how things are made

Showing 178 posts tagged how things are made

The next time that you’re in your local natural history museum, don’t just look at the large animals in the dioramas — really look for those hidden small animals, too: a brown-headed cowbird near a bison, a Botta’s pocket gopher peeking from a burrow, or a Blue Echo Butterfly on a flower. These smaller details in scenes get as much attention from museum staff as the central figures. 

Above, the American Museum of Natural History's Conservation Fellow Bethany Palumbo describes how she studied museum specimens of the Blue Echo to recreate it using a mix of photocopying, hand painting, and sculpting with layers of glue.

New York’s AMNH made a series of excellent videos about their dioramas from their 2012 restoration efforts

Every detail was studied for accuracy, down to the cougar’s whisker texture:

Even the shadows, background paintings, and native grasses demand proper attention to detail. After new, energy-efficient lights were installed, museum artist Stephen C. Quinn even altered the slight color variations of the crushed marble dust “snow” to better represent the moon shadows in the Wolf Diorama

Related watching: Ancient Ancestors Come to Life, How to Make a Large Crocodile Sculpture, Anatomy of Preservation, and Paleontology 101.

h/t Sagan Sense.

In this time lapse video, nature history and prehistoric life modeler Gary Staab studies, welds, sculpts, and paints to create a large crocodile sculpture with his team. Staab has worked for clients like National Geographic, the American Museum of Natural History, Walt Disney Animation, and the Smithsonian. This sculpture will tour the United States in an exhibition called “Crocs — Ancient Predators in a Modern World.”

Related watching: paleo-artist John GurcheFlorentijn Hofman’s Feestaardvarken (Partyaardvark), and The Secret Story of Toys.

Thanks, Michael.

What if we could replace plastics and styrofoam with something much more sustainable? Something that wouldn’t fill our landfills, pollute our beaches, or float out into our ocean gyres?

Meet Eben Bayer, the co-founder of Ecovative Designs. In 2007, Bayer and co-founder Gavin McIntyre developed the idea of combining mycelium from growing mushrooms with local crop waste to make a compostable biomaterial. Their goal: use it for packaging, insulation, shoes, fiberboard for furniture, and other products, thereby reducing or replacing non-biodegradable synthetic materials and plastics that can leach chemicals.

Are mushrooms the new plastic?

To find out, watch this 2010 report that explores how mushroom packaging is made. For more information on what Ecovative is working on, read this article in The Guardian, watch Bayer present at TED, or watch Ecovative’s Sam Harrington present to NASA.

Then watch more videos on innovative ideas and sustainability (like the Moser Lamp!)learn how creativity works, and check out Minute Earth’s The Biggest Organism on Earth.

Mixing pottery with zoetropes sounds like just our thing: Experimental animation meets pottery is a short film by Jim Le Fevre, Mike Paterson, and RAMP ceramics' Roop and Alice Johnstone, commissioned by the Crafts Council. How does it work? 

The film is based upon the principles of the Zoetrope - the difference being that instead of the slits that one would have in the drum around the side of the Zoetrope, it uses the shutter speed of the camera instead.

Jim used 19 ‘frames’ on the pot – a good balance of space per frame (about 4 cm at the outside of the bowl) and amount of animation (0.7 of a second per loop).

To get it up to speed it was simply pressing the floor lever gently until it was perfect in-frame for the camera (essentially it would be 78rpm and so therefore would work on a traditional 78 deck).

We’ve seen Le Fevre’s work here before: The Phonotrope. Plus, there are more videos of amazing optical toys in the archives, including this gem on Pixar’s 3D zoetrope.

via It’s Nice That.