Although the LDraw package consists of several tools from different sources, by
far the easiest way to install everything you need is to use the LDraw
“All In One Installer”. This is a
single package which takes you through the installation of each tool in turn,
and makes sure they are all correctly configured to talk to each other.
then select the link to the Windows package. (Not all the tools you need are available for other platforms. Sorry!)
Read through the brief introduction, to understand what you are getting into, then
continue to download and install the software following the comprehensive instructions
given there. Either select the “Automated” installation option, or select the
“Manual” option to pick and choose the components. You may choose to
install any or all of the optional tools that you think may be useful, and you can
always return to the LDraw site to add others later. Note, however, that to create
the high-quality Minibrix images you will need the following minimum set:
The LDraw Parts Library. This will always be installed, whichever option you choose. You
may never use all the Lego parts this gives you, but you will need
many of the primitive sub-components contained in the library,
since they are used in the definitions of the Minibrix parts as well.
MLCad This is the construction tool you need to build the models. It’s
about as close as you can get to the real thing but using a computer.
It is an easy-to-use 3D editor, offering full drag and drop support for
adding, copying and moving Minibrix parts, a parts inventory feature for
your models, creation of steps for building instructions, and much more.
LDView This is a simple but powerful 3D browser for models created in MLCad. It
includes an export function that converts MLCad models into the input format
for creating high-quality ray-traced images using
POV-Ray (see below).
LGEO This is a set of primitives and parts defined in POV-Ray format
(see below) rather than in LDraw format. They produce much
higher-quality renderings than just line-by-line conversions of
the LDraw originals. The parts in LGEO are not required for Minibrix
rendering, only for Lego. However, many of the primitives are, such
as smoother curves and cylinders. Most importantly, the LGEO library
will contain the Minibrix colour definitions needed to produce the final
ray-traced images. Without it, everything will coloured black!
POV-Ray This is an industry-standard ray-tracing program that renders very
high quality images. It is produced by
“Persistence of Vision” (POV)
independently of LDraw, but is bundled with the LDraw installer for
convenience. You will need version at least 3.1 to render Minibrix
models. (The rubber texture will not render correctly in earlier versions,
and will give program errors.) Unless you have some other need on an old
version, I recommend you install the latest version offered,
which is currently 3.6 as part of the All In One Installer, or 3.7
available directly from the POV-Ray web site.
Finally, you might optionally wish to download and install a couple of older tools,
no longer available through the LDraw site:
L3P This is another program that converts MLCad models into the input format
for creating ray-traced images. It is the forerunner to LDView’s
export function, but it can give better control over the positioning of the
camera, light sources and various rendering options. L3P can be
downloaded from http://www.hassings.dk/l3/l3p.html. You are
strongly recommended to get "Version 1.4 BETA 20080930". Despite its name,
it has long been considered the de facto production release.
L3P is a command-line program with lots of parameters, so, unless you are
very keen on typing exercises, you should also install...
L3PAO ...a graphical interface that generates all the parameters for
L3P without all those frustrating typing mistakes and incompatible
options. L3PAO can be downloaded from http://l3pao.malagraphixia.com.