LEGOLAND - 20th Anniversary Edition - 3D-animasjon i 4k UHD

LEGOLAND - 20th Anniversary Edition - TG99 - The Gathering 2019

Released April 8th, 2019.

Originally released in April 1999 by a group of geeks called “Phobic” at the huge LAN party “The Gathering” in Vikingskipet, Hamar, Norway.
2000 hours of work - including 18-hour working days, seven days a week the last three weeks before deadline, the original animation was accomplished in just three months, early 1999.

Involving more than a month worth of computing power from 20 computers owned by students, “Legoland” won the 1st price at The Gathering 1999 competition “3D anims”. It also won the “Best in show” award, making it the top voted contribution among all competitions. “Legoland” was the sequel to the 1998 animation “Babylonia”, also by Phobic, which also won 1st price for 3D animations, and the “Best in show” award at The Gathering 1998.

This new 20th Anniversary Edition consists of 18000 animation frames rendered on a single Intel i7-8700K in three months.
While the 1999 anim was rendered in a pretty unusual 384x576i resolution, interlaced for 50 FPS looks on a standard 90’s television, this new version has been rendered in full 4k UHD (3840x2160) resolution with true 50 FPS progressive scan.

The idea behind the animation came to me around Christmas 1998, when I saw a picture of the 6080 Lego Castle from 1984. You can read more about the featured Lego set here: … 8e11b2a314

The Lego Castle in the animation is not exactly the same as the 6080 set, but more detailed and completely made of standard Lego bricks, while the 6080 Lego set consists of larger wall segments.
Tommy modeled most of the bricks using calipers to measure real Lego bricks, getting an extremely accurate reproduction of the original bricks:

We spent about two months creating up to sixteen (!) different versions of the same standard Lego bricks, perfecting the details and features such as slightly rounded edges, Lego logos on top of the studs, and texture maps to make the bricks look even more real.

The reason to have several versions of the same brick, was because we needed different levels of detail to keep render times as low as possible. Objects far away from the camera could use low detail bricks, medium distance used medium detail, while bricks brought up close to the camera could be changed automatically to a extremely detailed version, using a scripting technique called “Level of Detail”.

Bricks only visible from the top, did not have to include polygons for the bottom details, and vice versa. We had “top-only”, “bottom-only”, “complete”, and “neither-top-nor-bottom” versions of most bricks. The level of detail also ranged from “low-res”, “medium-res” (39 polygons per stud), “high-res” to “deluxe-res” which featured a whopping 242 polygons per stud, easily maxing out the limits of LightWave 5.6 and eating computer memory, which back then used to be limited to about 16-32 MB.

Weeks of research on lighting and brick details was necessary to keep render times as low as possible. Even with twenty computers at our disposal, we struggled to reach the deadline.
The original version was planned to include a series of stupid ads, like a toothpaste for nerds, and several others more or less unusable products. Luckily, only the embarrassing “toothpaste for nerds” made it to the show.

Other features, like grass, trees and Lego knights on horses were also planned, but unfortunately we did not have enough time to add these to the animation.

The first part of this 20th Anniversary Edition was rendered using the original files on the same 1990’s 3D rendering program, LightWave 3D v.5.6. The second part, however, has been rendered using LightWave 2018, vastly improving rendering time, and enabling features like the grass and trees which the original version was missing - but, in turn increasing render times again!

A new landscape, about 2 billion fully detailed grass straws and 2000 Lego trees were added to the original scenes. The lighting model is different in LightWave 2018, and the light sources were changed to feature “spherical lights”, enabling nice, soft shadows and an even more realistic look.

A few obscure, but funny bugs from the original version, like a Lego knight having a face on both the front and back of his head, has been removed in this remake.
Some scenes had to be adjusted because the new 16:9 aspect ratio of 4k UHD introduced some new bugs - like an army of Lego knights walking right through the walls.

Music is by German composer Christopher Franke, from 1990’s TV Show “Babylon 5”. Which reminds me of a fun fact: “Legoland” was rendered using the same software as the special effects featured in “Babylon 5”, and Academy Award-winning movie “Titanic”.

Hope you will enjoy this nostalgic piece of 1990’s 3D animation, and if you like it, I would be very happy if you would share it or give it a thumbs up on YouTube! :slight_smile:

Copyright (c) 1999-2019, Jørn Tømmerås and Tommy Solheim

Det var opplagt en god ide for en animasjon, og imponerende når man tenker på at den var skapt for 20 år siden.

Fantastisk flott! Både med tanke på når filmen opprinnelig ble laget, men også på hvor dedikert man har vært i forhold til detaljer. Har du noen formening om hvor lang tid man ville benyttet i dag? Sett i forhold til de verktøyene og den prosessorkraften man har til rådighet i dag?