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    The Amazing Art of Akihito

    Frank chats with Akihito, a special effects and makeup artist whose work floored us at this year's Monsterpalooza. Akihito talks about the influences for his personal projects, how he casts his sculptures using multiple resins, and a striking makeup he demoed at the show!

    Monsters vs. Zombies Sculptures at Monsterpalooza 2016!

    At this year's Monsterpalooza, we met artist Vin Teng, the co-creator of the comic series Monsters vs. Zombies. What struck us was Vin's sculpture work--he designed the characters in the comic by building out a beautiful diorama scene in incredible detail.

    The Creatures and Creations at Monsterpalooza 2016!

    We return to Monsterpalooza, one of favorite conventions to meet sculptors, painters, and makeup effects artists who share our love of creatures. Frank and Norm walk through the convention floor, catch up with friends, and share some of the awesome art on display at this year's show!

    "Live From MonsterPalooza Part 1: The Godfather of Gore, Tom Savini" - Episode 36 - 4/29/16
    Frank and I record our first live show from MonsterPalooza 2016. Our guest is the Godfather of Gore, the legendary Tom Savini. Tom chats with us about his acting and directing experience and of course about his makeup career. Also, his peg system. Don't know what that is? Listen in! Also, thanks to our many Patreon supporters for not only allowing me (Len) to get to Monsterpalooza, but also for your continued support. If you are enjoying the show, head over to http://www.patreon.com/creaturegeek and support us with a few bucks. Enjoy the show!
    00:00:00 / 36:03
    In Brief: 3D Printed Sci-Fi Skull Kits

    Saw this on 3Ders: 3D Kit Bash is going to launching a Kickstarter this May 4th to fund a series of Shapeways-printed miniature skulls, inspired by the Star Wars universe. The Skull Wars lineup will include 15 digitally sculpted models inspired by the designs of characters and creatures seen in the films. The prints will be $20 each, though STL files will be available later on. And speaking of awesome sci-fi skulls, I found this set of incredibly beautiful resin kits from artist Dominic Qwek at Monsterpalooza last weekend. Dominic's sculpture work is unreal and inspired. Frank and I each picked up one of his skulls and will be painting them in a video series soon!

    Norman
    Foley Artist John Roesch's Audio Props

    From Wired: "A tour from veteran Foley artist John Roesch of the Skywalker's custom built soundstage. Roesch reveals some of the strangest audio props that were used in films like 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit,' 'Back to the Future' and 'Braveheart’."

    In Brief: Guillermo del Toro's Bleak House Going on Tour

    As you're probably aware, Guillermo del Toro has been amassing a collection of film props, replicas, sculptures, and other art pieces in his famous cave, known as the Bleak House (some of Adam's props live there!). This summer, part of that collection is going on tour in a travelling museum exhibit, starting at Los Angeles' LACMA. The director calls it "an exhibit of my movie stuff", and the show will be organized by themes that inspire his films and creative process. After showing at the LACMA until the end of this year, the exhibit will travel to Minneapolis and Toronto, and possibly other cities. While we wait for the the exhibit's July opening, you can find some glimpses of the Bleak House in del Toro's wonderful Cabinet of Curiosities book.

    Norman
    A Brief History of Dinosaurs in Film

    The word "dinosaur" was coined by Victorian naturalist Sir Richard Owen in 1841. Derived from the Greek, it means "terrible lizard". The modern meaning is, of course, "humongous slavering monster that tramples the getaway car, eats the supporting actor and fills the IMAX screen from top to bottom."

    As well as giving dinosaurs their name, Owen was one of the first to recognize their entertainment potential. In 1852, following London's Great Exhibition, he oversaw the creation of 33 life-size concrete dinosaur sculptures. After the giant models had been artistically placed in parkland surrounding Crystal Palace, Owen hosted a flamboyant dinner party inside the hollow mold that had been used to make the Iguanodon.

    Willis O'Brien and a dinosaur from "The Lost World"

    After that, dinosaurs swiftly rampaged through popular culture, including early cinema. In 1925, Willis O'Brien – one of the earliest visual effects practitioners – chose them as a subject for his revolutionary stop motion animation techniques in The Lost World, a film which took Owen's Victorian concept of the dinosaur tableau and made it live and breathe.

    For nearly seventy years, stop motion remained the technique of choice for bringing extinct creatures to life. In 1953, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms saw Ray Harryhausen using O'Brien's methods to resurrect a long-dormant Rhedosaurus – a fictional dinosaur awoken from its slumber by an A-bomb test.

    The Rhedosaurus from "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms"

    More Harryhausen dinosaurs followed in 1966, when One Million Years B.C. showcased his Dynamation process in glorious Technicolor. Three years later, he repeated the trick yet again with The Valley of Gwangi. Impressive though Gwangi's dinosaurs were, the film ultimately lacked the box office bite of its prehistoric predecessor (perhaps because it swapped Raquel Welch in a leather bikini for a bunch of cowboys).

    Making Dinosaur Models for 60's Stop-Motion Film

    From British Pathe, a YouTube channel repository of 20th century archival footage, a 1967 short educational film about the making of dinosaur puppets for stop-motion animation. It covers the sculpting, molding, and casting of the models--some things just haven't changed! (Though the use of a skeleton for the puppet armature is suspect.)

    Lewis Nowosad Hits an Impasse on his Guardians Helmet

    As I have written before, I'll be posting and commenting on the things you guys are making as a result of what you see on Tested. This photo was posted by Lewis Nowosad, who asked me for some advice during his build of a Guardian of the Galaxy helmet, which he's finishing so he can join the efforts of the nonprofit Avenger's Initiative.

    Unfortunately, I don't have enough information to really tackle this problem; the one pic doesn't quite tell the story. Lewis, for keeping it on your head I might suggest elastic around the back, at the top of your neck, with a center strap heading up and over your head.

    As for the hinging back, I might suggest velcro instead of a mechanical solution, because it's more forgiving. Fitting a mechanical solution around a head in a close-fitting helmet is a bear of a problem to solve.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

    Keep sharing your builds! If you're using Twitter, be sure to tag @donttrythis and @testedcom. If Facebook, post on the wall of Adam's solo group or Tested's.

    Building Fallout 4 T-60 Power Armor, Part 2

    Last time, I shared how we tackled the digital design planning for the Fallout 4 Power Armor build. We extracted the game models using NifSkope, prepared them for our build by increasing their detail in Blender, then finally cut them into sections that would fit on our 3D printers in NetFabb. With our first batch of models are ready to produce, it's time to send them to the machines to create and get them looking nice.

    I'll be using the helmet and the large shoulders to demonstrate the techniques I use to go from raw 3D print to finished master ready for molding. But same process is used whether I'm making something small like a detail piece or a weapon, or the big printed sections of armor. For this build, we'll be using the 3D printer for the interior "frame" pieces, the large shoulders, and the back armor as well as some of the smaller detail bits throughout the armor like the oversized bolts on the knees and the oil filters under the chest.

    I print exclusively in ABS plastic because of some interesting post processing methods available, specifically being able to use acetone to smooth your prints to reduce or eliminate the print "grain" visible at each layer in the printing process. This is not acetone vapor smoothing, which looks really pretty but softens up all of the hard edges we worked to preserve, but rather a solution mixed up and painted directly on to the part. I'll create a batch of "ABS juice" to paint the surface with a brush that both fills in the valleys of the print lines like a body filler, and also acts to soften up and smooth down the high points.

    Photo Gallery: Monsterpalooza 2016

    We spent this past weekend at Monsterpalooza, the annual creature and makeup effects convention in Pasadena. It was an awesome place to meet sculptors, painters, and other artists showing off their personal projects, and in many cases, selling resin kits (I picked up a few). The event was one big mutual appreciation society--the place to put faces to Instagram art accounts and discover many new ones to follow. Frank and Len recorded two episodes of Creature Geek there, too! Here are some photos from the show, and we'll have videos and interviews we shot there on the site in the coming days!

    Show and Tell: Rey's Blaster Replica Kit!

    Prop maker Bill Doran (aka Punished Props) visits our office this week to share one of his recent builds: a replica of Rey's blaster from Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Bill shows how he designed the blaster to be assembled as a kit, and we put one together! (Find Bill's blueprints and other fabrication guides here!)

    A Seriously Awesome Sewing Table by John Calhoun

    As I have written before, I'll be posting and commenting on the things you guys are making as a result of what you see on Tested. This one is from John Calhoun, who built a seriously utilitarian and excellent sewing table based on my own.

    Photo credit: John Calhoun

    There's no adornment at all, and that is its own kind of beautiful. When we make the objects we make with, we're engaging in a powerful dialog with the world and ourselves about what's possible.

    Simple Feats of Science: Liquid Nitrogen Experiments!

    In this episode of Simple Feats of Science, we're joined by Zeke Kossover from The Exploratorium to demonstrate an unconventional experiment with liquid nitrogen. Kishore and Zeke discuss some liquid nitrogen basics, and then show how you can use it to illuminate a broken light bulb!

    Tested Mailbag: Codenames Box

    Time to open another Tested mystery mailbag! This one comes from Robbie, who sends a great accessory to one of our favorite tabletop games, Codenames. Do you keep your board game boxes? Thanks, Robbie!

    Shop Tips: Covering Your Work Tables

    A simple yet essential shop tip from Frank's shop today: covering your work tables with a big sheet of paper. Frank talks about what type of paper he uses and why it perfectly suits his projects and table dimensions. It's time to paper up our tables!