Lego Alien Xenomorph XX121 Instructions

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I’ve been so completely obsessed with the “structural perfection” of the hand-made Lego Alien (completed kit shown above) from the Tinyminds Etsy Store that I ordered for Miles’ 11th birthday, that I downloaded Bricksmith Virtual Lego Editor, re-created the creature, and designed some cool instructions for for it this morning. (File under “Things you do when you are home alone and procrastinating”)

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS PDF

Unboxing the kit from the Tinyminds Etsy Store. Yes, I bought one for me, too. It really kind of blew my mind that there could be a category of custom Lego kits. There are actually other designs available, but this Alien is perfection. I also purchased an astounding Predator kit for Lars. (Emily also makes Dr. Who, Adventure Time, Star Wars, The Hobbit and Kitty Cat Kits)

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Here are the instructions I designed, followed by some isometric view studies. Click on the image to see a gallery of details.

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DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS PDF

Some additional isometric views rendered from Bricksmith Virtual Lego Editor.

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And finally, a reversed version of the instruction sheet: white on black.

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Angry Owls Tee Shirts from Salem, Oregon

When I was a kid, I lived in Salem, Oregon. Salem was recently in the news for making joke signs a reality in Bush’s Pasture Park where an “Angry Owl” has been attacking runners. This fits in perfectly with my Caution sign tee-shirt theme.

Now you can wear the “Angry Owls” sign on a limited-edition silk-screened 2-sided t-shirt from Teespring.com

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http://tees prong.com/angry-owls

A photo posted by nelsdrums (@nelsdrums) on

Horny Cupid Photoshop Brushes

A set of eight free high-resolution photoshop brushes featuring the “Horny Cupid” from my Raunchy Designer Valentines Day Cards

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Horny Cupid Clean
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Original Cupid by Yasmin Alanis

Limited Edition “Caution Skateboarders” Tee-Shirt

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The other day in Los Angeles, while skateboarding to work in the rain, I saw some yellow caution cones and had a deliciously malicious idea when I saw the triangular graphic. So I grabbed a sharpie marker from my desk, and went outside to draw some wheels and a kick tail on the black line under the falling person, and posted to Instagram. Throughout the day, I saw people passing by the cone. Some laughed, and some even stopped to take photos. I felt wickedly clever.

Now you can have this great graphic in the form of a silk-screened, limited-edition tee-shirt from Teespring. So do me a huge favor, and buy one before time runs out. I need to sell 100.

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TEES ARE SHIPPING – SEND ME YOUR PICS

My ex-bro-in-law wearing a brilliant t-shirt on set. #caution #skateboarding

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Thank you so much @nelsdrums !!!!! So bomb

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How to line up shots for stitched panoramic images

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I like to carry a simple point-and-shoot Canon S900 pocket camera. It is convenient for capturing of-the-moment photos, but it produces a frustrating lack of detail when I am faced with large panoramic nature scenes.

Adobe Photoshop CC and other programs now have very advanced image stitching and photo merging capabilities. Here I will show you how to frame up your shots for the best possible stitched results. Of course, you can make much better quality images with good camera and a tripod, but this method is to make the most of hand-held pocket cameras.


Four techniques:

Panorama-Instructions-01Standing at the side of the highway, with my camera zoomed all of the way out, this is what I see through the lens. The aspect ratio is 4:3, and the resolution is 4000×3000 px.

While this is very nice looking, I would like to create an image of much greater detail, that shows the grand, looming presence of the mountains that I experienced with my naked eye.

All four examples are taken from one spot on the side of the road.


Example 1:
Zoomed-in landscape pan

PROS: My favorite. High resolution and low distortion. CONS: May need to zoom out for better composition and context.

Panorama-Instructions-02 1A. Holding your camera in landscape mode, zoom in to your subject, and choose a frame that includes all of the foreground and sky that you need for your final composition.

Panorama-Instructions-03 1B. Start panning across horizontally. Move your frame about one-third each time. You will need the overlap to make up for lens distortion and vignetting.

Panorama-Instructions-04 1C. Continue panning across until you have all the shots you need for your composition. Be careful to keep a point of reference, like the horizon, to make sure you shoot straight.

Panorama-Instructions-05 1D. Here are the actual photos. It took ten images to pan across the mountain range. Note the natural, in-lens vignetting. This should be removed in the stitching process. You are now ready to stitch photos in your graphics program.

Elkhorns-Pano-123114 1E. RESULTS: 10 images, zoomed-in, landscape orientation 15274×2996

Download the ZIP of ten images below to stitch your own panorama together.

zip-file-icon-49x64 01-Nelsdrums-Zoomed-In-Landscape-10.zip (31 mb)


Example 2:
Zoomed-in portrait pan

PROS: Highest resolution, least distortion. CONS: Difficult to line up shots. Can be time consuming when stitching.

Panorama-Instructions-06 2A. Holding your camera in portrait mode, zoom in to your subject, and choose a frame that includes all of the foreground and sky that you need for a final composition.

Panorama-Instructions-07 2B. Start panning across horizontally. Move your frame about one-third each time. You will need the overlap to make up for lens distortion and vignetting.

Panorama-Instructions-08 2C. Continue panning across until you have all the shots you need for your composition. Be careful to keep a point of reference, like the horizon, to make sure you shoot straight.

Panorama-Instructions-09 2D. Here are the actual photos. It took fifteen images to pan across the mountain range. Note the natural, in-lens vignetting. This should be removed in the stitching process. You are now ready to stitch photos in your graphics program.

Elkhorn-Mountains-Pano-Tight-123114 2E. RESULTS: 15 images, zoomed-in, portrait orientation (B) 24128×4686

Download the ZIP of fifteen images below to stitch your own panorama together.
zip-file-icon-49x64 02-Nelsdrums-Zoomed-In-Portrait-15.zip (55 mb)


Example 3:
Zoomed-out pan

PROS: Uses the least shots, very fast to shoot, shows more context. CONS: Most radically distorted pixels, hardest to stitch together in proper perspective, lowest resolution.

Panorama-Instructions-10 3A. Here I have zoomed all of the way out, and will shoot overlapping images from left to right.

Panorama-Instructions-11 3B. Move your camera about one-half of the frame at a time. Note how the perspective changes drastically with the addition of near-field foreground elements.

Panorama-Instructions-12 3C. The more images you shoot zoomed-out, the more distorted your final stitched image will be. Try not to go over 120 degrees. You are now ready to stitch photos in your graphics program.

Elkhorns-3-Images-Stitched-Perspective-1231 3D. RESULTS: 3 images, zoomed-out, landscape orientation 9588×3050

Download the ZIP of three images below to stitch your own panorama together.

zip-file-icon-49x64 03-Nelsdrums-Zoomed-Out-Landscape-3.zip (9 mb)


Example 4:
Multi-row zoomed-in pan

PROS: Possibility of making massive, detailed images. CONS: Most difficult to shoot properly, more chances for stitching errors.

If your graphics program supports it, you can actually stitch a whole grid of images together. To do this, you will need a good eye and points of reference in the viewfinder to line up the shots properly.

Panorama-Instructions-13 4A. Here we have the 3 stitched images. They are fairly low resolution. To recreate this in high resolution, you need to shoot additional rows of images.

Panorama-Instructions-14 4B. Find a good reference point, zoom-in and shoot across horizontally like I have described above. Give yourself plenty of overlap.

Panorama-Instructions-15 4C. Continue across until you have all you need for the composition, then move down for the second row.

Panorama-Instructions-16 4D. Create a second row from your previous reference point. Continue until you have an equal amount of second row images. Add additional rows as needed. You are now ready to stitch photos in your graphics program.

Elkhorns-3-Images-Stitched-Perspective-1231 4E. RESULTS: 12 images, zoomed-in, landscape orientation 38352×12200

Using the methods described here, I was able to make all of the panoramic images on this site using only a small, handheld point-and-shoot camera. Let me know how it works out for you.

Baker City Hi Rez Eastern Oregon Scenic Winter Panoramas

Skiing at Anthony Lakes on New Years Eve

Kids Yard Sale Poster Illustrator Template

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Click image above to see the full poster.

My kids were planning a yard sale to make a few dollars from their old toys. I thought that a LEGO themed poster would attract the attention of kids on their way to or from school.

Using free Lego Alphabet in vector blocks and this nice set of vintage toys, I configured the words BOYS TOYS and added the gradient fills to make it fun. Then I realized that we had a lot of really great books that might attract the attention of parents – so I added that. Finally, I colored the vintage car toy to match the color scheme and added the informational type and map (made of lego blocks).

Our target audience was kids at the nearby gradeschool. So my sons and I went on a wild posting at night, and – taking a lesson from big tobacco marketers – made sure to place our posters down at kid eye level. We also posted online versions of the flyer to neighborhood parental social networks.

The result? Our “Boys Toys” yard sale was a huge success. And it didn’t hurt to provide free donuts!

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Feel free to download the tabloid Adobe Illustrator CS6 file to change as needed for your yard sale.

Download 70mb File

Mac Mail + Address Book Not Working OSx 10.8

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OMG this problem has been making me go insane. Finally, solved my problems this morning – after 4 months of grief.

My three main symptoms:
Mac Mail – Mail Quit Unexpectedly at least 2x daily
Mac Mail – Cannot add contacts to Address Book
Address Book – Does not save new addresses

The story: I have been having little problems since the day I got my new MacBook Pro. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried looking up solutions online, rebuilding permissions with disc utility, deleting preferences, etc. I even tried rebuilding my entire OSx account. Nothing worked.

My theory is that home folder permissions were corrupted when I used the migration utility to transfer my main account from a work laptop.

The solution:
Reset home directory permissions and ACLs

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Do this:

    1. Restart your computer
    2. Press and hold the option key after the chime
    3. Boot from the Mac OSx Recovery partition
    4. Launch the Terminal app from the “” menu
    5. Type in “resetpassword” and hit return (all one word)
    6. Password Reset Utility launches
    7. Select the volume containing the user account
    8. Select the user account from the popup list
    9. Click the “Reset Home Folder Permissions and ACLs” button in the lower right.
    10. When it is done, restart your computer.

Then go verify that you can indeed save new contacts to Address Book, and that you can add contacts to address book from Mail.

Respect the Tech – 2014 Kia Forte Super Bowl Ad

My colleagues at DNG have been kicking ass and taking names. Literally.

Kia Sorento 2014 “Space Babies” Super Bowl Spot

The Kia Sorento “Space Babies” Super Bowl spot created by my talented colleagues at DNG is amazing. I can’t get enough of it. All of those tasty little details.

Check out the best commercial of the 2013 Super Bowl ad blitz.

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