Posts Tagged ‘tools’

I’m feeling a lot better today, less exhausted ouchies and more “It’s cool, I’m good.” No naps today, no wishing I had a sling for my mostly incapacitated arm, just chilling and learning things.

Like using words to generate color palettes. Let’s see what we can do with that, shall we?


Using the Unsplash photo database, this site retrieves images related to your search term, combines them into a single image, then extracts a color palette. One nice thing is that you can deselect some of the component images, darken or brighten the palette, or zoom in to highlight just some of the colors in an image. I do find that the results tend to be a little muddy (“summer” is a lot duller grey and brown than I expected) but the tweaking helps.

* * *

Then what? I decided to learn how to color grade an image. Essentially, grading is a technique that lets you take the palette from one visual and apply it to another, often changing the tone and emotion of the image. A photo can go from warm summer afternoon to dark and stormy without a lot of fuss.

There are a lot of ways to do this but here’s a handy tutorial explaining the process in Affinity:

Steal the Color Grading from Any Image with Affinity Photo!

PhotoChrome has a link to download the composite image but it didn’t work for me. Instead, I used the “copy HEX” option for the color palette, then copied the darkest, lightest and middle colors into the Affinity photo Gradient Map / RGB Hex Sliders window.

What’s the color of cool? In my version of this exercise, this:

#4b5c74, #656778, #767482, #718694, #80949d

Here’s what that looks like when transferred onto an image.

Original Photo by Jenny Marvin on Unsplash

Then I had to try a couple of others for fun.


It’s probably no surprise that I’m liking Mars best.

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I got into knitting a while ago and loved it (making things, yay:), so much that I would keep working even when my hands, wrists, and shoulders asked to stop. Then they forced me to stop, and decided they would make typing a challenge too. Obviously, Something Had to be Done.

My issues are well controlled now that I’ve cut back on knitting, but I do sometimes need to massage a muscle knot. I use a tennis ball or a frozen lime against a wall to target trigger points in my back, but because pain can be referred from the real problem area, getting just the right spot can be a bit of a challenge.

Enter this handy interactive trigger point map, which I found quite useful for my shoulder issues. Once I figured out that the pain actually originated from a point two inches to the right, the situation improved dramatically. If you have similar problems, I hope you find this tool helpful. Because writing, to paraphrase my grandmother’s comments on old age, is not for sissies.

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Like many I was disappointed (if not terribly surprised) to see Duotrope go to a paid subscription model. This market database and submissions tracker is a great service, no mistake, but the subscription barrier felt a little high. There are some potential substitutes and while I was able to put together a system for story research, tracking, and submission, the process took time. Time I’d rather spend working or sleeping.*

What’s that? You know I’ve found a replacement and you just want me to spill the good news? Well then:)

Welcome to The Grinder, from the good folks at Diabolical Plots. It is a market database and submission tracker with Duotrope-style summary data and response time statistics. Those statistics will improve as more users add submission info, but I was surprised that after just a few months their data look similar to what I remember from Duotrope. And if you have an unaltered .csv export file of your Duotrope submission records, The Grinder has the option to import that information. See this summary page for more details on what it can do. And did I mention this service is free?

Drawbacks? It’s in beta so they are still building the market list and some of the features you might expect aren’t yet in place. (For example, I can’t find the Favorites list but as I just started using it that might be me.) It’s currently for fiction only but plans are in place to expand to non-fiction and poetry soon. These issues aside, The Grinder has a lot going for it, and the team seems genuinely interested in user suggestions and making improvements.

If you are in the market for a market list and submission tracker, this looks like a very good option.

* Or enjoying a frosty glass of some adult beverage with friends. Because there’s more to life than working and sleeping, people!

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