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  Home > MLCad > Tutorial: Digital building - Page 8 of 9  
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Saving image(s)

  Screenshot 27
  69. Select Save Image(s) Save Image Button from the Main bar (alternatively File > Save Image(s) from the menu) to directly save the series of building steps to your hard disc.  
  70. The Save Image(s) dialog offers a variety of options:
  • Since we want to get a Image for each step it is a logical choice. Hitting the Save... button you'll be asked for a file name. MLCad proposes the name the project has been saved in the LDraw file format. It is good advice to change the current Basic_04 to something else, since the program will number the images with an ascending suffix. Use underscores or hyphens to separate the name from the number such as: Basic_ or Basic_Step-. If you save a second time using the same file name such as Basic_ in the example above, MLCad will overwrite the previous series without warning! Picking instead the name from the file explorer – in this case Basic_1.BMP MLCad will warn you that is going to overwrite, but oddly it will create a new series adding the ascending numbers to the picked name: Basic_11.BMP, Basic_12.BMP, ...
  • Complete assembly image will save just the final step showing the project as a whole.
  • Include images of submodels will save also the steps of submodels. They will be numbered with an ascending suffix following the numbers of the main model. Since the little dumper truck doesn't contain any submodels ignore it for now.
  • Show step number in image is closely tight with both steps and complete assembly outputs. If you want the last image of a series of steps showing the complete project but not labeled with a number you'll have to save a Complete assembly image with Show step number in image deselected and substitute the last images of the series afterwards.
    There is no setting to change the position/size/font/color/number of the step number as there is no way to get rid off the banner where the step number is stamped on that covers the background image at the top. If you would like to have the number somewhere else in the picture or in a different format you'll have to use an image editor program. Or switch to other programs of the LDraw System of Tools specifically designed for building instruction publishing such as LPub - LDraw Building Instructions Publishing Tool.
  • Central perspective draws the project in a way that all lines converge to one point augmenting the visual effect. Just select the option to get an immediate preview. Since real LEGO building instructions use isometric illustrations with all projected line parallel it is general practice to not use central perspective.
  • Image resolution should be pretty self-explaining. Working with the program you'll discover that saving with a resolution twice as much, say 1280x1024 instead of 640x480 and scale the image down in an image editor program afterwards gets you a smoother result. This is most true for the edges which in this case should be enlarged to 3 pixel in the Rendering tab > General options > Line width in the MLCad Settings dialog. Obviously your background image has to match the size you set.

    NOTE! You might experiment also with the other settings in the Rendering tab like Shading or Background color however be advised that Stud mode will be overwritten since it has been thought only as internal speed up routine. Also the Central perspective checkbox in the Save Image(s) dialog will prevail over the Perspective checkbox in the settings.

  • File type should be also self-explaining. Just select Bitmap, Jpeg or Gif. There is no need to add the three letter file type extension to your images; MLCad will do this for you. There are no quality settings for Jpeg or color restrictions for Gif. It is therefore better saving in Bitmap and do the compress job in an editor.
  • Finally Click (the left mouse-button) and move (the cursor in the preview window) to set the view angle(s). There isn't much to add, except that the view angle in the Save Image(s) dialog overwrites the angle in the building area.
Save... and check out all the work you've done!
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  Building Instruction
  With the exception of the series above all project images for this tutorial haven't been generated with MLCad but LDView - http://ldview.sourceforge.net/, a real-time 3D viewer for displaying LDraw models using hardware-accellerated 3D graphics, because of its superior rendering engine and the support of all kinds of gimmicks such as the LEGO stud logo as the most prominent among them. Check out also LPub - http://sourceforge.net/projects/lpub4/ to generate professional looking instructions.  Brick 2x2

Saving a parts list

  Screenshot 29
  Brick 13x3
71. There isn't much left I could teach you, except fancy things like sub-model management along with Buffer-Exchange and Ghost or the various generators to get a minifig or a fractal landscape made out of bricks with just a few clicks, but I'll leave those for the advanced tutorial. But before I leave you building your own MOCs I would like to show you one more feature which comes handy when you need a shopping list to buy real bricks for your digital project: Save Parts List.
There is obviously a Save Parts List ... button Save Parts List Button in the Main bar for the fast and a File > Save Parts List... entry in the menu, but I'd like you to select Extras > Reports > Parts... from the menu, just to remember that MLCad offers different ways for almost all its commands.
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72. Click the headers in the Save Parts List Options dialog to sort your list numerically by No. or Part no. while Color and Part name will sort it alphabetically and take notice that all will be sorted ascending.
  • The Parts per step checkbox will add a column allowing you to sort also by steps ...
  • ... while Ignore colors will remove the color column from the dialog and the text file.
  • Submodels is grayed out because the project doesn't contain any submodels.
The output is a simple text file readable with Windows Notepad, Wordpad or any other text editor program:
No. Color Part no. Part name
2   Yellow   4275b.dat   Hinge Plate 1 x 2 with 3 Fingers and Hollow Studs
2 Light_Gray 4531.dat Hinge Tile 1 x 2 with 2 Fingers
1 Yellow 3024.dat Plate 1 x 1
2 Trans_Clear 3024.dat Plate 1 x 1
    NOTE! Keep in mind that names and numbers of the parts may differ from other LEGO databases. Bricklink.com for example numbers the 4275b - Hinge Plate 1 x 2 with 3 Fingers and Hollow Studs "4275". A search with the "b" suffix won't return any result, while 4275a - Hinge Plate 1 x 2 with 3 Fingers and Solid Studs are identical. Only the colors converge since LDraw.org has recently updated its chart taking the BL color names for reference.
That's it, well done! Once you get comfortable with the program and all its features, check out also the other tutorials here at www.holly-wood.it, especially the course Advanced digital building with MLCad. On the following page you'll find some final tips from the help file if things don't work as expected.
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