Turning pixels into LEGO pieces

Looking to spice up his living room with some modular plastic pieces, [Quentin] came up with a way to take digital pixels and convert them to LEGO building plans. The end result is a coffee table top that uses a font complete with anti-aliasing.

The first thing he did was figure out physical dimension and color palettes available from the popular building blocks. His search yielded all of the answers after he spent some time on Brickipedia. Armed with that knowledge he started bargain hunting, settling on a brick size that yielded adequate resolution without breaking the bank (he budgeted 87 Euros or about $125 for materials). From there he used Photoshop, along with a custom color palate that matches the LEGO colors, to generate the design. Image in hand, he finished the planning stage by writing a program to count the pixels, convert them into LEGO bricks, and spit out an order list and build instructions. He’s saving others the trouble of doing the same by releasing his source code.

Of course the project wouldn’t be nearly as fun if he hadn’t made a fast-time build video. We’ve embedded it after the break.

16 thoughts on “Turning pixels into LEGO pieces

  1. Eww… Antialiasing only works when the pixels are too small to easily be picked out. With Legos he would have done better just sticking with black and white, unless he was making something meant to be viewed from a distance.

    Though I definitely think this is pretty cool. Just needs something other than anti-aliased text.

    1. I disagree I like the altialising effect, it looks like a giant screen, as for the glass top couldn’t he have just poured some clear urathane on top of the table for a smooth finish, or would that have melted the lego?

      1. Sorry for the P.S., I forgot to say it should have said “I (Heart) Coffee!” (Just what is the ASCII code for a heart anyway?).

    2. Meh. Antialiasing works best when the pixels are large enough to see. It was quite the thing back in the day of VGA games running at 320×200…

      If pixels were too small to discern individually there would be little need for antialiasing, since the eye would already be doing a fine job of the blurring jaggies into diagonals all by itself.

    1. I’ve watched the airplane kit some weeks ago on discovery. I think its great! But I didn’t know they where uploaded to youtube… I’ll check them out THX

  2. A screen is actually doable, but it would be plenty of work. just need lots and lots of flippable tiles. would only have room for black and white, though.

  3. Nice idea, great way to make a coffeetable or desk with retro/8bit graphics.
    If I could change one thing about this, turn the blocks 90 degrees, that way you have an almost flush surface, unless you like to clean the coffee stains off of the table with a toothbrush :s

    1. you could tile it with kindle screens… so multiply the number of tiles by however much a kindle screen costs (~$70).

      If you want a 6×16 grid, it would only be about $7000… plus the labor of linking them together and making them work.

      One or two lcd tv’s would maybe be easier, cheaper, and in color.

      1. Why use either of those when you can roll out some silicon caulk onto a piece of acrylic. place a projector with properly placed mirrors into the enclosure and add a video source.

        Throw in a web cam and some IR LEDs and you can have some multi-touch action.

        As for the Lego’s , I wish i had the time to put something like that together. Came out nice, good job.

  4. I fail to see how this is in any way a hack. Not trying to be mean or negative but is there something unique or inovative I missed

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