Screen shots

Here you find some screen shots of LD4DStudio in action, click on any picture to get the full size version of it. The pictures are of flullscreen (1280x1024) size, so you might need to zoom / scroll the full size versions around while viewing them.

Part edit

Before you can animate your award winning movie you first need to prepare the LDraw models you want to use. First step in this process is defining 'parts'. A LD4DStudio part is a LDraw model with some extra information. Information which tells LD4DStudio where the LDraw models interconnect. Below are some screenshots from the part editor while working with the 'technicCar' sample.

Part editor

The big arrows represent the 'hinge/joint' location where this model connects to an other. For finding the location a collection of tools is available, including predefined locations for hundreds of LDraw parts like turntables and hinges.

Part editor

Some models have need more points then others.

Part editor

You can hide single LDraw parts (bricks) for easier access to (partly) hidden joint locations.

Actor edit

Once all parts and their connectivity points are defined you can create your Actor. An actor is the complete model you want to animate, e.g. a technic car or minifig.

This is done in another 3D editor. All you have to do is tell which part connects to which part via which points. By doing this you create Joints. For each joint you can set properties whom will govern their behavior, e.g. the way it can bend. Below you see a couple of pictures of the actor editor in action.

Actor editor

The assembled technic car looks like a solid model, but in reality is much more. It's joints can now be manipulated.

Actor editor

Changing some angles in the actor editor reveals some of this actors secrets, like the steering arms are not really connected to each other. But don't worry you won't notice this in the final animation.

Minifig Actor Generator

For the often used minifig, one could skip making parts and an actor by using the special generator. With it you can assemble any kind of minifig by combining installed LDraw minifig LDraw parts. When done LD4DStudio will create parts and an actor for you.

Minifig generator

changing a 'normal' minifig into a classic space man is only a few clicks work.

Minifig generator

You can create an endless collection of variations using all 'known' minifig parts from the latest LDraw library. When done LD4DStudio will create a MPD file, parts and an actor for you on the fly.

Camera monitor

One of the most important windows will be the 'camera monitor'. With this window you can see the images generated by your camera's. You can add as many camera's you need to an animation. From this camera pool you can select groups (or all of them) to add to to a monitor.

Camera monitoring

The monitor displays all the characters (instances of an actor) in the animation at once, at first it might look simular to the actor editor. But the monitor uses 'real' cameras and lights whom you also can manipulate during an animation.

Camera monitoring

With the monitor you can view up to four camera's at once. Do notice different angles cause different lighting effects. So just with the real movies you have to place your light source(s) with care.

Sequence edit

Once you got characters, lights and cameras you are ready to start animating. This is done using sequences of actions. These can be edit with the sequence editor. Every sequence can have multiple channels for parallelization of actions. As with most objects in LD4DStudio you can have as many sequences, channels and actions as you need.

Sequence editor

The main sequence from the "robot arm" sample.

Sequence editor

A sequence from the "mech walk" sample, a balloon with extra information can be shown while the mouse cursor hovers over an action.

Most 'actions' are very simple like move the joint angle from 0 to 90 over a periood of a second. But some actions are very powerful, like the scripting action. This action has it's own editor window, like pictured below.

Sequence editor

Using the script action you can animate complete mechanical systems like the steering of a technic car using a single action. But don't worry you can animate almost anything even without using the scrip action. In fact the whole steering animation could be done with 'normal' actions but you would need a lot more of them. For an example of this look at the 'gears' sample.

Animation playback and manual control

To play your current animation, there is a simple 'tape deck' like player. It gives you full control over playback operations like: slow motion, reverse play, fast play, frame by frame, etc.

You can control animation elements (the e.g. joint angles) in real-time with the control panel. It allows you to 'construct' custom mixing panels which give you full control over any animation element current value.

In almost any animation you'll be wanting to have these two windows available in combination with a monitor in a setup like the picture below.

Playback desktop

This way you can directly see what the current joint values result into, before recording them using animation actions in the sequence editor.

To get a full grasp on things I strongly recommend you just start by working trough the manual and 'playing' with the sample projects.

I hope I sparked your interest, you can get your copy here.

Best viewed with Firefox 2, Seamonkey or IE 7 at 1024x768 or higher resolution.
LEGO is a registered trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, endorse, or authorize this website.