My friend Adam Iscove (who’s an excellent singer/songwriter/bass player) played a show out in Hollywood recently and he designed a great set of on-stage visuals by editing together tons of animated GIFs. So I had GIFs on the brain.
Then he blew my mind by sending me a GIF in a Facebook message. I had no idea.
So, now I’m going to make looping animated GIFs for fun! Kind of like quick sketching for computer graphics. The last time I created GIFs it was, like, 1995 and I was working at IBM’s interactive media lab.
Technical details: this is a triangulated polygonal plane mesh being deformed by a travelling sine wave and rendered in a hardware buffer with motion blur and five render passes per frame to create the overlapping line effect.
Earlier today I had cause to proclaim the following to the world:
“Sorry to yell but OMG I HAVEN’T HAD HONEY SMACKS IN SO LONG AND THEY ARE SO FREAKING GOOOOOOD”
This led me to wonder about the name switch from the Sugar Smacks of my youth:
- 1953-1990s the name was Sugar Smacks
- early 1990’s until 2004 the name was simply Smacks
- 2004 to present the name has been Honey Smacks
- future name: Gluten Smacks?
Thinking about this lead me to go eat another bowl of it,which then lead me to research the box art and mascots of the Smacks cereal line over the years. Go pour a bowl of Smacks and enjoy.
It all began with illustrations of real world Ringling Brother’s clowns.
1953-1956 Clown Paul Jung
Next came an animated seal. Go check out the animated ads, they’re wonderful.
1957-1960 Smaxey the Seal
In came the Hanna-Barbera horse sheriff, Quick Draw McGraw.
1961-1965 Quick Draw McGraw
The elementary school variety show producer (yes, producer — we take this seriously!) asked if I could build some lighted magic wand props for one of the acts. “Heck yes!,” I said. I love building props.
Here’s how I built them:
- Start with an LED flashlight for the end cap switch, handle, and battery holder. Doing these things from scratch can be a pain. $5 lights worked great, you may be able to go cheaper.
- Remove the bulb, solder in leads and wires to extend the length, solder on a nice, fat 10mm LED.
- Use three street sweeper blades to form the wand structure, zip tie and tape them to the barrel.
- Heat shrink tubing to hold the LED nicely to the sweeper blade tips.
- Wrap the wand in masking paper. Glue the paper on, being sure to wrinkle and crease it like gnarled wood.
- Stain with wood stain, paint it, dry brush lighter colors at the peaks to increase the read on stage to the audience. Polyurethane the paper.
Here’s a visual guide to my method. UPDATE: The wands survived dress rehearsal and three performances! See bottom of this post for a photo of the young wizards in action.
A friend was moving and thought I may have a use for this broken TV set. Here’s how I turned it into a book shelf.
I pulled off the back, removed the amplifier and CRT.
After removing the “gold tone” trim, these retention clips needed to be pulled to free the glass. The bezel is such a gorgeous brown, cream, and patina green. Here Beatrix and I appear on TV.
I framed it with some 1″ square strips of white oak I had left over from a catapult project, and used some hardware to mount a panel of wood. I pulled that panel from the dumpster at Walt Disney Animation Studios when they were remodeling one of the production pods a few years ago.
Here’s the finished piece. I left the tuning mechanism in place so you can twist the giant knob on the right and change the number front and center.
Here’s how I made a quick Baymax-o’-lantern from a squat, white pumpkin.
I’m not Baymax. I’m not in focus, either.
Hi there. This doesn’t hurt.
Sorry pumpkin. It’s hand brace and auger bit time.
Don’t come near me with that thing!
Pretty curls. And orange guts!
I saw that.
All clean. Wish I’d kept the line a bit thinner.
I built the Imperial Melody Discharger, an articulated Stormtrooper helmet music box, for the Star Wars Day (“May the 4th be with you”) vinyl Stormtrooper helmet art show . For the event, artists across the Walt Disney Company, including DisneyToon Studios where I work, were invited to participate by using a blank 6″ helmet as the canvas for their work. What follows are my build notes and work in progress images.
My intention for the piece was to provide a view behind the mask of the anonymous Stormtrooper, while creating a fun, interactive moment for the person experiencing it. I wasn’t sure exactly how to get there, but I was certain I’d need to cut the vinyl helmet open. You only have one shot at that, so I decided to first cut apart a CG model inside Maya, and rig it with pivot points that could be used in the real world for the facial articulation.
Mostly satisfied that I knew where to separate the parts of the helmet, I grabbed an X-acto knife, took a breath, and began the incision. (Note: It smelled really foul in there. Also note: I have no way to compare the smell to that of the insides of a tauntaun.)
Once splayed out I wasn’t too surprised to see that the “pelt” of the helmet was darned floppy. I needed to build an armature to keep the structure solid, and to support the articulation of the two halves of the face mask.
With very little time to get fancy building parts from scratch, I rummaged around my workshop, closets, and shamefully disorganized garage, until I came upon an old spider Babyface homage to Toy Story I’d build back in ’95 out of Erector sets. Sorry, Spider Baby, I needed your body parts.
I repurposed a scrap of 1939 4×4 beam from my house remodel to build a lamp base. I have a couple of these black metal gooseneck lamps in my garage with no bases — they broke years ago, some kind of cement in the base that crumbled, taking the threaded mount with it.
So, I drilled a hole in the 4×4, mounted the lamp post in there, and added bent nail to hold the cord. I love the result!