Powerpoint and image processing

Sometimes we all have a need to write instructions, or add information to an image, or combine many pictures to one. Of course you can do this using an image processing software such as Paint, GIMP, or Photoshop, but many times these are not available. And of course, what you can do in Paint is crude in the extreme, because it is a bitmap editor and not a real image editor.

Paint especially is not very good for this sort of work, because its resizing capabilities are not up to par, and whatever you insert into the picture gets inserted in it for good – revising text or moving an image in a composite are not possible. Using GIMP or Photoshop is somewhat easier due to the use of layers, which enables you to maintain texts and other adornments in editable form before you export the image, but the set of available arrows, stars, and other thingies is not very large without installing plug-ins.


Fonts, fonts, fonts – have you checked yours lately?

In the olden days we did not have to worry about fonts. There were Courier, Times New Roman and Helvetica, and a couple of more for special events. And with dot matrix printers, using fonts was not much of an option anyway. In a way I miss the days, as there was no hassle with anything related to the look of the text.

But with laser printers and Windows, everything changed.

Suddenly you had more fonts in your machine than you would ever need for business correspondence. In fact, you soon got lost with the fonts. TrueType technology also assisted in this boom of fonts. Now you could have a true what-you-see-is-what-you-get experience (up to a certain point of course). And the number of fonts on your machine grew as if the fonts would breed in the dark.  (more…)

Part 2 of the 3D Printer post

Welcome back. In Part 1 I explained the basics of 3D printing up until the time we start the printer itself, ie. the virtual design using Blender.

To get an idea of the printer, this is an introductory video from MiniFactory, which is a Finnish company. It costs 1,500 EUR, about 1,800 USD, and it can print objects using either PLA (a corn starch based substance), ABS plastic, or even nylon. It was delivered almost ready to print, and I think it is an extremely useful and suitable device for entering the fascinating world of 3D printing.

Installation is minimal: you plug in the USB cord, install Repetier Host, run through a calibration routine, place the material spools in the rack, and you’re good to go. The next picture identifies the main parts of the machine – click on the image to see it better.


3D Printing has arrived at HAAGA-HELIA, part 1

Oops – a little time has elapsed since my last post; my apologies.

But now there is something new to report. HAAGA-HELIA, being the progressive school it is, approved my purchase request in short order, and bought a MiniFactory v3 3D printer to augment the 3D capabilities of the school.

As it stands, we have a course in Basic 3D Design with Blender (3 ECTS), and another one called Extended 3D Design with Blender (3 ECTS). These are a package that will first give you a solid understanding of how to do 3D, and in the extended course, students get a problem-based view into a subsection of Blender that they get to choose. It can be material creation, texturing, animation, modeling for game engines, or whatever can be deemed sufficiently large to warrant the 3 study points. Now we can add 3D printing to that, but at this point I am not sure of the format of the course.


Make a Win Phone app… and then?

I had a specific need. I needed a bomb sight correction calculator.

When I have some spare time, I fly the IL-2 Sturmovik, which is a wonderful, action-packed WW2 air combat simulator. On servers there may be up to 50 pilots in the air, flying a wide array of aircraft, and serving a number of roles. Some are fighter pilots, some fly ground attack planes, and some, like myself, fly bombers. My favorites are the Japanese Mitsubishi G4M Betty and the German Ju 88 and Heinkel 111.

The game is so well made that it even includes a bomb sight for accurate bombing. This device relies on the altitude and airspeed to decide when is the perfect time to release the bombs. It takes quite a lot of practice to master the device, but when you know what you are doing, you can plant a bomb in the target with relative ease and precision.