Anti-Aliasing in LEGO Mosaic Design

Anti-Aliasing in LEGO Mosaic Design

LEGO Mosaics

The advent of PicToBrick and other tools that convert an image into a LEGO mosaic design have turned the average Joe LEGO-owner into a potential “artist.” But does the ability to run a program, make you an artist? LEGO has even released an iPhone app that will convert your pictures into something “LEGOized” — flooding Flickr with LEGO mosaics that have even fooled some AFOLs, if that were even possible.

There was a time when even the most pixelated of portraits built in LEGO would cause the masses to “ooh” and “ah,” but anybody can run a picture through PicToBrick and slap together LEGO bricks into a mosaic, and it becomes less than impressive. The entry fee has been lowered, and now the bar needs to be raised by those who want to separate themselves from the “Joe Anyones.” Creating a pixely-looking LEGO mosaic is quickly becoming a thing of the past; merely something the LEGO artist cuts his teeth on as he “builds” his way up to becoming somewhat more of a professional.

LEGO certified professional Sean Kenney makes a big deal about how his mosaics are “designed by hand.” Compare some of his older stuff with some of his more recent things, and you’ll notice his an improvement as he’s moved away from the older, pixelated, apparently computer-generated images, to his current works that are more stylized and made up of more solid-color areas.

But how does one get from point A (the pixelated stuff) to point B (stuff that is less-obviously computer-aided)?

Whether or not you use a computer to help, you cannot be completely reliant on what it outputs. That minimizes the creativity. We mosaic builders must improve on our skills. We must have a better understanding of design and color, contour and shape. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Anti-Aliasing Technique in LEGO Mosaics

These are all some things I’ve been thinking through as I wrestle with how best to create LEGO mosaics. Incidentally, this morning, Dave of the BrickPlayer blog posted an excellent that tackles one aspect of understanding color in your Mosaics. He demonstrates anti-aliasing technique in LEGO mosaics. [Note this is part 1 of 2, so I'm looking forward to the next article!]

Discussion, Anyone?

I’ve seen (and taken part in) various discussions/arguments over whether or not the use of programs like PicToBrick results in a piece that is “art.” What do you think? Obviously, a painter has a brush, is a computer program simply that? How far does it go? What techniques have you employed to get “beyond the pixelized look?”