Posted by on April 9, 2015
Posted in: projects, software, tips and tricks

Over the years we’ve dabbled in rendering software, but have generally found them to be too technical and time-intensive for the type of explanatory diagrams we create. But recently we started using a rendering plug-in for SketchUp called Visualizer, and have been impressed with its ability to rapidly generate model views of striking depth and […]

Graphics Advice for Transportation
Posted by on April 1, 2015
Posted in: creative community, graphic design, transportation

Hot on the heels of our Graphics Advice for Lawyers, we released Graphics Advice for Transportation at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit on March 31. It contains insight into how to effectively incorporate visual thinking into project workflow and public outreach efforts. It’s a quick read that defines key graphic principles, contains tips for creating […]

Construction Details
Posted by on March 20, 2015
Posted in: construction, creative community, DetailViz, projects, tips and tricks

Fat Pencil Studio’s modeling process for construction details was inspired by Dennis Fukai at insitebuilders. His books and e-pubs offer highly illustrated examples of how to organize a SketchUp model using nested groups and the Outliner window. In many cases, you can achieve similar results using carefully named layers and components. We’ve used both approaches […]

Morrison Bridge Verdict
Posted by on March 18, 2015
Posted in: animation, construction, DetailViz, legal, projects, transportation

On March 6, a jury returned a verdict in the case of the defective lift span deck that was installed on the Morrison Bridge in 2011-12. The Morrison Bridge is Portland’s busiest non-highway bridge, carrying about 50,000 cars each day. Defects in the deck became apparent within months after construction was completed in March 2012, and have worsened […]

Wine and Graphics
Posted by on March 12, 2015
Posted in: creative community, legal

Last Thursday, March 5th, I joined Eli Rosenblatt for an interactive presentation about visual thinking and digital evidence at OTLA. We covered some key issues such as “demonstrative exhibit admissibility” and “social media forensics”… fascinating stuff, but maybe not a huge draw on its own. Lucky for us, we were followed by an hour-long wine tasting curated […]

Quiet Zone
Posted by on March 10, 2015
Posted in: transportation

Chances are, if you’ve talked to us on the phone in our office, our conversation was punctuated by a train horn. That’s because until last week, trains coming through the inner east side were required to blow their horns at road crossings, and our office is within 600 feet of three such crossings! Luckily the […]

Mitigating Circumstances
Posted by on February 12, 2015
Posted in: legal, presentations, slideshow

Jury selection is under way in the trial of Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, aka the Boston Marathon Bomber. The defense strategy will likely rely heavily on the theory that he was coerced by his older brother Tamerlan who was killed a few days after the attack. But suppose Tamerlan had lived…what possible defense could be mounted for him? Last […]

Hillsboro Downtown
Posted by on February 10, 2015
Posted in: animation, construction, projects, software, transportation, Vissim

Changes are afoot in Hillsboro, where the city council voted last year to reconfigure its downtown streets from one-way to two-way (not without controversy). We worked with Kittelson Associates to create a base model for a Vissim traffic simulation showing how the new scheme would work, and the video was presented at a public open […]

Filmwinter in Stuttgart
Posted by on January 22, 2015
Posted in: architecture, creative community, inspiration

It’s been quite the season for travel among the staff at FPS. Sebastian had scarcely returned from South America before I was packing a bag for a quick trip to Europe. Flying to Germany and back in six days (in January, no less) is arguably a crazy thing to do, but my most recent film […]

Street Seats
Posted by on January 16, 2015
Posted in: architecture, built projects, creative community, inspiration, transportation

I met Rebecca Hamilton five years ago through a friend at my old office, the TENpod Burnside coworking space. Rebecca was excited about the new parklets that had been popping up in San Francisco, and wanted to see what it would take to get something similar built in Portland. She asked me if I could help […]