Make a sculpture in LEGO from a photo, with R

April 30, 2018
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The entrance to our office in Redmond in is adorned with this sculpture of our department logo, rendered in LEGO:

Our team, the Cloud Developer Advocates, has a logo as well, created by the multitalented Ashley Macnamara. (The mascot's name is Bit: he's a raccoon because, like developers, he's into everything.) It would be nice to have a LEGO rendition of Bit for the wall as well, but converting an image into LEGO bricks isn't easy … until now.

This R script by Ryan Timpe provides everything you need render an image in LEGO. It will downscale the image to a size that meets your bricks budget, convert the colors to those available as LEGO bricks, and divide the image up into LEGO-sized pieces, ready to lay out on a flat tray. The script is super easy to use: just source a file of utility functions and then:

(You can also use readJPEG to read in JPG images; I just loaded in the png package and used readPNG which works just as well.) Here's what the output looks like. (Click to see the original, for comparison.)

Bit-azure-64

The script also provides a shopping list of the bricks you need by color and size: this particular project will require 1842 LEGO bricks in 19 different colors to create the 48×48 image. It will even provide a series of step-by-step instructions showing how the project will look in various stages of completion:

Bit-instr-64
The R script is available on GitHub, here, and works with any recent version of R and with up-to-date tidyverse installation. (I used R 3.5.0.) You can find a complete walkthrough of using the scripts in the blog post at the link below.

Ryan Timple: How To: LEGO mosaics from photos using R & the tidyverse

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