Friday, December 14, 2012

Displaying a MOC digitally....

One thing I get a little annoyed with is the inability of transporting any models to an event. Most of my equipment that I take is photography stuff, so unless I am bringing something small, I have to place a MOC in my luggage (not a really good idea) or not bring anything at all.

Since I ran into the realization above, I started thinking about other ways of displaying a MOC. Anyone who has gone to an event knows that seeing a model online is nothing compared to seeing a model for real. This is why I tend to spend my time looking at models at displays instead of online. Like sculpture, a MOC has to be experienced from all sides. This is a challenge to those who cannot bring a MOC for various reasons, and also to the fans who cannot go to events for one reason or another. How can a person display without MOCs?

It's a bit easier now with the arrival of smartphones and iPads. Digitally built MOCs can now be displayed with LDraw readers on tablets or phones. I use BrickPad on my iPad and iPhone. I have become more interested in digital display for a few reasons:

1. There is no lack of display space.
2. You can view from any viewpoint, including minifigure point of view.
3. You can manipulate the model and examine construction - BrickPad can display construction steps, and has been updated to do more.

There's a lot of potential here. Not only can a viewer see a model, he can move it, rotate it, even deconstruct it, which cannot be done at displays. This allows full interactivity with a model to see internal workings and tour a model from a minifig point of view.

This is a render of a file I built in Bricksmith.

Another angle. You can switch angles by finger swipes in BrickPad, so you can rotate the pahser in virtual space.
This allows a flexibility that didn't exist before. With virtual models, people can touch and break apart a MOC. 

You can get BrickPad free at iTunes here. I have a couple of MOCs in the library and plan to add more. My goal is to have a digital portfolio of my better MOCs to show at events. Other builders can showcase parts that people can't usually see, like an interior of a building.

And thank Kenrick Drew for making the app!

5 Steps to a Good MOC

I am in the midst of putting together a magazine, and I asked an interviewee how their design process is. How we design is a good indicator of our building experience and knowledge, so I mentioned possibly making a how-to on MOC building and I created an example, which you see below.

Please keep in mind this is a guideline, not a end-all procedure. In fact I would like to see how others build - it's fascinating to see how others make their MOCs.

Joe's 5 Steps to MOC Building (a constantly changing process, but this is the current version)

1. Get inspired. That doesn't mean going and copying a MOC you like, but studying and looking for things that fit your interests until you run into something that you want to build. That want will be the drive to make you build your best.

2. Study and Sketch. Look up and research ideas for your MOC. Look at other MOCs that you think may fit your idea. Sketch your model, either on paper or with LEGO elements.

3. Create and Sketch. Start thinking about the how and whys of your model - why does have long wings? Does it need more than one crew? Is it a transport or fighter? Figure a purpose to your model and work on your sketch. Your choices will affect your model. Embrace that by making a backstory.

4. Build and rebuild. The first iteration of a model is rarely the final iteration. Build and constantly evaluate the model for stability and as new parts become available, new building solutions. At this point building may become a one step up, one step back as components get rebuilt sturdier.

5. Finish and detail. Add details like color and decals and built detail. Building is like writing, except that you are visually making what you are thinking - "this is my green fighter/transport." What you  build from that simple description is going to be different from mine, but that is the great thing about building - it is your expression!

So what other steps and processes are there? What do you do?