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Making of... Circus Arena


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#1 Bojan Pavsic

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 06:50 AM

I asked our first prize winners, Bojan and Lgorlando, to write a small article about how they designed their MOCs. Here to start with is Bojans. Lgorlandos will follow next week. You can download Circus Arena in LDD format and examine/follow the different design steps.
/Superkalle


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First of all i'd like to thank everyone that participated and voted in the contest and on top of that Superkalle & Ras 74 that made it all possible.

It all started with Lego announcing the Collectable Minifigs (Series 1). After weeks of wondering, what would be the best way to use a couple of them in a MOC, i came up with the idea to make a circus arena. It would provide a "home" for a Magician or two, a couple of Wrestler bodies as acrobats, Circus clowns to cheer up the crowd, a dozen Cheerleaders to put up on the horses, etc... After that, i let the idea age a bit, get some details, color scheme, googled a bit for some images, well, the usual "research" part. At about the same time the EB LDD competition came up, so i thought it would be a perfect time to check out the theme.

Then it was time to take everything out of my head and put it into LDD. I imagined that the hardest part to make would be the circular curves that an arena has. Since i'm not that bad with math (don't be afraid, i wont include any formulas...) and programming, i made a couple calculations to find out the right arena circle.
The designing process started with the middle ring. I already determined that it will be made with hinges, thus the minimum segment size would be 2 studs long and since i wanted a nice rounded look, i didn't want the segment any larger. I made a small program that calculated the radius of the ring depending on different segment count and filtered out the ones that had 4 points (top, bottom, left, right) exactly or very very close to exact stud position. The best size was 60 segments, that left me with a hinge, that's rotated by 6 degrees. With some easy formula, i could calculate that i get a 6 degrees angle, if i rotate an (about) 19 stud long part by 2 studs to one side
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i'll get my angle
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Then i started to create the arc from both sides, until it joined in the middle:
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After that, i searched for a couple of studs under this arc to fix it to the baseplate (some were stud on stud connections, others were accomplished by 1x2 plate with 1 stud).


Second difficult part was the sitting area. The only way i could think of that would make a "solid curvelike baseplate" for the sitting area were wings. So i tried a couple types (1x3, 1x4, 2x6 wings etc... - that's seen on this pictures:
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Another aspect of the whole part was the yellow rectangle, for which i used SNOT technique to get the uniform width of it:
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The steepness of the sitting rows was very much depending on the side wall, that was made with wings:
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I wanted 3 levels, with first one beeing the VIP sits. The sitting areas are 4, with 2 identical (just rotated) and the other 2 mirrored (because of the steps on one side).
The rest was pretty easy (but most time consuming). When i added all the minifigs, i wanted to not just copy/paste them, but make them unique, so i chose a body color, hair, face and all that for each one separately. I wanted to add a little chaos in form of all sorts of minifigs, that would break the perfect circle of the arena. Of course i had the 50 minifigs max rule in mind, so a couple had to go :) Then i wanted to put some "life" into the creation by putting the acrobat on the string (which was done with a supporting bricks that were removed later on:
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Both jugglers were made prety similar - with supporting parts, that were removed later on. It's really easy to use a minifig torso to put something, that could be put into/onto the hand, into the right position, because of all the rotation possibilities that an arm has:

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When i was finished, i opened the creation in Superkalle's LDD Manager, "repaired" some non-existent colors and got shocked by the brick count :) I had like 500 bricks too much (i did subtract all 50 minifig parts - 10 bricks per minifig). The only way to lower the amount of bricks was to redo the floor. Initially it was tiled with 2x2 tiles (for a full 64x64 you need 1024 of them). So i started to remove the ones beneath the sitting areas and on the baseplate corners but that was still not enough. The next step was to remove all floor tiling and replacing them with bigger tiles (1x8, 1x6,...). So if anyone wants to make the arena with actual bricks, you need to pay attention to that. With bricks, tiling is important because of the gaps that are not visible in LDD.

Well, that's about it. Have a happy LDD designing.
There's always a way to include Technic in any Lego creations.

#2 private_lego

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:45 AM

Nice of you to reveal the building secrets after your beautifull MOC.

The 1500 2500 (oops) brick limit is indeed very low when building on large scale.

Edited by private_lego, 16 August 2010 - 10:04 AM.


#3 Bojan Pavsic

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:47 AM

View Postprivate_lego, on 16 August 2010 - 09:45 AM, said:

Nice of you to reveal the building secrets after your beautifull MOC.

The 1500 brick limit is indeed very low when building on large scale.

The quote was changed to 2500 :) But 1500 was really low.
There's always a way to include Technic in any Lego creations.

#4 solta

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 10:25 PM

Congratulations for winning the contest. Čestitke.

#5 Calabar

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 12:22 AM

Great creation!
I'm curious to see the original uncutted version.
Do you think to share the lxf file?
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#6 Bojan Pavsic

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:29 AM

View PostCalabar, on 21 August 2010 - 12:22 AM, said:

Great creation!
I'm curious to see the original uncutted version.
Do you think to share the lxf file?

Hm, need to check if it still exists... the uncut version looks exactly the same as this one, only the floor is tiled with 2x2 tiles instead of the tiling chaos found here. Nothing special...

And tnx for the gz!

Edited by Bojan Pavsic, 22 August 2010 - 09:30 AM.

There's always a way to include Technic in any Lego creations.

#7 Cara

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 06:33 AM

Hi, I'm new to LDD designing - but not lego. I see bricks and colours of bricks in peoples creations that I do not find in the LDD I downloaded. E.g. the jester at and the solid blue/green/yellow of the satellite dish that you've used for the plate spinning. Is there something I'm missing, or someway to get these additional options? I have version 3.1.3

Thank you,
Cara.
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#8 Superkalle

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 09:10 AM

View PostCara, on 29 August 2010 - 06:33 AM, said:

Hi, I'm new to LDD designing - but not lego. I see bricks and colours of bricks in peoples creations that I do not find in the LDD I downloaded. E.g. the jester at and the solid blue/green/yellow of the satellite dish that you've used for the plate spinning. Is there something I'm missing, or someway to get these additional options? I have version 3.1.3

Thank you,
Cara.
Welcome to the LDD forum (again :classic:)
To get you started, read the LDD index topic
Specifically about the parts and colors - read here about Universe Mode
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#9 badboytje88

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 09:38 AM

I would love to see this in brick form. The design looks great!

#10 Cara

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 07:25 PM

Quote

Welcome to the LDD forum (again )
To get you started, read the LDD index topic
Specifically about the parts and colors - read here about Universe Mode


Thank you for the technique Bojan, your design and post are really inspiring.

And thank you Superkalle!!!! You've opened up a whole new world. I've looked at LDD in the past and been frustrated that it doesn't have the amount of bricks I have at home. Now I'm like a kid in a candy store.

-Cara
Guilds of Historica: Proud Mitgardian.  Astrun Egilsdóttir, Journeyman Bard
Tournament of Retribution III: Bluecoat, Deck Scrubber - Redcoats, Fear my Brush!



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My Flickr Album
Obsessively forcing square bricks into round shapes.





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