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Ask Guru Mark
 Group admin 
Actually, I am a Guru (Guru Muda to be specific) in the martial arts that I train in. However, if you're asking about Lego, I fall woefully short of Guru status.

Nevertheless, I'll do my best to help if I can. Fire Away...


Permalink
| February 8, 2011, 10:58 am
Quoting Mark Kelso
Actually, I am a Guru (Guru Muda to be specific) in the martial arts that I train in. But if you're asking about Lego, I fall woefully short of Guru status.

Nevertheless, I'll do my best to help if I can. Fire Away...


Hey Mark, I am in the finals of a contest and for my entry I have created an ellaborate dragon out of tiny peices (lightsaber hilts, blades etc) I have finished it but I have no idea for the wings! I have tried paper and grey material, I have considered using grey plates but the problem is they don't go well the the technique I have done with the rest of the dragon. Help!


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| February 8, 2011, 11:02 am
 Group admin 
Quoting ODST .
Mark, looking through pictures for my various creations and I've noticed that my resolution settings on my camera are fine when putting up smaller pictures, but when I select the Large option to post they come out blurry. You've probably answered this many times, but what are the optimal dimensions for a 'large' picture? (With less blurriness)


I never load images with dimensions any larger 1000 pixels at their longest dimension. I do, however, make them as large as possible UP TO that point.

I'm wondering if your images are little blurry to begin with. Have you taken time to enlarge them on your own computer before loading, to make sure they're crisp shots?

Anyway, I always set my pics for MOCpages at 180 DPI, and somewhere close to 1000 pixels. That's honestly a bit of overkill (they could be smaller), but at least that way I know I'll be safe with resolution while simultaneously keeping images from being too large for the loading process.

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| February 8, 2011, 11:03 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Space Gypsy .

Hey Mark, I am in the finals of a contest and for my entry I have created an ellaborate dragon out of tiny peices (lightsaber hilts, blades etc) I have finished it but I have no idea for the wings! I have tried paper and grey material, I have considered using grey plates but the problem is they don't go well the the technique I have done with the rest of the dragon. Help!



Hmm...depends on the size of the critter we're talking about. I mean if he's a fairly small MOC, you might be able to use minifig cloaks for the wing membranes. A combo of smaller system elements (like hoses, clips, etc.) could form the skeletal support and the cloaks could then be attached to those to form the membrane of the wing.

There are, of course, actual wing elements available on BL as well:

http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?pg=3&catType=P&catID=148 (scroll about half way down the page)

...but if there's a deadline, that may be a moot point.

Other times builders won't mess with a membrane at all, but simply create the wings using splayed hose elements (to indicate the supporting bone structure of a wing).

Depending on the pose, you could actually have the wings folded instead of extended. That might also bring about parts usage, or a technique that's unique, but convincing. (I could invision folded cloaks held next to the body to indicate folded wings, for example).


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| February 8, 2011, 1:22 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting President Rick Archerd Federation of Lynot.
Thanks Kelso. I'll be uploading pics soon. I want as much detail as I can fit onto the Wolfen. Mostly greebles. I may be TOO focused on the final details when it MOC is not close to finnished. There are some pieces I need that I don't have, so I'll make filler in parts. (Like the twin nose pieces. LEGO makes the pieces I need, but I do not have them.)

I moved the comment here since you started another thread. (Even though the other is not locked.)


No prob. Let me know when you post. I'd be interested to see what you've come up with.

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| February 8, 2011, 1:38 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso
Anyway, I always set my pics for MOCpages at 180 DPI, and somewhere close to 1000 pixels. That's honestly a bit of overkill (they could be smaller), but at least that way I know I'll be safe with resolution while simultaneously keeping images from being too large for the loading process.

I think MOCpages is optimized for 800x600 images, myself. Don't know about DPI, though.
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| February 8, 2011, 9:49 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Areetsa C
I think MOCpages is optimized for 800x600 images, myself. Don't know about DPI, though.


Yeah, 800x600 is the standard the Sean has set up, and as for DPI my guess would be that 72 would be good enough. I like to keep the image sizes a bit larger for use on Flickr and other sites, as well as for my own records.

As a side note: I also keep a much larger size for each image in an exterior file (takes up too much space on my hard drive) in case I need to go back and edit an image, or make an actual photographic enlargement or something. You can always make an image smaller, but once you shrink it down and file it as a JPEG, there's no getting back the resolution that was lost if you suddenly find you need a larger, high res image.

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| February 9, 2011, 6:34 am
 Group admin 
Quoting President Rick Archerd Federation of Lynot.
http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/251857 Here you go Mark. I will be an AFOL in 51 days. Unfortunally, my building skills don't show.


Not bad. I like the color work you've got going on so far. I'm not really digging the wing elements, though, and I think it's because of the studed plates. I would opt for brick-built wings instead, I think. They'd be a little thicker, but would eliminate the studs and have a much more refined appearance.

Okay, I just did another search and found another Wolfen right here on MOCpages that actually did a pretty good job with the body and the wings. This was more the approach I was thinking of...

http://mocpages.com/moc.php/242674


Permalink
| February 9, 2011, 8:02 am
Quoting Mark Kelso
You can always make an image smaller, but once you shrink it down and file it as a JPEG, there's no getting back the resolution that was lost if you suddenly find you need a larger, high res image.

I generally save backups obsessively. Rogue Faction, for instance: first I save the base .jpgs, then I save the modified and shrunk .pngs, then I save the partially completed pages, then I save the end product. The result is the largest single set of files in my entire MOC folder.
Permalink
| February 9, 2011, 8:57 am
Quoting Mark Kelso



Thanks for the help. I'll take your advice into consideration :)
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| February 9, 2011, 10:38 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Areetsa C
I generally save backups obsessively. Rogue Faction, for instance: first I save the base .jpgs, then I save the modified and shrunk .pngs, then I save the partially completed pages, then I save the end product. The result is the largest single set of files in my entire MOC folder.


LOL. Probably seems obsessive to some, but ya gotta do it if you want to be certain of having the necessary back up. I do something similar when editing pics (saving various stages of completion) and then house three different sizes of the completed image.

I also now keep every page I create here on MOCpages in a notebook file. So, when our lovely little site looses one of my creations...which it has a few times...I can just paste the whole thing on a "create new" page and be up in no time...it's like Viagra for MOCpages.


Permalink
| February 10, 2011, 7:29 am
Quoting Mark Kelso
I also now keep every page I create here on MOCpages in a notebook file. So, when our lovely little site looses one of my creations...which it has a few times...I can just paste the whole thing on a "create new" page and be up in no time...it's like Viagra for MOCpages.

Not the first word to come to mind, but I suppose so. I've been doing that for quite a while, mainly because sometimes MOCpages hiccups and wipes a page when you click "preview", and sometimes things just go missing. Just in case.

...I should probably stop responding to comments in these threads, come to think of it. It's not "Ask any dimwit who happens to have free time on his hands", after all.
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| February 10, 2011, 7:36 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Areetsa C
...I should probably stop responding to comments in these threads, come to think of it. It's not "Ask any dimwit who happens to have free time on his hands", after all.



Are you kidding? Your input's always welcome on my thread! Not only are your answers quite accurate most of the time, but your candor is highly entertaining!

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| February 10, 2011, 12:53 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso
Are you kidding? Your input's always welcome on my thread! Not only are your answers quite accurate most of the time, but your candor is highly entertaining!

Thought it might be a bit rude, is all.

I do find it interesting that when people have a building problem, they often come in here and ask you and Phipson about things you've never done. "Mr. Kelso sir, how could I make an awesome flying wing/hardsuit/tank/rocket ship in the shape of your mother-in-law/helicopter/jeep/1337 cuz70m br!ck@rms page/Halo whatsit/etc.". It's like they haven't really looked at your pages; if they had, they'd realize that Kelso does dioramas and massively overcompensatory spaceships, and Phipson, well, I don't like to think about what Phipson does, although Lee Jones no doubt would be thrilled to have a chance to elaborate.

It just occured to me- the Shannons aren't very active lately, are they?
It's a bit odd. I mean, not every AFOL can be as gregarious as Phipson, but they used to be rather, well, pervasive. Everywhere. You could barely go a page without seeing something they'd done or said.
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| February 10, 2011, 6:01 pm
Quoting Areetsa C

Kelso and Phipson usually know the best builders for certain things like Hardsuits or something like that, so maybe the reason why people ask them is because they know Phipson or Kelso will point them in the right direction.
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| February 10, 2011, 6:15 pm
Quoting A Monkey
Kelso and Phipson usually know the best builders for certain things like Hardsuits or something like that, so maybe the reason why people ask them is because they know Phipson or Kelso will point them in the right direction.

But it would be so much simpler to use the search box.
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| February 10, 2011, 6:21 pm
Quoting Areetsa C
But it would be so much simpler to use the search box.

Not really. If I was looking for someone who did... Maybe good starwars diorama's or ysomething, I would type in "stawars diorama" and some multicolored MOC might pop up. You might say- Hit most popular, but popularity is no guarantee of quality.
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| February 10, 2011, 9:06 pm
Quoting A Monkey
Not really. If I was looking for someone who did... Maybe good starwars diorama's or ysomething, I would type in "stawars diorama" and some multicolored MOC might pop up. You might say- Hit most popular, but popularity is no guarantee of quality.

Maybe not on MOCpages, but on flickr it's a pretty safe bet, if only because the kiddies tend to get frightened off by all the swearing and flaming that's common over there.
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| February 10, 2011, 9:50 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Phazezorz .
Add onto the fact that there aren't any kiddie's there and it's a done deal for me! :P


And that, right there, is why we don't see very many active AFOLs on MOCpages much anymore.

Here, they have to deal with the younger set, but with Flickr, you can easily eliminate anyone you don't care to see. Add to that fact the capacity to "Fav" an image, and to attach notes, and you've got a GREAT combination of features.

The down side to Flickr, and the reason why I still prefer MOCpages, is that you can't see a series of images easily - you have to go back and forth from page to page. Here I can just scroll from one image to the next, and also customize my backgrounds to black. That kind of presentation makes all the difference in the world to me.

Oh, and Shannon Young hasn't been very visible anywhere as of late. Shannon Ocean is still very active, but primarily over on Flickr. (along with everyone else we used to see so often...Nannan, Goldman, Shaddix, Sterlings, etc.)

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| February 11, 2011, 7:31 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Areetsa C
I do find it interesting that when people have a building problem, they often come in here and ask you and Phipson about things you've never done.


Personally, I think they do that for a combination of reasons. We're highly visible members of the MOCpages community (Phipson, in particular, is the #1 socialite), so they probably feel comfortable approaching us, and know we're likely to respond.

And second, our creations are decent, so they probably feel we've got the building knowledge to tackle most subjects. Without trying to sound too pompass, I feel like I could build in just about any category reasonably well - nothing mind blowing, of course, but well enough. I've never done a castle, for example, but I'm confident that if I chose to do one, I could make it come out alright.

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| February 11, 2011, 7:39 am
Quoting Mark Kelso
Personally, I think they do that for a combination of reasons. We're highly visible members of the MOCpages community (Phipson, in particular, is the #1 socialite), so they probably feel comfortable approaching us, and know we're likely to respond.

This, I think, is related to the above one: the only AFOLs that tend to hang around MOCpages are the ones that don't mind (or, perhaps, actually enjoy) being used as an all purpose magical fountain of knowledge by, shall we say, the chronologically impaired.

In other words: kiddie filled website with no block feature = at least semi-friendly members, if only because the nasty ones get mobbed by the nice ones, ex; "I just want to say your posting style comes off as a little confrontational".

Profanity filled adult-oriented site with block features and a steep learning curve = lots of kiddies who nobody sees, and hundreds (nay, thousands) of vicious types who think the best way of resolving a dispute is with an ad-hominem attack.

Over here you can't do that, because all the choice words are blocked.
Although I must admit having a perfectly reasonable comment fail to go through from time to time is rather annoying.

Right, I should probably stop staying up 'till 2 in the morning. It messes with my thought processes.
Permalink
| February 11, 2011, 7:56 am
YO! Mark! Quit asking your mom for money and answer my question!

Besides my horrible picture taking, what is the biggest way to improve my MOCs.
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| February 13, 2011, 5:49 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting luke peterson
YO! Mark! Quit asking your mom for money and answer my question!

Besides my horrible picture taking, what is the biggest way to improve my MOCs.


Sorry for the delay, Luke - been out of town for about a week. BUT...back now, so let's get to it...

I think the very best thing any builder can do to improve their own skills is to look towards other builders work. Constantly seek out those who's work inspires and impresses you. I'm constantly learning new techniques from other builders, and seeing fresh new ideas and new approaches. It keeps you motivated to push your own creativity to that next level, and often provides guides as to how to go about doing that. These are some of the builders who's work I find inspiring...

Brian Kescenovitz
Keith Goldman
Tyler Clites (Legohaulic)
Nannan Z.
Peter Reid
Thomas Benedikt
Bob Carny

Just to name the first ones off the top of my head. But whatever the case, look towards your own "A-listers" for guidance and inspiration, and you'll find your work constantly improving!

Good luck!
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| February 22, 2011, 8:56 pm
So, I might have told you this a while ago but here it goes... I am building a microship named after Chris. I made one earlier this year, but destroyed it and never posted it. I decided to re-do it and it is going to be my largest microship yet ^.^! I'll post some WIP pictures soon. So far the Docking bay/hangar has a really natural kind of feel and look to it.
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| February 22, 2011, 9:17 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Matthew Novosad
So, I might have told you this a while ago but here it goes... I am building a microship named after Chris. I made one earlier this year, but destroyed it and never posted it. I decided to re-do it and it is going to be my largest microship yet ^.^! I'll post some WIP pictures soon. So far the Docking bay/hangar has a really natural kind of feel and look to it.


Microscale...that's very appropriate for Chris. ;-)

Sounds good. I'll look forward to checking it out when you post the WIP shots!

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| February 23, 2011, 7:12 am
Quoting Mark Kelso

Microscale...that's very appropriate for Chris. ;-)

Sounds good. I'll look forward to checking it out when you post the WIP shots!

Hey Mark, could you check out my latest video?
http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/253602
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| February 23, 2011, 8:49 am
 Group admin 
Quoting Mark Kelso

Microscale...that's very appropriate for Chris. ;-)



Funny, that's not what your sister says. By the way, welcome back! Miss me? HAHAHA
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| February 23, 2011, 11:30 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Chris Phipson

Funny, that's not what your sister says. By the way, welcome back! Miss me? HAHAHA


Good to be back! Yes, I was pining for you all week...or wait...no, I'm sorry that was Jessica Alba I was pining for. Sorry, my mistake.

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| February 24, 2011, 5:39 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Mark Kelso

Good to be back! Yes, I was pining for you all week...or wait...no, I'm sorry that was Jessica Alba I was pining for. Sorry, my mistake.


That's cool, I get the two of us mixed up all the time... wait, what?
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| February 24, 2011, 11:41 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Fox .
Hey Mark, could you check out my latest video?
http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/253602


Ya know what? I don't hate the music. So in my book, that's a good start! :-)

I like the drama of the night lighting, but there's some inconsistency in color and exposure you could work towards in your next vid. I'd also love to see you incorporate some varying wipes and fades in your image transitions, as well as pushing the variety of camera angles, distances, and focal lengths.

Each time it seems you get a bit better with your timing and imagery. On a final note, it might be fun to also see a bit more Lego in the imagery. Perhaps some dios for our band members and story line? Just a thought.

Anyway, some nice work...keeping rolling!


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| February 25, 2011, 9:15 am
I'm trying to create a new winter environment for my WWII comic series by coating my entire lego table in 6x4 white plates I'm almost done with the coating but since the Ardennes Forest has pine trees and I'm pitifully short on 'em should I buy pre-fab lego pine trees or spend the extra time and money to brick-build them (bear in mind that I've never before made pines)? What would you suggest I do?
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| March 2, 2011, 7:02 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Lt. John Harland
I'm trying to create a new winter environment for my WWII comic series by coating my entire lego table in 6x4 white plates I'm almost done with the coating but since the Ardennes Forest has pine trees and I'm pitifully short on 'em should I buy pre-fab lego pine trees or spend the extra time and money to brick-build them (bear in mind that I've never before made pines)? What would you suggest I do?


In my opinion, it depends on scale and build complexity. If you're dealing with a smaller scale, and not a great deal of complex building techniques, then the pre-fabs aren't bad. But a more detailed, and larger scaled MOC demands more attention to the trees. In nature, they're not going to all be the same size and shape, and if you're trying to work for believability in your scene, then the brick-built method allows for more detail, larger scale, and more variety of form.


Permalink
| March 2, 2011, 8:39 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

In my opinion, it depends on scale and build complexity. If you're dealing with a smaller scale, and not a great deal of complex building techniques, then the pre-fabs aren't bad. But a more detailed, and larger scaled MOC demands more attention to the trees. In nature, they're not going to all be the same size and shape, and if you're trying to work for believability in your scene, then the brick-built method allows for more detail, larger scale, and more variety of form.


Well the table is pretty big so I guess I'll be stockin' up on brown cylindrical bricks

Permalink
| March 2, 2011, 9:03 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Lt. John Harland
Well the table is pretty big so I guess I'll be stockin' up on brown cylindrical bricks


It all depends on what YOU want to do. If you feel the pre-fabs will do the trick, then go for it. If you feel custom built trees will suit you better, then you also have to decide if it's worth the time and effort (and potentially money, if you're thinking about an order for parts) to build the scene to it's fullest potential. Lego is ALL about compromises..."What parts do I have? How many do I have? How much time do I want to invest? How real do I try to make this?"...etc.

Do me a favor and let me know when you've finish this one. I'd love to check it out!

Permalink
| March 3, 2011, 4:08 pm
Quoting Mark Kelso

It all depends on what YOU want to do. If you feel the pre-fabs will do the trick, then go for it. If you feel custom built trees will suit you better, then you also have to decide if it's worth the time and effort (and potentially money, if you're thinking about an order for parts) to build the scene to it's fullest potential. Lego is ALL about compromises..."What parts do I have? How many do I have? How much time do I want to invest? How real do I try to make this?"...etc.

Do me a favor and let me know when you've finish this one. I'd love to check it out!
I may get pre-fabs and put in my own brick-built pines so I can knock 'em over to look like they all just got shelled. By the way Pvt. Snowball/Supreme Overlord Commander Phipson recently changed his title to"Your Royal Highness Supreme Overlord Commander", is the a memo you guys pass out when you are comparing private yachts and planes and stuff? And did you recently upgrade yours?
Permalink
| March 3, 2011, 6:14 pm
 Group admin 
Quoting Lt. John Harland
Quoting Mark Kelso

It all depends on what YOU want to do. If you feel the pre-fabs will do the trick, then go for it. If you feel custom built trees will suit you better, then you also have to decide if it's worth the time and effort (and potentially money, if you're thinking about an order for parts) to build the scene to it's fullest potential. Lego is ALL about compromises..."What parts do I have? How many do I have? How much time do I want to invest? How real do I try to make this?"...etc.

Do me a favor and let me know when you've finish this one. I'd love to check it out!
I may get pre-fabs and put in my own brick-built pines so I can knock 'em over to look like they all just got shelled. By the way Pvt. Snowball/Supreme Overlord Commander Phipson recently changed his title to"Your Royal Highness Supreme Overlord Commander", is the a memo you guys pass out when you are comparing private yachts and planes and stuff? And did you recently upgrade yours?


Well, there's a memo for when we compare private parts, but not yachts (there's a joke somewhere in there about Phipson and a dingy, too, but I just can't quite work it out!).

And no changes of title here, although Supreme Lord Of Wonder has nice ring to it, and after all...I admit that I am a very SLOW builder.

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| March 9, 2011, 7:56 am
 Group admin 
Quoting A. A. (AKA Noname)
Hey, I would like to have some criticism on this one:
http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/256750


Nice one, Noname! Not really a thing to critisize, so I'll just focus on the high points...

Good light on your pics. I was going to bring up the out-of-focus fig, but then saw why it was that way (which was a nice touch of humor). I also liked the size of the pics that you utilized. No enlargement was necessary, and that's a real convenience for us all when looking at the pages (not to have to click and enlarge every pic).

Good color work and parts usage as well. All in all a nice little post.

Permalink
| March 9, 2011, 8:03 am
Group moderators have locked this conversation.
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