Making Things

15 things not said aloud regarding doing projects around the house by Evan Troxel


I will now list the things that are well known about doing projects around the house but are not said aloud.

  1. You will do projects around the house to learn what you’ll never do again.
  2. You will have to measure it more than once.  
  3. You will have to cut it more than once.  
  4. Everything looks easier on YouTube.  
  5. The things you are trying to join together perfectly: they are not square. 
  6. Nothing is square.  
  7. Everything is heavy.  
  8. You probably have too many tools.  
  9. You obviously need more tools.
  10. Who is going to clean up that mess? You are.  
  11. If it doesn’t fit, force it.  
  12. If you can jump it, you can caulk it.  
  13. All the things should be aligned. Why won’t all the damn things be aligned? See number 6.  
  14. The things that are the most difficult to do are the things no one will notice.  
  15. The thing you tried really hard to do and were content with even though it wasn’t perfect is the thing everyone will notice. 

✱ Joshua Tree Climbing – May 2017 by Evan Troxel

A few different trips to Joshua Tree National Park are part of this video compilation of mostly time lapse footage. 

Take a second to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It's my goal to make more of these short films, and by subscribing you'll be the first to know when I post the next one!

My gear:

Camera -
Lens -
Tripod -
GoPro -
GoPro tripod -
Microphone -
Get this windscreen -

Follow me on Instagram:
Follow me on Twitter:

✱ Joshua Tree Bouldering! by Evan Troxel

It was a gorgeous, windy day of bouldering in Joshua Tree National Park during the Spring bloom where I had the opportunity to intentionally slow down, enjoy my surroundings, and tear the skin off my finger tips!

Take a second to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It's my goal to make more of these short films, and by subscribing you'll be the first to know when I post the next one!

My gear:

Camera -
Lens -
Tripod -
GoPro -
GoPro tripod -
Microphone -
Get this windscreen -

Follow me on Instagram:
Follow me on Twitter:


✱ Subtitled by Evan Troxel

In 2014 I had the opportunity to collaborate on a design project that was something out of the ordinary, and I recently went looking to see if I could find it online. Youtube to the rescue! 

Working with my friend and colleague Mark Schoeman, we were given full leeway to design and produce English subtitles for a short film where the actors speak French. You might think that there's no design opportunities in subtitles; they're pretty boring, right? But we came up with what I like to think is a creative approach. Our subtitles really add to the film, help tell the story in a more intimate way, and set it apart. If you have the chance to see it, it's a beautiful film that's worth your time.

Anyway I just thought it would be fun to put this up on my blog. It was interesting work, especially for a couple of architects, and at the same time difficult (working in another language, and the sheer amount of subtitle work that had to be done). In the end we had to do it twice—once in English for the North American release and then again in French for the release in France. 

The film went on the festival circuit and won five awards. You can learn more on its IMDB page.

Here's the trailer that gives a glimpse of the story and what we did:

Universal Language

✱ Trailer Update February 2016 by Evan Troxel

My last post was all about focusing my efforts on a small number of projects. The second one on the list is a camping trailer I'm designing and planning on building in the near future. Last October I did an hour long interview that gives a good overview of the design, and now that video has been released on YouTube. Without further ado, I present it here for your viewing enjoyment.

Special thanks to Jes Stafford of BTSF for the invitation to present, and for hosting the interview.

If you'd like to get email updates when I post something about this project, head over to my website that is dedicated to it and sign up.

Makerbase by Evan Troxel

I created a page on Makerbase which is a neat new site for people who make things on the internet:

Makerbase is a reference for anyone who's interested in apps and web sites and the people behind them. It's particularly valuable for makers and aspiring makers, helping everyone discover who creates technology and the ways they teamed up.
Anyone who makes things on the internet should be here on Makerbase.

I'm most interested in being able to follow people and being automatically notified when they make something new, and being able to notify people that follow me when I've created something new. I encourage you to get on there too if you've made something online.

You can follow me by going to this page.

Video: Brené Brown on Why Your Critics Aren't the Ones Who Count by Evan Troxel

Brené Brown talks at the 99u Conference about showing up and doing the work. She also has some strong words about whom we should listen to when it comes to feedback on our projects. 

I absolutely love how this talk applies to architecture and designers in particular who have the obligation of being vulnerable. It also reminds me that the process of design is a struggle, and it is not "the fun part" of architecture, although it is often categorized as such. Don't get me wrong... I love the challenge and wouldn't want to do anything else.

A constant struggle, a ceaseless battle to bring success from inhospitable surroundings, is the price of all great achievements.
— Orison Swett Marden

I need to find a way to get this video to automatically replay every time I'm having self-doubt or need a kick in the ass to get moving on my projects again. So about every 2 weeks then.

✱ Peeling Back the Onion by Evan Troxel

To start off the new year, I made this poster for you. It's based on some very wise words by Seth Godin that I've put into graphic form that you can print out and put on your wall. I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions because they are often forgotten right after you proclaim them. Instead, just pick one or two of these and start there. One by one. Layer by layer. This is our charge.

Download the poster as a PDF here.

It's best at 20" x 20" hanging somewhere you can see it daily.

✱ The Watchman by Evan Troxel

This is a short time-lapse shot from Watchman Campground in Zion National Park of the sun setting on Watchman Peak. Watch it in HD here. I made the mistake of shooting jpeg only so I couldn't pull as much out of the images as I had hoped, especially near the end of the sequence. I'll definitely be shooting more time-lapse now that I'm starting to get the hang of it. There is so much possible with time-lapse and the field has exploded with new technology lately. It's a great creative outlet.

Technical info: Shot on my Olympus OM-D E-M5, with a 12mm lens (24mm equiv), 1 shot every 10 seconds (393 frames) using Triggertrap (App Store link) on iPhone for a controller. Overall shoot time was just over an hour. Put together using LRTimelapse and Adobe Lightroom 5.

✱ Happiness by Evan Troxel

Here's a video showing our adventures from this past weekend. We had such a great time that I decided to make a video about it. Besides the main content of the video, our kids, I had a great time filming them and capturing many great moments on the new iPhone 6. My iPhone has always been a versatile workhorse, and the latest is no exception. It's an indispensable tool that is always with me. It's the best one yet, and it helps me make things like this.

I received my new space grey 64gb iPhone 6 on Friday after work. Needless to say I put it through its paces over the weekend and found it to be a true joy to use. The new camera stuff is just amazing; it's hard to explain just how good it is so I thought I'd just show you instead. Seriously - this thing is less than a quarter of an inch thick, makes crystal-clear images and video, and it's with me all day long. I couldn't wait to make something with it.

I used a few apps to create all of the raw files I used for the final footage including:

  • Camera - Regular photo mode, HDR mode, Slo-Mo mode (240 FPS rocks!), Video mode, Time-Lapse mode, Pano mode
  • Instagram
  • Hyperlapse

So here I am editing this all together in iMovie on my Mac Mini late Sunday night. I've watched it many times to get the timing better and the edit tighter, and I'm just in love the whole thing. This is what technology is so good for - helping me create something that my family will remember forever. 

Both songs in the slideshow are by Bloc Party, and they make me want to dance:

I hope you like it as much as I do, because it makes me smile :D

✱ Digital Landscapes by Evan Troxel

This is small collection of digitally designed landscapes that I've made. So far, all of these were rendered completely in 3d with FormZ and Maxwell Render, and I've written more about them here, here, and here. Post processing/compositing (yes, always) was done in Photoshop and Pixelmator.

Click/tap an image for a full screen slideshow.

Video: Blood & Oil by Evan Troxel

Cale Glendening wants you to wake up, get off your seat, be more creative, and live. That's the inspiration and message of this wonderfully shot short film, Blood & Oil.


Blood & Oil is a short film I have wanted to shoot for some time. It speaks to all avenues of passionate endeavors and the common thread of desire, determination and relentless pursuit it takes to see them through. That feeling that wakes you in the dead of night, the call to action that courses through your veins. It doesn't matter what you do or what your passion is, there is always room to be challenged, to grow, advance and to be more inspired.

With that heart and intention, Blood & Oil is about wanting to create, be more awake and to be more alive. I have been lucky enough to both work and play with truly ambitious and talented people that push me more everyday, to those people I say a very special thank you.

I so needed this.

✱ My Maxwell Grass Preset Pack is now available for SketchUp by Evan Troxel

I am SO proud to announce that my grass presets are now available for SketchUp users who render with Maxwell! This is something that you'll only find on Method, and I'm excited to be offering it up for you architects and designers to make your life easier. 

When I first started using the grass extension, I was just making these presets for my own use. I spent hundreds of hours creating and tweaking these presets and materials over the last year. Then I thought about how many other designers could probably use it too. So I bundled it all together and even made some videos to teach you how to use it.

I hope you love using it as much as I've had creating it. I'm sure it'll help take your skills and renderings to the next level.

Check it out on Method and get grass!

✱ Architectural Rendering in Artlantis by Evan Troxel

Howdy architects and designers!

I have a couple of softball questions for you this fine morning :)

  1. Are you still "rendering" using the default imagery SketchUp and Revit exports?
  2. Do you want to take your rendering skills and imagery to the next level?

I sure hope you answered yes because I want to help you to get better and ultimately be worth more to your business, studio or firm. So I made something.

I'm excited to announce my new Architectural Rendering video course and this one is specific to the amazingly architect-and-designer-friendly Artlantis! There are some specific tips for SketchUp and bonzai3d/FormZ users in there too.

You get over an hour of HD video tutorials and as a special bonus all of the project scene files so you can follow along. You can even use them with the demo version of the software so you can try before you buy if you're not already an Artlantis user. After you use it, chances are high that you'll want to use it more.

Check out everything this course entails over at my other site, Method