Latest StoriesArt
    How Legacy Effects Built Jurassic World's Apatosaurus

    No big spoilers for Jurassic World, but this behind-the-scenes video from Legacy Effects shows the design and fabrication of the sole animatronic dinosaur that got screen time in the new blockbuster: "For Jurassic World's most touching scene, Legacy was asked to bring a gentle giant to life. Go behind the scenes with the Legacy team as they use both new and traditional methods to create an animatronic Dinosaur!" It's a beautifully animated robot that really contributed to the scene. Bonus: another SoundWorks Collection featurette profiles the sound design and editing on the film at Skywalker Sound.

    Jim Eustermann - Episode 15 - 6/19/2015
    Frank and Len welcome out guest Jim Eustermann, an actor/SFX makeup designer who has worked on Species, Pirates of the Caribbean and much more. Does Jim consider himself an actor or a SFX person? Listen in to find out. Thanks for your support of the show and thanks to Tested for providing us a happy home. Got an idea for a guest or a topic for a future CreatureGeek? Sound off in the comments!
    00:00:00 / 49:18
    Prototyping a Spray Painting Quadcopter

    Becky Stern from Adafruit sent over this video of a recent quadcopter project: "Recently some friends and I worked on building a quadcopter that can spray paint as it flies. The sprayer device works by depressing a lever with a servo motor, which the bot controls as though it were part of a camera gimbal (a more common payload) from the RC transmitter. I suited up a 3D Robotics IRIS+ with a sprayer device and proceeded to fly it around inside, with middling success." Read more about Becky's experiment and lessons learned at her Adafruit build log.

    How To Make a Handheld Camera Gimbal Mount

    There's no question that motorized gimbals do a fabulous job of hiding the bumps and bobbles when you're using an action camera. They're pretty much required equipment for multi-rotor flyers who want to capture decent footage from on high. Recent reviews of the DJI Inspire 1 Mount and the Feiyu-Tech G3 Ultra convinced me that I needed a gimbal for my ground-based video shoots as well.

    As I was browsing the selection of handheld gimbals, I ran across the Yuneec Steady Grip. Like the Inspire 1 Mount, the Steady Grip merely provides an alternate method to hold, power, and control a gimbal that would otherwise reside on a multi-rotor. The unique pistol-like form factor of the Steady Grip made me realize that I already had most of the parts that I needed to build my own handheld gimbal mount. So I abandoned the store-bought approach and went D-I-Y.

    The basic parts needed for this project are a complete gimbal assembly, a surplus pistol grip transmitter case and a servo driver.

    Gathering Parts

    My prime motivation for this project was the desire to easily swap one of my gimbals between its aerial mount and the handheld mount. Being able to utilize a gimbal I already owned presented a substantial cost savings. Adding a gimbal to the bill of materials for this project would likely make it more expensive than just buying a handheld gimbal system outright.

    I chose to use the GB200 2-axis gimbal from my Blade 350QX2 quad. The entire gimbal assembly can easily be removed from its mount on the quad by lifting a lock tab and sliding the base off of its rails. I had already upgraded the gimbal with the proper frame to hold a GoPro Hero 3 camera.

    To emulate the style of the Steady Grip, I plundered my stash of old RC systems. Among them are several pistol-grip transmitters that I haven't used in years. I located a well-used Futaba Magnum Sport that looked like it would do the trick. It didn't matter that the electronics of the radio were still in good shape. I really only needed the plastic shell. Finding a new use for one of my squirreled-away "treasures" has certainly done nothing to improve my hoarding tendencies!

    The GB200 gimbal used for this handheld mount is the same one that I use on my Blade 350QX2 multi-rotor. I can move the gimbal back and forth between the two mounts.

    I wanted to be able to control the pitch of the gimbal while it is in the hand mount. On the quad, this function is controlled by a channel of the radio. I used a servo driver (also called a "servo tester") to transfer this capability to the hand mount. I'll explain later just how that works.

    Different gimbals may require a wide variety of input voltages to operate. I wanted to be sure that I provided the correct voltage for the GB200, but I could not find any specs that defined what it should be. I measured the voltage output at the gimbal power pins on the Blade 350 at around 4.3 volts. With that value in hand, I felt comfortable buying a 5 volt voltage regulator for the hand mount.

    Building a District 9 Alien Rifle Replica, Part 1

    Norm's note: We're super excited to announce a new collaboration project with Bill Doran (aka Punished Props) and Smooth-On. Over the course of this month, Bill is building a 1:1 scale replica of the alien assault rifle from District 9 to unveil with us at Comic-Con. Bill's build logs and videos will walk through his design and fabrication process, and his finished piece will be paired with a surprise at SDCC. Place your questions for Bill in the comments below!

    It's no secret that I love me some space guns, and District 9 had some of the most incredible weapon designs from the mad geniuses over at Weta! Ok enough gushing, let's dive into this build!

    Design and Reference Material

    The design for this gun was mostly based on the 1:1 replica that Weta released a couple of years ago, but I also took a lot of inspiration from the 1:4 scale replica that I have sitting on my desk. I took measurements from these sources and laid out the gun in SketchUp. The 3D design was layout in flat layers, in the thicknesses that I knew I would be using from the MDF wood stock.

    Once all of the layers were designed, I was able to have them printed out, full scale, as 2D blueprints for each piece. These shapes were then spray glue adhered to flat MDF stock to prepare for cutting and gluing. The idea is that I can build up a prototype of the gun in layers, clean it up, and then mold and cast pieces for finishing.

    It took a lot of extra time to "build" the gun in SketchUp, but the effort was worth it. The blueprints I was able to print out made for a pretty fantastic kit, once all the parts were ready to be cut out. Also, I had already pretty much gone through the entire build once, planning it all out before even buying my material.

    Tested Meets the New BattleBots!

    BattleBots is coming back, and we couldn't be more excited! We've been granted exclusive access to the BattleBots pit, where teams from all around the world have brought their new robots to be tested in the combat arena. In the first of a three-part series, we meet with eight of the teams to learn about their robots' fighting potential and how new technology has changed how BattleBots are built.

    ILM Introduces VR/AR Arm: ILMxLAB

    Today ILM and Lucasfilm announced the creation of the ILMxLAB, a new division of ILM that will explore the emerging technologies of AR and VR to tell stories in ways that have never been possible before. In this clip, I saw many tools being used, including the HTC Vive, projection rooms, the Structure Sensor, and more.

    The Talking Room: Adam Savage Interviews Andy Weir

    Adam Savage welcomes author Andy Weir to The Talking Room! Andy wrote 'The Martian', the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars--it's a book we can't recommend enough. Adam and Andy talk about the research that went into writing the book, the portrayal of astronauts in fiction, and the upcoming film adaptation!

    How To Make a Realistic Horror Skull Prop

    Time for another prop-making tutorial with effects artist Frank Ippolito! This week, we stop by Frank's shop to learn how to transform a cheap plastic skull into a gory horror prop using simple materials. By layering and sculpting cotton and latex, we can simulate gross charred flesh on the skull or any other body part. It's very effective! (This video was brought to you by Premium memberships on Tested. Learn more about how you can support us by joining the Tested Premium community!)

    In-Brief: Large-Scale Papercraft AT-AT Scratch Build

    It may take us two years to build the DeAgostinni Millennium Falcon model, but you may recall the scratch-built 38-inch papercraft Falcon built by Polish modelmaker Bernard Szukiel (watch his build video here). Szukiel, who is also a member of TheRPF, didn't stop there, and has recently completed three additional 30-inch scratch built models of the AT-AT Walker, also with paper and cardstock. Find photos of these gorgeous AT-ATs in his build log. Next up, he's tackling the X-Wing!

    In Brief: Mad Max Effects Before and After Comparisons

    We've given Mad Max: Fury Road a ton of praise for its storytelling, editing, and use of practical stunts, but here's a big tip of the hat to the effects artists who build the digital post-apocalypse around the Namibian desert where the film was shot. FX Guide's in-depth feature on the visual effects of the film show a sample of the 2000 effects shots that combined the unbelievable stunts in the original plates with color grading and environment tweaks to create the illusion of one cohesive car chase.

    Norman 1