Science and technology

Create LEGO designs in Blender with this plugin

I take advantage of LEGO CAD to doc a few of my very own creations (or “MOCs,” as customized units are known as in some digital LEGO communities). The benefit of computer-aided design (CAD) is precision. When you employ CAD to construct one thing in digital house, you possibly can moderately anticipate that it may be inbuilt the actual world. While the LEGO CAD functions I take advantage of do not have simulated physics to confirm the structural integrity of my designs, I do lay each brick within the software program to imitate a mannequin I’ve made in actual life.

LEGO bricks aren’t simply uncooked supplies for design, although. They’re additionally an aesthetic, as evident from LEGO-themed video video games and films. If you are much less involved with precision, however you continue to need the look of LEGO bricks, there’s an ideal plugin for Blender known as Bricker that may convert your 3D fashions into LEGO fashions with the press of a button.

Install Bricker

You can purchase Bricker for $65 USD from BlenderMarket, and it is licensed underneath the GPLv3. Paying for it helps fund growth and assist.

To set up Bricker, launch Blender, click on the Edit menu, and choose Preferences. In the Preferences pane, click on the Add-ons tab on the left. 

Start typing “Bricker” within the search field within the upper-right of the Add-ons pane, click on the Install button, and choose the Bricker ZIP file when prompted.

Convert a 3D mannequin to LEGO bricks

Whether you’ve the common start line of a plain, grey dice, an elaborate mannequin of your personal creation, or one thing you have downloaded from a Blender mannequin hub, you can provide Bricker a strive proper after set up.

First, click on on the mannequin you wish to convert right into a LEGO mannequin. With your mannequin chosen, press the N key in your keyboard to open the Properties panel. Click the Bricker properties tab, and click on the New Brick Model button.

Now that you have added the mannequin to Bricker, click on the brand new Brickify Object button within the Bricker panel.

The default settings render a fairly blocky mannequin, with largely 2×10 bricks, no plates, and never a lot element.

But there are many choices within the Bricker plugin so that you can customise, they usually present up within the Bricker Properties panel when you brickify a mannequin.

The most essential settings within the Model Settings panel are:

  • Brick top units the peak of every brick within the mannequin. A bigger setting produces a much less detailed mannequin as a result of fewer bricks are used for the sculpt.
  • Split mannequin makes each rendered brick an object you possibly can transfer in Blender. Without this enabled, your mannequin seems to be like a lot of bricks however acts as if they’re all glued collectively.
  • Brick sorts controls whether or not your sculpture is manufactured from bricks, plates, each bricks and plates, tiles, and so forth.
  • Max dimension units the utmost dimension for bricks and plates in your sculpture.
  • Legal bricks solely ensures that each one the bricks are based mostly on actual ones. For occasion, enabling this prevents it from producing a 3×7 brick or a 2×11 plate as a result of there are not any such items within the LEGO catalog (or no less than not within the LDraw Parts library).

In the Detailing panel, you possibly can management whether or not the undersides of the bricks are flat (which is not very lifelike, however “cheaper” to render) or detailed to imitate the underside of an precise LEGO piece.

After altering a setting, you could click on the Update Model button, close to the highest of the Bricker property panel, to re-render your sculpture.

Brickify your designs

Bricker is a enjoyable stylistic plugin for Blender. While it most likely will not be your go-to software for designing actual LEGO units, it is a good way to sculpt, draw, and animate with digital LEGO. If you have been laying aside your LEGO stop-motion film magnum opus, now’s the time to get began within the digital world.

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