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Photo Gallery: Tom Sachs' Space Program Europa

After taking part in Tom Sachs' Space Program: Europa mission (in charge of Special Effects, natch), Adam takes us through the exhibit currently on display at San Francisco's YBCA. Here are photos of some of the pieces in the exhibit, featuring Tom's signature build style and obsession with NASA's missions and operating procedures.

Google Play App Roundup: PhotoScan, NYTimes - Crossword, and Space Marshals 2

There's always something awesome happening on Android. There are killer apps, amazing games, and utilities unlike you'll find on other platforms. The goal of the Google Play App Roundup is to find the best of the best in all those categories so you don't have to hunt them down manually. Just click on the app name to head right to the Play Store.


Digital cameras have been a mainstream consumer item for over a decade at this point, and smartphone cameras have been fantastic in recent years. As such, the use of film cameras is essentially zero, but many of us still have mountains of old photo albums in the attic. These photos won't last forever, and now Google has released an app that aims to make digitizing them easier. It's called PhotoScan.

There are several apps in the Play Store that claim to scan your photos, but Google says it's approach is better. PhotoScan leverages the power of machine learning to intelligently recreate the physical photo in digital format with no glare or perspective distortion.

If you've ever tried to take a photo of a photo, you know how bad the quality usually is. You're forced to either take a picture head-on and deal with glare, or take it at an angle and end up with a screwed up perspective. PhotoScan eliminates both of those issues because it's not taking a single photo.

To start, you set the photo down and take a picture of it with the app. I know I said you aren't taking a photo of the photo, but this is just to help the app detect the general layout. Four dots will be overlaid in the viewfinder toward the corners of the photo. Simply move the phone to point at each one of those dots until the circle fills up. This is where all of Google's AI magic happens. It filters out all the glare from different individual captures, then slices the photo up into segments. Each one is transformed slightly and reassembled to correct for the subtly different perspectives of each capture.

Your in-app camera roll shows the results from each photo almost instantly, which is quite impressive. There are times when the app can't quite detect the corners of the photo—this usually happens when the original doesn't take up very much of the frame. You can crop the image down manually to adjust the corners, which should give PhotoScan what it needs to output the final image.

Photos that you create with this app can be uploaded to Google Photos and saved to your device. I think the quality of the photos is very good overall. You should try to do your scans in good natural light as the LED on the phone tends to make images cooler than the original. However, the images created by PhotoScan do look like photos, and not photos of photos. It's a free app, so give it a shot.

Tested at DesignerCon 2016 This Weekend!

Hey everyone, I wanted to remind you that we'll be DesignerCon this weekend, in Pasadena, CA. This was one of my favorite new conventions to go to last year, a gathering of toymakers, sculptors, painters, and artists of all mediums to share their works and sell some garage kits. And this year, we're actually going to be set up with a booth at the show to film some segments and hang out with some of our favorite artists and makers. Our booth is hosting propmaker Bill Doran, automata artist Sam Cobb, and of course some of our projects with Frank. Sean will also be there selling some of his amazing 3D printed kits (he'll have laser swords!), and Danica will have some of her beautiful crafted pins and necklaces.

Here's our video tour of the convention last year, as well as some photos from the vendor area. If you're in the Southern California area this weekend, please come by and say hi! Take a photos with Frank's Rancor or Creepyfig, chat with Sean about 3D printing, or just hang out!

Tested Mailbag: Simone's Space Camp Jumpsuit!

Simone returns to the Tested office after a few weeks of travel to find this awesome mailbag package from a fan. Its contents combine some of Simone's favorite things. Plus, her first tasting of Astronaut ice cream! Thanks so much to Carley Hansen-Prince for sending this mailbag!

Tested: Microsoft Surface Studio Review

We test and review Microsoft's new Surface Studio all-in-one PC, putting it front of cartoonists and graphic designers to see how the 28-inch touchscreen compares with digitizers like Wacom's Cintiq. Here's what we think about the Surface Studio's display, compact computer hardware, and unique hinge that connects them.

Watch the Tested Team Modify the Honda Ridgeline

We're all super proud of the builds we did with Honda this summer utilizing their Honda Ridgeline trucks. These projects allowed us to go on our first team camping trip, work alongside Adam in the shop, and learn from each other's individual passions for making, cooking, and even dirt bike riding! We had so much fun with these, and hope you enjoyed watching them. And in case you missed any of the episodes, here they are, all on one playlist!

This Old FX Shop: Dredd Helmet

Welcome to a new Tested series, featuring our very own Frank Ippolito! Twice a month, Frank will walk us through building, painting, or modifying model kits and custom sculpts. In this episode, we learn how to clean up a helmet casting and paint it to look like a prop from one of our favorite recent action films!

Photo Gallery: Peter Jackson's Movie Prop Collection

Earlier this year, we visited Peter Jackson's cave--his collection of movie props, costumes, and cinema artifacts that inspire his filmmaking. Here are some photos from our visit, which let us get up close with iconic movie characters and the practical props, puppets, production ephemera and that made up their worlds.