I should start updating but here's what's up! I've been following along with the USB PCB jam on, which has been a ton of fun. Also went with @deven to a local makerspace to get some boards for #maker-faire laser cut. Also a bit of twiddling on the #blot website! (Will share that maybe later)
The annual @deven package race
2 weeks to go till Epoch, and here's the story of this sticker. It all started a few months ago when genius minds from all over the world decided to brainstorm ideas for stickers they'd like at Epoch. We decided we wanted stickers with local Delhi references for advanced humour. And one such idea was to make a sticker that says Horn Ok Please, with Epoch-ish Hack Club elements in there. For context, Horn Ok Please is written on the back of trucks and lorries prominently seen in North India (in South India, we just have Sound Horn) to alert drivers of vehicles approaching from behind to sound their horns if they wish to overtake, in a country like India where honking is the primary source of communication between you and the other vehicles on the road. Part of the idea was also to make it look like Horn Ok Please was written on the back of a truck. I said, "OK OK LMAOOO WE'RE MAKING A STICKER OUT OF THIS". Now I'm not exactly the most productive and efficient person out there, I thrive on deadlines. I would occasionally just visit the Figma file, do random stuff and close my tabs while I did not have exams, homework or both. Normally I'd be able to complete stuff while "occasionally" visiting but this one was a bit hard. There weren't many reference images I could find, other than a photo directly from the Wikipedia page. I somehow also found the same image from a frontal angle which helped me trace out the letters and create "Horn Ok Please" as an SVG (my Figma Pen Tool skills are unrivalled, they talk about my curves). I also needed some random art related to India, like peacocks and the Taj Mahal, so what I did was take photos from, remove their background and run them through (WHICH IS A GOD SENT BTW, credit to @OjasSomethin' for pointing this wonderful tool out) to give them a painted and vector-y look. I quickly combined them together but I realized it didn't have the same back-of-the-truck feeling and other people were quick to point that out. @deven then points out that I should do "Hack Ok Please" ("cos the H matches") and a few days later, there's a better reference picture of a Horn Ok Please in #design. In the thread where the image was posted, there was a lot of talk about getting the text bevels and shadows right along with identifying a similar font, which @sarthak narrowed down to a font called Syne, which fortunately was available on Google Fonts and I had it downloaded in no time. I decided to start with the background, and I wanted it to look realistic as possible. The question is, how do you make wooden planks in Figma? Sure, I could draw lines, and make it look realistic in a vector art sense but I wanted the right colour and texture. Well, what if I just placed a picture of wooden planks? That is exactly what I did, and it's called textures. A visit to gave me some quality seamless textures of wooden planks, and to make it pink I added a separate colour layer and decreased the opacity of the colour layer (I slightly colour-corrected the plank textures for it to be visible while still having the desired shade of pink). I also wanted the grooves (or gaps, whatever you call them) between the planks to affect the surrounding elements as if all the designed elements were actually painted on wooden planks. I did this by manually drawing out groove lines using the good ol' Pen Tool and giving it a slight drop shadow. The text. "Hack Ok Please!!". It needed bevels. Neither does Figma have an option for bevels nor could I find a plugin that gives bevels to text. Having lost all hope, I wandered around on YouTube hoping some Indian tech guy could help me out when an unexpected ally rose to the occasion: They could make bevels out of text input and export it into PNG - that was more than enough for me. I dragged the export across the browser and into Figma and used a freemium plugin called Image Tracer which I thought had already been exhausted of its 5 free trials but apparently not. I got an SVG, got box shadows using a wonderful plugin called oblique and added that stuff on top of the wood. Only the decorations remained. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't have much creativity in this area. The corners of my reference image had floral-like colourful designs and I wasn't really sure about manually tracing it using the Pen Tool. The floral-like design reminded me of something I used to do with my mom when I was a kid, where basically I'd take an A4-sized paper, fold the paper in half, put drops of acrylic paint of different colours on the crease of the paper and fold it again to create something that looked like a butterfly. I thought that if I could do something like that with the right colours, I could take a good picture with my phone, remove its background, change its colours a bit and use it in my design. After begging my sister to help me (spoiler alert: she did not), I decided to steal my sister's paint (she's not on Hack Club, so she won't find out) and perform the sacred method of "squish painting". Long story short, it did not come out like I expected it to, it was too narrow and too green for my liking. (I wanted to take a picture of the result I got for the sake of this scrapbook post, but the paint stuck to each other and now I can't unfold the paper and tearing it doesn't seem like a good idea.) At this point, I decided to give up on everything else and trust the mighty Pen. By listening to the Doom OST theme song and Cocomelon songs on a loop, I traced out the basic lines of the floral designs and just randomly coloured them with every main colour I could find. By now, I was too lazy and uncreative to create my own assets, so I just screenshotted the flower thingy at the bottom of the reference image and then modified the colours a bit so that it matches the background colour of the sticker. Combine this with some smooth curves and spheres, and we have our decorations. To make it even more realistic, I got some grime and brush stroke textures from, removed their backgrounds, reduced the highlights a bit, increased the shadows a lot, halved the opacities and added the corners of the sticker. Oh and I almost forgot, there's a slight amount of noise at the very top to give it a slightly dirty/realistic feeling, using the Noise plugin. Adding noise textures to my designs is a reflex action at this point.
I just had the funniest, most panicked phone call ever with 1-855-62-HACK - i got to talk to @sampoder @deven and @msw. while they were boarding (not @deven) tho. i got put on hold for like 10mins by @deven it was incredible.
Assembling Assemble (:scrappy:-edition) #2: Wrapping up for the day! Got one day left in VT until Assemble. Spent most of the day fixing up things and making sure everything is set to go. Also a lot of emailing! And @deven & I shipped this massive box of fun supplies…. around 10 kilos of swag, prizes and sharpies :D
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Assembling Assemble (:scrappy:-edition) #1: Spent the weekend tying up loose ends on the logistics front, writing more code for Scrapbook @ Assemble (name suggestions, please!) & preparing the ceremonies. Most importantly, however, @deven, @benjamin & @kunalbotla are in town so we went around exploring Vermont! It was lovely to talk about the hackathon with everyone (alongside other, slighly less stressful topics) and to get geared up for a jam-packed week.
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this gift from @deven smells HEAVENLY and i just managed to get it right before my flight. the second i stepped into HQ, the UPS man arrived. good thing because we're mostly on vacation now!
I got sTicKeRs! Thanks to @deven :)
Haiiiiiiiiii! Big ship(for me, but not really big lmao) I shipped a prototype MailCorgi a while back, as a python based application that could purchase the cheapest labels for you. Now, I'm reshipping mailcorgi, but as a slackbot. If you're in my channel or talk to me about mail, you've probably seen me rant about @maildog and how the labels are: 1. more expensive(shipstation does not utilize USPS commercial price base) 2. slow(uses airtable + zapier) 3. breaks sometimes(ughhhhh) 4. is very not flexible(why do i have to buy a 10 dollar label, refund it, just to ship a sticker envelope to another country????) With these points in mind, I built MailCorgi, with the help of @deven and @tejasag! MailCorgi is a python based Slack app(using slackbolt) that can store addresses, orders, leader info, nodemasters(using supabase :supabase:). MailCorgi can buy shipping labels(if you give it a shippo API key. It will by default purchase the cheapest shipping option), and can also not buy a label and just generate a 4x6 thermal label with address information. This gives you the ability to just stick a thermal label on an envelope(#6.75) with address info(goodbye ballpoint pens!), or buy your own shipping labels(so that I can get ComPriceBas on my USPS labels and discounts on UPS too) Oh, did I mention? Mailcorgi is significantly faster. I actually timed it: Making a mail mission: mailcorgi: <1second, maildog: 30 seconds on a good day, NaN sometimes Creating a label(no shipping label, just address): 45 seconds + for maildog, <5seconds for mailcorgi As you can see, these are not just incremental upgrades in speed(sorry max, but you're not in this channel so i think i can roast maildog) anyway, i think that's mostly it but i have a screen recording of a mailcorgi demo :D