Ford Museum roadtrip

I managed to drive up to Grand Rapids, Michigan yesterday to visit the Ford Presidential Museum. I’m still processing the photos, including some I shot in 3D (you won’t need glasses).

UPDATE: Pete’s floor plans look great and are a terrific addition to the White House in Miniature exhibit; they provide some context that is a little lacking. Find the photo gallery here.

New floor plans

You may have noticed changes to the new floor plans on the mirror site. Pete and I are in the process of revising them for best accuracy—which has sometimes involved laborious new scrutiny of photos and historical diagrams. And we have decided to change the tops of the walls to white.

The east wing is coming, as is the sub-basement; and eventually all the floor plans will have white wall tops.

WHM goes international

In addition to my interviews with Japanese TV, Pete Sharkey’s 3D model of the White House appeared on Austrian television…! From Wingnut’s Workings:

On Inauguration Day I had the honor and pleasure of having my White House model of the Residence and Wings used by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation for their coverage on January 20th.

Congratulations to Pete!

New West Wing ground floor plan

Pete has completed the new ground floor of the West Wing, and I have posted it. Like the others, it is terrific.

I’ve shrunk all the new diagrams to a greater degree (still keeping them all the same scale) so they fit better on the pages. Still, they don’t fit on a standard 1024 x 768 screen, requiring users to scroll vertically (the old diagrams were small enough to fit completely on a 1024 x 768 screen). Let me know if this is a problem or if the greater size makes for a better experience.

3D Capitol inauguration platform

Google has a great 3D model of the inauguration platform attached to the Capitol. At 7 MB, It’s a somewhat large file and requires Google Earth to view, but even if you don’t download it, taking  a look at Washington DC in Google Earth with buildings turned on is an interesting exercise. Several buildings and a number of monuments in the vicinity of the White House have been modeled in surprising detail.

Inauguration day

On this auspicious occasion, I happily announce that Peter Sharkey has completed the new colorful, 3D Residence floor plans, which I’ve added to the main site as well as the mirror. The main site is very slow, however, owing to a big rise in visitorship. (Welcome!)

I can’t get over how beautiful the new plans look. Many thanks again to Pete for all his hard work—which, remember, you can always see over at Wingnut’s Workings. More is coming, including some details and fixes. Let us know if you notice any goofs.

By the way, if you check out Wingnut’s Workings, let me know what you think of the white wall tops rather than the black wall tops.

Just in time for the inauguration….

In the immortal words of Stephen Sondheim, “somethin’s comin’, somethin’ good,” only this time it’s not a shooting death in a vacant lot at the hands of a vengeful Puerto Rican street tough. It’s a set of brand new contemporary floor plans in three dimensions and living color by Pete Sharkey.

I’ve added the draft versions of the new plans to the mirror site only for the ground, second, and third floors so far. I stress that these are drafts and may look a little funny. I think I will have to make them smaller eventually when I get the wings, since the wings are wider and may end up too wide to fit on screen.

Not coincidentally, I hereby award Peter Sharkey the Lorenzo Winslow Beauty in Precision Award (the “Winnie”).

The White House in 3D – a mini-tour

I’ve finally managed to produce a high-quality version of the animation of Pete Sharkey’s 3D President’s Park with narration by me. If you go to YouTube, you should see a little “watch in high quality” link in the lower right for best quality.

The next step is naturally to go inside the White House, and with Pete hard at work on various rooms (have you seen Wingnut’s Workings lately?) the only trick will be making the transitions seamless. And then, if I can get Pete to create them: historical versions of the White House in 3D. Imagine flying over Lincoln’s or Jefferson’s White House….

White House in 3D

I’ve been playing with Peter Sharkey’s 3D model of the White House again and trying to create a nice video from it, but I’ve been having poor luck. Google Sketch-Up is a little tricky to export from and Microsoft Movie Maker is even trickier to import into.

I’ve uploaded the raw Sketch-Up animation to YouTube, where it looks fairly terrible.

I’ve also uploaded the Movie Maker video to this site (it’s about 35 MB). It looks better than the Flash-converted YouTube version, but Movie Maker does weird things like freezing on the frame after the frame the source video froze on, which sometimes puts a tree branch in the way of the view. But it’s got titles and narration so it seems more polished.

I’ll continue experimenting and perhaps try a different video software. I welcome any suggestions.

Marine One

I finally added Peter Sharkey’s wonderful model of the new Marine One to the 3-D Models page. He created it quite a long while ago, but it looks great. I even did an X-ray view that looks very cool. (When I say I “did” it, I mean I clicked an option that says “X-Ray view.” Pete is the genius here.)

Planeta Fascinante

The latest issue of my favorite Spanish-language magazine, Planeta Fascinante, is on the stands, and I naturally rushed out to get it. So there I am, reading “Se pueden leer los pensamientos?” (“Have you lost your thoughts of Mentos?”*) and I turn the page to find none other than Peter Sharkey’s 3-D White House diagrams!

The article concerns the security of the White House and its anti-bomber defenses. Unfortunately, the editors seem to have taken the liberty of moving the Despacho Oval from the Ala Del Oeste to the Salon Amarillo, for some reason. But the images look great, don’t they?

Congratulations, Pete!

* My Spanish, she is a little rusty.

Library 3D Model

Hi White House Museum Friends,

I’ve restarted building the White House rooms after needing to take some time away for work. If you regularly check in to the Wingnut’s Workings Blog you’ll see more frequent updates and photos of the progress. (Derek has a link located on the right in this blog page as well)

I’m currently working on the Library and will be moving on to other Ground Floor rooms after that. Rather than making any of you wait for an entire floor to be completed, each room will be given to Derek upon it’s completion for him to present it to you here at the WHM.

I will be calling upon you folks regularly for opinions on specific details and also help with providing color photos. I’ve already had help from some of you. Thank you!


P.S: For now, here is the latest screen photo of the Library:

Ground Floor Question

Hi all! Peter here.

To further assist with the building of the 3D models I have a question for you. In the floor plan for the ground floor of the residence, the Vermeil Room and Map Room show some built-in shelves with doors. However my general sense is that some of the shelves are now gone.

Specifically, the south wall of the Map Room. Are those shelves still present? And the Vermeil Room, newer photos don’t show shelves along the west wall. While we have compiled many great photos here, perhaps someone knows about the detail not shown.

Thank you. 🙂

Wingnut’s Workings

Thank you Derek for allowing me to be a guest author in this blog of yours. It’s a true honor. Derek’s purpose here is to allow me to announce key achievements in the progress of White House 3D modeling. So from time to time once a model is complete, I will let you fine folks know what’s new. I just wanted to post this message to clarify the current goal.

The interior model being worked on right now is the West Wing. I won’t be giving the West Wing model to Derek until it is totally complete. After that I will begin modeling the entire Main Residence. Once a room is complete, the model will be sent to Derek and made available to you. This way you won’t have to wait until the entire house is done to enjoy the progress.

The reason I chose do the West Wing first is that it gives me a chance to practice methods that conserve computer memory thus making it easier for you to navigate the models. If there’s any part of the White House I want to get right and as detailed/efficient as possible – it’s the Residence. Computers vary in their processing power. If at any time you find the model to be slow, or the textures of the furniture disappear momentarily while you are navigating a model, this can be a memory issue or a video-card issue. I certainly would never expect people to do hardware upgrades just to view my models. I just wouldn’t want you to be frustrated over navigation problem without knowing what may be causing it.

My one caveat in this is that detail will be important to me but in some cases it will be impossible to get every detail correct like certain crown moldings, certain fabrics, or certain rugs. Every effort will be made to balance detail with computer-efficiency. If you are hoping to zoom in on the relief-detail of a Monroe chair you may be disappointed, but it will look reasonably accurate.

Again I thank you for the kind comments so far, and as always I appreciate Derek’s support and encouragement.

Pete 🙂

Announcing: The White House in 3D

I have just posted a new page to house the latest addition to the site: Pete Sharkey’s incredible 3D White House. Pete has put untold hours into building a complete and highly detailed and accurate Presidential Park with White House extererior and grounds, giving us the opportunity to view it from perspectives we’ve never had before. Look all around the roof, the grounds, the gardens…. It’s amazing.

For those who remember Pete’s fantastic Oval Office replica, this one is only the exterior, so you can’t peak into Laura Bush’s dressing room.

You’ll need to load Google’s SketchUp or SketchUp Viewer (both free) and download the BIG 20 MB file, or you can just look at the many great images on the page. You can use the tour feature (View>Animation>Play) or click on the page tabs on the top of the opened model to see preset views

Thanks, Pete! For diligence, persistence, and patience in toiling in the basement over a hot oven, I hereby award you the Chef Roland Mesnier Baked Mansion Award (the “Rollie”).

Dispatch from Fort Necessity

Lousy connectivity from the Doubletree in Pittsburgh this week is making it difficult to do any kind of online activity. Nevertheless, I managed to just acquire this fine miniature of the White House from the Danbury Mint via Ebay.

I already have the 5-inch version, which is considerably less detailed and accurate. This one is the 9-inch version and much better all around. I also recently acquired a 1950s-era plastic model that is quite accurate, altho it seems to have the 1917 roof.

Google Earth

The new Google Earth is available. The White House is again not pixelated out. And it appears to feature the same or slightly-improved 3D White House. Pete Sharkey is working on a vastly better 3D White House that I just can’t wait for, so I’m including a picture of his West Wing so everyone can encourage him. (if you haven’t examined his 3D Oval Office, you are missing a treat.)

Some automatic links load with Google Earth so that you see little dots that represent more information available on Wikipedia and elsewhere. If anyone can figure out how to make one that links to the White House Museum and/or Pete’s 3D Oval Office, that would be awesome.

Update: Anonymous has pointed us to a commercial 3-D White House and 3-D Oval Office. I don’t much about 3-D software, so I don’t know what you need to view such things.

Update: I hereby award Pete Sharkey the Reathel Odum Award for Distinguished Service (“the Odie”).