Lego Star Wars Snowspeeder

Denoised and extra renders, as well as more details and links are available on my website: https://whocompute.com/img/135af4

This is a Lego Star Wars Snowspeeder I made. It is based on Lego set #4500. I built the model using LeoCAD, and then exported it from there into Blender 3.2. I did some geometry cleanup so I could subdivide and bevel the edges of some pieces. I added the Lego logo onto the bricks manually using a model from Mecabricks. I made the Lego material myself (you can download it here). Textures are from AmbientCG, and the table texture specifically is Planks 015. The scene is lit by an HDRI from Poly Haven. Rendered at 4k with 4096 samples. I had slightly different compositing setups for front and rear renders.

You can also download these renders on Unsplash , so feel free to use them in accordance with their terms
EDIT: Unsplash’s automated systems decided my images didn’t fit their guidelines, so they have been taken down. Nevertheless, you can still use these images however you want.

Feedback is welcome.

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This is so cool! Incredible work with this! :smiley:

Are all these pieces standard in LeoCAD or is there a Lego Star Wars expansion for the LDraw library? I’m considering checking LeoCAD out but I’ve never cared much for the standard Lego library I’ve seen in stuff like this. I mainly just want to make cool spaceships :slight_smile:

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Amazing work! I used to build LEGO models and scenes in LEGO’s own designer software LDD. I love it :grin:
I would love to see bigger scenes as LEGO renders in the future, if you are into it :blush:
Keep up the great work,
Happy blending! :blush:

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I got in a lot of trouble in middle school for fooling around with LDD instead of doing school work. I didn’t realize it at the time but it was my gateway drug into blender :wink:

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Haha I think they fixed some import feature into LEGO Worlds, so you can actually play your models, but I don’t know how it is nowadays. There was also a possibility to order what you built, but it is not available anymore, I think.

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Yes, all the pieces you see come with the software. LeoCAD’s parts library is actually a copy of the LDraw parts library, so if it’s in LDraw, it’s in LeoCAD. The reason I use LeoCAD is that it is more modern in terms of looks and features. It doesn’t always have all the parts I need, which is why I had to swap out some parts in my X-Wing render. The only problem with it is that because it uses the LDraw library, the parts are very low-poly, and the topology is pretty bad. So rendering in cycles can be a real pain, as Cycles doesn’t do very well with reflective, low-poly meshes. And because of the ugly topology, it takes a fair bit of retopo to be able to apply a subsurf modifier. Below you can see a sample of what you can expect:

I haven’t looked very thoroughly, but your best bet may actually be Mecabricks. It’s all done in a browser, and, from what I can see, some of their parts are higher-poly, complete with pre-bevelled edges. There’s also Bricklink studio, which is apparently owned by Lego themselves. I’ve never tried it, but it’s probably as close as you’re going to get to LDD. Personally, I still like LeoCAD, mostly because I’m familiar with it. But take a look at some of the other options out there.

I remember trying out LDD as well. From what I can remember, the parts library was smaller than the LDraw library, but it’s snapping and movement tools were much better.

I do have some ideas, so stay tuned…

Yes, it’s been winding down for a while now. I remembered it had been half-discontinued for a while, but apparently they finally removed the download page just this year (2022). They recommend using BrickLink Studio, which they now own, but I haven’t tried it yet.

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Bricklink is a bit too commercial for my liking, and while I like Mecabricks, I can’t express in words how annoying it is to have that tiny little part picker that you can’t resize. Seems like LeoCAD is the way to go

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Also, I should mention that there is a way to automatically add the Lego logo to the studs in the LeoCAD preferences. I had to do it manually because this was an old export from before I knew about that feature.

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I featured you on BlenderNation, have a great weekend!

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You’re on the #featured row! :+1:

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Hello together,

if you are interested in photoreal LEGO® Renderings out of the box please feel free to take a look a Mecabriicks. This Online Editor is using a Blender addon with a very easy workflow.

The rendering features are based on my research I started in March 2014 with Modo using a Blender Ldraw addon at this time. The developer TobyLobster of another addon has also implemented a couple of nice features like shaders and instancing support I asked him for.

There’s also a complicated method to capture LDD data directly from the viewport. But this data is very low-poly and doesn’t support textures. At that time I made tests with Bionicles.

The advantage of Mecabricks compared to the more complete Ldraw data is the more accurate measuring and support of UV maps. Ldraw is just using polygonal data and a lot of models have shading issues. The faces of the Minifigures are modeled. On the Mecabricks site, there’s a special facial rig for Blender developed by the member Citrine.

If you Google search for “Rendering LEGO” you will see my Snowspeeder in 2014 rendered with MODO.

Crazy fact: You can assume that everything that is currently photo-realistically rendered or animated with Blender is based on my research in 2014. I am using Digital LEGO as a professor for animation/VFX for my courses. Learning my literally playing!

Have fun with Digital LEGO!
Michael
Renderbricks

If you have VR glasses check this out: LEGO VR

Some cool YouTube channels by very talented Mecabricks users:
Citrine’s Animations
Jekester (very nice work)

Renderbricks Facebook
Renderbricks Twitter
Renderbricks ArtStation
Renderbricks flickr
Renderbricks YouTube

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Your materials need (a bit more) SSS and more important: a Bevel shader node to get rid of the artificial look of the too sharp edges. I recommend taking a look at the Mecabricks materials with the free Lite addon.

Cheers,
Michael
Renderbricks

The addon I linked before imports Ldraw data perfectly incl. features like the LEGO logo for the studs and more.

Thanks, Bart!

I have tried it, and it is probably better overall than LeoCAD. The reason I used LeoCAD is that:

A. I had already created this model a while ago. I just recently decided to re-render it.
B. I’m more used to it.
C. It’s a local program, which is always better than a web app in terms of performance.

Other than that, Mecabricks looks good, so I probably will switch to using it in the future. I may also check out BrickLink Studio, as it seems you can get some good results from that.

But I do agree, Mecabricks is an easier workkflow out of the box.

It looks like a good add-on, although I tried it in Blender 3.2 and it didn’t work. It imported a bunch of empties in place of all the parts. Maybe an issue with newer versions of Blender, as the add-on seems to have been abandoned by the developer (last commit was 2.5 years ago). I export from LeoCAD to Collada, which is pretty good (it has object data linking, and kind of works with flexible pieces).

Yes, LDraw/LeoCAD mesh topology is rather horrifying. But, Mecabricks’s is not perfect either, and still requires a lot of work if you want to subdivide it.

That looks really cool, but it costs $25, and I know there are ways to do it manually. Here’s an old video about how to do it in Blender 2.7. The addon probably would make it a lot easier, though.

Yes, a bit more SSS might have been a good idea. The edges of the pieces are bevelled (it’s not as obvious, they could have used bit more), though I used the bevel modifier, not the shader.
Thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

I have tried the free version of their material before, but I didn’t love the results. Also, if I remember correctly, you need an HDRI for it to work. Maybe the pro version is better, but I don’t really want to pay for it.

Thank you for taking the time to comment

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Hello,

you can use an older version of Blender with the Ldraw addon and just load the scene to a newer version. :wink:

On Mecabricks the Snowspeeder and tons of other Star Wars and official sets have been built by other users for free use. You can load them into the editor and save them in your free account area.

Studio just brazenly copied the rendering concept with Cycles and unfortunately also the earlier shaders from Nicolas Jarraud, the developer of Mecabricks. Sadly the LEGO Group bought Studio and did not support Mecabricks. Mecabricks is the first tool that offered a rendering workflow via a modern path tracer. Before that, you could only render still images via POV-ray or animation via scripts.

The Mecabricks shaders are Principled PBR Shader trees and work with all types of light. There are a lot of great examples in the community. The advanced add-on is worth the money and it’s a one-time payment. You can download future updates without extra costs. The advanced addon is supporting sliders for a lot of effects for realism like fingerprints, dents, dust, dirt, color variations, uneven surfaces, and slightly random parts transform.

Cheers,
Michael
Renderbricks

This is really an off-topic conversation. If you’d like to start a thread to discuss the pros and cons of various Lego engines, that’s totally fine :slight_smile: otherwise let’s wrap this side conversation up, thanks!