May 13, 2009

A City in a Day

More procedurally generated cities. When will it end?

• earlier: City Engine

Thanks, Rangachari

May 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

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

August 07, 2008

Stop and Smell the Miniatures

Nyny01_2click photos to enlarge 

Artist Michael Chesko must live by a similar credo. He first caught the miniature bug while working as a software engineer for Motorola in the early 1980s. His original creation... a sprawling imaginary city named Britannica! His medium and tools... balsa wood, Xacto blades, and fingernail files.

But after ten years of purely creative (but somewhat geeky) fantasy, he realized he must put childish things aside... after all, why spend time daydreaming when one could enjoy the demanding exactitude of reality?

And so, he brings us Midtown Manhattan, his most ambitious work to date...



This scale miniature of Midtown took 2000 hours to complete. As reference, he used blueprints, old photographs, digital reproductions, and satellite images. On a good day, he'd work his way through four city blocks. The entire model is 36" x 30"... a good deal smaller than most office desks. At the 1:3200 scale, the Empire State Building Chesko's favorite skyscraper) roughly reaches the dizzying height of a Campbell's Soup can.


All of us here at the Republic pretty much flipped when we saw Chesko's hand-carved miniatures. Yet we're torn. Because the Republic also takes joy in childish, boneheaded fantasy. That's why we're dying to see some of Chesko's earlier Britannica work! C'mon Chesko!... show us the geeky fun stuff!


Nyny05_2 1 Downtown New York. 2 Downtown and Midtown

Chesko's Midtown model will soon go on display at the Skyscraper Museum in New York. Much thanks to Micheal Chesko himself, who sent Tinselman these photos!

August 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | 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

September 04, 2007

20 Feet Below Paris


Just beneath the shimmering glamor of the Parisian streets is a tunneling web of mayhem that boggles our little brains. This is the secret underworld of Paris.... miles and miles of limestone quarries, which were used to construct the French capital.

Underground_02 According to explorers, dangers abound in the some-185 miles of tunnels: falling into wells, cave-ins, loss of light, lack of oxygen, or just getting lost. But, if you're willing to risk it, you may be lucky enough to encounter intrigue and wonder beyond your wildest imagination! (or something to that effect)

Paris Underground Flickr Pool

photos copyright© 2007 boreally

September 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 13, 2007

More About Paris

click photos to enlarge

Okay. Back to Paris! So... here's some photos from our totally amazingly great trip.

Here at the Louvre, soldiers armed with semi-automatic weapons, make one feel cozy and safe!


We walked by this sign about seven or eight times. None of us could figure out what it means. Is it bad interface or is it art?

Note: Republic of Tinselman Citizen Foo has directed us to a similar sign on flickr, where, in a user comment, the symbol is define. They represent "muster points": a place to go, and be accounted for, in case of an emergency.


The Metro is great: each stop is unique, and the majority of it isn't as modern as this.


This is a view from the lowest level of the Eiffel Tower. The highest level is unbelievably high, especially considering it was built around 1900 between 1888 and 1889 for the 1889 World's Fair.


Parisians tend to leave trash in places where a trash can seems to belong. I saw this type of thing in one or two places.


There's no end to beauty in Paris. It's practically overwhelming.

photos by Robyn Miller (cc) 2007, some rights reserved

April 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (10) | 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 17, 2006

Scale Model Archive – Cities

Soviet Era Moscow, photo by Natalia Grishkina ©

Faithful readers of tinselman are fond of all things diminutive. And of course, nothing can be more impressive that a gigantic city, rendered in miniature form. This is why I have gone to incalculable trouble seeking out these scaled down wonders and bringing them together in this handy archive. For your tinselistic enjoyment!

New York, photo by Hurricane Joost (cc)

Edinburgh, photo by only alice ©

Shanghai, photo by Simon & Andrew ©

Shanghai, photo by Andrew Currie (cc)

Nanjing, photo by paul_ark ©

London detail, photo by HalderStream ©


Old Jerusalem, photo by MyNameIsOtto ©

Sydney, photo by mpgilbert ©

San Francisco, by Bechtel Engineering

Rome – 4th Century, photo by D. Lauvernier ©

Singapore, photo by mikeleecs ©

Havana, photo by nfolkert ©

Beijing, photo by Tom Vanderbilt ©

Cincinnati, photo by srhbth ©

Pompeii, photo by Chenzofilms ©

Tobu World Square (thanks, Don Draper!)

Legoland (thanks, Richard Ackerman)

Paris, under glass (thanks, malcolm)

If you know of other any other decent cities for our archives, let me know. I'll add it to the ever increasing list (as long as it's a half-decent photo).

More cities from past posts:
22 Acres of Brooklyn
Futurama - City of the Future
Futurama Film (great!)
New York

Continued below are some photos that don't exactly count as "cities", but I couldn't bear to leave them out...

Reykjivik, photo by The Morally Superior One ©

San Francisco in Jell-O by Elizabeth Hickok ©

Copenhagen Settlement, photo by Robert Ra ©

September 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 15, 2006



In an flash, 10,000 civilians were killed in Hiroshima. In the days and weeks to come, thousands more would die. The hypocenter (the orange sphere) was triggered at about 600 meters above Aioi bridge. This miniature illustrates that exact point in time.

Here's another Hiroshima model, in striking before-and-after format...





Update: Thanks so much for all these great comments! Please keep it up! And just so you know, these miniatures do not overtly lay blame to one country or another. As far as I understand their purpose is more left up to the viewer, though there is text in one of the museums about the state of nuclear proliferation.

Here are some excerpts from the account of P. Siemes, survivor of the Hiroshima blast...

More and more of the injured come to us. The least injured drag the more seriously wounded. There are wounded soldiers, and mothers carrying burned children in their arms. From the houses of the farmers in the valley come word: " Our houses are full of wounded and dying. Can you help, at least by taking the worst cases?" The wounded come from the sections at the edge of the city. They saw the bright light, their houses collapsed and buried the inmates in their homes. Those that were in the open suffered instantaneous burns, particularly on the lightly clothed or unclothed parts of the body. Numerous fires spring up which soon consumed the entire district. We now conclude that the epicenter of the explosion was at the edge of the city near the Yokogawa Station, three kilometers away from us.

We take off again with the hand cart. The bright day now reveals the frightful picture which last night's darkness had partly concealed. Where the city stood, everything as far as the eye could reach is a waste of ashes and ruin. Only several broken skeletons of buildings completely burned out in the interior remain. The banks of the river are covered with dead and wounded, and the rising waters have here and there covered some of the corpses. On the broad street in the Hakushima district, naked, burned, cadavers are particularly numerous. Among them are the wounded who still live. A few have crawled under the burnt-out autos and trams. Frightfully injured forms beckon to us and then collapse. An old woman and a girl whom she is pulling along with her, fall down at our feet.

Update 2: I recommend the film The Fog of War, an insightful interview with Robert McNamara, who takes an honest and insightful look back on his life – WWII, Japan and the Cold War are especially interesting... and disconcerting.

Update 3: For a response to this post, read Looming Comments.

Additional Photos of Museum
General Tibbets and an Army of Ultramen – Previous post
With God on Our Side – Previous post

June 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (65) | TrackBack