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Anti Aliasing With LEGO – Part 1

May 3rd, 2010

All my previous LEGO Mosaics fit neatly into two categories. First, there is the photo realistic type like the mosaics of my older kids, or my younger kids. Second, there is the solid area type like the Danny Phantom mosaic, or Starbucks logo mosaic.

Starting today, there is another category, which is solid area, anti-aliased mosaics.

In real life I am a business software developer. However, for fun I’ve recently started playing around with iPhone development. This hobby has introduced me to the concept of anti-aliased graphics. Generally speaking, anti-aliasing (AA) is the use of lighter (or darker) colors at region transitions to smooth out jagged transitions. LEGO bricks are a great way to demonstrate this technique.

lego mosaic anti alias example 1 lego mosaic anti alias example 2

Shown above are a couple LEGO mosaic examples with and without AA.  Hopefully the middle blue line seems less jaggedy and the right green circle and letter ‘A’ also appear smoother than those to the left.  I’ve purposely shown these images small, because in order for the advantage of AA to be realized visual blending of the pixels must occur.

Article Continues…

LEGO bricks are available in many different colors, so most colors have at least two shades, which is needed for AA.  By using a lighter shade of the color in the proper places, the jagged appearance is visually smoothed when viewed from a distance.

Shown above is an enlargement of a section of the blue line.  The right image has been anti-aliased with the addition of the light blue bricks.  If the background behind the blue line was another color, the added bricks would need to be a different color.  These bricks should be between the color of each side of the transition.

Shown above is an enlargement of the green ball and ‘A’ examples.  Similar to the first example, light green and grey bricks were added (and in some places used in replacement of the darker bricks).

This technique could be used throughout a large mosaic to produce a smoother appearance, especially when viewed from a longer distance.

In Part 2 of this post I will explore more about AA including how to determine which bricks should be lighter or darker colors and tools you can use to help with AA.

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2 Responses

  1. LEGO Technique: Making Mosaics that don’t Look Computer-Generated | BricksABillion Says:

    [...] an excellent that tackles one aspect of understanding color in your Mosaics. He demonstrates anti-aliasing technique in LEGO mosaics. [Note this is part 1 of 2, so I'm looking forward to the next [...]

  2. Guss Says:

    A very good article, I never did a Lego mosaic but was planning to build one for an upcoming MOC.

    After reading this, I think I’ll use your tips to build it ;-) The difference before/after is very convincing, I like the result.

    I read the part 2 as well, it makes a good tutorial on how to make it, that’s great.

    Thanks for sharing!

 

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