Have you ever wanted to create your own LEGO ART Mosaic? Well, I have tried it and I will try to explain how you can do this as well.
I’m writing deliberately that I have tried it as there are some elements you really need to fiddle around with to get something decent. But when you do, it’s really satisfying and rewarding.
Quick disclaimer; I am going to show you how to recreate a similar-looking LEGO ART Mosaic in a digital way. Actually getting the required parts for your personal artwork is a different matter altogether which I will address real short later in this article. You need some basic knowledge of photo-editing programs. In my case, I am using photoshop. I will also use Studio 2.0 which is completely free software provided by bricklink.com. Also, this is A way of achieving a result. By all means, it’s not THE way. I used whatever I could get my hands on and what I thought looked good. I know software like PicToBrick exists, but doing it like this made it so much more personal for me.
So without further ado, here are all the steps I went through to create a custom LEGO ART Mosaic
Picking your image
First of all, you need a cool image that you would like to convert into LEGO. You can of course select any image you like, but keep in mind you need quite some color variations as LEGO only has so many variations to choose from.
Try to get something with multiple contrasting colors as this seems to be working best. I will show you how I got some more contrast to my image in order to get some more definition.
The image I choose is Boba Fett created by Mike Mitchell. As a quick tip, whenever you want to actually build and display your LEGO ART Mosaic, I would always ask the original creator of the image for permission.
When you have chosen your amazing image it’s time to get to work…
Edit your image
Most images are not square and in this case, it needs to be. The original LEGO ART Mosaic is also square so we’ll go with that. Load in your image in photoshop and select the crop tool. Us the 1:1 square, and crop the image. Try some different crops and when you are satisfied with your result save it.
Now even though I think the image I selected is badass and awesome, it does lack some definition. What I mean by that is that the colors will not be as different from one another when I eventually convert this image to only a few pixels (more on that later).
In other words, I need some extra contrast. And to do that you have to add a contrast adjustment layer on top of the image. As you can see I turned up the contrast all the way and I did it twice! But depending on your image you have to fiddle around with it a bit. Try some stuff out, but do make sure you have plenty of contrast. You’ll be happy that you have some in the long run. Trust me.
Now I’m going to pixelate the whole thing. I have tried different methods, but the one I am going to show you generated the best results for me.
Take the whole image as is right now and reduce the size to 48×48 pixels. When you zoom in completely you can see that Photoshop created exactly 48 by 48 pixels. It looks finished, right? It’s not. We also need a specific amount of colors.
Go and save the image using Save for web (legacy) to a png-8 format. But hold on for a bit. Don’t just save it. We still need to adjust the colors.
Now I chose twelve colors because I thought the original LEGO ART Mosaic sets have 12 as well. I was wrong. Very wrong. I think they have about fifteen even. So I’m missing some colors in this example. Not to worry though, I think my version looks pretty cool as well, but keep in mind you can use more colors than I did. This will give you a bit more flexibility.
I have also fiddled around with the different color options and the dither. For my image, I found the Adaptive color and having no Dither to be the most pleasing to the eye and true to the image. But this is all up to your personal preference.
Now save your image. Open your PNG image again in Photoshop and select the first 16×16 square. Copy this into a new file and save it. Do this with all nine parts of the image. The official LEGO ART Mosaic also has nine 16×16 plates, so we’ll do the same.
Building your ART
Open Studio 2.0 and create a new project. First, we need to determine the colors we are going to use. I opened my first 16×16 file and kept it open. I know I have 12 colors so now I need to match the colors with the available ones in Studio 2.0. Try to match your colors as much as possible. It will seem that some colors are quite different from the one you will be selecting but stick with them. The colors you use will eventually look better when rendered. Trust me on this one as well!
Stick to the 16×16 plates to build your Mosaic on. I don’t think the actual Technic 16×16 plates are already available in Studio 2.0 at the time I’m writing this, but that doesn’t matter. It’s all about the process and the (digital) outcome for now.
The building will take you a while but when you get the hang of the workflow and with a little determination you’ll get the job done. I did create a couple of quick renders of my first few 16×16 plates just to see how the colors turned out. I was happy enough to proceed.
After I was done I put all the 16×16 plates together through my own design. I probably used way too many bricks, but since I’m not building this in real life it doesn’t really matter. I added a border as well and did a few big renders.
If you would like to create this in real life, there are multiple sites out there where you can buy your parts. Do keep in mind this will set you back quite a bit more than buying existing sets
And there you go! Your very own LEGO ART Mosaic.
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