Struck by Random Inspiration, Here Are the LEGO Renders From Last Month

Stuck in isolation, I decided to pass the time rendering four LEGO model’s in Blender.

Sometimes inspiration arrives from odd places. For years, I have subscribed to BrinkSet’s newsfeed which serves up a random set of the day. A recent airplane set got me interested in playing with Mecabricks again. Plus Scrubs had released an update for his Advanced Blender Script. How exciting is it to flip through your feeds and end the day creating something. Even better, it sparked more renders that allowed me to escape pandemic news, if only for a bit.

1611 Martinair (Holland)

The build was smooth, with only a few pieces missing. The windows look to be printed on a 2x4 brick. In my first version of the model, I used a single white brick instead. Mecabricks didn’t have that piece, and I wasn’t in the mood to create a sticker. Sadly, I did have to use an alternative wheel base. The old style single wheel base I wanted is still missing — something I could use for other sets. I then ran a test render in Mecabricks proper to see how it would look.

Feeling good about the build, it was now time to update my render stack. I grabbed the latest version of the Mecabricks’ Advanced Script (2.1.5) and installed it. Then I got distraced. While setting up the scene, I changed my mind about that white brick. I decided that I’d rather have the red stripe down side of the plane, even if I was missing the windows. I went back and broke the 2x4 brick into three 2x4 flats, two of which were red. This looked pretty good and I exported and readied my render.

Funny enough, inspiration struck again while positioning the plane. While messing with the camera, I caught a nice underside view. It reminded me of old movies that got shots of planes taking off. Although not the scene I planned — more on that in a bit, it was the image I would render in Blender first. The effect came out quite close what was in my mind. Clean and simple works so well.

1611 Marinair (Holland) — Bottom by Steven Reid, on Flickr

Done with that render, I went back to working on recreating the scene I built in Mecabricks. This was more traditional render using a cloudy sky picture I took a few years ago. My first test image looked fine, but the LEGO logo’s felt wrong. Thinking it might be because I was using an older 2.80 build, I spent some time updating Blender to the latest (2.82a). Once done, I was ready to render the final scene.

Although it matched my previous test render, it didn’t fix my perceived issue. The logos looked like they were glowing a bit. As a guess, it might be my lighting, where subsurface scattering is causing them to be a bit brighter. The effect was subtle so I decided to leave it. The rest of the scene looked good and matched my test image. The clouds added ambiance to the scene, although it feels a bit dark still

1611 Marinair (Holland) — Side by Steven Reid, on Flickr

687 Caravelle Aeroplane

In rendering the image, I decided I wanted to see the plane flying up as if taking off. My plan was to have a control tower in the background, but my search for decent HDRIs came up empty. I landed instead on an empty field — let’s pretend it’s the end of a runway. After some lighting and positing, the scene was set and ready to render. I quite like the way it turned out.

687 Caravelle Aeroplane by Steven Reid, on Flickr

6666 Ambulance

The render went equally as fast. I kept it simple and reused a background I created for a different render. I tried to keep the figures tight so I could fill the scene. The lighting I used is fine, but could be brighter. Even after some post processing, it feels a too gray. That aside, it looks realistic and interesting.

6666 Ambulance by Steven Reid, on Flickr

Locked in blues.

Stay safe!

Originally published at on April 3, 2020.

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