A simple app you can create to speed up your workflow.
If you work in visual effects, you’ve probably noticed that some of your peers use the power of code to automate repetitive tasks that distract from more interesting work. 
You may have been handed a script from a friend, looked under the hood and thought “Wow, that’s really complicated. I could never come up with something like that.” Conversely, you may have looked at an introductory Python tutorial and thought, “Yeah, I don’t really want to spend months writing worthless ‘Hello World’ type programs.”
So what’s the most basic program you can write that is simple enough for a beginner to create, but might also have actual, real-world use for your work?
At the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, I lost my job via a form email and bought a copy of the book “Learn Python the Hard Way”. A few weeks later, I had learned enough to write a sixty-line app that creates a folder structure for new projects that I take on as a freelancer. Inside that folder structure, another Python script is generated that creates dated folders for all my render output. This is something you could just do by hand if you wanted, but my script saves enough clicks to make it worth it.
If you follow along with this guide, you’ll create the same simple script that I use for setting up my freelance projects, but you’ll be able to customize it for your own preferences as well. At the end, you’ll see that it’s not too hard to write little scripts that automate your workflow. 
You’ll need to download two programs to start: Python 3 (surprise!) and VS Code, the most popular code editor. You can actually use any code editor you want, but VS Code has the most plugins and functionality, so you’ll probably end up using it eventually even if you start with something else. For both apps, just download the latest stable version listed on their websites.
This next part is optional, but highly recommended. In order to make VS Code a more powerful coding environment, you might want to enable the following extensions: Python — which enables intelligent autocomplete suggestions while you code, Black — which formats your code to be more readable and standardized and One Dark Pro — my preferred color scheme, which makes long coding sessions easier on your eyes.
Once you have your environment set up, open VS Code and hit CTRL-N to start a fresh script. Click on “Select a language” and choose COBOL — just kidding — choose Python. Hit CTRL-S to save your script in your projects folder and name it “Make_New_Project.py”.
When writing code, similarly to comping a shot, there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel. In Python we use “modules” which are just Python scripts someone else wrote that have functionality we want to use in our own scripts. Anyone can write a module, and all the most popular ones can be installed for free from the internet. For this particular script, we only need modules that already come pre-installed with Python.
As each code block comes up in this tutorial, type it into your script in VS Code.
import os, tkinter as tk
from tkinter import simpledialog
What does this all mean? The first line tells Python to import os, the module that allows it to use your operating system’s folder functionality and the tkinter, Python’s pre-installed GUI module. It lets you create simple UI. Adding “as tk” lets you refer to tkinter as “tk” instead of typing out “tkinter” every time you need to reference it, shaving a precious milliseconds of coding time off your life. Wow!

The second line tells Python to import a specific function called “simpledialog” from tkinter. Importing it this way allows you to call the simpledialog function in your code without referring to the tkinter module every time.