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    Exclusive: Kevin Tong and Tom Whalen's Info•Rama Art Prints

    Artist Kevin Tong is one of my favorite movie poster designers. If you've watched the videos shot at our office, you may have noticed his Overview print mounted on our studio set wall, as well as his Avengers Iron Man print in my garage in Tested member videos. We've also shared his design process videos on Tested before, which are fascinating for anyone who appreciates Adobe Illustrator work. I've had the pleasure of meeting Kevin at various conventions like the Renegade Craft Fair and Comic-Con, and it was at this year's SDCC that he let me know about an infographics exhibit that he had recently been working on. Called Info•Rama, it's debuting this Saturday at the Phone Booth Gallery in Long Beach. The show is a collaboration with artist Tom Whalen, whose work you may have recognized as part of the recent Gallery 1988 Ghostbusters exhibit. (I bought his awesome Stay Puft 'Kaiju' print.) Kevin and Tom have designed a dozen prints for this show, covering a range of topics from spacesuits to dinosaurs to celebrated vehicles of the 20th century. And I'm delighted to be able to show you guys two of the prints here.

    The coolest thing for me about this show is that Tested was actually able to help with some of the information for one of Kevin's pieces. For the infographic on NASA's Extravehicular Mobility Unit, Kevin told me that he sourced some of his information from our video about the EMU shot at NASA JSC. Terry Dunn, who we interviewed in that video (and now is our RC columnist on Tested) also helped fact check an early proof of the print design.

    Check out our exclusive print reveals from both Kevin and Tom, below, as well as some in-production and close-up photos!

    Bits to Atoms: Building the Millenbaugh Motivator, Part 3

    Progress on the Millenbaugh Motivator marches on! All the measurements have been made and a rough version has been modeled and approved by Adam. This week we take a look at modeling the final version and speccing hardware.

    I decided to tackle the ‘valve arms’ first since I wasn’t sure how to build them. They look relatively simple but on closer inspection there’s multiple compound curves, plus the forked portion at the back and I couldn’t easily build them using my regular techniques. I ended up drawing them as 2D splines (curve described by interpreting points) on top of the reference photo--if you are comfortable using the pen tool in Illustrator or Photoshop, this is the same idea. I was able to give the spline thickness by extruding it and then used planes and simple shapes to cut out the rear fork and the front slope.

    The many steps to build an arm. (click to animate)

    Early on, it was tough picturing the size of some of the parts. When you’re constantly looking at blown up pictures for reference and working in 3D where things are floating in space, you start to picture things much bigger than they really are. Adam mentions this in our video when he was convinced the motivator was too small until he actually placed it on the glove. I did a test print on my MakerBot and it looked way too small, so I printed a 1:1 reference picture to easily compare parts and they were right on. I was even able to print the pivot and if a part was printable on the MakerBot (even if it was a little rough) it should print on the high-end printer without any problems.

    Zoidberg Jesus at Comic-Con!

    We love going to Comic-Con, but have noticed that every year there are some picketers outside that take a little bit of the fun away from going to these fan events. We decided to bring the fun back by introducing them to our friend, Zoidberg Jesus.

    Here's The Drill Designed for Space Mining

    Like many good ideas, Dave Boucher’s Moon mining drill started as a sketch on a napkin. That was in 1999 (just one year after the space drilling adventures of Armageddon). But sometime this fall, his company Deltion Innovation’s latest prototype of a real Moon drill will go through one of its final tests. And with any luck, DESTIN — which stands for Drilling Exploration & Sample Technology Integrated — will be chosen to spearhead NASA’s lunar prospecting mission in 2018 or 2019, bringing us one step closer to leaving Earth forever and moving to the Moon.

    “Space mining has now become a must-do activity for every space agency in the world,” Boucher said in an interview earlier this year. “They all recognize that they have to be able to go mine in space just to support the missions that they're planning.”

    In other words, space mining isn’t so much about monetizing the supposed wealth of precious resources contained on the Moon’s surface (though, yes, there is apparently a lot). Not yet, at least. For now, it’s all about figuring out how to make future missions, manned or otherwise, self-sustainable — what’s known as In-Situ Resource Utilization — should we have any hope for the long-term exploration and colonization of world’s beyond our own.

    Of central interest for NASA’s prospecting mission are the pockets of water ice that satellite imagery believe exist in the Moon’s Polar Regions. “Water and oxygen extracted from lunar soil could be used for life support,” suggests a NASA document describing the eventual mission, “and methane produced from the Martian atmosphere could be used to refuel spacecraft for the trip back to Earth.”

    But we don’t know it’s there for sure. And that’s where Boucher’s drill comes in.

    Adam Tour Diaries #7: A Whirlwind Weekend
    I got this shot heading into our first TV station. (Or was it radio? It’s all a blur.)

    We had a busy weekend prepping and performing our first three shows in Oz.

    We are in the lovely and awesomely foodie town of Melbourne, where the crowds are incredible. I’ve been furiously adding and modifying and refining bits of the show (an endless process, I’m afraid), and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that when I’m putting a ton of creative energy in one place, I don’t have much left for other places.

    But it’s been awesome. Like I said, the Aussie crowds are excellent.

    So what has gone on? Well, we arrived in Melbourne on Thursday night, and woke up bright and early Friday for a bunch of press. I love cities at dawn. When I first moved to Manhattan a lifetime ago, I became addicted to the city as the sun came up.

    Adam Tour Diaries #6: Whoops and Whew

    Thursday and Friday are all press days. Jamie and I did some TV, we did a crap-ton of radio, and then we did more of both. Taken around by the awesome Lucy and G, we found that everyone we dealt with was amazingly nice. I know I'm supposed to say that, but it's frigging true!

    People we run into continue to be very enthusiastic about MythBusters, and they have run from ages 7 to 70 (well, he looked 70). It's also great to be hearing so many versions of the Aussie accent. I'm getting a crash-course in speaking like a true native of "Straya.”

    This is a short post because I have a splitting headache, having just gotten back from the dentist. Get this: I bit into a mint yesterday (one of those awesome oversized Life-Saver mints) and it KNOCKED MY DAMN MOLAR FILLING OUT.

    So I’m off to the dentist today to get a new temporary filling.

    Tested Builds: LEGO Sandcrawlers, Part 12

    This is it! The grand finale! Not only to our two weeks of LEGO speed-building, but to our whole month of projects for Tested members. Thanks so much for following along, and we hope you learned something interesting about 3D printers, papercraft, quadcopters, and even LEGO. Let us know what you thought about this series and what projects you'd like to see us tackle in future months. To watch and follow along with the build, sign up for a Tested Premium Membership by clicking here.

    SDCC 2014: Sideshow Collectibles Booth Tour

    We stop by Sideshow Collectibles' booth at Comic-Con to check out their new Premium Format Figures, sixth-scale posable figures, and chat with their Creative Director about the company's approach to new product designs and their new original characters.

    Adam Tour Diaries #5: Graffiti and Graves

    Can it be diary #5 already? Going strong!

    Today we rode Sydney’s awesome public-transit trains. They’re clean, silent and comfortable, and they show you a city that, like my home city of San Francisco, offers a new experience around every corner. It’s not one city, but hundreds of different environments that just happen to be near each other.

    I love taking the train; it’s my FAVORITE way to travel. Seriously. I’ve even taken the train with Mrs. Donttrythis from Oakland to Chicago (with a stop in Aspen for some food and friends)! Sydney’s trains make me wish I could commute like this every day.

    These MythBusters fans missed their train to take this photo.

    Ran into these MythBusters fans. They actually missed their train to take this photo. Those backpacks? Apparently full of Red Bull. No kidding. They’re participating in a contest to make it completely across Oz using only the salty Kool-Aid-flavored drink as their currency. They were so sweet and gracious. I hope they win!

    Our destination today was the hipster center of Newtown. Having lived in NYC’s East Village during the ‘80s and now living in SF’s Mission District, I felt right at home among the antique shops, clothing and art stores, and the good food and piercings and neck tattoos.

    Thing2 chilling because we overshot our stop and had to go back. The maps were slightly confusing on first blush

    After lunch Thing1 went off to find a cool jacket with the budget I’d given him, and the rest of us wandered the back streets of Newtown. We came across many lovely sights.

    Also in Newton there’s an old cemetery in Newtown called Camperdown. Founded in 1848, it gave us some stunning opportunities for the photographs. A few are below.

    Filming The Light and Dark Side of The Godfather

    Gordon Willis, who passed away on May 18, 2014, will always be best known as the cinematographer of The Godfather films. At least one recent poll ranked The Godfather as Hollywood's top movie of all time, and it’s not surprising Coppola's epic crime drama is still revered after all this time. The incredible scope and power of the story still holds up, and it gave a generation of new actors like Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and James Caan their career breakthroughs. Not to mention it was one of Marlon Brando’s best roles, and the movie that revived his career.

    The Godfather also made cinema history by introducing a new style of cinematography.

    Before Willis shot The Godfather, movies were vastly overlit so they could be seen in the drive-ins and not disappear into the dark of the night. But Willis’ cinematography was a bold step forward, changing the look of movies forever. Because of The Godfather, studios actually had to make two sets of prints, a lighter one for drive-ins, and a darker one for theaters.

    It’s easy to take this for granted today because dark cinematography is an accepted norm, and with the latest digital cinema cameras you can shoot with almost no available light. But for the time, Willis’ approach was very groundbreaking, and many cinematographers followed his lead into the dark.

    Willis had shot several films before The Godfather, including Loving, which was directed by Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back), and The Landlord, which was directed by Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude). The Godfather was going to be filmed in New York, which meant that Coppola had to hire a cinematographer from the New York unions. Willis was recommended to Coppola by Matthew Robbins, a friend from the Bay Area who went on to write The Sugarland Express for Spielberg, as well as direct the fantasy Dragonslayer. (Robbins knew Kershner from USC, where the latter taught film.) Willis was also picked for the job because Coppola wanted a cinematographer that could capture a period look.

    In interviews, Willis made it clear there was no master plan to change cinema with his approach to the film.

    Tested Builds: LEGO Sandcrawlers, Part 11

    Turns out Will has a few more bags left, and there's only 45 minutes to build in this episode. If he's to win the LEGO build-off, can he finish a whole episode ahead of Norm? To watch and follow along with the build, sign up for a Tested Premium Membership by clicking here.

    Adam Tour Diaries #4: Sew, Pram, Nose

    Our second day in Australia had a slow start. Both Mrs. Donttrythis and I woke up around 3 a.m., fell back asleep at 5ish, and then slept till 8 or so, but were still unwilling to get out of bed. Left to their own devices, Thing1 and Thing2 watched movies way too loud until we finally mobilized and headed out to see our friend who lives in Kurraba.

    Thing2 awaiting the ferry.

    Kurraba is just across the Sydney harbor from our hotel, so we took the ferry.

    The ferry!

    There are, like, thousands of them. And they’re so easy to take! I’m very excited about this idea of a ferry as a viable commute vehicle. I know they’re everywhere, but here in Sydney they seem to be as convenient as subways in NYC. We piled onto a lovely tugboat-style ferry and traipsed across the harbor in about 10 minutes, right past the Sydney Opera House. Got some lovely shots of it from the bay.

    Bits to Atoms: Building the Millenbaugh Motivator, Part 2

    Sean Charlesworth recaps his project working with Adam building the Millenbaugh Motivator for the Hellboy Mech-Glove project. This week, he discusses how he built the plans for his design, based on reference photos provided by Adam.

    I have been tasked with building a 5” x 4” mechanical block with a crankshaft assembly and a variety of small ‘valves’ that clop open and close. It’s the Millenbaugh Motivator for Adam’s Hellboy Mecha-Hand replica, so named for Scott Millenbaugh, the original fabricator at Spectral Motion. Scott machined the original out of metal (aluminum, I think) and there are many tiny precision pieces all driven by a small crankshaft. A lot of work went into this--all the parts are tiny and I can’t imagine having to machine all of them from metal.

    Original Motivator Photo credit: Adam Savage

    Having made replicas like this for many years, Adam knew exactly what was needed: lots and lots of good reference. As Harrison Krix discussed in his Halo Needler build articles, blueprints are the Holy Grail for building a replica, but these usually aren’t available or may have never even existed. For us mere mortals, reference typically comes from ‘Art of the Movie’ books, DVD extras, movie screengrabs and, if you’re really lucky, at Comic-Con or similar events where the original may be on display. Often, this original will be in a case or roped off so it becomes a game of fighting the crowd to snap as many pictures as possible through the display case which reflects everything and is smeared with nerd-grease.

    Incognito: Tested's Comic-Con 2014 Party

    At this year's Comic-Con, we threw our very first Tested party. It was called Incognito, and was a celebration of cosplay and popular culture. We brought down and set up all the costumes that Adam had worn at past Comic-Cons, and then unveiled the completed Hellboy Mecha-hand project for the first time in public. Hope you can join us the next time!

    Adam Tour Diaries #3: Sightseeing in Sydney

    We got into Sydney after 10 p.m. and checked into our hotel. My son was asking about seeing the Sydney Opera House while we’re here and the hotel surprised us by giving us an insane view of the harbor, the Sydney Harbour Bridge AND the Opera House itself. We just stood for a while taking it in. So beautiful. We all slept pretty well that night. (That first night lures you into complacency before the dreaded lag wakes you up on the SECOND night and doesn’t let you go back to sleep.)

    At any rate, we woke around 10 a.m. and began thinking about what to do.

    One of my producers on MythBusters, Jacques, recommended something called the Coogee Walk. Well! High holy heck, what an awesome walk that is. Just amazing. We took a cab from the hotel down to the famous Bondi Beach. Once there, bitten by hunger, we went for some grub at a place called Gusto’s. Good bread.

    Adam Tour Diaries #2: Holy Crap, This is a Long Trip

    Holy crap, this is a long trip.

    First of all, our original flight, which was to leave Los Angeles at 11 p.m. and arrive in Syndey at 6 a.m. (two days later because of the International Date Line) was cancelled. So we had to leave earlier.

    Earlier meant we were leaving out of LA in the morning instead of the evening. Everything got pushed up by a day. We started in San Francisco on Friday eve, saying goodbye to the dogs and leaving for the airport around 7 p.m. We arrived in LA at 10 p.m., staying at the Westin by the airport (a mighty fine hotel, I might add).

    Then we were up at 8 a.m. to head back to LAX, check in for our flight and wait. We boarded at 11 a.m. for the 16-hour flight to Brisbane. I know. That’s not Sydney. We’ll then have a one-hour layover in Brisbane, arriving in Sydney around 9:30 p.m. All told, it’s just about 31 hours of travel.

    Good pictures are hard to take inside a plane, but I took an infinity picture from the bathroom!

    A word about Australia: I’ve never been to Oz, but MythBusters is in fact an Australian show. It was conceived in Australia, and it’s produced out of Sydney. I’ve been working with Aussies extensively for the past 12 years. The show’s sense of humor is deeply informed by the Aussie sense of humor, and so is mine. And it’s a good, solid, deep and bawdy sense of humor.

    The plane is packed with Aussies (of course, duh) and I feel instantly at home with every one of them, from the captain and his crew on down.

    Did I mention that the crew is amazing? Yay to Virgin. Mr. Branson, my hat’s off to you. (And if you’re actually reading this, you should hire Jamie and me to do your safety video. I can’t stand that Virgin America song anymore -- and neither can your flight crews.)

    As I’m writing this, the video display on the wall says we have three hours left of the Pacific leg. That’s still about six hours before we’re in. I’ve watched King Kong, finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and also read another book from start to finish.

    That book? THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir. Seriously, stop everything right now and go out and read that damned book. It’s about a man stranded on Mars. That’s all I’m going to tell you, save for the fact that it’s incredibly accurate from an engineering point of view, and that that veracity makes the narrative INCREDIBLY compelling. I was moved to tears repeatedly. (But then again I cry at everything.)

    Go read that book.

    Tested Builds: LEGO Sandcrawlers, Part 9

    Well that gambit failed, so it's back to speed building as we inch closer to the completed Sandcrawlers. In case you didn't know, this set isn't just a display model, it's a playset with a bunch of new mini-figs. Including one of Will's all-time favorites! To watch and follow along with the build, sign up for a Tested Premium Membership by clicking here.

    Testing: Oculus Rift DK2 with Elite: Dangerous + HOTAS

    Norm flies through the basics of Elite: Dangerous using the Oculus Development Kit 2 and a joystick plus throttle setup at home. Here's how the space flight simulator integrates head-tracking for its in-cockpit user interface, and why it's one of the best uses of the Oculus headset so far. Let us know if you want to see more of these Oculus DK2 game demos and playthroughs on Tested!