Here's our step-by-step tutorial to help you !In this part, you will learn how to load your image, what the different possible settings are, how to optimise the cost and how to obtain the patterns for your artwork.
We will also give you some advice on producing your artwork.
Preliminary work on the imageIn this tutorial, we're going to work with the following image :
This image has a white background, ideal for using white plates and avoiding the use of unnecessary white bricks. At the same time, it will add an effect of relief with the dog highlighted in relation to the plates. Our tool manages the transparency of images and this is what we're going to use to avoid counting excess bricks. This step is optional.
To check whether our image already has transparency, we're going to use a drawing-editing program. You can use Photoshop or free software such as Gimp or Paint.net (the software used in this case). When you open the image with the software, you can see that there is no transparency. We then use the magic wand tool to remove the white background and make it transparent. For further details, you can find many tutorials on how to do this on the Internet.
You can see the result of switching to transparent mode in the image below. All that's left is to save the image.
You can also crop your image if you want to eliminate certain parts of it. Finally, if your image has a resolution greater than 7680 pixels for the width and 7680 pixels for the height, you will need to reduce its resolution so that we can process it. Here too there are many tutorials available on the internet.
Once you have worked on your image sufficiently, or if you are happy with the original image, you can move on to the next stage.
Loading and calculating the pixel imageTo upload an image to our site, go to the "Do It Yourself" page, then click on "Select an image", select the image on your computer or smartphone and finally confirm. If your image is compatible, it should be displayed just below. If not, you may need to rework your image first (see previous section). If your image still doesn't load, you can always send it to us via the contact form so that we can look into your case.
Now you need to calculate the Lego version of your image: to do this, click on "Image pixels". You should then have the equivalent of the image below, with the colour selection on the right, and the selection and display of the resolution and size of the work below the image. The display may be different on a smartphone because of the lower resolution.
By default, all available colours are selected and the size is set to maximum. Not all images are suitable for a Lego image. If the image does not suit you at this stage, it is advisable to change the image (you won't get a better one).
Cost estimatesOn the left, you have details of the sheets and any cutting to be done, in the centre a cost calculation sheet and on the right a link to download the templates once you are satisfied with the result. We're now going to complete the cost calculation sheet by entering the minimum number of bricks per purchase and the price per batch for each vendor present. You can find this information by clicking on the corresponding links in the colour selection section at the top of the seller display.
You must also indicate how many extra bricks you want to add per colour. You can enter zero, but it's a good idea to put in a few spare bricks in case one or more bricks are defective. Once you have entered all the information, simply click on "Calculate cost". As you can see below, the price is quite high. But in this configuration, the size of the artwork is 212.8cm by 160cm !
Adjust size and coloursWe're now going to play with the size and colours to reduce costs. Changing these two parameters will automatically update the cost display. If you change the input parameters of the spreadsheet, you must click on "Calculate cost" to save the new parameters.
There's no magic formula for this stage: you can change the size and colours to reduce the cost while looking at the pixel image to see if the result still suits you. For this example, we opted for a final size of 106.4cm by 80cm and used only APAN SAPIO bricks. We also eliminated the colours with very few bricks and kept only 16 colours in total.
Let's take a closer look at size selection. Beneath the image is a selection bar that lets you change the size: to the left, the final work will be reduced, and to the right, the work will be enlarged. Below this selection bar is a panel that is updated in real time, showing the resolution in bricks and the physical size of the artwork.
To select colours, click on the top panel to select the colour details for each vendor. To the left of the seller's name, you can see the number of bricks corresponding to that seller. And on the left, you can tick/untick a particular seller. As mentioned above, to the right of the seller's name, you'll find links to the merchant's site.
To select or deselect one or more colours, first select a seller, then click on the tick box to the left of the bottom panel, which is the colours panel. In the same way, the number of bricks per colour is displayed for each colour.
If you're happy with the final look of your work and you're happy with the cost, the next step is to estimate the cost of the plates. To do this, find the plates you want from the merchants and complete the corresponding section of the cost sheet. On the left, you'll find details of the plates you'll need, giving you the number of plates you'll need to buy (a value you'll need to enter in the spreadsheet).
Using canvasAll that's left to do is buy the bricks and plaques from the various retailers and download the canvas for your work. To do this, click on "Download designs". You'll then have access to an archive containing several files.
Among these files, "INFORMATION.html" contains all the data for your artwork, such as details of the plates, resolutions and sizes, as well as the colour legend. Below is the "INFORMATION.html" file we generated.
The "HyWx.html" files represent the canvas for each Lego plate. They all contain a grid with a colour number to match the legend in the "INFORMATION.html" file. An empty box represents a transparent colour and there is no need for a brick in this case. Above is an example of the H2W1 canvas, which corresponds to the third row (H for Height starting from 0) and the second column (W for Width starting from 0).
The substrateYou can use any surface you like to stick your Lego plates to (wood, for example). You should allow a few millimetres for this. You can use epoxy glue, for example, to stick the plates.
And here's the result of our work below.