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BEAVeR

[SoNE Ep. III] A fluffy tragedy

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Ahhhh… my fingers are freezing! These pilot suits are made to keep you warm in outer space, but this planet is way worse. The only thing this Rebel base has to offer are record temperatures and giant locked doors. This one in front of me is the biggest we’ve seen in the time we’ve been here. A full hour, I’ve been trying to crack this door open. I was selected to be on this mission because of my promotion, and my technical expertise as a pilot. But this door is heavily secured. And we can’t just blast it open. This base is weakened. Who knows what a heavy explosion could cause…

Wait… a beep! I don’t know what we did, but somehow… and now, a deep noise… that blasted door is opening! After all the effort it has asked of us, I’ve grown really curious. What could lay behind this door? What secret deserves that much protection? For what obscure things have my fingers been suffering like this?

What?!

Is that really… a bunch of… plush Tauntauns?

That’s so unexpected, I just can’t hold my laugh. My companions apparently are thinking the same. A bunch of stuffed Tauntaun … hahaha!

“So what are they doing here actually?” One of my friends remarks.

Strange I haven’t asked that question before. Looking around me, the surroundings are telling me a rather dark story. This seemingly hilarious heap of huge plush Tauntauns seems to form a serious threat to the Rebellion. There are consoles in this room, and even what seems to be a walkway for guards. But why… why are these cute animals such a threat to that Rebel scum…

I have the feeling that menacing shadow growing on the ground may be the answer. Carefully, I turn around, only to see the biggest Wampa I’ve ever seen. But it doesn’t pay attention to me. It has this kind of exp<b></b>ression of disbelief on it’s face. Not because it’s surprised to see those plush Tauntauns, but it seems like the Wampa wasn’t expecting to see those ever again. Slowly, it reaches out for one of the soft animals, and studies it carefully. Slowly, the exp<b></b>ression of disbelief turns into one of childish joy. Slowly, my exp<b></b>ression turns from fear into a feeling of joy.

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[soNE Ep. III] A fluffy tragedy by Bert.VR, on Flickr

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[soNE Ep. III] The connection by Bert.VR, on Flickr

The Wampa seems to notice us at last. It turns to me, and reaches out for me. I can’t move. But all I get is a surprisingly tender hug from the Wampa. It seems to thank us, it even seems to smile! I try to hug the behemoth back, and a feeling of deep warmth fills my entire body. My fingers aren’t freezing any more. The coldest planet in the universe just became the place where I found the warmest feeling.

Carefully, the Wampa puts me back on the ground. These animals aren’t dangerous at all. On the contrary, I think they might be the kindest species alive. So why are they deemed so dangerous?

Maybe… maybe this room contains the answer. While the Wampa is hugging my fellow troopers (if I only could see their faces!), I head for the console. It’s primitive (but it’s Rebel equipment of course), but seems to be in a workable condition. After some fiddling around, the screen shows me a file. As I read it, slowly the horror contained in this room began to came clear to me.

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[soNE Ep. III] Rebel technology... by Bert.VR, on Flickr

It turns out the Wampa-people (to me, those civilized creatures aren’t beasts at all) adores the Tauntauns. In fact, they seem to see them as some kind of divine animal. That’s because the Tauntauns provide milk, fur and especially affection to the Wampa’s on this deserted planet. It has come even so far the Wampa’s began to make Tauntaun plushes, to have their beloved companions always with them.

But then, the Rebels came.

Needing transport themselves, they rudely took away the Tauntauns from the Wampa’s, only to misuse them. It’s not just a coincidence a lot of Tauntauns died during the Rebel’s presence. They didn’t give them proper food, or affection. Never a rebel sat down to have some tea with a Tauntaun, no matter how hard they worked for them.

The Wampa’s are a really friendly and reasonable people, so at first, they were okay with sharing their Tauntauns. But after a while, the Wampa’s couldn’t watch their beloved Tauntauns suffering any more. So they decided to free the Tauntauns from the Rebel’s grasp. They weren’t going to hurt anyone. They just were going to end the Rebel’s tyranny over the Tauntauns.

But the savage Rebels answered the Wampa’s action with gunfire. That day, Hoth’s snow turned black with Wampa blood. To prevent any further actions from the Wampa’s the Rebels confiscated all Tauntaun plushes, and even imprisoned some of their people. If they would ever attempt to ‘steal’ (as they say themselves), the Rebels would destroy all those hostages.

And that’s the horrible truth contained in this room.

After the attack on the base, the Wampa’s must have come back to look for their precious Tauntauns, both real ones as plush ones. I don’t want to know how few of the animals the Wampa’s have managed to save. They couldn’t find their plush toys however, because they were hidden away behind this massive door. I imagine more plush toys are stored in the next room. Maybe there’s even a cell with an abandoned Wampa body in there…

Shivers run across my entire body as I read all this. Only now I see the suffering in the eyes of the Wampa that followed us. Only now I can understand how happy he must have felt when we opened the door and revealed the precious interior. Only now I see how cruel the Rebels truly are.

The Wampa doesn’t seem to want to leave us. Instead, it seems like it wants to leave with us. He looks like a kid who cannot wait to share his happiness with others. Suddenly, the Wampa releases a thunderous and joyful sound. Just moments later similar roars are heard in the distance. It seems we’re going to have Wampa party here, to celebrate what they’ve found again. Then, as in an impulsive act of thankfulness, the Wampa reaches out to grab another plush Tauntaun and gives the enormous thing to us.

A gift.

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[soNE Ep. III] A gift by Bert.VR, on Flickr

Truly, this icecold planet with is inhabitants seems to give me the warmest feeling I’ve ever experienced. I’ve the feeling the Wampa’s and we are going to be close friends.

______________________

LXF File

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:laugh: The story is hilarious, and the build is terrific! The sculpting that makes the Wampa look cute, and all the greebling, detailing, and weathering of the base is incredible. I especially love that side door with the criss-cross pattern of slope bricks. :wub:

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Excellent work BEAVer! It's beautifully finished and I love your Wampa! :wub:

Although I must remain impartial, I have high hopes for the Empire :wink:

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Those Rebel monsters. :cry_sad:

Great story. I love your build, too - it looks nice, but has clearly seen some damage. :thumbup:

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I can't believe this is a LDD build. Great rendering!

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:laugh: The story is hilarious, and the build is terrific! The sculpting that makes the Wampa look cute, and all the greebling, detailing, and weathering of the base is incredible. I especially love that side door with the criss-cross pattern of slope bricks. :wub:

What? Hilarious? Wampa's and Tauntauns die you know. It's a tragedy!

Those Rebel monsters. :cry_sad:

Great story. I love your build, too - it looks nice, but has clearly seen some damage. :thumbup:

Now that's the spirit.

Anyway, thank you both for your kind words. It was the first time I built this kind of diorama. The first time I made some greebles and damage. The first time a tried to sculpt a living creature (that turned out way too big, so that i had to add an extra level on the scenery :grin: ). Also, I really wanted to have such a typical door. It was a real pain to build, and I spent may too many hours on it, but I'm happy with the result. So I'm very glad and surprised you like it that much.

You see how those imperials manipulate the truth to make us Rebels have the bad role...

I'm not manipulating the truth. I'm only scattering your tiny notion of what the truth is!

There's plenty of evidence for these atrocities by the Rebels. Take the scene for example where Luke is 'attacked' by a Wampa. In fact, that Wampa only shows up to make it clear to Luke that his Tauntaun was near dead. Didn't you see how starved and fatigued it looked? The thing is, the Wampa didn't go very easy (he was a bit enthousiastic and concerned), and that's why the Tauntaun and Luke got really scared. Their have reaction upset the Wampa, and in it's heavy gestures to explain he didn't want to cause damage to anyone, he hit them in an accident.

concerned as he was, he decided to take them home. Unfortunately, the Tauntaun was in such a bad shape that he died along the way. Conform the ancient tradition, The Wampa then began to eat the flesh and gather the fur (for the plush toys of course) of the Tauntaun. It's a kind of circle of life thingie. He hung Luke upside down in the meantime, to get enough blook to his head, because he was in shock, and with those killing temperatures that isn't healthy. When Luke wakened, the Wampa approaches him to free him, and you know what that blasted Rebel does? He just chops of the Wampa's arm! And that calls himself a Jedi!

You see, you can't ignore this story. The evidence is everywhere. :devil:

Excellent work BEAVer! It's beautifully finished and I love your Wampa! :wub:

Although I must remain impartial, I have high hopes for the Empire :wink:

Thanks! But why remain impartial when you see how primitive these Rebels are? I think the only explanation can be the holiday spirit here.

But don't get me wrong. I think our Rebel players are alright. They're just pawns of the cruel system. :tongue:

I can't believe this is a LDD build. Great rendering!

Indead, it's an LDD build. I put a link in the first post to the file, so everyone can check I only used existing parts (that's what I think, since I used the regular LDD only, so not extended).

The rendering was a real pain. As if all the transparent parts weren't enough, almost everything was white. To make the white Wampa stand out against the white background, I had to do some post processing. I altered the color tones of both layers a bit, but not so much as if it were seperate colors. You can think of the Wampa as built with yellowed white bricks :classic: .

I'll keep uploading more pictures when my computer poops out those gems.

Thanks everyone for your nice comments. Although it may be a bit late, I hope you all had great holidays. All of you.

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Wow, that is some first class LDD work! Definitely one of the best renders I have seen! :wub:

I really like the wall work with the studs, round tiles, the extruded details. The crack in the corner is perfect. The walkway/balcony and greebling looks great too, and that wampa is too cool for school. :thumbup:

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Excellent work BEAVeR, I feel sorry for the Wampas! :wink:

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:wub:

It's amazing. I have nothing to add. I like every single part in this build!*

*except that 1x1 tile on the base. :wink:

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Once again, a big thanks to everybody for the great comments.

Excellent work BEAVeR, I feel sorry for the Wampas! :wink:

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:oh: Thanks for blogging this, Lobot! I'm glad you care for those poor Wampa's!

:wub: It's amazing. I have nothing to add. I like every single part in this build!*

*except that 1x1 tile on the base. :wink:

Well, we all have are flaws, don't we? Thanks for enjoying it in spite of that... error.

If some one was wondering where I got the idea for centering this build around stuffed Tauntauntoys, it's the "Tiny Deathstar" game that inspired me! :laugh:

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This is a great build! I love the brick-built wampa, and the stuffed tauntauns are awesome.

I also love your interpretation of the wampa scene from the film; it's always good to remember that we're only seeing the rebels' side of the story on screen :classic:

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Just noticed that in LDD Extended, the wampa body and arms are available, but in LDD (not Extended) only the arms are... :look:

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Nice build! Ddespite being done in LDD it has a lot of details and the render is excellent. I'm not too fond of bick built animals but this wampa is kind of cute. I know that this episode was more on a fun side, but your story is a bit too much ... :tongue:

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... I'm not too fond of bick built animals but this wampa is kind of cute...

You keep saying this but I think we are beginning to win you over. Just give it some more time and you'll be building brick-built-creatures of your own :grin:

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This is a great build! I love the brick-built wampa, and the stuffed tauntauns are awesome.

I also love your interpretation of the wampa scene from the film; it's always good to remember that we're only seeing the rebels' side of the story on screen :classic:

Glad finally someone noticed those micro Tauntauns! They were hard to get down right. I have some experience with micro scale building, but now I could only work with pieces in the regular LDD mode.

And you're right, it's only the Rebel's story we see on screen. Never a word of the thousands that died in the explosion of the Death Star (two times!). Those Rebels are massmurderers. They killed millions of people that were just doing their duty. How many people did the Empire kill? Waaaay less, I'd suppose. :sadnew: (we really need some kind of "take that" emoticon)

On a side note, glad one of the best builders here liked it!

Just noticed that in LDD Extended, the wampa body and arms are available, but in LDD (not Extended) only the arms are... :look:

That's one of the reasons I decided to make a brick built Wampa. If I would have found the body however, I still hadn't used the molded Wampa, because:

1) I wouldn't be able to add the prints, so I would end up with a plain white large piece of plastic, destroying every sense of realism in the scene...

2) Doesn't look that cute

I needed to make it rather big to look good, so I had to dubble the height of my scene... :grin:

Nice build! Despite being done in LDD it has a lot of details and the render is excellent. I'm not too fond of bick built animals but this wampa is kind of cute. I know that this episode was more on a fun side, but your story is a bit too much ... :tongue:

I don't know what you're talking about when you're saying my story is over the top :wink: . Have you been starting to believe the Rebel's poisonous words as well? It has come far if even one of our finest troopers begins to listen to those Rebels...

And why would doing it in LDD imply that it wouldn't have a lot of detail?

Still, a short comment of MstrOfPppts is usually a good thing :wink: Thank you for that!

You keep saying this but I think we are beginning to win you over. Just give it some more time and you'll be building brick-built-creatures of your own :grin:

:devil: ... But then, there would be no chance left to beat him being the trooper of the month, so we loose all chance of our own medal ceremony :cry_sad: !

Edited by BEAVeR

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Great work! We need as many Imperial entries as we can get! :classic:

(We've got a bunch of great ones already, and we don't even have a MstrOfPppts yet! :grin:)

(And I think I asked during the second episode, but what rendering software do you use? It makes it look really realistic!)

Edited by Lego Spy

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Amazing build! I have a VERY hard time believing this is LDD!

I almost feel sorry for the Wampas....almost

My one criticism would be the Wampas arms should be a bit longer, but that's not really a problem!

Brilliant!

K

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You keep saying this but I think we are beginning to win you over. Just give it some more time and you'll be building brick-built-creatures of your own :grin:

I won't for sure, because making it brickbuilt and studless might be a nightmare ...

And why would doing it in LDD imply that it wouldn't have a lot of detail?

Still, a short comment of MstrOfPppts is usually a good thing :wink: Thank you for that!

Don't know I usually use LDD to try things out and wouldn't waste time placing the plush tauntauns on top of each other. Making levers and turning whole scenes around is quite time consuming.

Well the short comment was only for the lack of time :tongue: so I'll add a bit more:

I too am interested what you rendered this thing on? I once experimented with the PovRay thingy and it either looked crap or I had to use the calendar to figure out when it will finish. I admit though I never dug up into all the settings and really have no idea about rendering, so any advice would be great!

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I won't for sure, because making it brickbuilt and studless might be a nightmare ...

Ah yes, I had forgotten to factor in your never ending desire for studless builds :laugh:

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Wow, awesome build! I always knew that those wampas had good in them :wink: Good job, go Impies!

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Thank you everybody, really. I had never expected so many people to like it so much. Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. Thank you for caring for the Wampa's too. This model isn't just an entry for SoNE. It's an action as well to make every one aware of the suffering the Wampa's and Tauntauns go through. Together, maybe we can change that!

Great work! We need as many Imperial entries as we can get! :classic:

(We've got a bunch of great ones already, and we don't even have a MstrOfPppts yet! :grin:)

(And I think I asked during the second episode, but what rendering software do you use? It makes it look really realistic!)

I won't for sure, because making it brickbuilt and studless might be a nightmare ...

Don't know I usually use LDD to try things out and wouldn't waste time placing the plush tauntauns on top of each other. Making levers and turning whole scenes around is quite time consuming.

Well the short comment was only for the lack of time :tongue: so I'll add a bit more:

I too am interested what you rendered this thing on? I once experimented with the PovRay thingy and it either looked crap or I had to use the calendar to figure out when it will finish. I admit though I never dug up into all the settings and really have no idea about rendering, so any advice would be great!

Thank you both you (still) like it. As for placing the Tauntauns on top of each other, that was a real pain. I had to use scaffolding, and it kept snapping to certain positions. I'm not totally happy with how the pile turned out, but it sufficed. I wonder how many people noticed the Tauntaun hovering above the ground.

Well, that's one of the many disadvantages of LDD.

Now comes the technical part where I try to explain to you how I made these images.

It really wasn't easy. I had to use many different programs and tricks to get to the final image. Let me briefly explain the road I went on.

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The first picture you see is just the regular LDD screenshot. Not much to see here. Even though the brick shading is in the maximum quality, it doesn't look good either. The transparent parts look of, the shadows are unnatural, and you can't see the lines were different bricks are joining. Moreover, there are no logo's on the studs.

To make it look better, I rendered it using Pov-Ray. That's a ray-tracing program. So in fact, it shoots rays of light onto the model, and calculates how they will reflect. This is a very time consuming process for the computer, but in the end it's definetly worth it.

The problem is, you can't just render a LDD file with Pov-Ray. So first, you have to convert your file. For this, I used LDD2Pov-Ray, developed by EB user hrontos. It also allows to easily control the level of detail, the light setup, some color adjustment...

If your model has no transparent parts in it, you're pretty much settled than. If it does, then you have a problem. You can imagine that transparent parts are very difficult to calculate for your computer. You have reflection, distortion, color change and whatnot. So if you want to run a high quality render, you'll have to leave the transparent pieces out. Else, it will really take days for your computer to render the image, or it will even crash.

The solution (suggested by Napachon) is to split into partial renders. First, you make a render of the model with the transparent parts in it, on a low quality (i.e. with the quality in the LDD2Pov-ray settings menu set to "LDD geometry", rather than "with bevels"). This is the first image on the second row. This render doesn't take really much time (1 hour max).

In a second render, you render the model in full quality (i.e. with bevels and the logo on the studs). This will be the main portion of the final image. This render takes quite some time though (about 8 hours on my computer, which has a really strong graphics card and 8 cores). But don't worry, eventually you will end up with a picture like the one in the middel of the second row.

Then you want to combine the best of both images into one awesome picture. So you'll need a way to easily select all the portions of the good image you want to replace with the low quality renders of the transparent parts. You could go and manually use the lasso tool to make your selection, but you can also color the transparent parts in a color that isn't present in a model, and do a render on the lowest quality you can get. This one takes two minutes or so, and produces the image on the right side of the second row. The reason I colored the Wampa white, was that I wanted him to be easily selectable too, to give him a diffirent color tone than the background, to make him stand out more.

Finally, you upon all three images in a photo editing program. I use GIMP for this, and it works perfectly for me. You don't need any advanced functions, so a lot of photo editing programs will suffice. So you place all three images on different layers, with the high quality render above the lower quality one. Then you go to the colorful, extremely low quality picture, and you use the magic wand to select all colored (i.e. transparent) parts. You gow back to the high quality picture, and maintaining the same selection you hit delete. The transparent parts will now appear.

Then, I went back to the colorful picture to select the Wampa. Back on the high quality layer, I give it a slight yellowish tint. I inverted the selection, and gave the rest of the image the blue tint so characteristic to Hoth.

That's how I ended up with the final picture.

Hope that helps you when you make some LDD build yourself. Here are some links:

- Lego Digital Designer: http://ldd.lego.com/

- LDDPovRay: http://ldd2povray.lddtools.com/

- Pov-Ray: http://www.povray.org/

If you've got any problems, you can find help files there. If they don't resolve your problem, ask your question in the LDD forum. Here is a link to the lddpovray topic: http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=71654

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