When it comes to spectacular LEGO creations, the digital world can play a big role in the building process -- helping creators envision their designs even before one brick is placed.
For years, LEGO enthusiasts -- from beginners to experts -- have turned to an online tool for support.
Clint Parry, a master model builder at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan, stopped by Broadcast House this morning to explain how the software can be beneficial to anyone creating with the iconic colorful bricks.
"With smaller things, sometimes I might go to my wall of bricks and just pick and choose, but a lot of times when I'm building something more complicated or something that is going to be really big, I'll...design it on the computer ahead of time," said Parry.
The program, LEGO Digital Designer, is free and available to anyone with a quick download.
Parry says he has been using it for about 10 years.
"It's something you can tinker around with, you can design. It's really nice because you can actually build with more bricks than you might have available at home," he said.
LDD, he says, is a 3D functional program, allowing users to look at their work from different angles.
Parry notes a number of features, including a copy/paste function and brick color tool, really help make designing easier.
He also says it's very user friendly, a tool even beginners can use successfully.
"It's a really good way to practice your spatial awareness when you're working with LEGO pieces," said Parry.
But it can present some challenges -- especially when creators realize real life doesn't come with the program's neat bells and whistles.
"Sometimes I'll find that when I've really gotten into building on the computer and then I go to build with something in real life, I might build something and realize I made a mistake and then in my head, I've kind of got this knee-jerk reaction like, 'oh yeah, I'm going to undo that' and then it's like, 'oh no, it's the real world.'"
If only we could all have a real-life undo button.
To download the free LEGO building tool, go here.