Building in LDD

Not Lego but still Lego.

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Building in LDD

Postby Quantumsurfer » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:36 pm

I'd like to compile, if we could, a list of tips and tricks for building in LDD.  Anything you can think of, post here.  It might be especially useful to new builders who might find LDD a little frustrating at first.  I'm still relatively new at it but I think I've got a decent grasp of the program now.  And a lot of it learned the hard way.  If we get enough tips going, maybe we could index them here in the first post.  So here are a few things I can think of:

  • Save Super Often:  It's obvious, but its even more important when using LDD.  LDD can already be frustrating enough.  It crashes and you lose hours of work...rageworthy.
  • Ctrl+Z:  Time Saver, as with anything.  But again, moreso with this program as you're naturally trying things out, building and rebuilding.
  • Use the Ever Loving Fuck Out of the Hide Tool:  Especially if you lack a little in processing power, the Hide Tool becomes your best damn friend in the world. Recently, whilst building a very large model, I had to build a section separate and import it.  When I did, I could not get it to connect where I wanted it to.  So I hid every damn thing but the connection point and a little extra.  It was still a pain in the ass, but connection became possible after just a few tries.  I could even save the construction without LDD crashing, so hooray for that.  Also, since LDD doesn't have to render everything you've built, it moves much faster and these kinds of large scale operations don't become drag and wait delay games.  What's more, LDD gets real wonky about its angles.  You could have zoomed in to nothing but the single stud you want to place on but if the angle isn't right, the brick will just go where it wants to.  The Hide Tool mitigates that significantly and allows you to place where you want by eliminating the other possibilities.
  • Build SNOT or Avoid Overuse of Studs: In smaller constructions, this is not necessary.  But the bigger you build, the more essential it becomes.  LDD doesn't render studs when they're hidden in another brick.  See Dilanski's Theory about this.
  • Relax and Let Flex Tool Flex You: I don't know about anyone else but I have the tendency to want to treat operations in LDD like the way I would hamfistedly handle bricks IRL.  Here's a tip:  Don't.  I discovered that, while flexing the piping with the connectors on it that trying to move it (force it) into position is an exercise in futility.  Actually, if you gently move it into position and hover, LDD takes over and smoothly slides it into position on a stud.  It's like a little animation.  It's counterintuitive to real life movement because the stud moves backwards to align itself with the stud before sliding on.  If you're impatient, while you're thrashing the bit around, it looks like it's being repelled from where you want it to go.
  • Pay Attention to What Hinge Tool is Hinging:  So, you can click the same place on an object multiple times and get multiple different rotational options.  LDD doesn't like to tell you exactly what they are all the time but knowing this can help you power through.  What is helpful, though, is that LDD will most often place a red selection box around the object being moved.  Move the camera around a little to make sure its the object you want.
  • Group Goddammit: Too useful for words.  Grouping allows you to select and move about just those parts in that specific group.  Even if you copy the group, the group will just move the first group of parts.  This has been super helpful in my forum battle but it's also really helpful in building large constructions.  You can group the subsystems and then, if you don't like or screw up the placement, you can easily select the whole thing and have another go at it.  You could also undo and try again but I've discovered that (with the angles and whatnot) this requires a lot of camera scrolling over time.
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Re: Building in LDD

Postby Gorthaff » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:12 pm

Edit: Preferances: Took me some of time to find it. This is where you can turn off that annoying sound in cinematic mode, and make your builds look way awsomer. Here's an example:

Desert background is there, to signify how much less awsome it is. (actually I was just lazy to change to space)
Note that this way screenshotting wont save the background.

Ship is Britannian Leuge Glasgow Class, Silva's I think. Kudos to him for the  :666:  ship.
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Re: Building in LDD

Postby Colette » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:12 pm

Actually, it's Dilanski's.

I find that having a good book on hand makes the dragging and waiting more bearable.
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Re: Building in LDD

Postby Quantumsurfer » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:33 pm

I was just doing the same thing today.  Kept getting distracted.
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Re: Building in LDD

Postby Silverdream » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:12 pm

It's Dilanskis. I modified one for fun though.
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Re: Building in LDD

Postby dilanski » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:46 pm

The tips I would add

Never not Universe for some reason it isn't the default option, but really it should be, you get access to the full part and colour selection LDD has to offer, plus streamlined recolouring.

The import function versus the copy function The import function lets you bring full models into your currently opened project, while the copy function allows you to make a selection, then open a new project, and paste it into that. 99% of the time, you'll want the import function, but if you want to pick out a single object in a larger set of models, use the copy function.

Keyboard Short-cuts use them to death. It'll make using LDD much more fluid.

Right click to center if your camera is floating off thanks to over-zealous shift-clicking, right click any brick to centre your camera on it.

Rendering options they're found under 'Edit' and let you improve the graphical quality of LDD.

Undoubtedly I'll remember more, but these really are the crucial ones.
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