LEGO® bricks are pretty awesome, aren’t they? Have you seen the latest Australian LEGO ad yet? It’s one of the best ads I have seen in a while. Check it out:
Having just worked in an animated GIF using Luigi, I wondered how awesome it would be to build a Luigi art out of LEGOs. Hence, this project. This is what I got:
Here are the steps I followed to build this:
1. Pixelate image: We need to look images in terms of building blocks of LEGOs before we can begin building. Fortunately, pictures of old arcade game characters such as Luigi are already pixelated. They use limited basic colours and are composed of simple blocks of pixels which we can directly map to different sizes of LEGO blocks. For this character, I found a good sprite at http://www.videogamesprites.net/SuperMarioBros1/Characters/Luigi/index.html. I opened this picture in GIMP image editor, zoomed in to 200% and then set grid settings under ‘Image->Configure Grid…’ to 2 pixels for both x and y axes. To make grids visible, ‘View->Show Grid’ menu command must be checked. I set the grid to 2 px because I felt assuming that a LEGO block’s height (9.6 mm) mapped to 2 px on the sprite would give me a final structure with acceptable size. If you want your LEGO structure to be bigger than this, you should increase this ratio accordingly. Keep in mind that as LEGO structures grow larger, they tend to break more easily.
If you want to build a LEGO structure out of a camera picture instead of this simple drawn picture that I am using, you will want to use GIMP filter called ‘Pixelate’. There are other filters in GIMP that will help you reduce the number of colours too. Before being too ambitious, do keep in mind that LEGO bricks provide limited palette for colours and structure will quickly become too big to handle if you are not careful.
2. Building in software: This step is only necessary if you don’t have a ton of bricks on hand. Because, I didn’t and also because I wanted to buy only what was needed, designing the structure in software was a wise thing to do. LEGO provides an awesome software called ‘LEGO Digital Designer’. It’s available for free download from LEGO’s website. Here’s how my software build looked like:
This software plan not only shows what the structure will look like in reality but also allows you to generate a list of all the bricks that are needed and to see whether the structure has any weak parts which may require reinforcement. The list of all the bricks needed can be generated using ‘LEGO Digital Designer’ application’s menu command ‘File->Export BOM’.
My build list can be downloaded from: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m0hvjl5jonrph7q/Luigi.xlsx
My LEGO Digital Designer Model file can be downloaded from: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jxsix2017ojheil/Luigi.lxf
Ordering blocks: From my experience, it is a wise decision to go to a LEGO shop to buy your list of parts. Online order, especially from a cheaper local online store, will most certainly mess your order up. Then you are left with missing parts or parts you didn’t even order. This happened to me. Fortunately, I changed the design a little bit here and there without making it noticeable. If you look closely at the photograph of my build, you will see that the feet are too long and the green hair near the ear has one block missing. LEGO’s official web store does allow online buying. Using this web store you may be less likely to have to deal with such carelessness but then they do charge you a lot for delivery fee. In my case, the total price of what I was buying was actually less than the AUD $25 for delivery fee.
Building: Finally, ‘LEGO Digital Designer’ can create an easy to follow step-by-step designing guide using the menu command ‘View->Building guide mode’.