wiki:BasicTutorial

Version 1 (modified by leo, 10 years ago) (diff)

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Basic Tutorial

This page is designed to give you a good understanding of the basics of LeoCAD, it will teach you how to browse the pieces list, add pieces to a model and move and rotate them around, create a model with multiple steps and change the camera position.

To do that we'll create a simple racing car, so start LeoCAD and you should see a window that looks like this:

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The program has a standard user interface with toolbars and menus. The big white area on the left is the main drawing area and on the right there's a list of available pieces with a picture of the currently selected one and list of colors.

Note that user interface is different between Operating Systems so if you're not running the MS Windows version of LeoCAD your screen won't look exactly like the screenshots here but they will be still close.


Let's add our first piece to the model, open the "Plates" category from the pieces list on the right (1), then scroll down and select "Plate 1 x 4". We want our car to be blue so click on the blue rectangle at the bottom (2). Notice that the picture on the top right corner has changed to reflect the new color.

Now let's add the brick to the drawing area, click the "brick" icon on the top left of the screen (3) and the mouse cursor will change to a small brick. Move it to the drawing area, click with the left mouse button and a new piece will be added to the model.

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TIP: You can use the grid to help you see better where each piece is located. You can do that by choosing "Preferences" under the "View" menu, then going to the "Drawing Aids" tab and checking the box "Base Grid". Also note that the X/Y/Z location of the currently selected brick is shown on the lower right corner.


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Now select "Plate 2 x 4" from the list of bricks and add it near the first brick. After you add a brick the mouse cursor changes to a four arrows icon, that means that if you now keep the mouse button pressed and move the cursor the objects that are currently selected will be moved too. If you compare both bricks, you’ll see that the new brick has a blue outline, that means that it is selected and it can be modified.

While holding the left mouse button down move the brick so that it stays 2 "units" from the first brick. You can also use the arrow and page up/down keys to move the bricks if you prefer.

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Now let’s go to the second step of our project, so advance 1 step by clicking on the icon on the toolbar (1). Take a look at the status bar at the bottom, you’ll see that it now shows "Step 2" on the right.

Add a "Plate 2 x 8" just above the first bricks, we are going to use it to hold the first two bricks together so we will have to rotate it until it’s in the correct position. Select the "Rotate" icon from the toolbar (2), the cursor will change and then drag the mouse until the brick is rotated 90 degrees. In the beginning it will be difficult to rotate using the mouse so you can use the keyboard instead, hold the SHIFT key down and press the Page Up key 3 times.

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Go now to step 3 of the project, and let’s add some other elements to our car. We’ll need a steering wheel and a mudguard now but as you don’t know where to find those, just type "Car Mudguard" in the search box (1) and the program will show you where it is. Select the "Car Mudguard 2 x 4 without Studs" and add it to the drawing. If you scroll the list a little you’ll find the steering wheel just below so add it too and you’ll have something like this:

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Advance one more step on the project and let’s go to step 4. Select now the "Slopes" group (1), and choose the "Slope Brick 45 2 x 2", add one above the mudguard and another to the front of the car.

Let’s also add another "Plate 1 x 4" to the car, you might not remember that it was the first brick you added but the program does so click on the arrow to the right of the search box (2) and you’ll see a list of bricks you have already used. You can select the "Plate 1 x 4" from there and save some time searching for it again. Here’s the picture of the almost complete car:

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There’s one thing missing in the car, the wheels so let’s use step 5 to add the wheel holders. It’s not going to be easy to see the bottom of the car from where we are so we’ll have to change our view position. We don’t want to make changes to the steps we did on the past so first click on the "key" icon on the toolbar (1) and then select the rotate camera icon (2). Now drag the mouse until you can see the bottom of the car from a good position. If the car is not centered on the screen, you can use the "Pan" tool to adjust it or you can Zoom in/out to make it better. Just select the tool you want to use, hold the left mouse button pressed and move the cursor.

Now change the current color to black and add 2 "Plate 2 x 2 with Wheels Holder" to the car:

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Now all we need to do is add the wheels so go to step 6 and change the viewing position to a better angle. Add a gray "Wheel Centre" (select the first one from the list) and a black "Tyre" to the first wheel holder.

Change to the front camera by pressing the "F" key and zoom in, if you take a close look you’ll see that you can’t move the wheel to the correct place. That’s because the program is moving the bricks only to fixed places so turn 3D Snap off (1). Now select both the wheel and the tyre by choosing the "Arrow" icon (2) and clicking on the pieces while holding the CTRL key down and you’ll be able to move both pieces at the same time to the correct place.

Now turn 3D Snap on again. As we’re going to need 3 more sets of wheels let’s save some time and use the clipboard to help us, it works just like Notepad or any other Windows application. You can press CTRL+C to copy and CTRL+V to paste or use the toolbar icons. Make sure that both the wheel and the tyre are still selected and place a copy on the clipboard, them paste and move the pieces to the correct place.

We still need one last thing to finish the project, a driver ! Go to step 7 and select "Minifig Wizard" from the "Piece" menu, you’ll see a dialog where you can customize a minifig. Select the options you want and click "OK" to add the driver.

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If you have done everything correctly, the finished car will look like this:

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Now you should save the file to make it possible to use it later. You can also send it by email to your friends or ask the program to create a web page for you, just take a look at all the options you have on the menus. You can even create raytraced pictures and use them as your Windows background if you have POV-Ray installed !

This finishes the quick tutorial, remember that this does not teach you how to use the advanced features of the program, like creating animations but it will help you get started with the basic features.

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