I'd like to know how I can create computer imagery of my own models or existing models. How can we do photographic quality or cartoon like images?
Blender (Or another renderer that supports Ldraw)
Blender Script (This is necessary for Blender to read you Ldraw models)
- Recreate your creation in Lego Digital Designer.
- Export as Ldraw format
- Import in Blender
- Create & render Blender scene
(I haven't tried but it should work)
In addition to the other answers, the oldschool way using POV (in use before there even WAS a LEGO Digital Designer) still works.
- Model your creation in a LDraw compatible modelling tool of your choice (such as MLCad) but there are other choices
- Use one of several export programs (such as L3P) to create a POVRay compatible file
- Add a few commands to move the camera to taste and run a render in POVRay.
All of the renders on my site, http://miltontrainworks.com, such as this one:
Taken from the MTW-5001-yg listing, were done this way.
You can read more about all the tools mentioned at the LDraw website.
Here's a method you'll be able to use with the latest stable version of Blender, without any extra plugins or addons.
Build your model in LEGO Digital Designer and export as an LDraw file.
Import into LeoCAD, then export as a .obj file.
Import into Blender with the built-in .obj importer. You can then setup the scene how you want.
Also, if you're just starting out with Blender, you may want to try an under-development, photorealistic renderer called Cycles, as you'll be able to get nice-looking images much more quickly than if you were to use Blender's default internal renderer. From 2.61 onward, Cycles is now another render engine option in all official Blender builds.
You may want to check out this superb introduction to Cycles.
The Studio tool from BrickLink uses the LDraw Parts library and has both the POV-Ray renderer as well as a "Photo Real" renderer baked in for some fairly realistic renderings of your models.
Let me suggest Autodesk 3ds Max software or Autodesk Maya software for achieving this. You can find free bricks and models meshes right here. Additional information on lego visualization can be found on Okino's website.
Here is the example of a rendered still. Doing a manual simply involve making parts of the model visible/invisible and positioning the camera appropriately.
This model was rendered by flickr user bloggerknight using 3ds Max and the VRay renderer