This article describes techniques for working on large anatomically-based LEGO projects using a digital editor. The example GrandeDragon project can be seen at http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/307837.
I. You’re going to be creating a lot of files.
A. You need a directory structure.
—->Build (Lego editing and published files)
—->Images (image editing and published files)
—->Notes (documentation: plans, lessons learned, history & change docs)
B. You need a naming convention for your files:
1. LEGO Editing
You may have different versions of each part, so name them accordingly. I use ordinals to distinguish my component builds which makes filenames shorter:
Optionally, you could use descriptors:
Alternatively, you may have created a scene, so enter your scene description in the <part(s)> field.
I use a generic project called “Lab” for experimenting with new techniques.
2. Image Editing
You’ll want to keep track of the size of your project. If your editing tool doesn’t have built-in measuring capabilities, you’ll have to make your own. Measurement dimensions:
Length + Width: I use a long series of 1x10s, laid head to toe and joined with a 2x2s to create my own segmented measuring line (ruler shown below). For really large projects, use a connected-selection tool, click on the ruler and look at the total number of pieces. Divide that number by 2 (to calculate the count of 1x10s) and multiply by 10 to get the total knobs. One knob unit is 8mm, so multiply your total knobs by 8 and divide by 1000 to convert to meters.
Height: I use a stack of 1x1x5s. Again, use a connected-selection tool to acquire the total number of pieces in the stack. Multiply that number by 5 to get the total brick height. Bricks are 9.6 mm high, so multiply total brick height by 9.6 and divide by 1000 to convert to meters.
Time: Track your time building each project. It may surprise you how much time accumulates when you build during every waking hour for four months. Don’t forget about work/life balance.
A.Here’s the method I use for building large anatomical projects:
1. Layout the framework, which consists of the skeleton and joints in anatomic position (minimum rotations or flexion).
2. Adjust lengths until you achieve the desired ratios. At this point, there won’t be any detail, so you may have to imagine that hands, horns, claws, fingers, toes, etc. will affect the resulting ratios to a degree. For example, make a ulna or radius bone end at the wrist, not where the fingertips will eventually be.
3. Pick one side of the model to comlpete first, left (L) or right (R). Copy specific appendages into separate files. I.e. LHindleg, LForeleg, LForewing, LHindwing, Head, Spine, Tail.
4. First complete the bulkhead, hull or spine, then build the body parts from medial to lateral, proximal to distal, performing unit testing and integration testing for each one as you go. I.e. 1.) Abdomen 2.) Thorax 3.) tail 4.) Neck 5.) Head 6.)LHindleg Femur [Quads & Hams] 7.) LHindleg Tibia [Shin and Calves], etc.
5. Assemble the side of the body that you have completed. Then save off several files for different postures/poses.
6. When you have finished confirming range of motion, architectural relationships and aesthetic appeal, then create the limbs for the incomplete side and place them on the model.
7. Your model is now complete. Add finishing touches, save off more poses and export renderings.