3 Posts
I have design my first simple Lego model in Megabricks. I then export it to blender and have been trying to render but the results are terrible.

I am trying to render out a beautiful photo realistic scene like other folks have done here:

The.Ninja: https://www.mecabricks.com/image/rendering/o/jA2OzD.png
Scrubs: https://www.mecabricks.com/image/rendering/o/jr1OBV.jpg

However, the best I can do is this:

Any tips or tutorials that can get me closer to a nicely lighted scene?

Thanks in advance!

PS. In total awe of the community and work that has gone into it. Amazing job Scrubs and team.
8 Nov 2019, 14:59
17 Posts
For your first steps, I would recommend playing about with the online Mecabricks render farm. Open your model in the Workshop, and change the editing mode from design to 3D Rendering (top left of screen). There are simple settings to add a floor, change its color, and play about with the HDRI environment map. You are able to make a limited number of renders for free.

To render locally with Blender is a little more difficult. Firstly, are you exporting from mecabricks as a Collada .dae file or as a .zmbx file? The grey in your image makes me think you have picked a Collada .dae file and are using the default Blender material, which is grey and slightly rubbery. It is much better if you install the Mecabricks Blender add-on (a lite version is available for free in the shop) and export the model from the workshop as a .zmbx file.

If you use the "Template.blend" file included in the download for the Mecabricks Blender add-on, you will also get a nice 3D backdrop that basically sets up a perfect miniature photo studio. When you then import the zmbx file to Blender, the add-on will assign the materials developed by Scrubs, which make the bricks look photo-real with virtually no extra work needed. All you will have to do is modify the World material to have an HDRI environment map, for example, see the tutorial here:
The HDRI map tells Blender where the light comes from, and gives an image for the bricks to reflect (since lego is slightly glossy). You can get a few good HDRI packs for free from the link in the first post here:

Hope this helps!
8 Nov 2019, 16:35
Edited 8 Nov 2019, 16:37
3 Posts
Thank you Nathan for your reply!

This does help.

I am using a .zmbx file and have downloaded the Mecabricks Blender add-on (lite version). So I am exporting from Mecabricks as a .zmbx then going to blender and doing File -> Import -> Mecabricks (.zmbx) option.

Then I set my camera and render away. But I think I may be missing the use of "Template.blend".

In fact I just tried it right now by first opening the Template.blend file (rather than an empty new blender file), and I now see a backdrop and the settings you mentioned. I imported my model and spun off a render. Before renders used to be almost instant but now it is taking a bit (which is of course expected and a good thing, because it is probably applying all the meshes and look that i am looking for).

We'll see the results shortly, but this was super helpful.

Thank you Nathan!

I should have reached out earlier, would have saved a lot of hours of sleep
8 Nov 2019, 17:01
17 Posts
Ah, that explains it! When you open an empty new Blender file, the EEVEE renderer is chosen by default. This is designed to give vey fast results, at the cost of lower image quality. None of the Mecabricks materials/shaders are optimised to work with EEVEE, so you get a slightly odd look.

The Template.blend file sets a number of very useful default values. It uses the Cycles render engine for accurate ray-tracing, which can be quite slow depending on your machine specs, scene complexity, and other factors. For a faster render, try reducing the image size. On the right hand panel, look for a printer icon, then under resolution change it to say 50% of 1920x1080. At half the size, you quarter the number of pixels that must be generated, and make it render 4x faster.

Also, on the same panel, there is a Camera icon, click it and change the value under Sampling -> Render. Blender is a ray-tracer, which means it fires rays from the camera and bounces them around the scene until they strike a light source, with the number of samples determining how many rays are used to work out the final colour of a single pixel. More samples means a smoother image, but longer processing time. If the scene is brightly lit then you should be able to go down to about 50 samples, but you need to experiment a bit to find the smallest number that works for the scene (sometimes the shadow detail can become very noisy with a very small number of samples)
8 Nov 2019, 20:22
3 Posts
Thanks for the additional tips!!! I can't stop looking at the first render after your initial tip/explanation. Now I can't wait to further tweak.

Thank you for taking the time to help me out. This is so cool.

Will play round with camera and render settings.
8 Nov 2019, 21:39
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