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Escher Paintings with Lego Bricks 187

sciuro writes "a couple of guys (A Lipton & D Shiu) have built three of M C Escher's 3D-distorting paintings using Lego bricks (and some carefully chosen camera angles). Balcony, Belvedere & Ascending and Descending are all down at the bottom of the page. Nice!" Some other pretty pieces as well.
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Escher Paintings with Lego Bricks

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  • And today, (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:45PM (#4702301)
    From the "too much free time and no girlfriend" files of Slashdot...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      From the Dilbert figurine portions of the site:

      My wife Lesley likes them so much that she says I shouldn't take them apart, so I must go and buy some more LEGObricks. Well, who am I to argue?

      Apparently he has a wife--just one that is the same geek-calibur as he is :)
      • by Anonymous Coward
        That should be "calibre" Too many videogames for you. Read a book!
  • Copyright! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Evil Adrian ( 253301 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:45PM (#4702305) Homepage
    Has Escher's copyright run out yet? :-)
    • by limekiller4 ( 451497 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @09:00PM (#4702752) Homepage
      Evil Adrian writes:
      "Has Escher's copyright run out yet? :-)"

      Well, if we represent a timeline with an Escher staircase and we represent the passage of time as the people walking up the stairs, then the answer is no, his copyright will actually never run out. =)
  • Why, why (Score:5, Funny)

    by Reggie Funk ( 623676 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:46PM (#4702306)
    If only they gave a Nobel Prize in misplaced talent.
  • White Stripes Video (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mtn_Dewd ( 15169 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:46PM (#4702310) Homepage Journal
    If anyone has seen the White Stripes video where the entire thing is done in lego-like animation, that is what this reminded me of. The filters to create this animation are quite unique.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:53PM (#4702353)
      they weren't done with any filters, that video was built by hand
      • by nullgel ( 602884 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @09:48PM (#4703009) Homepage
        Perhaps he meant (and I believe this to be the case) that most, if not all, of the video was shot normally with the musicians/actors/sets. They then might have taken the raw video through some filters adjusting the colors to LEGO colors and perhaps "pixelating" the video. They could then use these filtered frames as a reference to build the LEGOs.

        Only a theory, but this is how I would attempt to do it anyway.

        • I think this video was done manually, most animators aren't programmers (but some are, I know). Animators are patient people. Also I think they probably doubled frames, so there are "only" 12 frames to come up with each second. they probably projected the video, then lined the bricks up with the projection. (a pretty common technique for "roto mation") You should check out some of the classic animations. There is one that features an animated cab calloway, done using this technique.
    • Yeah - I can't stand the White Stripes, but I loved that video.

      When I get my MEng, that's the job I want.
    • Michael Gondry (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sh0rtie ( 455432 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @05:09AM (#4704535)

      Michael Gondry speaking about his video for white stripes in an interview with RES ....

      "I really like the basic-ness of the music - one voice, one guitar, and one drum. I like this concept, and I thought it was very close to the primary color of the Lego blocks." On the video's creation: "We shot a very basic video of the band [in London], we edited it and then we had a program that pixelized the video, roughly the size of the Lego blocks and then we printed each frame [25 frames per second] on paper. Then we had an animation team building up Lego blocks to match each frame. Then we reshot each of those frames on a film camera. We didn't have enough Legos to do more than five frames at a time, so after five frames were shot [the Legos] were demolished to build the next five frames."
      The imagery is kinetic and jubilant. Audio levels thump, people swim, a walk sign says "go!", and the candy cane-colored White Stripes jam out.
      To acquire this job, Gondry didn't write a treatment. According to Meg, "One day he came to a restaurant and he had Jack's head in Lego." Jack: "You couldn't argue with that. When someone brings a Lego sculpture of your head to dinner and says this is what the video's going to be, you pretty much say, 'That's it, go ahead.' " (credit [])
      "I've seen 'Star Wars' build-ups and huge model displays, but this is the most intense creation that I've ever seen done in Lego, and definitely the most creative and original," said Roger Cameron, a senior designer at Lego. "It definitely has that retro feel, because they used just the basic colors and pieces from 30 years ago. They didn't even use green or orange." (credit [])
      The video has won many, mostly technical, awards, including an MVPA Award, and 3 MTV Video Music Awards. Jack and Meg accepted the MTV Breakthrough Video award on Michel's behalf.
      "Girl" is available in America on a companion DVD issued with new copies of White Blood Cells. You can also find a Quicktime copy on #2 of a 2-CD single set released by Third Man/XL Recordings (UK).
      Excellent copies of this video are at []. 'boards mag has a MOV here [].

      his other works can be found here [] [try not to kill it]

  • I wish I had that kind of time...

    DAMN cool, though!

    Two thumbs up!
  • by RoC MasterMind ( 576689 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:49PM (#4702328) Homepage
    The webpage mentioned in the article has been posted here before. I'm too lazy to find the link, but the guys are really good, these are just three new logo projects they've done. Anyway, imagine a beowulf cluster of these!
    • Re:More than one (Score:1, Informative)

      by Thalia ( 42305 )
      Deja vu all over again []. But it's been four and a half months... so we probably forgot the whole discussion already.

      • Nope. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:48PM (#4702688) Homepage
        This is not a repeat! The Escher works are newly added in October.

        Go read the original story [] -- it's about unrelated works.
  • Strange.... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by silverbolt ( 578120 )
    I have never understood the geek factor in creating stuff using LEGO blocks. Or probably they have too much time on their hands...
    (*Shrugs*) ....
    • Re:Strange.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SoCalChris ( 573049 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:53PM (#4702715) Journal
      I'm not sure why the parent got modded down as flamebait, but oh well...

      I think that most of the geeks here on Slashdot probably played with Legos a lot as little kids, and most of us probably still play with them (I know I do when I have time!). A lot of the new Lego sets aren't very geeky, and a lot of people find the new sets downright boring. So when someone comes along like these guys and create something that is really cool/complicated/hard to do, it is generally something that most Slashdot readers would appreciate, so it gets posted.

      On the other hand, I've never been a fan of anime, and don't know any other geeks who are so I'm not sure why those are posted on Slashdot. When an anime story comes by, I just usually ignore it.
      • The original Legos required some creativity and imagination. Sure your helicopter rotor blades were square and did not really spin but it was fun to make it. Now you simply build things from a kit, not much different that putting together a model. Just like Hot Wheels used to sell bundles of track so you could run them around the entire house. Now they all run in some small space with an electronic shark/spider/volcano to provide some lame interaction. Felt like a rant. Sorry.
  • More information (Score:4, Informative)

    by kaosrain ( 543532 ) <root@k a o s r a i n .com> on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:52PM (#4702346) Homepage
    More information on MC Escher, including his artwork and uses of his artwork, can be found here [] and here [].
  • by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:54PM (#4702361) Journal
    ... was that this made /. without having a Lego Penguin...

    Hmm, would that turn the Lego into GNU/Lego? Maybe that would discourage militant lego lawyers from attacking anyone who doesn't put up a disclaimer. Oh, sure, I know what you're thinking, Lego Lawyers, how scary are they, you can just pull their head off or stick the holes in their feet to some little pegs in the ground, but don't be fooled! Once those little bastards call in the Space Frontier Force, it's over! Those laser-light things burn, man! If I hadn't had the Lego Rescue Rangers there to save my ass, it would have been bad! Thankfully, they took all the lawyers, broke them apart, made an ambulance, and took me to the hospital, where they replaced a few bricks, and I'm fine now...

    ... Hmm, maybe they were right about that whole "acid trip flashback" thing...

  • by l810c ( 551591 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:59PM (#4702387)
    This guy has either:

    A) No Job - Stays home all day to play with Legos
    B) A Really Cool Job - Stays home all day to play with Legos

  • by Pike65 ( 454932 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:59PM (#4702389) Homepage
    Our eventual solution was to take a number of separate shots, zooming in on distinct parts of the model, and glue them together as a mosaic panorama. The image above was constructed in this way from 16 images. The final Escher transformation was implemented in a custom C program that I hacked together.

    For the love of God! Implemented in C?!

    Someone get this man a copy of Photoshop, stat!
    • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:37PM (#4702619) Journal

      Someone get this man a copy of Photoshop, stat!

      Using a user-friendly tool like Photoshop would defeat the whole geeky purpose! He was able to use the words "custom program" and "hacked" in the same sentence -- a prerequisite for recognized by slashdot. The only things that could have made this cooler would have been:

      • Reverse-engineering the Photoshop software and then modifying it for his purpose
      • Using assembly instead of C
      • Making his webpage with a text editor while watching Star Trek

      All in all, a good geek project!


      • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:53PM (#4702719)
        Someone get this man a copy of Photoshop, stat!

        Using a user-friendly tool like Photoshop would defeat the whole geeky purpose! He was able to use the words "custom program" and "hacked" in the same sentence -- a prerequisite for recognized by slashdot.

        OK, shall we compromise? Someone get them a copy of the Gimp...

      • by DirtyJ ( 576100 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @09:24PM (#4702883)
        The other day I was using my overclocked, water-cooled Linux PS2 to write some assembly code to automatically record ST:TNG while I'm out seeing TTT on November 18th. I knew it was going to take a while, so first, I used vi to write a Perl script to have my NeXT workstation brew a fresh pot of java every 30 minutes using the Mr. Coffee clone that I built out of legos. Everything was going fine for a while, but then I started thinking about M$, the RIAA, the MPAA, the DMCA, and all those goddamned emacs users, and I found my blood boiling. So I tried playing a little Q3 to get my agressions out. But despite being l337, I was getting fragged badly because the ping on my 802.11b network was too high. So I gave up and settled down in front of my plasma TV to watch Babylon 5.
      • No, what would have been really cool would have been if he'd ground a lens for his camera to do it. Of course, Legos are just no good for building lenses out of...
  • limerick (Score:5, Funny)

    by bobtheprophet ( 587843 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @07:59PM (#4702397) Journal
    There once was a man named D. Shiu
    Whose work is now being viewed.
    His page will be slashed
    Hashed dashed and mashed
    Linked from slashdot; to his page: adieu.
  • Mona Lego (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kaosrain ( 543532 ) <root@k a o s r a i n .com> on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:05PM (#4702440) Homepage
    This article got me to wondering what other art works had been made with Legos. What I found isn't quite the same, but I still enjoy it nonetheless. You can find a complete recreation of Mona Lisa made with Legos by Eric Harshbarger at this site [].
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:12PM (#4702475) Homepage Journal
    ..It's upstairs in the basement.
  • by e40 ( 448424 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:15PM (#4702492) Journal
    The same perspectives used in the original works, I might add.
  • by 403Forbidden ( 610018 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:16PM (#4702497)
    1) Lose your job
    2) Build geometric and paradoxical shapes out of legos
    3) Get them posted on Slashdot
    4) ???
    5) PROFIT!

    I actually like his work, it's very mathmatical.
  • To everyone claiming this post was on the same thing, they are wrong. Though it is the same web site the old article was about the mathimatical formations.
  • Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by zachlipton ( 448206 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:16PM (#4702501)
    I don't usually do this, though these are pretty darn cool so I setup a mirror!

  • Not a repeat! (Score:5, Informative)

    by jlv ( 5619 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:18PM (#4702509)
    While this link of Andrew Lipson' was mentioned back in July [], this is not a repeat. The Escher works are newly added in October.
  • I've been looking for them for months and tried googling and LUGnetting without results. I know they were made before 1975. They came in a set of all-rectangular bricks that was big enough to build a structure I could actually sit inside, at least when I was 4 yrs old.

    I've got a kid now who's coming up on that age and I'd like him to have some.

    Help would be appreciated.

    • This is not what you are looking for, but they used small bricks to make really big bricks when they scaled up the 2' Hagrid to 13' []... The exact scale was 5:1 (a 2x4 became 10x20).

      ...and they are using child labor to build it!

      This is a traveling exhibit of Lego Master Builders; it started in MA, has been to MD and NY. I see that it was just assembled in Chicago and will be there for another week. []

    • Lego had/has a line for really small tykes called Duplo. They are quite huge.

      Though, I think you are referring to even bigger blocks. Yeah, I think I rememeber those. And those giant Tinker Toys. Made a 5-foot tall robot out of giant Tiinker Toys when I was in the third grade.
    • There's a certain brand of baby wipes that comes in a plastic box designed like that. They're about the size of a shoe box, collect a few dozen and build furniture or something... not very sturdy though (thin plastic).
    • Ritvik makes mega bloks []. However, their site is very very useless. You can get them at Toys R Us, but I would suggest that you go to a local toy store (try one of the independant stores) and see if you can get them to order them in bulk?

      I have no idea how these blocks are sold, so YMMV.

      Lego also makes (or used to make) very large foam lego bricks. They show up on ebay and [] sometimes.

      And after typing this entire post, i reread yours and saw that you were looking for 2 INCH by 4 INCH blocks... in that case what you probably want is Duplo, made by lego. look at lego's catalog [].

      Forgive me if this post is incoherent, I really should go to bed right now.
    • I've seen bigger ones. At the kid's room in Schipol airport (Amsterdam) they had a shed-load of large bricks. In the few hours that we were there, my kids built themselves a fort.

      Of course, my pics of it never made it onto my server....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:22PM (#4702530)
    Here [] is the 3D models I made of Belvedere, it has Side and back pictures as well, if you wanted to know how it was done. I had to program it at the University of utah, in a language for their alpha_1 modeling. Took me two weeks to learn the language and make it.
  • Did I take the red pill?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just wait until thier older brother knocks it down and they start bawling. Ah those were the days.
  • by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:45PM (#4702671) Homepage
    ... is the following snippet from the article:

    "The chef's hat was suggested by my wife Lesley..."

    After all this, they're still married?!
  • by spoco2 ( 322835 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:45PM (#4702673)
    There seems to be enough articles about them... every time they make something new... article on Slashdot.

    We could expand the segment:
    * Give the guys an idea for a lego model (My guess 95% will be for Star Wars or LOTR models... the other 5% will be nude women)
    * See what they do with the rest of their time (My guess is weird little contraptions around the house)

    and maybe

    * Live webcam updates of them building... in realtime... never miss a second of the thrilling lego building action!
  • by bkontr ( 624500 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:49PM (#4702697) Homepage Journal
    Legos can be wonderful teaching tools that can demostrate mathematics and art (in the case of Escher) in way that can make difficult abstract ideas more tangible. Lego takes the designing and building of models which meant to represent buldings, machinery and so on seriously that they actually hire engineers to design and build the Lego structures for thier showrooms and projects like Mindstorm.
  • Escher's paintings? (Score:4, Informative)

    by turg ( 19864 ) <turg AT winston DOT org> on Monday November 18, 2002 @08:57PM (#4702736) Journal

    Warning: Picky complaint about semantics. Stop reading here if such things annoy you.

    a couple of guys (A Lipton & D Shiu) have built three of M C Escher's 3D-distorting paintings using Lego bricks

    I didn't know Escher did any painting.

    In any case, what I see on this page is a couple of guys have built three of M C Escher's lithographs using Lego bricks.

    • Further picky complaint about semantics.

      In the Escher-like spirit of "ceci n'est pas un pipe" ( html), I should note that they haven't actually built M C Escher's lithographs, but rather reproductions of those lithographs. (Okay, sorry about that. :-)

    • I didn't know Escher did any painting.

      Obviously, you are not very familiar with his work. Escher made huge amounts of paintings, most of them in the beginning of his career. It is true, however, that these particular works happens to be lithographs.
  • by alchemist68 ( 550641 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @09:07PM (#4702789)
    I keeping looking at "Ascending and Descending" and I can't see where the trick to illusion is. I can't SEE how he did it. The "Belvedere" is easy to see how he cheated the illusion - it's in the columns. How in the *UCKIN' HELL did he do it?

    I've been staring at this for fifteen minutes, connecting the stairs, following the path of little figures, and this is really pissing me off. And I'm not an idiot.
  • by milkmandan9 ( 190569 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @09:13PM (#4702823)
    This [] one is flat-out amazing. Some lady has managed to build scale models of all sorts of construction equipment--and functional, too!

    Mind-blowing design work, that's for sure.
  • There are many other neat things on this guy's website besides the Eschers, most notably these mathetical scultupes [] and Rodin's Thinker []. From the Rodin's Thinker project: This took a lot of work, despite starting from computer-generated instructions based on photographs (actually the programming was nearly half of the project). Cool!
  • Animated Lego (Score:2, Interesting)

    Fans of motivated lego may be interested in this link [] to a winning demo for the Assembly '01 "wild demo" competition. Stop frame photography + lego blocks + talent = cute little movie (38mb mpg).
    • Haha..Oh my gawd. Yeah, the animation is quite impressive...but this for the botched English subtitles....

      "I'm going to blow your nostrils up!"
      "I'm the king of grapes!"
      "You mustard!"

      It makes Zero Wing sound like Shakespeare.
  • derivative work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots ( 580169 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @09:48PM (#4703010) Homepage Journal
    see, another example of why lengthy copyrights are bad... with the copyright enforced on the escher images (according to the page they are still under copyright) we wouldn't be able to have our society enriched by important derivative works such as these. ;)
  • by cmeans ( 81143 ) <(moc.raftni) (ta) (snaemc)> on Monday November 18, 2002 @09:57PM (#4703048) Homepage Journal
    Escher did for architecture what Adams did for literature.

  • angles (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4x0r-3l337 ( 219532 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @10:36PM (#4703202)
    They would have gotten better pictures if they had photographed the scenes from far away using a telephoto lens. The way they did it for this webpage, perspective is still way too visible, and makes some of the "pillars" easily recognizable as non-vertical. By moving the camera further away, this effect is reduced.

  • by darkitecture ( 627408 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @10:56PM (#4703278)
    *looking at an apartment inspired by Escher's 'Relativ'* Leela: "Wow! Now *this* is fantastic!" Fry: "Hmm... I'm not sure we want to pay for a dimension we're not gonna use " *Bender falls down a dozen random stairs at varying angles* Bender: "Oooh Aaah Oooh Ufff Ahhh Ohhh"
  • Blue ball, (Score:3, Funny)

    by Openadvocate ( 573093 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @11:10PM (#4703330)
    Quote the website:
    "I'm quite pleased with the dome - and I finally found a use for the blue ball that appears in LEGO set 8269 []!

    I,,,, but,,,, aaarrrghhhh... damn!
  • by dstone ( 191334 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @11:16PM (#4703351) Homepage
    Enjoy the following plans for snapping together your very own cultural icons! Start saving your 1x1 bricks!
    (these are undithered, top-viewed LEGO art and use only 6 colors: black, white, yellow, red, green, blue)
    Ellen Feiss []
    Osama Bin Laden []
    Bill Gates []
    and, of course...
    the guy []
  • by saha ( 615847 )
    Here is a link to our lab's website featuring the Penrose staircase.
    You'll need a VRML 97 compliant plug-in in your browser to view the model.

    Perose Staircase in VRML []

  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Monday November 18, 2002 @11:38PM (#4703455) Homepage
    Don't miss his Dilbert scuptures. He has Dilbert, the Pointy-haired Boss, and Wally.
  • by multiplexo ( 27356 ) on Monday November 18, 2002 @11:42PM (#4703478) Journal
    Where can I get the four dimensional Lego tesseracts. I'm tired of all the Mindstorm and Star Wars crap.
  • Paintings? (Score:2, Informative)

    I think the items represented were originally woodcarvings.

  • Most advanced I ever got was trying to recreate the bridge of a Star Destroyer. I even made a Grand Admiral Thrawn.

    I made a pretty sweet X-Wing once. Folding wings and everything. But then again, who hasn't made an X-Wing out of legos at some point... /nerd
  • You have to appreciate the irony of using lego to make impossible structures!

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.