New Spin on Photo-Matching
Posted by on June 14, 2012
Posted in: inspiration, photomatch

We do a fair amount of photo-matching to help people realistically appreciate the impacts and/or consequences of a proposed design. It’s an exacting process that requires one to whittle away at the gaps between real world geometry and ideal geometry, and to compensate for distortion and inconsistency in photography and digital compositing. Recently, I came […]

Is Biking Safe?
Posted by on May 16, 2012
Posted in: data visualization, transportation

May 2012 is national bike month, so you might notice more folks choosing two wheels as a preferred mode of transit to & from work, school, or shopping. There are all sorts of different factors driving this trend: high gas prices, warmer weather, better infrastructure, and fitness benefits. And it’s not just in Portland. An […]

Technology Tangent
Posted by on May 10, 2012
Posted in: creative community

This should be filed under barely relevant, but pretty interesting. I was recently involved in the judging process for the 39th Student Academy Awards. Among the five compelling films named Western Region Documentary Finalists was one called Love Hacking. It’s the tale of a Mormon robot inventor who uses Skype and Google Earth to aid […]

Dynamic Lifting
Posted by on May 9, 2012
Posted in: construction, dynamic components, software, tips and tricks

After years of consideration and weeks of development, we’re excited to announce the completion of a new, anatomically correct SketchUp model of a Liebherr 200 HC tower crane(!) Developed primarily to improve the accuracy and visual quality of our models, the crane has some key features that’ll speed up our modeling process as well. We […]

Compo Spray
Posted by on May 9, 2012
Posted in: software, tips and tricks

Sketchup users do alright with the tools that come with the program, but I think any experienced modeler will agree that plug-ins can be a huge help in terms of capabilities and work flow. There are approximately a gajillion ruby script plug-ins now available (ok, last time I checked it was 957), and, well, some […]

Trimble Sketchup
Posted by on April 30, 2012
Posted in: software

We’ve now had a few days to let the news of Sketchup’s sale to Trimble sink in. It’s been six years since Google acquired the program from @Last Software and, though it didn’t seem like an obvious fit at the time, Google integrated Sketchup quite well into its empire with the 3D Warehouse and Google […]

Model Modelers
Posted by on April 25, 2012
Posted in: creative community, software

It’s amazing how many people in the world use Sketchup to make 3d digital models of all sorts. Google’s recent Model Your Town competition gave some skilled and ambitious teams an opportunity to show off their chops. The finalists were chosen by Google, but the winner will be selected by popular vote (if you want your […]

Open PV Project
Posted by on April 17, 2012
Posted in: energy, environment, mapping

Since a fair amount of our work at Fat Pencil Studio is related to solar power, it sure does seem like there has been a marked increase in the installation of solar PV arrays in recent years. But it’s always nice to have some well-presented data to confirm one’s impressions, so I was excited to […]

Happy B-day Packy!
Posted by on April 14, 2012
Posted in: construction, geomodeling

Fifty years ago in Portland, an elephant named Packy was born. At the time, no Asian elephants had been born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years, so Packy touched off a minor sensation in Oregon, and across the United States. Today, Packy is the oldest male elephant in North America, and he is the patriarch […]

There's a brick for that
Posted by on April 3, 2012
Posted in: data visualization, inspiration, lean management

When I was growing up, LEGO provided the building blocks for a whole range of creative expression… for kids. Now they’ve found their way into corporate management systems. General Motors has partnered with the WellStar Health on a system using LEGO bricks to track a whole range of processes from vehicle repairs to patient care. […]