Hello! I reached the 10K votes with my Mexico City skyline some time ago and learned a lot since then.
I thought I could share a little of that in case, in case it helps anyone planning to create a project of this sort. I´ll be using as an example my latest project on LEGO Ideas, "The Nightmare Before Christmas and LEGO" that you can check out more at http://voteforbricks.com
I hope you like the post :D
"The Nightmare Before Christmas and LEGO" is my dreamed project and was uploaded in December for voting, but what is normally not shown is that before that, there is a process that might take several months of work. I will try to summarize and explain how I did it.
But first, here are the final images of the 4 scenes and 9 Minifigures. I recommend that you try to make them outstand from others since there are so many projects and maybe only one chance to catch the attention of the person who sees them.
1) Research & idea: The first thing to do is find something that you REALLY love and think it would be great to become an awesome set. It is the MOST important thing to do since everything that follows will depend on that (and it will be months of work). Take your time to get a lot of ideas about something that has not been made. Make a list of advantages or disadvantages. Ask yourself: Would it be doable in production? Don´t forget to check on the LEGO Ideas page if the Intellectual Property (IP) would be accepted.
For me, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a beautiful and iconic animated movie that I loved since I watched it for the first time. It has everything you want: an original story, great characters & design, songs that you want to sing, unique stop motion, Halloween in Christmas, and much more! As an animator and designer, I feel so inspired every time I watch the movie.
And the Disney Series 2 from the Minifigures has Jack and Sally, so I thought it would be incredible to make them have their own set!
2) Planning: I decided I wanted to include the main scenes and make them not so big on their own since joined together it would be a big set. But there would keep the essence from the designs, be a lot of details, stickers/fabric, and include the main characters for each mini-set.
3) Prototypes: I use Studio to easily start prototypes and to check what bricks I can use. I keep changing pieces for others and try different variations of everything I built. I love to place different bricks with interesting shapes in the grid and that I could use later. Below is just part of how the file looks at the end.
This is how the render of the prototypes looked like.
4) Build the sets: I consider it absolutely valuable to build the sets with real bricks! For several reasons. 1) You test the prototype and improve it. 2) You can use other pieces or parts that are not in the 3D software, for example, the fabrics. 3) You can take pictures and edit them! In my case, it is easier and much faster to have the pictures than to do realistic 3D renders.
Try to have the sets as ready as you can to save edition time (I didn´t have all the pieces and colors so I have to work with what I got). Find a great background (purple works great with orange, and can be related to magic, mystery, etc.) and carefully place each element, taking into consideration composition, negative space, and silhouette. Take lots and lots of pictures from different angles and different compositions, the more the better - if you don´t have all the angles you need, you might end doing another photo session (I did 2 + 1 for updates).
5) Digital edition: Since I´m a Visual Designer, this is one of my favorite parts! You have to change the colors and make them more vivid, improve the contrast, fix some parts, move elements, remove others, add the stickers or details, add parts from other images, etc. Improve the image as much as you to make it eye-catching and what you had in mind!
Think in advance about how would you like your main image to look like. It should be more detailed, with more information, and impressive than the others as an introduction to your project. The elements should have their right space and tell a story with the others.
7) Final images: After months of work the images are almost ready! Don´t forget to add short/clear texts and extra info that matches the rest (I´ll probably work these texts even more). Take into consideration the font, the hierarchy of the texts, color, etc.
I won´t post the full images here because of space, but if you want to check out the images with more detail and the whole project, you can visit the LEGO Ideas project with the link http://voteforbricks.com
8) Campaign: The campaign is another whole process. Reaching all the votes can be the most difficult part of your project, and you will be using the images for that, so you need to plan ahead that too. But that is another story for another post :)
For now, I hope that this post is useful in the creation or design part in any project of this type!
I have to say that really enjoy all the process as a passionate AFOL and creative artist. And if you dream like me of having your design become an official set, I invite you to submit your own project at LEGO Ideas. It is an amazing experience and journey!
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