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Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This tower was constructed using set #6.

I create new designs at night after I put the kids to bed. It's my time to relax. In the morning, I'll often find a new creation decorated with dolls and toys. I laugh at those silly Brownies sneaking about the night. If only I could get those little crumb gobblers to clean their room...



releppes said...

Some of You may have noticed a slight change in how I create plans. I normally use Gimp for post processing of PNG images output from AnkerCAD. I'm now experimenting with ImageMagick.

ImageMagick is a set of command line tools for image manipulation. Instead of touching up each image then combining them into a single layout, I now run a single command that'll grab all my images and arrange them evenly spaced. It was a time consuming process that now takes a few seconds. So for anyone curious about how I create plans, this is my process:

1) Create design in AnkerCAD
2) Set viewing perspective to an isometric view.
3) Use the cutting tool to take snapshots of each layer.
4) When taking snapshots, I set the window to full screen. I save each snapshot as model[a..z].png
5) I pull up a terminal Window (ie: command line) and run ImageMagick with the following command line args:

montage ${1}[a-z]* -transparent white -trim -geometry +10+10 -gravity southwest -background none -shadow png:- | convert - -trim +repage ${1}_plan.png

The $(1} argument is replaced with the model name I'm working on. So for this model, it was 6_15.

The post processing is minimal. All I do is make the background transparent. I let ImageMagick choose the best layout based on how many images I have. It wasn't difficult doing this activity in Gimp, but it was time consuming.

I should also mention that I do all this in Linux. OpenSUSE to be specific. I run AnkerCAD using WINE (ie: the Windows emulator). However, ImageMagick is available for Windows. I'm sure one could do this in Windows just as easy. I've also done this in OS X, but I find OpenSUSE easier to use when I just want to get work done.

From click to finish, this plan took a total of 10 minutes. That includes firing up AnkerCAD, drafting the model, taking the snapshots, and arranging the layout.

releppes said...

This tower inspired my daughter to write a story.

I initially added it to the post, but due to it's length, I moved it here:

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful baby princess that was named Snow White. Snow White was kidnapped at birth by a evil witch. Nobody ever found out who were Snow White's real parents. So the witch claimed Snow White as her own child. But, as the years went by Snow White got more prettier and even more prettier. Her hair was so long that it reached from her house to the well on the top of the hill. Then one day the witch looked into her magic mirror and said, ''magic mirror on the wall who is the fairest one of all''? And the mirror said,''Snow White is the fairest of them all. ''The witch was very angry. So she orderd her huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and lock her in a tall tower for one hundred years. The huntsman felt sorry for Snow White. But still he locked her up in the tall tower. When the huntsman was out of sight She began to cry. Then she heard a loud MEOW! Snow White jumped up.There right in front of her was eight black cats.One said''we are sorry if we scared you.''Snow White said it was O.K. Then Snow White asked how they got there. ''One said we used to be servants for the witch. The witch liked us very much. We would get toy mice every day. But, one day when we where working in the lab a experiment went wrong. The witch's house blew up. She was really angry. So she locked us in this tall tower. And we are trying to escape.''Oh thats a sad story,said Snow White. Snow White tried to escape, but it was useless. By lunchtime they where so tired, they went to the kitchen to get lunch. After lunch Snow White had a idea.'' We can use my long hair to climb down. Then you can get me a ladder.''Thats a great idea Snow White! So they used Snow White 's hair to climb down. Then they got a ladder. Snow White climbed down and went to find her home. When she got home she found out the witch was dead. The witch had fell into the fireplace and died. So Snow White built a castle and let the eight cats live with her. Snow White gave the cats new names too. Angel, Lovely, Fluffy,Sweetie, Furball, Catnip, Purr,and Fuzzy. After a few weeks a handsome prince came riding on his horse. Snow White and the prince fell in love. Soon they got married. At the wedding Snow White met her mother and father, and they all lived happily ever after.

The End


A few years later Snow White had a baby girl. She named her Flower Blossom, and they truely did live happily ever after.