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February 23, 2012 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Assembling the Millennium Falcon in Lego, using stop motion animated by 3d software took Francisco Prieto three years to complete, but the results are amazing.
posted by quin (63 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
To my untrained eye it looked like the larger pieces were actually growing/expanding, like it was going by pip count.

Also, I mistakenly read the post to mean it took Prieto 3 years to build the Falcon out of Lego, and thought, "as a kid I could finish that in the time it takes mom and dad to clean up the shredded wrapping paper."
posted by CancerMan at 10:56 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Using CGI to animate building something out of actual physical LEGO bricks makes me sad in a way I cannot fully articulate in the English language.

This is the closest I can come.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:56 AM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


"rendered frame by frame."

That's kind of an odd comment by the creator. How else would you render it?
posted by jedicus at 10:57 AM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought "Created using 3ds max and V-ray" and "modelling all the pieces by myself" were even odder.
LDraw™ is an open standard for LEGO CAD programs that allow the user to create virtual LEGO models and scenes. You can use it to document models you have physically built, create building instructions just like LEGO, render 3D photo realistic images of your virtual models and even make animations. - LDraw.org
posted by DU at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Looks too much like computer animation, so no pass.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:04 AM on February 23, 2012


Omar Little has something to say about this.
posted by nushustu at 11:05 AM on February 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well that was nothing short of incredible! I particularly enjoyed this reworking of a common cultural reference.
posted by Meatafoecure at 11:12 AM on February 23, 2012


i sometimes stand in the lego aisle at target and debate whether i really should plunk down the cash for this. and by sometimes i mean pretty much every time i make my weekly target run.

this is pretty cool.
posted by sio42 at 11:13 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be cool to do this in Minecraft, and then have Lego release an official Minecraft Lego Millenium Falcon limited edition set.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:13 AM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


To be fair, it looks as though he's not a native English speaker, and so some of the odd phrasings should maybe be forgiven.

Also for anyone who wants to know according to his responses to the video the song is Chambermaidswing by Parov Stelar.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:23 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I may say so, I noticed that the hyperdrive motivator has been damaged. It's impossible to go to light-speed!
posted by mazola at 11:23 AM on February 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


LDraw™ is an open standard for LEGO CAD programs that allow the user to create virtual LEGO models and scenes.

Yeah exactly. It's really popular because you can use any piece that exists to design your models, and then go through the tedious task of purchasing them only after you have the right ones decided on. (Some Lego pieces in some colors are rare and so quite expensive.)

Maybe his 3D models were better though?
posted by smackfu at 11:27 AM on February 23, 2012


His model seems quite elaborate. Is it more elaborate than the actual Lego model, or just a faithful representation of the retail set?
posted by postel's law at 11:28 AM on February 23, 2012


Having never seen this set completed in person, I think this video is a great way to showcase just how incredible it is.

I think what he means by "rendered frame by frame" and "stop motion" is "I created and then placed every brick by hand in 3DS, moved the camera appropriately, then rendered a single frame."

He could have just exported LDRAW data, but sometimes you want to do everything yourself, including the really difficult bits.
posted by helicomatic at 11:28 AM on February 23, 2012


Is it more elaborate than the actual Lego model, or just a faithful representation of the retail set?

No, it's real, that set is insane. $499, 5195 pieces. Going for $1300+ on eBay now that you can't buy it new. So you can see why someone would build it on the computer.
posted by smackfu at 11:37 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


And then a 12 year old blows it up with M-80s.
posted by vverse23 at 11:40 AM on February 23, 2012


What the hell is an aluminum falcon?
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:49 AM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is just special effects without a story.
posted by George Lucas at 11:50 AM on February 23, 2012 [20 favorites]


I think he did build the set, based on his comment at the end about building the model then animating it.

Also: I have to say: This is much less likely to annoy your Mom/wife/roomate then taking up the table/floor with Lego for a full year. :D
posted by Canageek at 11:52 AM on February 23, 2012


I want to play with that SO HARD! pew pew!
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:55 AM on February 23, 2012


The uber-geekiness that it is the Millennium Falcon aside, that was amazing and the most fun I've had in three minutes since... (on second thought, best not to talk about that). If you're taking requests, can you do the Enterprise-D at the Mars Utopia Planitia shipyard base next? As the kids say, way kewl!
posted by Mike D at 12:08 PM on February 23, 2012


Then all the digital bricks go into a pile and never get put together like that again.
posted by Artw at 12:11 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


sio42: i sometimes stand in the lego aisle at target and debate whether i really should plunk down the cash for this. and by sometimes i mean pretty much every time i make my weekly target run.
I have to ask: do you make that weekly Target run in... (wait for it)... less than 12 parsecs?!?


Man, how on God's green earth was I the first person to make that joke?! I don't really even like The Star Trek...
posted by hincandenza at 12:25 PM on February 23, 2012



Man, how on God's green earth was I the first person to make that joke?! I don't really even like The Star Trek..

grumble grumble... scruffy looking tribble herder.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 12:28 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, how on God's green earth was I the first person to make that joke?! I don't really even like The Star Trek...

EXCUSE ME GOOD SIR, but the name is STAR TRAK.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:32 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Semi-related: as cool as Legos universally are agreed to be, it's not clear what patent or rights they have on making your own bricks. So I'm surprised we don't hear more about someone unifying the following: And thusly, the Lego fanatic could reach Nirvana: design your ideal Lego construction using base pieces, and crafting a wholly custom piece to perfect it, on your computer. Print out all the pieces, using easily found plastic filament from your own recycling bin- thus turning your old milk jugs and soda bottles into the perfectly made Lego tribute to whatever you can imagine.

Extra-extra credit if the Lego pieces were then taken off the RepRap as they were produced, and automatically assembled into the finished design via a robotic arm controlled via Kinect or something.

Shit... if somehow that hasn't been done, maybe I should go do that now...
posted by hincandenza at 12:38 PM on February 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


It boggles me how some people find the gal to criticize something so freely what was obviously the result of invested time and imagination.
posted by Meatafoecure at 12:42 PM on February 23, 2012


Printing your own Lego compatibles sounds nice, but the tolerances are way too fine for home use printers at this stage in their development. I've heard numbers like 0.002-0.005mm tolerance for size.
posted by helicomatic at 12:43 PM on February 23, 2012


3:35? Pshaw! I once saw it assembled in under 12 parsecs!
posted by sourwookie at 12:51 PM on February 23, 2012


smackfu: "No, it's real, that set is insane. $499, 5195 pieces. Going for $1300+ on eBay now that you can't buy it new. So you can see why someone would build it on the computer."

That description makes it sound like it works with minifigs, but the video seemed to show no space for minifigs to fit. ?
posted by jiawen at 1:16 PM on February 23, 2012


It looks like the cockpit is a different, possibly custom peice in the store version?

IIRC the triangular peices of the central body flip up so you can put minifigs inside as well.
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on February 23, 2012


> Semi-related: as cool as Legos universally are agreed to be, it's not clear what patent or rights they have on making your own bricks.

DIYing Lego bricks is legal as of a few months ago. I can believe that technology, not law, is the problem.
posted by ardgedee at 1:23 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I now want to see a time-lapse video of someone building the actual model.

It boggles me how some people find the gal to criticize something [...]

Yeah! She's never around when things really need criticizin'!


(Seriously, though, I agree.)
posted by TropicalWalrus at 1:25 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was undeniably pretty but unless he's looking for a career as an modeler/animator, why model all the pieces by hand? *scratches head*
posted by pyrex at 1:27 PM on February 23, 2012


It boggles me how some people find the gal to criticize something so freely what was obviously the result of invested time and imagination

It doesn't strike me as imaginative to build a 3D model of an actual physical model from a movie created by someone else. As to the time, that shouldn't be a factor because it's no indication that anything good was done, merely that time was spent.

To put it another way, one could spent months working on a photorealistic painting of shit, but the something similar could done with a photograph.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:54 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


We're such odd creatures. 3 YEARS spent on what, I'm sure, could one day be done by an automated process or done with, you know, ACTUAL legos. Yet part of me can't help but be impressed: there's something pure about doing something so pointless so well. Wholly uncreative, dull to be frank, but I get chills watching that videos just because of the man hours involved. What the hell? I mean this is several degrees mediated (movie->ship design->lego->computer model) but there's some part of my brain thinking 'oh yes, quite, the effort, the sweat, meeting standards of his own devising, how worthy'.

I don't understand my own reactions sometimes.
posted by litleozy at 2:06 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Much of contemporary art -- or what passes for it -- these days contains a component of obsessive-compulsive behaviour. As if the quality of "I'd never have the patience for that" somehow conveys artistic merit. It's just a bit of respect and/or awe, though, but since we often feel something similar when confronted with actual art that takes more than simple rote repetition it's easy to conflate that with an expression of monumentally tedious but artistically worthless work.

When I view the video, I have respect for the author for what he did, but I simply don't give a shit about the result. And that's okay. Some people get enjoyment from moving grains of sand with tweezers or whatever. It's a pastime, not art.

I have no personal experience with Lego that connects together non-orthographically; WTF is that shit?
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:23 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I own this set. It took about 40 hours to build, though that was largely due to the fact that I didn't sort the pieces before I started. The finished model is enormous and weighs ~23lbs. It's not really built to minifig scale, but it does include 5 minifigs.

It used to be the largest set available, but has since been surpassed by the Taj Mahal (piece count) and Tower Bridge (overall size).

The video is pretty cool.

- a
posted by drklahn at 2:41 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Y'know what; my first comment was definitely one of someone looking at the final product as "why didn't you automate this thing like so and get it done in less than 3 years?" but in the end I can definitely respect the artistic merits of what is essentially a Lego mandala.
posted by pyrex at 2:42 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd want this puppy.
posted by Artw at 2:42 PM on February 23, 2012


Greedo rendered first
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:56 PM on February 23, 2012


Well that was nothing short of incredible! I particularly enjoyed this reworking of a common cultural reference.''

I know, usually you think of electroswing just as party band music.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2012


I thought it was neat and I enjoyed it. Also the music. Did he create something totally original or in the most effective manner possible? Maybe not, but it seems like a labor of love well done and that's good enough for me.
posted by Glinn at 3:00 PM on February 23, 2012


The reason why I would ask "why" isn't because I judge this to be artistically valueless or anything like that. It's because doing this with existing tools that would have done it in a fraction of the time would not have changed the output in the least.

So the guy is asking me to value this more than the version someone could've done in a week, solely because he decided to do it in an inefficient way.

At least with true stop motion you get a charming analog jitter, and it focuses your story to the absolute bare minimum it takes to communicate what you want (or else you'd be animating forever). This? I'm really struggling to see a point.
posted by danny the boy at 3:17 PM on February 23, 2012


If I may say so, I noticed that the hyperdrive motivator has been damaged. It's impossible to go to light-speed!

Probably just an unplugged fiber-optic cable.
posted by JimmyJames at 3:47 PM on February 23, 2012


Probably just an unplugged fiber-optic cable.

Sort of, but I think you have it backwards. A hyperdrive crucially includes an unplugged fiber-optic cable. It's one of the key components that allows faster-than-light travel, but only as long as it's unplugged—if you plug it back in you're limited to the speed of light again.
posted by The Tensor at 3:52 PM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Serendipity led me to watching this with "Too Fat Polka" playing in the background, and that seemed kinda perfect, for some reason.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:09 PM on February 23, 2012


1) That is a crap ton of Legos.

2) Watching the thing built, you really get a sense for just how wrong the design of the Falcon really is. If the cockpit is supposed to be big enough for a human to stand in, the rest of the ship must be like a crawlspace. The rest of the hull needs to be about twice as tall.

3) Want.
posted by valkyryn at 4:14 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


BTW, thanks for posting this quin, I don't mean for this to be a judgement on you or your post at all. It's very neat to see. I just wish he didn't take 3 years to do it, for no reason!
posted by danny the boy at 4:18 PM on February 23, 2012


Can't believe someone's actually auctioning off the instruction booklet for this model for $200.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:14 PM on February 23, 2012


That guy who made a music video with nothing but construction paper cutouts could have done the whole thing in a few hours with After Effects. What a waste of time.

Sometimes, the process itself is the most satisfying part of the project. Whereas CGI is often seen as a "quick and easy shortcut" to physical modeling, this guy has taken it the other way, and done it as laboriously as possible, with the fewest shortcuts. Good for him.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:24 PM on February 23, 2012


Sorry, the LEGO Mission Commander is the only space ship that matters.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:38 PM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Legos are perfect for greebles.
posted by rikschell at 6:39 PM on February 23, 2012


Sorry, the LEGO Mission Commander is the only space ship that matters.

It's no Galaxy Explorer.
posted by Artw at 6:48 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Folks have been printing lego-compatible bricks for a while now, and while it's tough to get the tolerances of the branded brick, sometimes they do indeed get crazy creative.
posted by phooky at 10:17 PM on February 23, 2012


I now want to see a time-lapse video of someone building the actual model.

a time-lapse video of someone building the actual model.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:38 PM on February 23, 2012


And another.

Man, I get tired just watching it. MOC's are where my fun is at!
posted by -harlequin- at 11:42 PM on February 23, 2012


Oh my god, there's like... 50 of them...!
posted by -harlequin- at 11:44 PM on February 23, 2012


I am, apparently, not as cool as some of you, or I'm lacking some gene or something, because I found this to be heart-wrenchingly amazing just in its sheer tenacity.

The guy had an idea, he committed to it, and he did it. I cannot imagine how frustrating it might have been at times. Or how many mistakes he made. Or how many times he thought about giving up.
posted by Thistledown at 6:40 AM on February 24, 2012


My god, that has to approach the complexity of building an actual starship.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:28 AM on February 24, 2012


The effect Metafilter has had on me is the whole time I was watching that I kept thinking my God, I hope that guy has a comprehensive plan for migrating his core video elements into up to date formats when his software goes obsolete.
posted by nanojath at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2012


Being a father of a 7 year old the other thing I thought was "I wonder what percentage of that kit I have floating around as loose parts in the giant plastic crate under the kid's bed?" Didn't seem like a whole lot of specialized parts...
posted by nanojath at 10:53 AM on February 24, 2012


nanojath, seen this?
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on February 24, 2012


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