Lego bricks

Inspired by the recent Lego movie (although I still haven’t watched it yet), I thought I would have a go at rendering some Lego models with Arnold for Maya.

There are a whole bunch of Lego models available here. However, they come in .ldr and .mpd file formats. To view and export them in a format that can be opened in Maya, you will need LDView.

LDView only exports in .3ds, .stl and .pov file formats. If you import the .stl using Maya’s Direct Connect plugin from the plug-in manager it will come in as one solid object with no separate materials.

Unfortunately the .3ds importer is not available with the Maya Bonus Tools anymore, so I had to open the .3ds files in Maya 2012 and save them out as a Maya file so that I could open it in Maya 2014.

I tried opening the .3ds file in 3ds Max but unfortunately 3ds Max crashed when doing so.

Ive since found out that the .3ds importer for Maya 2014 has been made available here.

The only problem is the polygons came in triangulated in Maya and the normals got screwed up in the process. The only way I managed to smooth the normals was by ‘averaging’ them. However, it was quite a slow and tedious process going through each piece of rounded geometry (although as you can see in the renders below I missed a few pieces, which will forever haunt me).

before-average-normalsBefore ‘Average’ normals

after-average-normalsAfter ‘Average’ normals

After converting the Maya materials to Standard shaders and adding some lighting I rendered them out with Arnold:Lego-spaceship-tanine-IV lego-kangaroo lego-monkey lego-star-wars-characters Lego-house-3k

3 thoughts on “Lego bricks

  1. Lee!! This is awesome!! I’m kind of frustrated because I downloaded a couple of models, used the Lview to export .3ds… but when I import them into C4D every single piece is separated!! I mean: 1 lego brick/piece is made of 20 or 30 separate objects. What do you suggest? Didn’t encounter this problem on Maya?? I need to investigate a little more and see what happens. Thanks!!

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