Hey everyone, what’s up? Made it to 2012? Me too!
My girlfriend and me wanted to experiment a little for our new year wishes, so we looked at what was handy and came up with this little video… We know it’s not perfect but we’re pretty happy with it. Tell us what you think!
When I moved in I bought an IKEA Ramvik table and while travelling this summer I had an idea (don’t ask why): decorate its top with Lego bricks used as pixels. Here are the steps I went through. If you don’t care about those steps and want to see a nice time-lapse video, scroll to the end of the article!
First things first. What are the Lego brick sizes and colors available? Oddly enough this question is not that easily answered. Probably because Lego’s site is crappy, or because nobody really cares… I eventually found Brickipedia which happens to be a much richer resource than the official ones. Everything I was looking for was there: the Lego “unit” is 8 millimeters and the color palette is pretty simple.
Knowing my table size I had various options, depending on the “pixel size” I’d choose. Of course the number of bricks (and the price) would also vary. So I created a dynamic spreadsheet on Google Docs that’d do the calculations for me… Here it is, with all the options possible (French, sorry).
I chose the 4x4 option, quite cheap and still offering a cool number of pixels.
36x16 pixels of freedom, that’s it. I tried lots of different designs, from lo-fi photos to pixel-art drawings. I decided to go for a Heavy Oblique Futura.
The Lego palette
I set my type to white, on a black background. The anti-aliasing process creates gray-scale pixels to smooth the curves, which is great, but Lego bricks aren’t available in all colors! To have a realistic preview of what it would look like I had to create a Photoshop Color Table matching Lego’s gray-scales (if you’re interested, just ping me [UPDATE: here they are]). Here’s a comparison between Photoshop’s default gray-scales (left) and Lego’s palette (right):
You may notice that Lego’s black is a little bit light and the grays are yellowish.
Time to order bricks!
Already? Nope, not that fast. Before ordering I had to know exactly what to order, that means counting the pixels. Well, I’m not this kind of guy. I’m a developer; I hate repetitive chores, you know.
So I fired up Flash Builder and came up with PaletteCounter a simple, OpenSource, app to count pixels of each color. I also added some kind of “assembly instructions generator” to help us build it. Handy.
Time to order!
Really? Yup. I placed an order on lego.com’s Pick A Brick and received it a couple of weeks later. Yay!
Let’s do this
I’m not going to describe the process (that happened this saturday), just have a look at this time-lapse vid. 1020 pics shot in about an hour, yummy. Thanks to Céline and Julie for helping out!
C’était hier soir, c’était à Bordeaux, y’avait du monde… Et j’avais bien fait de m’entrainer un peu avant !
Le son n’est pas extra, l’image est un peu moyenne mais l’ambiance est là ! Merci aux organisateurs d’avoir pensé à moi, merci aux gens qui sont venus me voir après pour parler ornithorynque, merci à Céline pour avoir appuyé sur le bouton aux bons moments (et pour l’encodage !), merci à Renaud, à ma manageuse, aux tickets boisson, au tram qui n’a pas accepté de nous prendre… Je m’arrête là, de toute façon personne ne sait de quoi je parle !
During the last couple of months I’ve been working on a free AIR app for a French community-based site called Weecast. Its purpose is to allow users to submit and/or buy screencasts about your favorite apps and languages (mostly Adobe’s and Microsoft’s, but also 3D ones’, OS’s and more).
The app allows you to browse your videos, watch them (4 view modes), search for more, drop comments and stars… I think that’s called an RIA, right? There’s also an offline mode, so you can access all your stuff anytime.
All of this is made in Flex+AIR. The visual identity was made by Weecast ; thanks for the PNGs, folks!
By the way, some parts of it are actually OpenSource, including:
The first script I wrote is called Qink and is some sort of china ink paintbrush. It doesn’t work very well yet so I won’t post it now. Drop a comment if you want to try it.
The second thing I wrote has no name yet but works pretty well. It is not buggy at all but I need to rethink the script a little before posting it. Here’s an example of what you can do with it:
The concept is simple: use any image’s pixels as your color swatch. Either for live painting, or to apply on a path. Expect nice or funny results! Again, drop a comment if you can’t wait.
The third thing is called Qattern. This one allows you to quickly and easily build a pattern… It’s kind of simple, but a video might explain this better:
I did it to go with my blog theme’s new ability to handle background patterns… It’s working alright so here is the source code! Play with it, break it and send feedback… I’m sure things can be improved, if you’ve got suggestions, share them!