March 26, 2009

City Engine

I'm barely even sure what to say about this stuff. Yes, they are just plain cool... that's obvious. But more than that, I wonder if both products might just represent a sea change in the way we create. 

Not much description is necessary... just watch. First, City Engine, which procedurally constructs complex 3D cities. And then ILoveSketch, which allows artists to draw 3D models with––

Nevermind... just watch. And thanks Kevin, for pointing both products out!

March 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 29, 2008

Bubbles on the Beach

Picture 7 Click photos to enlarge

I've never been to Cape Romano Florida and, unless someone forces me, I won't be going there any time soon. From the looks of it, there's pretty much nothing to do or see there except this dome house, which supposedly managed to survive hurricane Wilma without a scratch. Though it looks to me like it's slowly slipping off into the ocean.


Flickr photos by Gunboats and Mila O

more at flickr

December 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 26, 2008

Secret Spy Sublimity

Partial view of snow fort – click to enlarge (it's worth it!)

Around the age of nine, my friends and I spent inordinate amounts of time designing and drawing top secret spy hideouts, an activity undoubtedly inspired by an overdose of our favorite spy: James Bond 007. These hideouts usually, but not always, came in the form of smallish, artfully disguised command centers for top secret spy stuffs, the creation of which required whopping amounts of concentration on the parts of our teensy-weensy nine year old brains. So much work! So much effort! But oh... so little time.

When finished designing and rendering our islands – a task which typically took about 45 minutes – we'd go outside and attempt to play the worlds we'd just made, applying our fanciful creations to the real world around us. So my bike becomes the helicopter. The area of dead grass in the corner of the yard becomes the helipad. The tree house becomes the mountain. Matt's bike becomes the fishing boat... And I think you're getting the general picture. At first this is a raucous delight but, in a matter of minutes, the whole thing disintegrates because, after all, the backyard is never going to measure up to these kick ass cool spy maps we've drawn. How could it?... How could anything in the backyard begin to approximate the elaborate underground control centers of our spy islands?

So that's it. That's what we did. But it all pretty much pales in comparison to the above sublime snow fort. It's probably a good thing we never saw this snow fort as kids; we might have never drawn another spy island in our lives – it so puts everything we did to shame. It's all there: so perfect, so complete. Does it even matter what it's supposed to do and why it's doing it? Of course not! (except maybe for the fact that it has something to do with the cold war and averting atomic bombs).

Click the image... enlarge it. You won't be sorry.

More information about here at Modern Mechanix.

Illustration by Frank Tinsley

November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 11, 2008

Britannica Revealed!


One panel of Britannica. (click photos to enlarge)

It's too good to be true. Artist Chesko (see last post regarding Midtown) succumbed to my infantile beggings and supplications and has recently sent exclusive photographs of his early Britannica work! Chesko's Britannica is staggering; I have no idea how he did it.  It's almost sad to think that that this creation is rolled up in one of Chesko's closets... when it should be hanging on a gallery wall.


Of his fantasy city, Chesko says,

Britannica is the Imagination run amok - my Magnum Opus. 

It begins with a series of maps scaled 1 inch to a mile. Britannica is a city of roughly 400 square miles that contains over 10 million people. It is surrounded by hundreds of suburbs, and the maps when connected portray a metropolitan area over 150 miles wide.

I recently went to Wikipedia to see a map of Gotham City drawn by Eliot R. Brown. My Britannica map is drawn in very similar style, only it makes this rendition of Gotham City look like Hooterville. I also copied maps of the Los Angeles metropolitan area to the same scale, spliced them together, and put them beside Britannica - and Britannica is considerably larger. I have drawn more streets and freeways for Britannica than the whole Los Angeles metropolitan area has in reality. Britannica is easily as intricate and complicated as New York.      

The buildings in Britannica are gigantic. They are ruled by a Titan called Britannica Rex, (the locals call it The Rex), a soaring spectacle reminiscent of the Empire State Building - only it is 2,400 feet tall. In addition to Britannica Rex there is the New World Center, an incredibly massive skyscraper over 2,025 feet tall. Britannica has more than 20 skyscrapers over a thousand feet, and I have modeled them all.  Yes!

Although it is incomplete, I have a model of downtown Britannica that is slightly larger than the Midtown model of New York.  All my models are the same scale, 1:3200.   I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We will be anxious to soon see the Model of Britannica... even if it is incomplete.

Britmetroese Britannica_2

August 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 04, 2008

Great Babylon


This Babylonian pillar, which now rests in the Louvre, is unbelievably huge. It's just one of many pillars that once held up an ancient temple in ancient Babylon.

May 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 07, 2008

Hugely Great Small


As devoted tinsel-readers already know, tinselman is a ginormous fan of the miniature. That's why his brain practically exploded at the tinselmagically amazing Musée des Plans–Relief! Why, he asks, are there no tourists at this remarkable collection of historic Fort2diminutives?... especially when they're housed in such a central location: in the heart of Paris' 7th arrondissement, at the Musée de l'Armée.

click images to enlarge or click here for flickr set

official website

previous tinsel-miniatures

April 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

May 08, 2007


Night at the Fair – click to enlarge

It was grand. It was colorful. It was futuristic. It was the 1964-1965 New York Worlds Fair! In a 25 page photo spread, National Geographic called the fair, "A journey round the world. A look back in time, and a window on the future. A treasure house of religious faiths. A procession of products. And a dream of 'Peace through Understanding.'" Modern Mechanix has been kind enough to post the article in it's entirety, and it's stunning.


Looking through the photos, you can't help but notice It's a Small World, the Disneyland ride which made it's premier at the fair and is still popular at Disneyland. It wasn't the only Disneyland attraction (or technology) that made it's premier at the fair: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Carousel of Progress, introduced at the fair, were popular at Disneyland for a long time after. Most importantly, the animatronics and the omnimover transportation, introduced at the fair, are still in use today at all the Disney parks.

• Previous posts – Disneyland
• Previous post – Rides and Attractions


May 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 15, 2006

The Venus Future

Jacque Fresco's The Venus Project (click to enlarge)

Someday, in the not too distant future, we will all live in retro-modern homes (like the Thunderbirds). There will be no crime. No wars. Life will be perfect, and the weather will always be warm.

Futurecity_05_1We will all wear the most inspired outfits! They will be blue. They'll have a sash for the men and a delightful little blue hat. Striking! Even our children will wear them (I'm wearing mine now).


Truthfully speaking... I have no idea what to think of The Venus Project. I don't know if I should laugh or be impressed. Or both. In any case, Jacque Fresco went to an incredible amount of work, and it's a lot of fun to browse around his personal vision of paradise.

• See more Cities Tinselistic.



(via: spy's spice)

December 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 12, 2006

Building within a Building


Don't be worried! This isn't the real Unite d'Habitation. It's just a gigantic miniature bearing the same name, by artist Tom Sachs. But I warn you; this is not your run-of-the-mill miniature. Mr. Sachs constructed his Unite entirely out of foam board and hot glue!

Unite_03_1 For our enjoyment (and education) Sachs has provided us with a fascinating glimpse into the creation of his faux architecture: a short film which shows Sachs carefully measuring Le Corbusier's great modern work. But the best part of the film is that it continually compares the actual building to similar shots of Sach's fascimile.

Unite_02But better than any any of this is the QTVR panoramic photography of Sach's other recent installations. Astounding! They fill the screen with incredible detail; it's got to be the next best thing to being there!

My favorite is this air craft carrier tower (at left), but his whale is not to be missed. See more here.

About Unite d'Habitation


September 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Taiwanese Resort of the Future


Is it a house? Is it a spaceship? Is it a crumbling Taiwanese retro-fantasy-space-apartment-thing?

As best as I've been able to uncover, this abandoned structure was built as a hotel-spa... a place for vacationing Taiwanese to escape from the rat race of Taipei! One could relax in one of its two delightfully large pools or simply lay back in plush comfort, gazing out a picture window at an endless sea!


Our cute retro resort is located along the north coast of Taiwan, where there's also a healthy fiberglass yacht construction industry. And if one is already making fiberglass yachts, one might as well make fiberglass homes! Diversification! It's not a very big jump for any forward looking entrepreneur. Unfortunately, our eager entrepreneur is blind to the catastrophe that will befall his investment.

What was that catastrophe? It's a mystery. But a dizzying number of explanations have been offered. According to visitors to the ruins, it may have been something as simple as bad fung shui. Others say that the fiberglass may have been downright uncomfortable in which to live. Still others point to a Taiwanese real estate "bubble" that forced the investors into bankruptcy.

Or who knows... it could have been a combination of all these things. Whatever the case, the ruins recall an earlier similar dwelling of the future... Disneyland's Monsato House.


More Taiwan Resort photos

Reader comment: Rollmops has kindly pointed out a few more more photos (including a Google Earth aerial view) on his Rollmops Blog.



August 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack