelling.

And the guy in car number one steps out of his vehicle. In the middle of the lane, while blocking traffic. He steps out and begins yelling, and although I can't hear it, it's pretty clear the basic concept of what has happened.

He has had a complete breakdown of all of his faculties. He has gone through a barrage of emotions in a short amount of time. He was probably confused at a certain point. Then frustrated. Then suddenly scared. Then angry. Then humiliated. Then entrenched. Then confused again. Then pissed. And all of this probably happened within a 10 second window.

And then he did the only thing some can think of to do in a situation like this. He hunkered down, he backed himself into a corner, and he tried to get the world to recognize his feelings of hurt and fright and anger. Like a new dog barking at people at a party for the first time, he lashed out at anything and everything around him.

A bus pulled up to the blocked intersection and did something you rarely get to see. He got on his megaphone and started blasting at this guy loud and vocal. MOVE YOUR VEHICLE. CONTINUE TO THE SIDE. And the guy, suddenly presented with a solution instead of just loud noises... or perhaps presented with a bigger barking dog... got back in his vehicle and moved forward and to the side.

And I went about my day.

I think there could perhaps be a number of life lessons hidden within this story. And I am a big fan of finding life lessons in the situations one finds oneself. I think one life lesson is that you shouldn't just honk at a problem. Sometimes you need to yell solutions at it, until one sticks.

But I think the lesson most worth learning is actually one that people who need it might find difficult to learn. You don't need to stop the world for recognition every time you're upset. Most others will probably only become upset with you, and their resentment will not improve your condition. And even when someone presents a solution to you, you will have to be willing to become untrenched and accept an outward resolution. If all you want to do is stop the world and make everyone see that you're upset, you are not striving for a solution. If all you're doing is trying to find out whose fault it is, and not move forward, then resolution is so much more difficult.

There is a time and place for anger, for hurt, and for venting. But a person needs to learn to pull over to the side of the road, rather than forcing others to acknowledge the person's own struggles, just for the sake of acknowledgement.

The White Whale
September 23, 2018, 11:16 am

I've been drawing and painting digitally for quite a while. It's not new for me. I've used all the programs. I started coloring back in Photoshop 4. I wasn't the first in the space, and certainly many of my peers have far surpassed my skillset. Go check out people like Matt Rhodes, Becky Cloonan, Corey Lewis, or Matthew Woodson If you want to see some of my contemporaries who went off and did great things.

But I have used just about every program. On just about every device. Trying desperately to find what I have often described as "My Perfect Drawing Program". My work has given me the opportunity to make art on all kinds of devices and applications. I feel like this story needs a preface that makes clear, I'm not some fanboy on any side. I am an agnostic device user. I use an Android phone, and an iPad, and a Surface Book for a laptop, and an iMac for a work desktop. I have Raspberry Pi devices strewn throughout my house, and a Linux desktop for a home server. I just need you to understand that this is a bipartisan issue, ok?

I've made a previous article about this basic topic before. And most of that still applies today. I list off a bunch of devices, I list off a bunch of programs, and for the most part it's all still the same.

But one major thing has changed for me. Infinite Painter on Android is now also available on iPad, and it has pulled out far in front of every other program I've used. I want to take a second and describe my perfect drawing and painting program and rate Infinite Painter on all those features.

Speed

I need speed. I need your program to run fast, like the wind. Like Forrest Gump in front of a car breaking out of his little broke boy crutches.

Infinite Painter is buttery smooth on the Note 8, and on the iPad Pro. I can push it to the point of slowing down, but I have to try real hard to do it.

Canvas Size

I need to be able to draw and paint at printable sizes.

Infinite Painter lets me set any arbitrary canvas size, save regular sizes for later, and it tells me more or less how making something at that size is going to affect my use of the program. A program can only go so big effectively, most artists understand that. But that should be more or less up to the user, not the program, unless the developer knows it will absolutely become unstable at certain numbers. But if I can make a one layer giant canvas, give me that option, and tell me if anything is changing.

Pro Tools

I am a professional artist who wants to make professional works whether they look like sketches or paintings. Nothing makes me more frustrated than a developer who has a couple really great features, but holds back on others because their program is "just for sketching". So what do I mean by pro features?

  • Selection Tools
    • Lasso Selection Tool
    • Straight Line Selection Tool
    • Smart Selection Tool
  • Free Transform of layers and selections
  • Curves Color Manipulation
  • Layers
    • Merge Layers
    • Blending Modes
    • Masking
    • Clipping
    • Groups
    • Clear Layer
  • Grid
  • Vector Tools

Kaleidescope

This isn't so much for me, as it is for the times. Kaleidescope and Symmetry drawing has uses in a lot of design and drawing. Having tools like these present is something that becomes more necessary once you realize how powerful they are.

Infinite Painter does have these tools as well as tile creation tools. Some are further along than others, but they are all at least present.

Brush Creation

This is one of the bigger things that can make or break my use of a drawing program. I need clear and complex tools for creating and manipulating brushes.

Infinite Painter has something miraculous for brush creation. Curves for the amount of effect that pen pressure, tilt, and speed have on a brush and texture. Once you create a brush using these curves settings, you will be frustrated at the lack of control other systems give you.

  • Custom Heads
  • Custom Textures
  • Color Mixing
  • Clear indication of change effect on brush quality
  • Clear indication of Texture settings changes

Tools Palette

I need a palette that lets me easily swap tools, but doesn't get in my way. It's a delicate balance to strike. I need to be able to swap between standard tools (or even better a set of tools of my choosing) and set the settings of those tools independently. Some programs give you the ability to swap tools, but their settings are linked, or stuck.

My ideal program would have a tools palette that is completely customizable, able to be set anywhere in the window, and has ease of access to common manipulation options.

Infinite Painter's tools palette is fantastic. It's small. It has separate paint, eraser, and smudge tools docked into the palette. Each can be set to a separate brush, separate size, and have their own opacity and flow settings. The palette buttons can be clicked for fine control or scrubbed for instant manipulation. Each brush can be scrubbed to choose between favorite brushes quickly. The only thing that might be better would be to arbitrarily be able to choose the tools present in the palette, but the simplicity of these options is palpable. The palette can be docked anywhere, and naturally moves out of the way of other palettes when it needs to.

Swatch Tools

Color manipulation is an extremely necessary part of any painting program and process. Most programs these days have pretty excellent Swatch tools (except perhaps Photoshop), but not all of them allow you to dock a swatch palette onto the screen.

Infinite Painter gives a Swatch palette with savable swatches. Draggable colors within the swatch allow manipulation, not just creation. The swatch can be docked to the screen and dragged to access more colors.

Color Picker

Color picking is a necessary process of any painting program. The ease of this can either hinder or greatly improve the painting procedure of any artist. My perfect program can select color easily with a drag operation, and can choose to select only one pixel of color or a blend of a square.

Infinite Painter allows you to drag from the Tools palette color button to color pick onto the document. It also has a finger press to pen move option. I see a lot of programs doing a long press option these days, and I've actually begun liking that less and less. I think a drag from somewhere to pick is the right way to do it, however that might honestly be dependent on screen size whether that can begun to feel tedious.

Touch and Pen

Many artists want to use their fingers to do certain manipulation, and I get that, but it is a very physical way of working, and it is in many ways a vestigial technique from when artists learned to work before digital. In my perfect program, fingers and touch are for canvas manipulation, and the pen is for drawing. And this is where a lot of programs are just not up to snuff. Either there is no real consideration for touch, or it is slipshod and shoehorned in.

Touch should not draw, or it should be an option that can be turned off in settings.

But I work in a touch world, and once you've used touch to manipulate a canvas, you can't go back. Any modern drawing program should allow you to pan, scale, and rotate a canvas with two fingers. The process should be smooth and not limited to one option at a time, and once you do it, you realize how incredibly intuitive it is, and how much you were held back by the old methods.

Keyboard Shortcuts?

I don't even want a keyboard when I'm drawing. A perfect drawing program should have everything available without the need of any keyboard shortcuts, even though I totally understand that they should still be there on desktop applications.

  • CTRL Z? Give me history tools at a glance. Desktop size devices should have 3 finger scrub to go back through history (not 3 finger tap) and Infinite painter gives always on undo redo buttons and shows a history slider for a few seconds.
  • ALT/OPTION? We already discussed color picking, and how it should be a drag out action.
  • SPACEBAR? Two finger pan zoom and rotate.
  • Tools? All those options should be on the Tools palette.
  • Tool Size/Opacity? On the palette.

Get rid of the keyboard and a reliance on it. Touch devices should remove that necessity.

Reference

My perfect drawing program has a reference layer. This unique layer palette is set apart from the rest of the document and always gives a view to a reference image while drawing. This reference should be able to be cropped, pinned to anywhere, and rotated or zoomed as needed. Colors should be able to be chosen from this reference image, and it should move out of the way when drawing near it.

Infinite Painter ticks most of these boxes off, and the ability to simply turn on and off the reference is very nice.

Hide Interface

Hiding the interface to allow a simpler drawing experience is nice. It's also extremely useful on mobile devices. But there should probably be levels of hiding. Hiding everything is nice sometimes, but hiding everything but the most basic tools seems like a more useful option.

Infinite Painter definitely lets you hide the main interface, while the only thing that stays will be your reference photo, and since you can switch tools with the secondary pen button click, you can still switch between erasing and drawing on phone. This mode should, however, only be thought of as a sketching mode.

Video Output

Any modern drawing program should have the ability to record and playback a video of the drawing being created. It should be able to simply output to mp4. It should start recording from the beginning of any drawing, or at least have an option to opt out. I draw too many drawings to remember if this option is an opt in.

Infinite Painter allows you to choose whether you want to output as a stationary document of your drawing, or a rotating moving screengrab of the actual view of your interface while you were drawing.

Export and Import

Any program should be able to at least import any jpg or png. But they should probably also be able to do the same for PSD, TIFF, or PDF.

Infinite Painter can handle import and export of most standard formats, and saves to its own proprietary format. I would actually like it if it saved to a more standard normal format like TIFF.


If you've been searching for the perfect drawing or painting program, it actually doesn't exist yet. But I am of the opinion that Infinite Painter is the closest thing we have at the moment. If you haven't given it a chance on Android or iPad, you should. The initial program is free to try, and you'll only have to pay a reasonable sum to access its full potential.

There is an active community of users on Google Plus, and Sean Brakefield is actively developing both the Android and iOS versions of the application.