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    We Went Back to Ohio with Robert Kurtzman - Episode 50 - 9/23/16
    On this episode of CreatureGeek (due to a misnumbering error is actually our 50th show!) we talk to legendary SFX makeup artist, Robert Kurtzman. Robert is the original K of KNB EFX, one of its original founders, and is now running his own company in his home state of Ohio - Robert Kurtzman's Creature Corps. If you're in the Ohio area, his newest project - Paranormal Penitentiary - is opening THIS WEEKEND at the site of the Mansfield Reformatory. He talks moving from LA to Ohio, working in this environment and of course, classic horror hosts. If you're digging this show, please head over to and support us with a few bucks.
    00:00:00 / 50:04
    Bits to Atoms: Printing My Custom Cutaway Lightsaber

    With all the design work done for my Custom Cutaway Lightsaber, it's time to 3D print everything on the Form 2 SLA printer. We were lucky enough to get a pre-production Form 2 from FormLabs and had been printing a ton of projects before the official release. We were very pleased with all the prints as Formlabs had upgraded all of the items (and then some) on my wishlist from my time with the Form 1+. The Form 2 had been living up to my expectations but I designed some of the lightsaber parts to torture test it further.

    While the Form 2 was more than capable of printing out an entire half of the saber in one piece, I broke it up into many parts for a few reasons. First, I wanted to show off various resins and designed the saber to make use of the black, grey, clear and flexible materials, most of which had just had formulation upgrades. Second, I wanted to see what the tolerances and fit quality were like for assemblies. Third, as we have talked about before, prints tend to look better when all the parts aren't globbed together but instead printed as individual pieces. Plus, the quality of parts can sometimes be affected by orientation and printing everything as one piece is not always optimal.

    Mesh repair - problem areas highlighted

    Once modeling was finished, the next step was to export all the parts as STL files - generally the standard for 3D printing. The grips and pommel were exported as a whole piece and then cut in half using Netfabb - this was a case of using the right tool for the job. Netfabb (recently acquired by Autodesk) is also my goto program for mesh repair which is a vital part of 3D printing. Any holes, flipped polygon faces or other irregularities can cause a print to fail. Formlabs PreForm software has Netfabb repair functionality built in and will warn you and offer to fix possible issues upon model import.

    How To Paint a Realistic Rusty, Metal Helmet

    This is a plastic helmet. Urethane plastic, to be exact. It's a resin kit that I got from my pal Allen a while back and I was chomping at the bit to get it painted, but really wanted to make sure that it didn't end up looking like that original plastic. I wanted it to look like an old, weather beaten hunk of battle scarred steel. I wanted it to look like real metal.

    I've covered metallic finishes here on Tested before, but this was a very different beast. It couldn't look chromed and shiny like Rey's blaster. It needed to be dark, textured, rusty, and grimy. When painting something that needs to be metallic, there tends to be an impulse to reach for a "metal" can of spray paint cover every square inch of plastic in a silver metallic sheen. This is the easy way to do it, but if you look at a piece of bare steel, something that spends its days exposed to the elements like a manhole cover, you'll note that there isn't a single bit of shiny silver anywhere on it. This is why I started with a dark color.

    The kit was already primed, so all I needed to do was hit it with the base color. In this instance I used a rattle can of nice bronze paint.

    Once this base coat of dull, dark paint dried, then the real fun began. I started with some silver acrylic paint. Yes I said earlier that we wouldn't see any silver spots, but don't worry, I was incredibly subtle with my use of this bright paint. My application was a slightly heavy drybrush. I applied just a little bit of silver paint to a ratty old brush, wiped most of that paint off on a paper towel, and then "scratched" the bronze base coat with the brush.

    Shout Session! With Brian Ward - Episode 48 - 9/16/16
    On this episode of CreatureGeek - Frank and I welcome Brian Ward, the Senior Director of Video Production for Shout! Factory. Shout! curates TV shows and movies for the collector in all of us - shows likes MST3K, Freaks and Geeks, and the 1982 version of The Thing. Brian talks about his podcast The Arkham Sessions, EPK documentation (basically behind the scenes stuff) and much more. If you're digging this show, please head over to and support us with a few bucks. Also, thanks to our sponsor ScotteVest!
    00:00:00 / 01:06:06
    We're Back from the Arctic! (And a Premium Content Update)

    Hey gang! It's been a while since we've seen each other--did you miss us? In case you haven't noticed, we've been out of office for the past three weeks, and things slowed down a bit on the site. Joey and I just returned from an 18-day trip at the top of the world, traveling with Astronaut Chris Hadfield as part of his Generator Arctic team on the Quark Expeditions tour of the Canadian Arctic. It was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a remote part of the world--traveling by Russian Icebreaker--immerse ourselves in and extreme environment, and document what life is like on this kind of expedition. Yes, we filmed the hell out of it.

    Our videos, photos, 3D scans, and even VR mapping from the trip will be released in the coming weeks and months as we digest it all, and starting next week, we'll be running a daily video blog that we shot for the Tested Premium Community that tracked our travels. And now that we're home after a long stretch of crazy-busy-times (from moving offices to Comic-Con to getting married!), we're going to be looking at filling out the rest of the year with a regular schedule of projects, builds, and testing.

    I also want to thank Jeremy, Kishore, Will, Simone, Rebecca, and Adam Isaak for picking up the slack on podcast recording and production while we've been gone. We should be back to a regular rotation next week now that we're done with traveling for a little bit. Also, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank our premium members. Without your support, we wouldn't be able to do some of the incredible stuff we get to do. Thanks for being patient with us during these past few weeks and months--I think you're going to enjoy the stuff we have coming up.

    In the Not Too Distant Future: Dragoncon 2016- Episode 47 - 9/9/16
    On this episode of CreatureGeek - LIVE FROM DRAGONCON 2016 - Frank goes solo. But he has the best co-hosts in my absence. He welcomes Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff from Mystery Science Theater 3000, Cinematic Titanic and The Mads Are Back. They talk about movie riffing, Joe Don Baker, This Island Earth and a ton of other fun stuff! If you're digging this show, please head over to and support us with a few bucks. Also, thanks to our sponsor ScotteVest! Please use our affiliate link:
    00:00:00 / 46:59
    How Virtual Humans Learn Emotion and Social Intelligence

    At USC ICT's Virtual Humans lab, we learn how researchers build tools and algorithms that teach AI the complexities of social and emotional cues. We run through a few AI demos that demonstrate nuanced social interaction, which will be important for future systems like autonomous cars.

    Hands-On with Shaper Origin Handheld CNC Router!

    This is super cool: a handheld CNC router that uses computer vision to let you see exactly what you're cutting through the bit, and compensates for any shaky hand movement with automatic stabilization. We visit Shaper to learn about the Origin and test out its features!

    Digitizing Photorealistic Humans Inside USC's Light Stage

    We learn how actors are digitized and turned into photorealistic models inside USC ICT's Light Stage capture system. Paul Debevec and his team at the Graphics Lab are focused on inventing technologies that create the most realistic-looking virtual people, objects, and environments. We were blown away by the capabilities of the light stage!

    Weathering Techniques for Cosplay Costumes

    Making new fabrics look old and weathered is a practiced art. Doug Stewart has been working on costumes for film productions for over two decades. We chat about his work as a specialty costume maker and get a demo of his weathering process for costumes used at this year's E3.

    Two Ding Dongs and A Microphone - Episode 46 - 8/19/16
    Frank and I are two dings dongs talking into in a mic. We chat more about biz battles, showing up on time, upcoming conventions and the biggest hit of the summer, Stranger Things! If you're digging this show, please head over to and support us with a few bucks. Also, thanks to our sponsor ScotteVest! Please use our affiliate link (in the comments) and use the code CREATUREGEEK to get 20% off your order! Thanks for listening!
    00:00:00 / 56:22
    Tested Tours VR Projects at USC's Mixed Reality Lab

    At USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, computer scientists and engineers have been tinkering with virtual reality, augmented reality, and everything in between. We're given a tour of ICT's Mixed Reality Lab, where projects explore the intersections of VR and accessibility, avatars, and even aerial drones.