DONG – Building instructions

How is a building instruction made?

The process of creating a building instruction is done in several steps and contains some different challanges.

I often get a quick respond that that has to be easy for a software to make automaticly – but when you look at the details it is not that easy.

  • Not to many different bricks at the same time
  • Some steps are more critical than other, so not just the same amount of bricks per step. This can be noted in the offcial LEGO building instructions. It might look strange in some steps to only place one brick, but often there is a reason to prepare the builder in the coming steps, to speed up or down the builder.
  • To get the right brick in the right order, some step is not that critical as others.
  • Bricks can not be “built in the air”, so the building instruction steps need to prepare some building steps before putting them into the model, especially SNOT building technique.

Following are some examples of the steps to make an instruction.

STEP 1 – Making a Digital Model in Lego Digital Designer (LDD)

Using the LDD in expert mode makes it easy to locate most of the buidling bricks, but if the model is to be built in real life, the bricks must also be availabe in the color you need – that is not allways obvious.

LEGO DIGITAL DESIGNER – LDD
FINAL MODEL

STEP 2 – Breaking down the model into building steps

First screendump and last step of the front window instruction.
The bricks to the left of the model is the bricks needed for this step. piece by piece.
NOTE that the 1×1 stup on the side brick is not correct, that brick is not in LDD yet.

Some of the steps – screendumps from LDD that is later used in photoshop

The LDD screendump (transparent PNG) and manually (with some magic) fixed the “missing” bricks in photoshop
…the SNOTed panel…
…two bricks on the top…
…three bricks but only two types of bricks to be placed on the top…
…some windows…
…and so on…
last screendump and first step of building.

STEP 3 – Creating the pages

Using Adobe Photoshop Elements and working in layers, the pages are built up step by step and page by page.

STEP 4 – Merging pages into a final document

As pages are created in Photoshop the disc is filled with individual pages that need to be merged into a document. This is done using Adobe Acrobat.

BACKGROUND

The above work and blog article is made by me, Anders Horvath. A LEGO fan since birth and an active Swebrick AFOL since 2012. Back in 1987 after engineering collegue I started at a company working as a technical illustrator making spare parts lists/3D illustrations (in 1987 3D illustrations was made by hand, not computers).

Today I am a marketing communication manager for a big corporation so the LDD and 3D modelleling is a fun work on the side in combination with the LEGO building hobby, bringing some “good old days” back into my life.