Rendering instructions, old-style


Rendering instructions, old-style
#1
Greetings. :-)

This is my first post on these forums, so hello to you all. I'm about to start studying LDraw, SR 3D Builder, and everything else that I need to learn about, in order to produce custom Lego instructions. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all these tools are going to work properly under Windows 8.1...

I have a sort of introductory question, as someone who is completely new to all this. I see that there are some very nice rendering tools to create instructions, but is there a particular tool among them that allows configurable old-style rendering? My definition of "old-style rendering" is:

- All studs with black sides regardless of the brick color
- Black pieces rendered in different shades of dark grey depending on the surface angle (like it's done in the official Blacktron and Blacktron II Lego instructions) except for tires where the surface color is pure black with white outlines.

As you can guess, I would like to create instructions that look "authentic" in an old-style kind of way. If not, I guess I'll have to make due without it... Sorry if that has been discussed before, although I did search for it and found nothing.

Thanks in advance for any tips and/or general information on this topic.
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Re: Rendering instructions, old-style
#2
Hi Luc,

welcome to the forum. Sounds like you should have a look at:

http://bugeyedmonkeys.com/lic_info/

Bye, w.
LEGO ergo sum
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Re: Rendering instructions, old-style
#3
LDView can do the black stud sides, but requires a custom parts library in order to do that, and to the best of my knowledge, that custom library has never been made public. (Note that it's a whole lot more complicated than simply making the sides of the studs black; there are in fact a whole bunch of other bits that are black.) This is done via an OBI (Old/Original Building Instructions) extension. When using this, you would also change the color that "black" is drawn via ldconfig.ldr, so that the "black" used for parts would be lighter, but the "black" used for the stud sides would be black.

If Joshua Delahunty wants to make his OBI version of the LDraw library public, I'll post instructions on enabling OBI in LDView. However, I don't think he plans to do that. You can find more background on this here.
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Re: Rendering instructions, old-style
#4
I had a look at Lic, and it is oh so close to what I'm looking for. I would gladly use it as a PDF generator if black parts weren't so dark, and if flex parts were supported (which they are not, apparently).

I had to take out the proverbial sword and shield to get LPub to work on my Windows 8.1 PC. I'm still studying it, but from what I've seen so far, the rendering has the same problem as Lic, namely that black parts come out way too dark. If I print instructions with lots of black Lego parts on paper, all I will see are black blobs instead of identifiable parts.

I have to say that getting all these tools to work properly has been a chore. It took me a long while to figure out the interface of SR 3D Builder, but I think I got the hang of it now. There's a French video that explains how to go from SR3D to MLCad to LPub (is it still true that rotation steps and flexes defined in SR3D are not exportable to the renderers? I haven't checked this yet) and LPub on my PC doesn't look anything like what I'm seeing in the video, so I'm trying to figure out what's happening there.

Anyway, thanks for the information, guys. :-)
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Re: Rendering instructions, old-style
#5
Never mind, I just figured out that I was using an old version of LPub. I just installed version 4 and I will study it tomorrow. Time to go to bed now. :-)
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Re: Rendering instructions, old-style
#6
Note that the color you get for black in LPub4 is going to depend on the data in ldconfig.ldr (assuming you haven't disabled ldconfig.ldr usage in LDView). You can tweak the RGB value used for black by editing ldconfig.ldr and changing the VALUE RGB and the EDGE RGB to whatever you want.

I seem to remember that official instructions used a special edge color for black parts to let you know they were black instead of dark gray. Since you have control over both the color and the edge color in ldconfig.ldr, you can tweak them both to your heart's content until you find something that matches what you want. And you can do this for all the colors in there if you want. So if you find that black and dark gray look too similar, but black is how you want it to be, you can tweak dark gray. (Make sure to back up your file if you make any changes, because installing a library update will overwrite your existing one.)
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Re: Rendering instructions, old-style
#7
I had a look at LPub4 this morning, and noticed that it doesn't use POV-Ray anymore. That's too bad, but I guess I can always revert back to that older version of LPub I was using before if I want to do any POV rendering.

I also had a closer look at Lic, and it supports ambient light adjustment which helps with making the details of black parts more visible. I can also change the color of black parts to "Metallic Black" which improves things even more.

That leaves the problem of flex parts, and I sent an e-mail to the author of Lic about it. The web site hasn't been updated since 2010, so it's definitely a long shot, but luck favors the bold, as they say. :-)

For now I'll keep studying LPub 4. Thanks for the tip, Travis!
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