Calabar, on 13 January 2014 - 01:41 AM, said:
Thanks Aanchir for the answer.
I understand perfectly what you mean.
I thought you use some kind of automatic mode, that allows you to obtain the result without wasting too much time. But maybe an explanation on methods you used to create the file could help other willing users to make a faster and accurate work.
Could you list the steps necessary to create the file?
Haha, no, I'm not good enough with computers to come up with a way to do this automatically. First I open the LXF file in LDD and generate all the parts that I want to decorate. Then I have to open up the decorations file as an image file in one window, and the LXFML as a text file in another. I find the Design IDs that need decorations in the LXFML, and the decoration IDs for the correct decorations in the image file. And then I type out the Decoration IDs in the correct decoration fields in the LXFML.
This stage is one of the most tedious, as if a part has multiple decoration fields, there's no obvious way to know which field corresponds to which surface on the part itself. Usually I just have to use trial-and-error if it's a part I'm not familiar with, plugging in a decoration ID and then opening the LXFML in LEGO Digital Designer so I can see what the resulting part looks like. But eventually you get the hang of doing this for certain parts like minifigure heads (in which the sequence is front, back, top) or torsos (front, back). Legs are tricky because the hip piece has two decoration surfaces and the leg pieces each have three, so that's eight surfaces to keep track of.
In the past, I used to use an Excel spreadsheet to make a list of decorations, the corresponding LDD part numbers, and the corresponding Bricklink part numbers for the final decorated part. But this was even more tedious, as in between updates I had to color-code things according to which parts had all the correct decorations, which decorated parts were missing one or more decorations, which parts lacked decoration surfaces and thus couldn't be decorated correctly, and which decorations had bugs, etc. And these had to be checked and updated with each update. As I started to fall behind this became way too complex to keep up with — it was hard enough keeping track of which decorations were new in the latest update, let alone which decoration surfaces had been added or which previous decorations had been corrected or removed.
I don't know if there's any way to streamline this process. I'm sure that it'd be easier for the actual guys programming these decorations into LDD to do it since they have the database info the decorations CAME from and don't have to look up which decorations belong to which parts just from photographs and fan-created databases, but I guess they have other priorities and are counting on the users to figure it out.
One other thing — if someone else is willing to do this, I would still be available to do an error-check at the end, since recognizing errors is far less time-consuming than matching up the decorations in the first place.