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Discussion: Technique vs Build

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Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bluesecrets » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:02 pm

Time to time, I bring up questions here in the General LEGO forum to bring about debate. I haven't for a while so it might take you some looking back to find one, but I have another for you today.

This has been something that has been on my mind for a while now. I’ve been around long enough in the LEGO community to have watched a lot of trends come and go. Some bother me, some are okay, some are nifty, and well I just wonder “why on earth would this trend exist?”.

Having said that the LEGO community does have a band wagon…which I think is why this is on my mind.

What is more important in the build? The actual build itself? Or filling it with techniques?

I will give my input later.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:48 pm

I think that they go hand-in-hand, but adding an unnecessary "advanced" technique to a build can just as easily detract from it as add to it. Sometimes it's best to just "keep it simple, stupid". ;)

That said, I do think it's sometimes important for people to try to force techniques that they are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with into a MOC, because practice is the only way that you'll get better at it. Also, the more you do something, the easier it will be for you to recognize the perfect application for it in a future build.

So I guess to summarize, I think the more techniques you have in your mental library, the better you'll be able to pick when and where to apply them to a MOC, but just cramming things in that don't look as good, simply because they are "innovative", can often detract from the overall quality or visual appeal.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby LettuceBrick » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:30 am

I think that techniques can add to a build, but do not make a build. The actual idea of the build is what makes it work. Techniques can enhance how a build looks or works, but just cramming in techniques is not effective. Of course, the more techniques one knows, the easier it is to have one that can help a MOC. It is important to remember that a lot of common brick arrangements are in fact 'techniques' and not any less worthy of use.

Basically, techniques help a build, but should not necessarily be the focus of the MOC.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby rogue27 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:00 am

The build is what matters. Techniques are just a means to an end.

Advanced building techniques should only be used when they can accomplish something that couldn't be done otherwise. Using fancy techniques to show off your ability is a waste of time and energy. Why prove that you can beat eggs with a pencil if you have a whisk available? Sure, sometimes it's fun to see if certain things can be done, but those experiments have little value until practically applied to a build.

A few years ago people were excited because somebody posted a build using linked flame waves. Many years prior to this, I had figured out that flame waves could be linked, and I'm pretty sure many other people also discovered this on their own. However, the technique remained relatively unknown until it was used in a popular build because the build is what matters.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bluesecrets » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:51 am

I see MOC’s that are so consumed with techniques that the original idea for the build is lost in a jumble of techniques that makes me look at it and go…”what?”

I see MOC’s that are built with techniques that make no sense, whether that is in terms of accuracy, historical concepts, or just basic common sense. Example: lets make a wall out of…oh yes…SAILS because it will look awesome and no one has ever done that before...but...um...its a sail and that wouldn’t even withstand one invasion or sword being thrown at it. But sure...why not? Its new...its innovative…no one ever thought to make a wall out of sails before..SWEET! And then 239485710439587 sail walls show up.

I see MOC’s that are all about the “NEW” technique and some of those techniques are just…odd. There was a time that if I saw one more SNOT base which was used because no build was complete without a SNOT base (please notice that I am in fact rolling my eyes at that statement) that I would stop looking at the build. When a SNOT base didn't make sense to the build...but hey...it isn't a build without a SNOT base. But...did it truly make sense? You are building a rocky mountain, but hey...the floor is all SNOT, sweet. (WHY!?!?!) Now there are people just throwing bricks on baseplates and saying it is water, or building a base that is for presentation with slopes and fancy decorative details so it looks like a bunch of chachkies (see here for that definition http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chachkies), or using a sail to make walls, or putting an animal head on a fig’s body…I could go on and on. But when I look at them I go “huh? what?” and it distracts completely from the person was trying to build.

I see MOC’s where someone is just trying to throw every technique they ever saw at them. Or they decide that this technique is so cool so the build becomes a vomitfest of that technique. Great you learned a new technique, but does it actually make sense to build a wall out of a sail in the first place?

So I guess…my input is…I think I would rather see a good build that makes sense, where the builder paid attention to the build itself rather than throwing 3498170396817430968174 techniques at it.

I’m also the person who wants to see a complete build…not just a great castle sitting on a bare baseplate. If you are going to put all the effort into a great castle...why ruin it with it just sitting on a baseplate? Finish it...blow my mind with the completeness of your build.

But then I guess we are all guilty of doing the odd or different…says the chick who builds tan castles.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby OverLoad » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:17 am

I don't know if it's just me, but I don't even build with "techniques" in mind. Sure, I'll see a cool way to make a bird or to make a roof and I might borrow that if I need a bird, roof, etc, but I don't go out of my way to find "techniques." Maybe I'm the odd one out with that. :lol:

I just try to build what I feel is good, whether or not that has fancy "techniques" is beyond me. I might include SNOT for a floor because I think it looks good, but I certainly didn't use it to garner kudos or any sort of bonus.

I can't think of any builders who use this "technique focused" building style except for Karf Oohlu, and his use of crazy techniques is completely justified (I feel) and I definitely enjoy his zany uploads. :)
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby rogue27 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:40 pm

I'm old enough that I didn't need to look up chachkies.

Maybe I'll ironically use my secret "parrot chandelier" technique someday.

For now, I'll just sit back and watch people try to figure out what a parrot chandelier is as they seek their 15 minutes of fame.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bluesecrets » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:14 pm

There is another aspect that worries me.

I know of MANY builders here at CC who won't show their work or feel completely inadequate because their builds are not so "fancy" or "full of techniques" or just "too basic." It is a regular worry for new members and even some old timers like me. Yeah, I'll admit it...I too worry about the fact that my builds can't compare with other builds.

This worries me a LOT. Seriously A LOT.

No one should feel intimidated to build. Building is for the joy and fun. No one should feel like they have to compete with the others here. No one should have to feel like they have to have all these bells and whistles and popular techniques to be part. And absolutely no one should feel like they shouldn't build for challenges or contests just because other entries are full of techniques.

Build..build for you..build for the enjoyment. And if you need a little encouragement that you are awesome...come into chat...I'll make sure you get some.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Eklund » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:15 pm

Well, I am definitely a culprit of overloading my builds with techniques. If you guys want some examples of this, I will offer these two builds:

1. A Farmer's Life
2. Forest Bridge

In the first one, "A Farmer's Life", the build was meant to be a medieval farm. This concept was obviouly lost as I think that it would be relatively difficult to determine based soley on the build. I added a ton of building techninques into this one, including the roof, fence, stone wall, angled field, waterfalls, and snot rocks. I think that even though each one of these techniques is indeed a great technique, they really don't help and the moc turned into a big platter of techniques, and the idea of the moc was lost. I think that the snot rocks were for sure out of place, they are just so trendy that I thought I would try them out.

The second, "Forest Bridge", was actually meant to be a build to try out and show a bunch of techniques (the fact that I even had a build with that purpose shows how much of a culprit of technique dumping I am). These included the waterfall, grasscaping, trees and the bridge. I am not sure this build is as bad as the last one. While it still did include a lot of technique dumping, I think the build did have a sense of cohesiveness that the farm didn't have.

Overall, I think that based just on my two builds I have cited as an example, it can be seen how techniques put in a build soley to show them off can wreck a build. Like you said, Blue, the Lego community does have a bandwagon, and certain techniques can really get overdone and out of context. In my opinion, especially after reading this discussion, is that the build is more important than the techniques it has in it. Extreme building techniques, though they are really cool, definitely need to be used subltly, with a bigger emphasis on the idea of the build. In other words, the advanced techniques should be used only enough that they don't detract from the idea of the build.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby soccerkid6 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:54 pm

I agree with pretty much all that's been said. Techniques put into a build just for the sake of using a technique often detract from the build itself.
On the other hand I like to try one or two new techniques in almost every build to give me more options for future builds.
Overall though the build itself should be most important :)
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bruce N H » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:46 pm

Eklund, thanks for volunteering your MOCs as examples for critique in this thread. I was all ready to tear into them, but when I looked I actually didn't think they were bad. In the farm, the only real problem IMO is the little rock bit with the waterfall. It doesn't seem organic to the rest of the landscape and looks fake - almost like a little fake rock/waterfall you can buy at a lawn and garden place and set in the middle of your yard. On the bridge one my only real complaint is the angled grass-scaping. I've never been a big fan of that technique. To me it looks a little like someone didn't solidly connect their plates and some of them started falling down during photography. Oh, I suppose the decorated borders were superfluous on both of these.

On the broader topic, I really regret coining the term 'Big Gray Wall Syndrome' years ago. After I wrote that article, it seemed that a lot of people thought it was somehow forbidden to have more than a square inch of wall without some ornate decoration.

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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bluesecrets » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:40 pm

On the broader topic, I really regret coining the term 'Big Gray Wall Syndrome' years ago. After I wrote that article, it seemed that a lot of people thought it was somehow forbidden to have more than a square inch of wall without some ornate decoration.


SO glad you said that. SO SO SO SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad. While in principal it is a good thing to try and add decoration and details, over done is over done.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby soccerkid6 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:42 am

Bruce N H wrote:On the broader topic, I really regret coining the term 'Big Gray Wall Syndrome' years ago. After I wrote that article, it seemed that a lot of people thought it was somehow forbidden to have more than a square inch of wall without some ornate decoration.

Bruce

Yeah I was one of those who really went overboard :oops: thankfully AK and some others on EB straightened me out, here's some examples of overdoing it:
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link: http://www.legocreator57.tk/Mitgardian-Barracks.php
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http://www.legocreator57.tk/Valholl-Tower.php
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Mark of Falworth » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:52 am

Some very good points all around.

I'll share my thoughts on the subject.

I think building a moc solely for the purpose of showing a new technique, or a technique that you really like (or one that is currently popular) is rather silly. However, If you build something without any artistic value you haven't done much either.

Good techniques, when well used, can greatly improve a otherwise simple and or boring moc.
You need to find a good balance of both.

I believe the most important part of building with LEGO, is the Ideas and creativity behind the builds and techniques. :)
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bluesecrets » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:12 am

However, If you build something without any artistic value you haven't done much either.

Good techniques, when well used, can greatly improve a otherwise simple and or boring moc.
You need to find a good balance of both.


See I don't agree. Why does a build have to be exciting? Why does it have to be creative? Why does it have to be artistic?

Being creative and artistic, while its nice, it shouldn't be the be all and end all...if you lose what you were building in the first place. If I'm building a castle..it better be a castle that is the primary focus of that build...for the rest is just distracting. Not everyone is all about creativity, techniques, and artistic value. If I am trying to build a historically accurate castle, then it shouldn't be covered in a ton of decorations. If I am trying to replicate a building, then it better look like the building and not be covered in a ton of new and fancy techniques that make it unrecognizable.

The reason for building should be the joy and excitement you get when you build...regardless of how simple your build is. Sometimes a nice simple build is just amazing and lovely.

And I will repeat my worry and concern again, because I think it is something that is not even remotely entering in people's minds. There are a lot of existing builders who are not building or showing their builds because of this current bandwagon of techniques being more important than the build itself. That is just plain wrong. No one should be intimidated to not do something they love because of the fear that their work doesn't look like everyone elses'.

I almost want to make a challenge for once the CCC is over and see if people can build something and focus on the build and forget the over use of techniques.
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