I have not been a fan of standing on the
Lego bricks that Ole Kirk Christianen started making in 1949, but apart from
that I’m obsessed with them. Inspired by the “Kiddicraft Self-Locking Building
Brick” that were being produced in Britain by Harry Page, he filed a patent in
1958 and was granted it in 1961 for his take on a plastic interlocking building
I've also always been a computer programmer.
I got into writing software when my father decided to do a computer science
degree when I was 11 and headed off to get a Commodore Vic-20 computer to
further his studies. Now I write computer programs for the insurance industry
and have been doing that for almost 25 years.
I’m also a big fan of night-time and
low-light photography, so taking pictures of lit up Lego models scratched two
itches, and writing software to do interesting and unusual effects was an added
The house is full of all sorts of models
from mini-figures to a Sopwith camel – but mainly buildings both based on those
in the real world and the imagination, outer space or just plain crazy.
This was easy I found, so I expended the
research into more complex lighting, the lighting up of a fluorescent tube, the
lights in a cinema, the random characteristics of a candle flame or fire all
captivated me, and I kept notes about my experiments.
My aim with this book is to show you my
research, and get you involved with your kids or your kid at heart, like me, to
create something interesting. You may also learn about some products you didn’t
know existed; and hopefully have fun with them.
As the electronics industry is always
moving so quickly, some things might be outdated with newer versions of both
hardware and software available, so bear this in mind. Even so, you will get a
framework to get you going.
I plan on laying this book out in three
main sections. The first will be the componants you can choose to use to do the
actual lighting. Secondly I will lay out the options for automating effects
using programmable devices, and the software involved in that. Finally I will
show you some of the things I’ve done involving all the options, so you can
consider what you want for your project.