10.4.2012

John Edgar Park — maker

By Josh

UNBORED contributor John Edgar Park, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two kids, is a CG supervisor at Disney-Toon Studios, the host of Make: television, a contributing
writer for Make magazine, and the author of Understanding 3D Animation Using Maya. (Here is his website.)

John wrote three step-by-step maker features for UNBORED that will make you say “Wow!” He demonstrates how to hack into a battery-powered water blaster and add a remote-control device, so you can soak people from long distance. He demonstrates how to cobble together two LEGO motors and make a steering device for your robot pet. And he demonstrates how to make a very noisy bicycle “exhaust” device out of a metal drink bottle. Wow!

Here are a few fun facts from John:

* My skills at making funny faces as a kid lead to my facial expressions being used to calibrate computer animated characters, including King Kong.

* As a kid, I learned a lot about how things work by taking apart nearly every appliance and gadget in the house with my Swiss Army knife.

* I created a digital clone of myself as a character in a video game.

* When I hosted the Make: television show, I once hit the makeup woman with rice and bean shrapnel from the Burrito Blaster air cannon I built! She was OK.

* I like to build simple robots as a way of exploring technology — my favorite was turning a Nerf blaster into an automated sentry gun using ultrasonic sensors. I shared the build process on the Make: website so others could learn about it.

* I like to beat box.

* My job is creating computer animated movies at DisneyToon Studios, which means I get to do both artistic and technical things. Why pick science vs. the arts if you want to do both!

* One day I’d like to build a secret mad science laboratory hidden behind a bookshelf in my house.