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    Bits to Atoms: Co-op Quadcopter Challenge

    This month's Bits to Atoms project explores the idea of teamwork through quadcopter hacking. Jeremy and Sean set up a game for the Tested team to cooperatively pilot a quadcopter through an obstacle course, and Adam comes in to save the day with his decisive leadership.

    Comic-Con 2017 Show Floor Walking Tour!

    It's time for our annual walking tour of San Diego Comic-Con! Norm is joined this year by Allen Pan and Tamara Robertson, friends of Tested who were both recently contestants on Mythbusters: The Search. It's Allen and Tamara's first SDCC, so we chat about their experience, fandoms, cosplay, and look at some of the awesome things from the massive show floor!

    Weta Workshop Booth Tour at Comic-Con 2017!

    We hit the floor at San Diego Comic-Con to visit a few of our friends, starting with the artists at Weta Workshop. Weta brought costumes they built for films like the new Power Rangers, Lord of the Rings, and Netflix's Spectral. We chat with costume tech Darin Gordine about the making of these pieces and how costume fabrication has changed in the studio's storied history.

    Adam Savage Incognito as King Arthur at Comic-Con 2017!

    Adam fulfills his lifelong dream of becoming King Arthur from the film Excalibur at San Diego Comic-Con! This year's costume is a full suit of armor from Excalibur, made by legendary armorer Terry English who made all the armor for the film. Adam spent over a week at Terry's shop assisting with this build, culminating in this beautiful shiny suit that's surprisingly comfortable to move in!

    PROJECTIONS, Episode 18: Marvel Powers United VR, Oculus Interview

    In this on-location episode, we attend a preview event to get hands-on time with Marvel Powers United VR, co-op brawler that lets you feel like a superhero. We chat with the game's developer and give initial impressions, and then sit down for a longer interview with Oculus' Nate Mitchell about the state of Rift.

    Let's Build: 1/144 Millennium Falcon, Part 4

    To wrap up this build, we put the two halves of the ship together and prep the landing gear. Decal application looks to be daunting, but the effort is worth it! Let us know what you thought about the new camera angle and if you'd like to see more!

    Making The Lich King Armor for Blizzard!

    Frank shows us his amazing Lich King armor that he made for Blizzard's Hearthstone Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. This project allowed Frank and his team to take cosplay to a new level, combining clay sculpting, large-scale 3d printing, smoke effects, and chroming to make our jaws drop. Just look at that Frostmourne sword!

    Modeling the Boat from ‘Apocalypse Now’, Part 1

    Right out of the box, the Alpha Patrol Boat from ProBoat Models is a nicely-detailed rendition of a Vietnam-era patrol boat. Commonly called the PBR (Patrol Boat, River), these vessels were fast, nimble, and heavily-armed. Their water-jet propulsion system allowed them to venture into shallow waters that were inaccessible for most other military boats.

    Perhaps the most widely-recognized PBR is the one that serves as the primary setting in 'Apocalypse Now'. It is certainly a focal element of the movie. So when I decided to add more details to my model PBR, emulating the Erebus was an easy decision.

    Let me be clear: this is not a tutorial on how to create a museum-quality PBR model. I'm far from qualified to write that kind of how-to article. In fact, I had never actually detailed and weathered a RC boat before this project. So, modeling the Erebus provided an avenue to experiment and expand my skills. Some things worked out well, while others did not. My goal is simply to provide a recap of my experiences that may help you decide what techniques could be applied to your next project.

    Making a Star Wars Battlefront 2 Inferno Squad Helmet!

    Recently, we had the opportunity to make a replica prop helmet from EA's upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2. Frank walks us through the steps to fabricate and finish it in his shop, based off of in-game reference. The Inferno Squad Commander helmet belongs to Iden Versio, played by actress Janina Gavankar, and we were able to surprise Janina with it at D23!

    Let's Build: 1/144 Millennium Falcon, Part 2

    The gang talks about The Force Awakens' lasting legacy and their first Star Wars games as we snip plastic and snap together this beautiful kit. There's so much detail here to appreciate, and Sean brings along a technical manual to help deciper the parts.

    Adam Savage's 2017 San Diego Comic-Con Schedule

    We're just a few days away from Adam Savage's version of Christmas, and as usual he's beside himself with joy.

    Here's what he's doing this year publicly, and for those of you who cannot be there, we will be sharing as much as possible from the event, plus of course TONS of video on Tested afterward.

    Adam Incognito 1 (Thursday)

    Stay tuned to Twitter (@donttrythis), because we'll Tweet when Adam is hitting the floor in his first Incognito costume. He may or may not have a surprise guest with him. (OK. Yes. He'll have a surprise guest with him.) The first person to identify Adam will get two passes to his panel on Friday.

    Syfy Hosts the Great Debate (Thursday at 1:15 pm)

    What superfan doesn't love a good debate? Star Destroyer or Enterprise? Who was the best Batman? Have video games eclipsed movies and TV? And what about Jodie Whittaker as the new Dr. Who? John Hodgman leads the ultimate debate, featuring panelists Adam Savage, Orlando Jones, Aisha Tyler, John Barrowman and Charlie Jane Anders.

    W00tstock (Thursday at 7 pm)

    Other guests in addition to Adam and Paul and Storm: John Hodgman, John Roderick, Michael Giacchino, Marian Call, Gail Simone, Amy Berg and Travis McElroy. In other words, LOTS of amazing people, and for under $50. Tix: http://sandiegotheatres.org/w00tstock-9-0/

    Let's Build: 1/144 Millennium Falcon, Part 1

    This week, Norm, Jeremy, and Sean take on the Bandai Millennium Falcon snap-fit kit, which we gushed over at Silicon Valley Comic Con. Jeremy found a custom light kit for this model, and we're experimenting with a new sky-cam camera angle!

    The Visual Effects of War for the Planet of the Apes

    War for the Planet of the Apes hits theaters this weekend, and by most accounts, the film is a triumph (93% fresh on RottenTomatoes). I'm really excited to see it on the big screen, since it was shot in 65mm to explicitly showcase the film's landscapes and larger-than-life sets. We were on one of those sets over a year and a half ago, while the film was in mid-production. Fox invited us out to visit the shoot, on a massive outdoor prison built a few miles away from Vancouver. The Canadian winter was an ideal backdrop for this sprawling snowy set, which had its own set of railroad tracks, grungy barracks, and a towering battle-worn wall that separates soldier and simian.

    The enormity and tangibility of this built-out world stands in contrast to the film's computer-generated heroes--this Planet of the Apes trilogy has anchored itself in its ability to meld the real and the digital. Actors like Andy Serkis and Steve Zahn do their best to give performances in tight-fitting performance-capture suits, but their performance is really a collaboration with the animators and special effects artists who turn mo-cap data into the characters you see on screen. On set, we sat in a roundtable interview with visual effects producer Ryan Stafford, who worked with director Matt Reeves and the effects team at Weta Digital to realize the digital characters and environments in the film. Here are some highlights from that conversation.

    On compositing live and CG characters

    Every time we do a shot, we do it in a variety of ways. On a traditional movie, you set up the camera, you set up your characters, you roll, get the performances you want, and you move on. Well, when we get the performances we want, we say "great, let's do that again without the actors." So we pull the actors out of the shot and we replicate the camera move as closely as possible using motion control and a lot of other tricks to get it as accurate as possible. And then we run the whole take "clean"--and if there's a human character in it, then they have to act to nothing. Sometimes we put a piece of tape up with fishing wire, and that's their eye line. And they have to re-enact the entire performance to nothing, to thin air, to a piece of tape.

    The apes proportions--their anatomy--are different from humans. It's very close. We've made Caesar just a few inches shorter than Andy Serkis. And the build is similar. But where his joints are are different than Andy's. His arms are much longer. His legs are shorter, his chest is more barreled. So when we put Caesar on top of Andy in the shot, there's a lot of Andy left. And we have to paint that out. Painting out things is very expensive, it's very labor intensive, it's very complex, especially when you have very dynamic camera movements. So we do it all on a clean plate in hopes that it's as dynamic as with the actors in it so we don't have to paint anything out.

    We use both. It's kind of a mixed bag. Our ideal scenario is a clean plate but we have maybe a 60% success rate with that. We still have to do a lot of cleanup with actors still in the shot. That's mostly performance driven. The reality is that you're going to get a better performance from a human character when they're acting against someone else in frame. Particularly Andy, who has such a great presence, you get a much different experience than if someone's acting against thin air. In those instances, we take the clean plate, and use that information to do an overlay, try to get as much information, and steal as information as we can.

    PROJECTIONS, Episode 17: The Past, Present, and Future of VR/AR

    For this special episode of Projections, we're joined by futurist Kevin Kelly to discuss the past, present, and future of virtual reality and augmented reality. Kevin has been following VR since its inception, during his tenure as Editor of Wired and most recently as one of the few people who've used Magic Leap. He also just wrote a book about the inevitable technological forces that will change our world.

    3D Printing Molds for Silicone Masks!

    We're in Frank's new shop to check out his testing of the 3D Platform printer! This commercial-grade printer alows him to make massive 3D prints that are beyond what's possible with home printers, including swords, armor, and even large molds for casting. One experiment Frank has been working on is printing molds for hyperrealistic silicone masks!