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Discussion: Technique vs Build

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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby richardanthonyc » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:41 pm

Interesting discussion on the merits of adding detail vs a simplistic build. Truth be told big grey walls are by far the more realistic representation of medieval towns walls, castle walls etc so over doing detail on walls for me is something I really try to avoid.

Don't get me wrong I think people have created fantastic creations with huge details but in real life castle walls and city walls were sparse enough and as such walls with huge detail and extravagant features are not really an accurate representation of what a castle would look like in the real world

Trim Castle in my native Ireland being a prime example
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But then again lego is about building and being creative... but I would never say a big grey wall is a bad thing as to be honest it is more real than a mad creative wall :lol:
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bruce N H » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:25 am

The thing about the BGW article I wrote was that IMO it is a good thing to have some variation to break up the surface - a little mottling here or an arrow slit there. In that picture of Trim there is some texture, variation in shading with darker parts near the top and bottom, and just some subtle mottling throughout. But the key is subtlety. But some people took this way way way overboard, going from just a wall of all the exact same color light gray 2x4 bricks in an overlapping pattern to something more ornate than a gothic cathedral.

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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Fraslund » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:26 am

I don't know if I have anything of value to contribute as my knowledge of "Techniques" isn't that great. I didn't have the opportunity to play with Lego as a kid and just got into the hobby about 2 years ago. My first castle moc was based on the same source material as Derfel Cadarn's Ye old forge and I build this about the same time as him... This was before I knew bricklink existed and really had no idea what I was doing. ( I still dont :lol: ) http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=4743854

When I build I have a general idea or I use an image as reference and I keep shaping the bricks until I get the shape/style I want. I know I have a tendency to want to add too much detail and often have to take things out so that I don’t clutter up the scene. I was greatly influenced by the builds I saw at Brickcon and loved when I could look at a build and continue to find something new each time. Josh and Thomas Rafert are great with this. Between those guys and Derfel and Rocko as well as many of the great builders on this site, my style has changed over the past couple years quite a bit.

I guess I don’t think of the way I build as techniques, I just do what I need to do to get the desired result. I was shocked to find out recently that there are "Illegal Techniques" I didn’t know such a thing existed.

The thing that keeps me building is that I can take an idea in my head or see an awesome picture on the internet and make it come to life! Posting on this site has always been great for me even when just starting out because I always get good constructive feedback. I personally like the Big Gray Wall term as it forces me to look at the overall build and step back and make sure that an area makes sense in the context of the build or style I am going for.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bluesecrets » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:00 pm

The thing about the BGW article I wrote was that IMO it is a good thing to have some variation to break up the surface - a little mottling here or an arrow slit there. In that picture of Trim there is some texture, variation in shading with darker parts near the top and bottom, and just some subtle mottling throughout. But the key is subtlety. But some people took this way way way overboard, going from just a wall of all the exact same color light gray 2x4 bricks in an overlapping pattern to something more ornate than a Gothic cathedral.


Agreed.

But it is more than just walls and decorating. Look at the land around that castle. It's flat, and green. There are no trees, no waterfalls, etc. But now a days, the castles are getting lost in landscaping that doesn't make sense. Some builds I wonder if the person really just wanted to build landscape and just added the castle as an after thought, because that is how they look.

I have been to many of the great Gothic cathedrals (long story, but yeah I have), I have seen the insane creativity and detail work on them. They are very busy with carvings and arches and...well the whole point is, they were built that way for a reason...worship.

Castles were built for an entirely different reason...protection. They were built to be strong, withstand battle, to keep invaders out, and to most importantly keep people safe and alive.

Now I know there is a debate between historical castles and fantasy castles. And currently fantasy castles seem to be the norm.

But...how about we all take a step back, look at the creation for what it is? Does it make sense? Does it have strength? Does it protect? Could it be easily invaded upon? Is it surrounded by a bunch of landscaping that would make it easier to invade? Can you actually see the castle? Or are you looking at something that was made just to impress (filled with a ton of techniques), even though it might not make a lot of sense?
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby mitah » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:01 pm

Bluesecrets wrote:But it is more than just walls and decorating. Look at the land around that castle. It's flat, and green. There are no trees, no waterfalls, etc. But now a days, the castles are getting lost in landscaping that doesn't make sense. Some builds I wonder if the person really just wanted to build landscape and just added the castle as an after thought, because that is how they look.

You have a rather narrow view on how and why someone would build a 'castle' ... so what if a person want's to build a castle and ends up building a landscape, it is supposed to be fun, not work.

It seems you base your idea of the typical castle on the ones you see on the isles, where there's a perfectly trimmed lawn around the monotonous walls and buildings and miles of flat land. All the castles in my area are either high on mountain ridges, inside or on the edge of forests or overlooking rivers. They range from the classical early medieval small fortified houses to baroque palaces (modified late medieval castles).

Also, many people think of the castles they have seen when they recreate them with LEGO, and many of those people have only seen ruins overgrown with vegetation or only moderately maintained castles - or drawings.

Additionally, there is no way to make these flat green/grey floors that would be 'realistic' to look good with lego, especially in online photos. Take your recent "New Beginnings" as an example... it is a great build, it is realistic, and it is - in my opinion - boring to look at from the outside... the big uniform walls and the flat green (the few plants and rocks don't help much) don't offer much variation, which might be realistic, but also not very interesting (again, in my opinion)

Bluesecrets wrote:I have been to many of the great Gothic cathedrals (long story, but yeah I have), I have seen the insane creativity and detail work on them. They are very busy with carvings and arches and...well the whole point is, they were built that way for a reason...worship.

Castles were built for an entirely different reason...protection. They were built to be strong, withstand battle, to keep invaders out, and to most importantly keep people safe and alive.

Gothic cathedrals were not built the way they were built for worship - they were built for the same reasons people build skyscrapers and villas today - as a demonstration of (mostly worldly) power and wealth. Most of the architects also built them for artistic reasons (or money) first, and any religious reasons second.

Bluesecrets wrote:Now I know there is a debate between historical castles and fantasy castles. And currently fantasy castles seem to be the norm.

But...how about we all take a step back, look at the creation for what it is? Does it make sense? Does it have strength? Does it protect? Could it be easily invaded upon? Is it surrounded by a bunch of landscaping that would make it easier to invade? Can you actually see the castle? Or are you looking at something that was made just to impress (filled with a ton of techniques), even though it might not make a lot of sense?

Again, maybe you build to recreate a castle as realistically as possible, but that doesn't mean other people build for these reasons - they build recreationally, to have fun and not to depict reality. This is the same discussion the art world had over Realism/Naturalism in the arts - and with the invention of photography Naturalism has basically lost this debate. LEGO is not the medium of choice to build something realistically, so while it may be fun for some, it generally isn't (based on the amount of 'fantasy' castles out there)

I could try to build a castle as true to reality as possible, and if I think that's fun it's OK, but reality is - most of the time, in my eyes - boring. Castles were made to be practical, which means you will end up with (metres thick) BGWs, small gates, small rooms, and not much to look at (I am talking mostly about central-european castles here).

--

To comment on the actual topic of this thread, technique vs. build: it really depends on your intentions with your MOC. Technique alone a good MOC not makes, but it can greatly enhance a build and add to it's 'interestingness'. Technique alone works for vignettes where it is the center of attention, but just putting everything you know in a single MOC most of the time doesn't work - the MOC feels unbalanced and off.

--

Disclaimer: these are mostly my opinions, sprinkled with some 'facts' from art history and general history - if you want to believe history.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bluesecrets » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:34 pm

You have a rather narrow view on how and why someone would build a 'castle' ... so what if a person want's to build a castle and ends up building a landscape, it is supposed to be fun, not work.


Not really. What I really wanted with this thread is discussion, which is what is happening. And hopefully get some people thinking. LIke my opinions or not, they are here to bring about debate. And how do you really know that what I have said is truly what I think? You don't. The point is discussion, debate, and thinking.

If you want to discuss my castle and why I built it, see me in chat. This is not the thread for it.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby friskywhiskers » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:36 am

Time to give my two cents on this question:

I think that you raise some very good points about how people build just for the sake of using techniques, and how it has often become all about the techniques and not the build. I personally think that it is unfortunate how many members of the community are "afraid" to show their work, and feel required to use certain techniques just bec. they are popular.

The main reason to build should definitely be enjoyment. Building just to try out techniques is wrong, and almost never comes out good. However, I don't think their is anything wrong with being in middle of building a Castle and thinking "hey lemme try that window technique, since I wanted to do a window any way". In summery, one should definitely go for a technique if it fits in the creation, and their was some sort of initial thought to include a window, wall, tree etc.

On a slightly related point, it also is important to consider f the technique in question "fits" with the rest of the MOC, or is being shoved in their just for they sake of it being their. For example (Attention Eklund), you should definitely go to town trying out different tree and house techniques while building a rural house, But you should not be dumping on Huge snot-rock cliffs and raging waterfalls, bec. such extravagant and grand features have nothing to do with a quaint, homely farm. These are perfectly okay to "dump on" if you are building a huge mountain pass.

To conclude my views on this matter, I believe that to " dump on" a technique, one should first ask the following questions:

1. Am I only doing this because I feel pressured to include it since it is popular?
2. Does this fit with my initial image, or does it take away?
3. Am I building this impress others, or for my own enjoyment?
4. (After obvious answer to 3) So why should I feel pressured to include this?

Their are two possible results from this questioner:

1. I should include this bec. It fit with my build and it would be fun to try out.
2.I should not include this bec. It does not fit with my build and I am just doing it to impress.

Thank you for reading! :)
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:45 pm

I don't really approve of the direction this thread is going. It's one thing to have an opinion on preference, but I don't like that people are calling things "wrong" and calling out specific MOCs other than their own to pass judgment on. Building is supposed to be fun, and it's really nobody's business but their own if they want to build a whole scene with crazy techniques or build a castle in the middle of a multi-tiered waterfall.

Just because you don't prefer something doesn't mean that it's wrong. I can appreciate Blue's giant tan castle for what it is just as much as I can enjoy one of Mark's more fantasy-based landscapes without worrying about what's "right" and "wrong" or even "better". Lego is art, and art is whatever you want it to be.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby richardanthonyc » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:02 pm

AK_Brickster wrote: Lego is art, and art is whatever you want it to be.

Unless its modern art :p hehe but yes I do agree with you. But I think the point of this thread (i may be wrong) is that the simpler build and more realistic is somewhat discouraged as people who post these kind of MOCS often get feedback that X Y And Z need a little more detail, the terrain is too flat or the wall is too boring.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Fraslund » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:45 pm

What I find interesting is how many directions you can take a build. For instance, my big project for my first Brickcon was my Dragon Knight fortress. This was large scale for me back then (last year) and I built it as the ultimate playable Dragon Knight set. This was great for pictures, but the actual structure was not realistic in the least. I also learned that it was not the best build to take to a convention. Basically all of the detail I built into it was wasted because it could only be viewed from one angle.

My point is Realistic vs. Fantasy, Playable vs. convention, and so many more factors leave the door wide open and offer so many opportunities. In this years CCC I have seen many builds that may not be grand in scale, but have that special something that catches the eye. I learn something new from every builder and I think that constructive criticism is one of the best ways to grow.

The other thing I would say is that it’s all subjective. I myself prefer a clean look and even some of the best castle builders do some things that don't appeal to my tastes. Conversely, I know many builders who prefer a more classic look with studs prominent. With each build we are all getting better. Looking back over the previous contests I would have to say (IMO) as a group, I think the community is putting out higher quality builds overall than ever before. I am sure some of you who have been around longer can speak to that better than me.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:00 pm

richardanthonyc wrote:But I think the point of this thread (i may be wrong) is that the simpler build and more realistic is somewhat discouraged as people who post these kind of MOCS often get feedback that X Y And Z need a little more detail, the terrain is too flat or the wall is too boring.

That WAS the point until people started complaining about fantasy vs. realistic castles or even whether it was realistic to include a large rock waterfall in a farmhouse build. Now all of a sudden we are judging content instead of techniques. If you think that the technique used on that rock waterfall detracted from the build, or that it was only included to add another technique, then that's what we should be talking about, not whether or not it was included at all.

The same goes for leaving landscapes flat and "realistic" vs. rocky outcroppings. If you don't like the technique used to make the land flat, then that's appropriate to discuss here. If you just don't like it because it's "too flat/rocky/forested/fantastic/boring/etc", that belongs in a different discussion.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Bluesecrets » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:17 pm

The point of this thread was to bring about discussion and thought...which is never wrong.

In this thread I have learned many things: (Forgive my list making but I like lists)

1) A lot of the so called "veterans" of cc are intimidated to show their builds due to the trend of a lot of techniques. If you don't agree with me. well please at least consider the next statement. It is just plain wrong that people are not sharing because they don't feel like their work is being honored or will get feedback. We should be encouraging EVERYONE to build and show off their work.

2) Threads like this are reactionary. It takes one comment to send someone into a flurry of typing in rebuttal. This is not bad or good. For it is discussion and discussion is never wrong.

3) For the most part, people are saying the techniques shouldn't be the focus of a build, they should enhance.

4) Please read my signature...if anyone is not encouraging people to build...good grief! This is a hobby...hobbies are something you are supposed to LOVE and do for fun. A great man named Aliencat reminded me of that several years ago and it has ever since become my LEGO mantra. Build for you. Now you may or may not agree with me...for there are some people who like to build for the glory and the winning of contests...not my thing, but hey...winning is fun and makes you feel amazing too. But not one person in this thread has disagreed with the build for you and for the fun. (Note: This is bold as it is something that I think is VERY important.)

5) Differing opinions are not bad either...for from differences comes some of the best thoughts and makes us much better.

6) The "big grey wall" (or in my case the "big tan wall") syndrome is not a bad thing to have.

About two summers ago, me and a handful of members here decided that we needed to go into the MOC forum and make one constructive feedback a day. I can tell you, that was difficult for some days you just are not feeling positive and you didn't want to leave feedback that was negative. It changes how you see and look at builds. ESPECIALLY if you are looking to give constructive feedback with positive comments and suggestions. But if the people who read this...would try the same thing...maybe we wouldn't have so many people feeling too timid to show their builds. Good feedback like "I like how you made the pattern on the wall. It is interesting and brings attention to the window. But if I could offer a suggestion, maybe if you used dark tan instead of lime green, it would look a little better." Not just "Wow...BEST BUILD EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

There is also something to be said...just because a build looks simple...does not mean it was at all. A lot of effort goes into some builds to make it look perfect, and yet inside the structure is a complex web of bricks keeping it in place. Try building something with a width of 7, 9, or 11...it looks amazing, but the complications of it...well no one would know if they hadn't tried it themselves. And yes I have, its a number thing and ALL of my builds have epic math included in them...now don't run away screaming.

Now...back to the topic at hand...technique vs the build itself.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby Eklund » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:53 am

Hmmm... it seems my build has caused some controversy. Anyways, as for the question of realistic vs. fantasy, I say build however you want. For me, lego is a way I can use the creative half of my brain, and lots of times I do add details that would not be there in real life. Lego is an art for me, and I like to make things that are interesting to look at rather than extremely realistic. This is not to say that realistic builds aren't interesting, just that compared to lots of the fantasy builds, they can seem a bit dull. Whether one builds fantasy or realistic, I would have to agree with Blue, build for your self, and try to have fun! I also agree in that there are definitely some builds that don't get the attention they deserve, even here at CC. It would nice if people knew they would get some feedback no matter what they posted.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby RichardAM » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:15 pm

I like building MOCs and I like looking at MOCs built by other people, regardless of how I/they do it. Which is essentially it.

I like the variation we have of both builds and technique and the crossover that happens between them. I think we're at a point now where it's never been more exciting to be a builder, simply because of all the possibilities there are when using the bricks.
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Re: Discussion: Technique vs Build

Postby JCool » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:30 pm

Thanks for bringing up this great discussion Blue!

I would put myself in the bucket of one of those veteran builders who doesn't post MOCs online all too often. I do build, support many local shows, etc. and of course castle is my favorite theme to build in. But it is darn intimidating when seeing such great creations done with newer techniques. I fall into the "my creation won't make many waves, why create a post for it" category. And yes, I agree, that's wrong on my part.

I enjoy building for the sake of building. At the end of the day I don't want to dump buckets of money into every new creation just so that it has the latest technique, I'd rather have fun building and come out with something that looks reasonably cool (to me anyway).
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