Construction and Tools
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In case you were wondering, I normally don’t use the other brick libraries available on the web, but instead use my own: L-Bricks. As I find the time, I’ll put a tutorial here for using it since currently there is only a readme file providing instructions. You can retrieve the L-Bricks library to build your own.
Note that this is a very old version of the library and doesn't match what I'm using now. In fact, around 2010, I started dabbling with alternate ways of building my models. Lately, I’ve begun using completely alternative sources and even rendering my models using Blender.
Yet, the instructions are still valid. Below represents a moment in time. Many of my models can be rendered using these methods, even today. However, my computers, size choices, and tools continue to evolve. My decision to use Blender and Mecabricks isn’t a slight on what I did. I’m just looking for new ways to explore my habit. I fully expect I’ll continue to grow and try other methods in future.
Okay. I have to admit that this is going to be a little sparse as I don't have the time to get all this information down right now. However, I will present here a little help if you are interested in building your own LEGO models! (Many of sites mentioned here can be found by going to my Links section).
First off, my LEGO ray traces are created using Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer, a free ray tracing program that rivals most commercial rendering packages. I am currently using POV-Ray 3.1 for Windows on my 500MHZ Celeron with 64MB of RAM. This is a definite improvement over my old 100MHZ Pentium!
In addition to POV-Ray, I use a number of libraries that enhance the backgrounds I use in my images (see my links page for a list of sites with plug in's I've used. These include lens flare effects, space objects, terrain generators, and spline curve generators.
I am currently in the process of writing my own LEGO library that incorporates the measurements and features that I want to use! I started out using Stefan Maes' POV-Ray LEGO library, which is based on Paul Gyugyi's original Rayshade LEGO library. I heavily modified Stefan's library since it rendered slow (mostly due to the LEGO emblem), had incorrect measurements (my opinion only), and only had the basic bricks (any LEGO purists in the audience). The original mini-figures were modified models from Filip Specek's POV-Ray conversion of Paul Gyugyi's L3G0 library. I have since created my own versions with a nice POV-Ray include that has allowed the varied figures you now see on my site. Confused? Wait, it gets worse. Anton Raves also has a LEGO library for POV-Ray that is vastly different from Stefan's and Paul's. Also, Ben Jackson has created his own library (not for general consumption) that other individuals besides Ben are using.
Now that I've released my library, I'll have to see if anyone else decides to use it. There are still other very good libraries out there as well. You can jump to my links page and download the other various libraries in existence. Fair warning, they may not be as easy to use as you might hope! Make sure they are for POV-Ray 3.0 (or Rayshade if you use Paul Gyugyi's L3G0 library). Make sure you have a powerful machine with lots of memory (be it a PC, Mac, or UNIX clone). Ray tracing can be difficult, but with some effort you can get stunning results!
For those of you less inclined to muddle around with libraries and script files, there are a number of LEGO style building tools on the market. Philip Specek has a LEGO studio and there are a number of commercial building systems. Until I get a better list of links together, check your favorite search engine.
The images you see on this page are rendered, shrunk, or cropped to a more web friendly 640x480 and saved in the JPEG image format. The images lose some clarity due to the JPEG compression, but the size trade off is worth it. I've actually rendered most these images in much higher sizes for use as the background on my PC at work! If you'd like a larger, true color image, just drop me a line!
Whew! Happy Ray Tracing!
Copyright © 1996
by Steven Reid
July 27, 2016