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Hi everyone

I'm a regular on Eurobricks but this is the first time I've posted anything in the digital building forums. :classic:

I've recently started to design MOC's using Lego Digital Designer and this is my first creation...

All the images were rendered using Blue render which I like because it's fairly fast and incredibly easy to use. I was quite happy with these images but then I saw a few other renders that people have created online and am blown away by the quality of them. Some of them are so good that it's hard to tell they aren't built from real bricks.

Can anyone suggest to me, the best software or method of rendering images from models created in LDD. I've tried POV Ray but am not that impressed with the results. Even in top quality the renders seem to have a fake looking sheen that makes them look artificial and almost as if they've been shrink wrapped in plastic. :laugh: It also takes hours to render the images on my PC using POV Ray.

I've been pouring over other threads in the forum and have read a lot about people using Blender. As far as I can tell though the only way of getting LDD models to open in Blender is by converting them to LDraw files first. When I tried this though it messes up a lot of the bricks in my model. Similarly I tried importing them in to Mecabricks but this messes up any bricks that have printed elements on them. Does anyone know of another way of getting LDD files in to Blender directly without it messing up the models?

From what I've seen, Bluerender seems to be the most user friendly option for creating renders. I read somewhere on here that a "Sunflow" patch had been created for Bluerender which gave a more realistic result with better detail and the Lego logo on each stud. When I followed the link to download this though it redirected me to a different site, so I assume this patch has since been removed.

So I'd be very grateful if anyone could suggest anything I can do to make my renders look more realistic or suggest any other software or methods that might give a better result. Thanks! 

 

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20 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

As far as I can tell though the only way of getting LDD models to open in Blender is by converting them to LDraw files first. When I tried this though it messes up a lot of the bricks in my model.

This should help reduce number of incorrectly placed bricks in ldd <-> ldraw conversion:

 

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19 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

[…] converting them to LDraw files first. When I tried this though it messes up a lot of the bricks in my model.

Just answering to this part:

Did you update your ldraw.xml file?  (Link just posted by inkpanther.)

And did you try lxf2ldr, which converts decorations (when possible) and flexible parts (through LSynth)?

 

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I use Bricklink's Stud.io to import/export my files to/from LDRAW. It's very easy and I have had no problems since I started using it. Stud.io also has a renderer which I also use to create the pictures for my building instructions. I do mostly technic MOCs and taught myself the basics of MLCAD, LDVIEW, and LPUB3D. I love Lpub3D's ability to fade the steps in building instructions. Faded steps make instructions really easy for someone else to follow. You could still use LDD to digitally build your MOCs, convert them to LDRAW in Stud.io, use MLCAD to create the order of your steps, and finally use LPUB3D to create your pages.

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Many thanks for the tips @inkpanther and @SylvainLS. I've tried updaing the XML file but my LDD files are still messed up when I import them in to Blender. I'll have a look at the other option with the lxf2ldr.

1 hour ago, 1963maniac said:

I use Bricklink's Stud.io to import/export my files to/from LDRAW. It's very easy and I have had no problems since I started using it.

Thanks, I hadn't thought of trying Stud.io. Didn't realise you can generate renders directly from within Stud.io. Is the quality of them any good and how would you say it compares to Blender or Pov Ray?

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22 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

I've tried updaing the XML file but my LDD files are still messed up when I import them in to Blender.

Have you tried opening the exported files in an LDraw program (like LDView)?

(You don’t need to quit LDD to change the ldraw.xml file.  The ldraw.xml file can be changed while LDD is running.)

 

22 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

how would you say [Stud.io] compares to Blender or Pov Ray?

Stud.io actually uses LDView (as a library) to export to POVRay and it launches POVRay for you.

You can also get the POVRay file if you want to tweak it (via export I believe).

I haven’t checked but I don’t think they are using the latest wonderfully smooth LGEO files from Darats.

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26 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

Many thanks for the tips @inkpanther and @SylvainLS. I've tried updaing the XML file but my LDD files are still messed up when I import them in to Blender. I'll have a look at the other option with the lxf2ldr.

Thanks, I hadn't thought of trying Stud.io. Didn't realise you can generate renders directly from within Stud.io. Is the quality of them any good and how would you say it compares to Blender or Pov Ray?

Stud.io uses Pov Ray as its renderer but it has some tweaks that are baked in that I like. 

Also if you want a super great render for a cover on the instructions, I suggest looking into MecaBricks but for a high pixel count image you will need to buy credits but to me its worth the price. (it was like $.10 to do the renders I wanted).

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18 hours ago, Bricked1980 said:

I've been pouring over other threads in the forum and have read a lot about people using Blender. As far as I can tell though the only way of getting LDD models to open in Blender is by converting them to LDraw files first. When I tried this though it messes up a lot of the bricks in my model. Similarly I tried importing them in to Mecabricks but this messes up any bricks that have printed elements on them. Does anyone know of another way of getting LDD files in to Blender directly without it messing up the models?

I've recently started experimenting with rendering (and animating) Lego models in Blender, and (so far) I've found it to be both quicker and more realistic than POV-Ray. Most of the models I've been rendering were built in LDraw (format), but all the LDD models I've tested were converted with Stud.io (which I'm also just beginning to use), with no parts missing.

My advice would be to persist with getting your LDD model(s) imported into Blender, as it's not only easier to adjust the renders, but you can do tons of other things once it's in Blender.

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There is this bluerender spinoff out there: http://lego.queryen.com/?s=busufl

But the author felt mistreated by the eurobricks community and left. Also I couldn’t get the latest version working on the latest macOS on my MacBook. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks a lot everyone for all the tips and advice. I've been trying out some of the suggestions today. First I installed Stud.io which looks like good software. Unfortunately some of the parts had shifted on my imported LDD file and all the printed elements had lost their graphics. Despite this I still had a go at using the built in renderer but I didn't think the result was quite as realistic as I'd already been able to achieve with Bluerender.

On 16/05/2018 at 4:56 PM, supertruper1988 said:

Also if you want a super great render for a cover on the instructions, I suggest looking into MecaBricks

From what I've seen Mecabricks does seem to give the most life like results. Some of the results I've seen look as close to "photorealistic" as I reckon is possible.

2 hours ago, M2m said:

There is this bluerender spinoff out there: http://lego.queryen.com/?s=busufl

But the author felt mistreated by the eurobricks community and left. Also I couldn’t get the latest version working on the latest macOS on my MacBook. 

Thanks you for this. I've downloaded it and it does work on my PC. The results are pretty good. A bit like Bluerender but all the studs have the Lego logo on them and a small gap is added between each brick for extra realism. The transparent parts also come out really well using this software.

Edited by Bricked1980

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Yeah you can add depth of field etc in busufl. You may have to add more trace depth etc for better reflection but it increases render time. 

I did this in busufl on my old Mac and old macOS. 

 

rneboq1q1egz.jpg

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You can import LDD files into mecabricks and then use the Mecabricks Blender plugin to create renders or use the (paid) Mecabricks online rendering feature to create renders super quick on their rendering farm. Mecabricks renders are by far the best renders I've seen so far in my opinion.

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3 hours ago, legolijntje said:

You can import LDD files into mecabricks and then use the Mecabricks Blender plugin to create renders or use the (paid) Mecabricks online rendering feature to create renders super quick on their rendering farm. Mecabricks renders are by far the best renders I've seen so far in my opinion.

I agree the renders people make using mecabricks are by far the most realistic I've seen. I had a go at opening one of my ldd models in mecabricks and all the parts imported fine apart from all the decorated elements which all lost their prints. This is annoying as otherwise mecabricks works perfectly and definitely makes the best looking and quickest renders.

12 hours ago, M2m said:

Yeah you can add depth of field etc in busufl. You may have to add more trace depth etc for better reflection but it increases render time. 

I did this in busufl on my old Mac and old macOS. 

 

rneboq1q1egz.jpg

That looks great. I've been playing around with this software suite a bit today and I have to say I'm impressed with the results it gives and it's very simple to use. I've found the finished images look term similar to bluerender except they have more details and as you mention it's also possible to add depth of field and background images. Think you can also do basic animation with it too.

 

Thanks again to everyone for your advice and suggestions. :classic:

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