Emoting LEGO Robots

E-MOTE: Bot-y Building by Legohaulic
E-MOTE: Bot-y Building, a photo by Legohaulic on Flickr.

Are LEGO robots capable of more expression, both body and facial, than minifigs? Certainly if you build them like Legohaulic‘s incredible E-MOTE experiment. Animating them I imagine would feel more like puppetry.

More recently, The Set Bump blogged about “Major Malfunction” by MisterMulluc. A truly great piece of animation. But in my opinion, the piano playing robot steals the show. Monseiur Caron is also experimenting with some robot design for animation. I can’t wait what his result is. Especially since my own list of projects won’t let me attempt this for a while. Back to swapping minifig heads I go.

Update: David at The Set Bump points out that it’s “large-scale brick-built characters in general that are more capable of emoting. “little guys” and “playback” by Paganomation make that clear.” I couldn’t agree more.

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A Day in the Life of an Adult Fan of LEGO

The reaction from friends and family to A Day in the Life of an Adult Fan of LEGO, my entry to Rebrick’s Show Us an AFOL brickfilm contest, has been great. That’s probably because it is more of a “biopic” than I care to admit.

As an adult fan of LEGO, or AFOL as we call ourselves, I can say that:

  • A LEGO replica of the Death Star has taken up most of our dining room table for months at a time. The same can be said of brickfilm movie sets, and less glamorously, just hundreds of random LEGO parts.
  • I routinely try to get my son to spend his allowance or birthday money on LEGO
  • I have pulled an all-nighter on a week night finishing up an entry for a brickfilm contest.

But the most important thing that came out of this was recognizing my tendency to tell stories too complicated for the medium or time limits. I decided to enter with only eight days left in the competition so I didn’t have time for my usual subplots and extraneous characters. I didn’t have time to waste on scenes that I loved in concept but didn’t come across clearly. For once, I didn’t have to explain a plot subtlety to my wife. You’d think I’d be smart enough to take that as a sign. But It’s funny how easy it is to ignore or rationalize a bloated and confusing plot. This time I ended up well under the two minutes maximum on the first pass! I usually spend gut-wrenching hours editing down a video.

And this is why I’m an AFOL. It’s not just a creative outlet. It causes me to take long and hard looks at myself and do better.