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ABaHB--The only blog dedicated to all things LEGO mosaics.--JumboBricks

A Blog by Casey M. and Katie W. | Guest writing by Dave W. and Sean & Steph M.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

700

Thorsten Bonsch (Xenomurphy) has accomplished what is probably the most artful use of scattered bricks that I have ever seen. 



The lighting and the positioning are so incredibly perfect.  Beautiful!

Here is a close-up of the scattered bricks:



Really cool --  except that now I'm itching to start organizing all those loose bricks.  ;-)


Thanks to Medieval Guy for the tip!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cortana: A Holographic Mosaic


     It's a true honor to join mosaic bricks. The growth of mosaics throughout the Lego years, has constantly been inspiring and a joy to watch. We are often applying much of what we've learned here at this site and hope to join in contributing in the future. For starters, we'd like to share with you one of our most recent mosaics, in a long and potentially boring form... But hope you like it! ;)

     The holographic mosaic concept first came to Steph and I when looking at the many shades of trans-blue studs that can be found on Lego’s pick a brick wall. Though we most often use these pieces for water, the thought crossed our minds to make a holographic Cortana from the Halo video game series. Initial ideas ranged from sculpting a lamp-like inner lit sculpture, to a back lit mosaic. After some interesting discoveries we decided to go with a mosaic. And we'd like to share some of these discoveries with you!




     The initial concept is simple. Just like stained glass, we wanted to create an image where the light was coming from within, or in reality behind. So using thousands of trans clear, trans light blue, and trans dark blue 1x1’s, we built her image in a series of tall 1x1 stacked towers with differing combinations of these parts. 


     There are several things we want to point out for anyone out there looking to either learn more about this moc, or wishing to create other holographic mosaics of their own.

Rows vs Columns: The first consideration is that there are two ways to orient the tall stacks of 1x1 plates. You can either have them as the columns or rows in your final mosaic. There are benefits and costs to doing each. If you have them as horizontal rows you are impeded by gravity as to how wide you can make your mosaic before the rows sag and break whilst spinning. However doing them in this horizontal fashion also allows you to have vertical pixels. You can see we chose to assemble Cortana with horizontal rows as taller pixels will make her image appear leaner and thinner in appearance. If you orient the stacks as columns in your piece, then your horizontal lines will be smoother rather than your vertical lines, but you also get the added benefit of having a much stronger mosaic without the size limitations. As Cortana is a skin tight holographic woman, we chose to use vertical pixels with horizontal rows.

Computer program: Rather than using computer programs to tell us which color pieces to place where, we simply eyeballed it by holding rows up to a monitor, and taping framing guides directly on the screen with blue tape. This was done because some parts like the 1x1 round plates let light through in the corners and should often be used specifically depending on where you want pure flecks of light to shine through without passing through the plastic. Here is a photo of the mosaic before any of the effects are used.


Casting the Light: In order to get the shimmering effect as well as the effect of the spiraling lines crisscrossing each other you twist each individual piece in the smallest increment to give each square column a helix twist. This reflects the light back at you at controlled times. For a smooth transition from right to left, you would use this helix. For Cortana the twist for each row is 270 degrees, as well as lining the glimmers up from row to row. The speed of your motor, as well as the rotation of your twist will effect how fast the light glimmers across your mosaic. The slower the turning speed and helix twist the slower the shimmer effect. Also because of how the gears rotate in opposite directions when connected in series, we found it best to curve every other helix in the opposite direction to add an additional effect of having the dark edge lines scissor towards each other from row to row.

Fluctuating Vertical Pixels: Once you've got your horizontal or vertical rows of helixes placing them is important. Because they can't remain side by side like the original mosaic, first we have to compensate for the fact that, once twisted, the rows can’t sit tight together. We compensate for that by having every other row set back. This allows the corners of each brick to rotate freely without bumping into the row beside them. This also does another thing. As the pixels rotate each pixel flexes from either being 1 brick tall to being 1.41 bricks tall on account of the length of the diagonal. This however is only true for the front rows, as the back rows flex between being at most 1 brick tall to .59 bricks tall on account of being overlapped by the front rows.

Series Gears and Motor: This is self explanatory, but below you can see a photo of the gears in series. To avoid taxing a single motor too much we had to use two, with one at the beginning and one in the middle. Play around with this before mounting any rows or columns. Also you will find that the gears only really work in turning the first row in one direction if you use the simple technic brick offset as shown in the photo. Simple, but you want to keep this in mind for which row your motors are mounted.


      Lastly, some other fun additions we would encourage are back lighting and a dimmer switch! The lighting adds a lot to both color and the grab of the mosaic, and the dimmer switch is immensely useful and fun to be able to control the speed of rotation, as well as to spot problems, and start and stop without having to jerk to a stop. And there you have it. Hope you've enjoyed and perhaps want to make a version of your own!

Thanks so much for reading!
-S&C

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Warning: Cuteness Ahead!

I run into periods of time where it's hard to keep up with this blog, but Bruce always keeps me on my toes!

About these first ones, by Brickshelf user Elena, he says they are simple but fun, and that he particularly likes the dragon:

 
 
fish.jpg

 
whale.jpg  sailer.jpg
 
cow-k.jpg  720.jpg
 
rabbit.jpg  rabbit3.jpg  01.jpg
 
They are all so super-cute!  I notice some clever techniques on the rabbits, too.  There are transparent bricks used for slight shading, little lever bits for eye brow highlights, and grill plates on the carrots for texture.
 
Bruce also sent a link to Pete W.'s photo of a LEGO mosaic "with added 3-D fish, on the stairway to Hobbyco's second level."  I like the little sea horses.  They're so.... cute!

 

hobbyco lego mosaic

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mosaic Article in HispaBrick 15

HispaBrick Magazine is a free magazine written by and for LEGO fans.  The fifteenth issue became available today.  I noticed that on page 29 there is an article written by a Portuguese AFOL about building LEGO Mosaics.  I found it especially interesting since the author, Pedro Almeira, suffers from Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. 

You can find the preview of the English version of the magazine here.  (HispaBrick is also available in Spanish.)  There you can download a free PDF of the entire magazine. 

If you read Carlos' editorial (right after the table of contents), you will see a reference to "our U.S. correspondent" (that's me) and something about "opening new horizons for the magazine".  Essentially that means if you have great ideas for articles, let me know!  You could write them, or I could help, or we could pass the ideas off to someone else.  And then you could be a correspondent too.  Come.... join us!  ;-) 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mysterious Mysterion

Check out the interior on this Mysterion Mothership by Crimso Giger.

Mysterion Mothership Interior (2)

Mysterion Mothership Interior (1)

I think that might be the sweetest inside of a spaceship that I ever did see.  Though, as my friend Scruffy Mynxbane says, "My eyes are now two smoldering craters."  Mine too!

I see no exterior, just a promise that more is come tomorrow.  I guess I'll have to pay attention.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sesame Street Triptych

Bruce sent me a link to this cute Sesame Street Mosaic by "Big Daddy" Nelson:

Sesame Street Mosaic

I can think of a number of children who would love to have something like this hanging in their room. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Giant Christmas Village

There is a currently a LEGO Christmas Village set up at Time Square in Hong Kong.  You can read an article and watch a video describing it in more detail here.  The models were originally designed by Hong Kong LEGO fans, and then built at a size about 20 times larger than the originals.  Bill Toenjes (TooMuchDew) sent me one of the photos, because.... look!  A giant cheese slopes mosaic!   I assume (hopefully correctly) that the design was based off of one of one of mine.  In which case -- how cool is that? 

LEGO Village@Time Square, Hong Kong

I noticed this other beautiful snowy/starry mosaic background in the photographs taken by Joey Kwok (Bo-Chi Workshop). 

LEGO Village@Time Square, Hong Kong

See Joey's LEGO Village set for lots more photos.

In the video mentioned above, I saw a few more really neat mosaics, too, although I didn't find still photographs of them.  Since my birthday party is about to start, I will leave it to you, intrepid reader, to watch the video and look for them yourself.  ;-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bangsangsi Tal

Check out the cool technique used on this traditional mask of old Korea:



Its creator, Kyoungbae Amida Na, says Bangsangsi Tal drives away evil spirits. 

Here's a close-up of the technique used: 



I love it!

Via LEGO Diem. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity!

After being gone for a little while, it's been nice getting back into the Lego community after being engulfed in school. Upon returning and looking around the Lego landscape, I stumbled upon two little micro-mosaics that I found very interesting. Check 'em out:


First we have Botanical Gardens by Flickr user, gid617. Small, but effective.



And secondly we have Vortex by Flickr user, eiffelben. I found this one particularly captivating by it's the perfect size of fitting into the vignette space (as it's 8x8). It's just so... mesmerizing.

Anywho, two that I thought were neat.

More to come!
~Casey

Monday, November 19, 2012

Castle-y Goodness

Check out the mosaics all over this gorgeous room by Etzel87.  I especially love that center square. 

Sanctuary Overview
Sanctuary Overview, by Etzel87

Another gorgeous interior is this Room at Toberg by Benjamin Jakobson (bentoft):


Room at Toberg
Room at Toberg, by Benjamin Jakobson

The Room at Toberg was an entry for the Colossal Castle Contest at Classic-Castle.com.  You can find the categories and rules here

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What a Rush!

After badgering Josh to post it on his blog, I'd be remiss to not post this here, too.  (I was just meeting deadlines before I got around to it; I wanted to have time to post it properly.)  Isaac Mazer (Ricecracker.) has made one of the most exciting mosaics I have ever seen. 


Moving Pictures
Moving Pictures, by Isaac Mazer


When I saw this the first time, I honestly thought it was a 3-D model.  The sense of perspective is so amazing I couldn't believe that it was flat.  But -- it's pretty flat.  Simon tells me it's 40x40 and 3 bricks tall.  Isaac has used all sorts of different (and crazy) techniques to get this image into such a small space.  If you go to the image on flickr, right click on it, and then hit "all sizes", you can zoom up really close to see all the magic.  Some obvious things are the arches and the round pieces for columns.  But if you look closely, there is a really great use of gaps as shadows, gaps which help to make the image seem more three-dimensional than it actually is.  And the occasional studs that are showing (in the gaps) help to give the picture more detail.  I also love the clever details, such as the door handles behind windows in the center doors.

At my presentation on cheese slope mosaics at BrickCon I had a section about eliminating gaps in your mosaics.  Then we looked at Paul's mosaic from Atlantis, and talked about how the gaps actually seemed like another color, and added to the whole design.  In the case of Isaac's mosaic, that is definitely the case.

This mosaic was part of ToroLUG's show at the Hard Rock Cafe, just like Isaac's Dark Side of the Moon album cover.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview with Sean and Steph Mayo

This is an interview with Sean and Steph Mayo that I did for HispaBrick Magazine.  I know it's not about mosaics, but hopefully readers of this blog will find it interesting anyway. 
 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Batman!

Batman seems to be everywhere, these days.  First, here are a few Batman mosaics.  Josh Wedin and Dave Ware made very similar ones; one main difference is that Josh's mosaic has the studs pointing to the right, and Dave's has them pointing up (towards the head).  The changing orientation makes slight differences in how the mosaic turned out.  I notice differences especially in the lettering, and also in the face.

Vintage Batman Logo
Batman Mosaic, by Josh Wedin


Batman Studs up Lego Mosaic
Batman Mosaic by Dave Ware

Batman was also hanging out around BrickCon this year, too.  Here's half a Batman mosaic, hanging out next to the Super Friends Hall of Justice, made by VicLUG's Ryan Willougby:

BrickCon:  The Superfriends' Hall of Justice, by Ryan Willoughby
Hall of Justice, by Ryan Willougby

Over in the Art/Mosaic/Sculpture section, Bruce Lowell won an award for this 3-D Batman mosaic.  The colors and shapes make for quite the brooding ambience. 

The Silent Guardian - 3D Batman Mosaic
The Silent Guardian, by Bruce Lowell
One of the highlights at BrickCon this year was this amazing Bat Cave, by Wayne Hussey and Carlyle Livingston.  It's not really a mosaic (though I see some yellow lines we could pretend are mosaics, if anyone wanted to be picky about it), but -- wow!

01 Batcave1048
Bat Cave, by Carlyle Livingston and Wayne Hussey

And lastly, here is a photo of the new upcoming LEGO set, Arkham Asylum.  Once again, not very mosaicky, but look!  Stained glass windows!  And gargoyles too!  (Though, sadly, not the peeing kind.)

BrickCon:  Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum -- upcoming set

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Bricks

Hey folks. Katie has been kindly reminding me that I haven't posted anything here in a while, and so this time, I made sure that MosaicBricks gets the scoop.

I was recently asked to make a mosaic for the Calgary Lego Kids Club meeting, held at the Lego Store. Since it was the weekend before Halloween, it was pretty simple to choose a subject, and when I went looking for Monster Fighter images, I found one I liked a lot. The Werewolf's claws didn't come out as well as I had hoped, but on the whole, it turned out ok. It's fun, bright, and has lots of colors in it!







I've been in non-stop build mode lately, with a lot of commissioned pieces, so once I'm done a few of those, I'll post pics up here too.

Dave (brickwares)

Monday, October 29, 2012

ToroLUG Follow-Up

Here's the final Hard Rock Cafe mosaic done by ToroLUG, as described in a previous post:

Hard Rock Cafe - LEGO style

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hard at work

I notice that Dave (BrickWares) hasn't posted any of his new mosaics to the blog, so I thought I would post them here for him, since they're quite nice. 

First, we have a Jim Lee Superman Lego Mosaic, made for the 2012 Calgary Expo:



Then we have a Scott Pilgrim Lego Mosaic, also made for the Calgary Expo:


That one's done with a nice, SNOT-ty approach, to allow for greater detail.  The predominantly black-and-white color theme, with small colored highlights, also makes for an interesting effect.

Next we have my personal favorite, LEGO Iron Giant, which was recently exhibited at the Endeavor Gallery in Calgary:


And finally, we have a mosaic built on commission for the retirement of SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) President Irene Lewis:


Although Dave didn't make it to BrickCon this year, I can see that he's been quite busy creating many fantastic mosaics.  Hopefully we'll see some of them in person at BrickCon next year. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ToroLUG Rocks!

ToroLUG will be hosting an event at the Toronto Hard Rock Cafe for Pinktober.  As part of the event they will have some LEGO recreations of album covers on display:





Since Simon explained everything so well on his post, I will suggest you visit it to find out all the details.  It sounds like a lot of fun!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fun!

I have been a bit slow getting to the BrickCon mosaics.  They'll be coming along, I promise.  But first, here is a BrickCon entry from a different category:  The "Fun Haus" by Paul Hetherington (Brickbaron) was awarded the "Best in Town" award this year.  I know it was in the town category, but look at all the mosaic work!  It's fantastic.

FUN HAUS!


Here's a close-up of the snake mosaic: 

 
FUN HAUS!
 

Check out the ornamentation on the side of the building:

FUN HAUS!

 
Here is a photo of the "Day of the Dead" flower mosaic on the ground, without the rest of the model:

Day of the Dead Mosaic
 
 I love how precisely those butterflies fit together. 
 
 
Here's a close-up of another small bit of ornamentation:
 
FUN HAUS!
 
 
The rotational symmetry makes my heart happy.  When I grow up, I want to build like Paul!  ;-)

P.S.  It moves!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Get some sunglasses before looking at this one

Jacob Unterreiner (4estFeller 2.0) has made a re-appearance on flickr, sporting a striking new buddy icon.  The bright colors and bold background lines make it really appealing to me.  I also love how each of the four characters of his nickname are done in one of the background colors, but none of them touch the area of the background that has the matching color. 




It's brilliant in more ways than one!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Un-Convention-al Mosaics

I got back from BrickCon this afternoon.  It was lots of fun.  I got to be there for almost three days, and it was so much better.  I can hardly believe what a difference it made. The past two years I just drove over for the day (which is a 3.5 hour trip, one-way), and that was really hard.   I know this is a blog for mosaics, but I think I might want to write a bit about other things, too, like conventions in general.  But that will have to wait for another day. 

I also learned that there are people (I'm looking at you, Josh) who actually read this blog.  So I suppose I should make an effort to post a bit more regularly.  ;-)

I have many photos from the convention, but first I want to feature this mosaic (which was not at BrickCon) from tikitikitembo, made from unsorted LEGO:

Lego Mosaic

It looks great! 

[This also reminds me about the stats for this MosaicBricks blog.  The most common search term, by far, that leads to this blog, is for "LEGO logo", which leads to this entry which Casey did in 2010.  This photo would fit right in!]

And since the LEGO logo was posted, I noticed that tikitikitembo has posted another mosaic, in the form of a spider lightbox, just in time for Halloween:

Lego spider light box mosaic

Thursday, October 4, 2012

BrickCon Presentation

I've been busy preparing for BrickCon (instead of working on updating this blog).  I'm giving a presentation on how to make cheese slope mosaics on Sunday morning.  I have posted the PowerPoint part of the presentation online.  You can find it here:  https://dl.dropbox.com/u/74076182/Cheese%20slope%20mosaics%20power%20point.pptx

Let me kinow if it doesn't work out right. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dark Side of the Moon

Isaac Mazer (Ricecracker.) made this beautiful rendition of the cover of the Pink Floyd Album Dark Side of the Moon.


Dark Side of the Moon

Here is the original for a comparison:

File:Dark Side of the Moon.png

I love how Isaac used white, trans-clear, and trans-black pieces to achieve gradations of color.  Using black can help to cover up imperfections in a cheese slope mosaic.  If you look closely at the largest sizes of the photo, you will see that there is even a modified plate with a door rail with the rail part filling up a small area.  In another color this might be more obvious, but with black it all blends together and looks great. 

Thanks to Simon for the tip!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Glowing Killers in the Dark

Flickr user bruceywan made a glow in the dark mosaic using 1x1 rounded plates (as well as some regular plates) of the band, The Killers. Check out Bruce's website here. I found it to be great idea.


LEGO The Killers Logo by bruceywan

LEGO The Killers Logo (Glow In The Dark) by bruceywan

"...Talks like a gentleman, like you imagine when you...were young."