Lego Digital Designer (LDD)

Lego Digital Designer is a piece of fantastic software released by the Lego company. It allows its users to craft beautiful Lego creations brick by brick in a digital format. It is a great way to bring yours ideas to life without the draw-back of needing hundreds if not thousands of different Lego pieces on hand.

LDD Website


Rendering your designs

Your designs can be rendered using programs such as POV-ray. Personally I use the LDD to POV-Ray Converter which makes the process much easier. There are dozens of settings which can be changed to create truly breath-taking images. My understanding of the program is basic, but I am happy with the resulting images. I have no doubt that the program could be used to a much greater effect in expert hands.

LDD to POV-Ray Converter Website


Other digital Lego software

There is also various third-party software aside from LDD which can be utilized to construct your Lego models onto your computer screen. The most popular being LDraw. LDraw includes a dozen different programs with its installer; a few different construction programs (each of them varying) , POV-Ray for rendering, LDview for 3D viewing, LPub3D for creating instructions, and many other programs.

LDraw Website


Pros and Cons of LDD vs. LDraw

I started off using Lego Digital Designer, but have also used the LDraw software.

Lego Digital Designer (LDD)

  • Easier to learn and use
  • Large library of available parts and colors as well as brick decorations (prints and stickers)
  • LDD to POV-Ray makes for easy rendering.
  • Built-in instructions generator
  • Parts are limited by official Lego updates
  • Lego at one point planned to stop supporting LDD but have since provided minor part updates so I am not sure where they stand with it currently.

LDraw

  • Very steep learning curve (of all the available construction software I used the simplest, LDCad, and it was still took awhile to get the hang of)
  • Even larger library of available parts, colors and brick decorations
  • Part updates are provided by the user community which contributes to the above.
  • Rendering images involves more steps and can be confusing for fist-timers
  • Creating instructions is very tedious

Overall I would recommend LDD for those new to digital Lego design. While I have since learned how to use LDraw, I still prefer Lego Digital Designer for ease of use.

The biggest problem I have run into with LDD is the lack of specific parts. For example I enjoy building pirate ships, however LDD does not have any cloth sails; so my designs remain without them. Ironically, LDraw does not have the hull-pieces which I use for my ships, so I have a bit of a catch-22 in this scenario.

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