US Capitol at Night

It is almost finished, just a couple of tweaks needed.  So, in the end was it worth it?  Sadly, no. I didn't get the look I was trying to acheive.  Is it better than a buying a lighting kit?  Maybe.  Would my time have been better spent working on something else (with Bricks Cascade 2022 coming up), most definitely.

I still have a LOT to learn about lighting in general and lighting LEGO specifically before I can create the images in my head.

But hey, it is what it is.


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  • I think it looks fantastic! It was cool to track your progress as well.

  • Just curious, why do you feel the end result was not what you were looking for?  I think it looks fantastic?  What specific areas do you feel could have looked different/better?

  • Rob -

    Actually, the Brickstuff lights worked flawlessly and as expected.  I have no complaints about that.  Some suggestions, but NO complaints or problems.


    1. Window light.  Try as I might, I could not get light coming through the headlight bricks to look good.  The light was either too harsh (direct light coming out an uncovered hole) or not visible (putting a 1x1 white plate on the backside of the headlight brick to soften the harshness).  What I was hoping for was to give the impression that some office lights were on and most were off.  As you can see in the image below I put black plates behind some windows and white plates behind others, but could not achieve the look I wanted.

    This means I still have much to learn about LEGO brick transparency, translucency and opaqueness.  I also tried trans-black and double trans-black plates behind the windows to try and mute the harshness, but the interior light still comes out looking harsh.


    2. Amber lights.  The interior lights in the dome (in all the images of the Capitol I've seen) come across as amber, not warm white light.  Currently I have warm white light covered by trans-yellow pieces to differentiate it from the warm white light used elsewhere.  Still trying to figure out the combination of light color and part color to give an amber feel.

    3. Brightness difference.  In some cases (where the lights are in exterior walkways) I placed a 1mA light inside a headlamp brick.  Though you can't see the light directly, it still blasts out of the headlamp brick.  I was hoping to get a subtler difference between the light in the walkways and the lights shining on the exterior of the building.  This can be fixed using the Brickstuff BrickPixel system, where I can tune the light brightness.  I just don't have the time right now to set that up (looming deadline of Bricks Cascade).

    4. Size of high intensity lights.  To get the dome lighting to look right, I'm using Brickstuff high intensity lights (same ones that I use on the Washington Monument).  They provide the brightness and quality of light that I want, but the lights themselves are huge compared to the scale of the Capitol.  I can get away with it on the Monument because the real-life lighting system is, in fact, quite large.  I'm still looking for a way to get a smaller, lower intensity light set up much closer to the dome to give the same look.  There's more experimentation needed...but again, that Bricks Cascade thing.

    So, as you can see, it's not the Brickstuff products that cause my disappointment, rather it's my lack of understanding of the light properties of LEGO pieces and time.  Yeah, yeah, I *should* have been working on this last September, but I got caught up in playing with the Brickstuff BrickPixel system [grin], and I don't regret THAT for a second.

    Lighting LEGO is just a different kind of beast to get under control.  I'll get there eventually.  And...well...part of my frustrated comments comes from two and a half longs days of intense work and the end result didn't match the image I'm carrying in my head.  Probably should have given it a little time before posting my comments.  Sorry!


    [P.S. - the exterior of the front (east side) of the Capitol looks I wanted.  So all is not doom and gloom here.]

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