In browsing the net, I’ve seen some fascinating 3d models of Lego-like vehicles. I grew up on these toys and I’m a huge fan of them. I’ve always wondered how people are able to create such perfectly accurate and realistic 3d models resembling them. These little objects are also complicated little things to model! I found out people are simply generating them in simple software and rendering them out in their 3d suites! If you are a Blender 3d user, this tutorial will show you the trick.
In this tutorial you will learn a simple way of how to create realistic building block designs using free open source program Blender 3d and a free program called Leocad (no relation). This is a simple resource/how-to tutorial. It assumes you already are familiar with Blender 3d.
First, download Blender 3d at http://www.blender.org/
Then download Leocad: http://www.leocad.org/
1. Leocad is really easy to use. Simply select your blocks and create a model. I made this quickie transporter bot below:
2. Once you’ve created your model export it as a 3ds. (If you use other 3d packages, the other file types you are able to export might be helpful).
3. Open Blender 3d and import the 3ds file into your scene.
4. Then simply set your materials and scene lighting up so that it renders realistically. Here is the vehicle I created in the .blend file if you want to see my scene/material settings: http://www.jesterarts.net/transport_bot.zip
Click on the above picture to obtain .blend file.
Note: The 3ds geometry tends to have a lot of triangle faces, taking away some model/render quality.
If your trying to perfect your abilities in lighting and materials, this is a great way to go because the models themselves are realistically built, easy to generate, and you can just focus on the other scene attributes. In this scene, I let ambient occlusion do all the work with a basic lamp to the upper right. The plane is set to “shadow only” and the background sky was set to white, giving a nice isolated effect.
I grew up on these little toys and my children (even as toddlers) enjoy them immensely. It might just be the coolest toy the universe. Thanks to 3d, I can still play with them :D.
This is for educational purposes/fun only. Graphic artists take note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_Group#Trademark_and_Patents LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.