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Fundamentals of building
#1
Brick 
Here are some things I've learned over time that have helped me in building.
Note: A lot of these are based on what I've learned and could be subjective to my ideals, but don't overlook them for that. I think it's important to learn how other people do things, so then you can make it your own.

Quick link to this thread: https://tinyurl.com/VexiusBuilding

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- Theme -
Theme should always be the first step in a build.

Your theme might be:
  • Fantasy (anything from dwarven villages, to futuristic cities.
  • Modern
  • Medieval
  • Or just personal style (free-form building. Could also be considered fantasy)
When building, always use reference images for inspiration, or reference.
Ask yourself this question, “how can I make this thing look good, and possibly realistic or practical?”
Going on to Google and image searching for whatever you’re building (city, or fantasy misc), is the key to learning how to build better.

Building from your head is like carving rock with a spoon, while a hammer and chisel lay right beside. It’s slow and inefficient, and a better option is easily within reach.

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- Scale -
One of the first things you should always think about when starting a build is "how big should this be?". Scale can have vast effects on detail, depth, texture, etc.

- If your build is too small: Details will be limited to single blocks with slabs and stairs.
- If your build is big: Any detail is possible depending on how much space you give.

I always make my builds big enough for details and other things.

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- Structure -
This one is a big one to handle when building, and can be challenging to get a grasp of.

When creating structure, use empty shapes and outlines for planning until ready to detail.

I’d recommend using Google images and floor plans to learn structure.

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- Detail -
This one I think is often misunderstood in terms of application.

First off,
- If your build is small: You will have to get creative with singular blocks such as, stairs, slabs, fences, etc.
- If your build is big: Abandon the stairs, slabs, and singular blocks. You'll want to be working with mostly full blocks, and using them to make thicker lines and details on the larger scale.
Filling a giant wall with tiny stairs and slabs will look like gravel on a beach; basically indistinguishable at a distance. Using thicker lines and larger shapes will make your build easier to recognize at a distance, and also give it a better sense of size.

Now,
A manager of a build team once said to me "detail should only be used to express parts of a build"
In other words, when detailing something, it's not just about filling in an empty area, but rather to shape the build, and add character and structure to it and contrast to it.

For example: If I need to detail a wall, I'll play around with some lines and rectangles to maybe outline the top and bottom of the wall, and add windows.
Details should start out with solid simple shapes, and change in to anything else depending on the theme. 

Last words: When using detail, it should usually be easily distinguishable from other parts of the build.
Using solid connected shapes instead of small cut up messy shapes works much better.

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- Contrast -
This is one that many people may not know about. Contrast means the state of being strikingly different from something else. In other words: Black next to white, or an indent next to an outdent.

Contrast is used to direct your eyes where to look, and to separate important parts of a build from less important ones.

Ways of using contrast:
  • Outlining a window with dark oak wood, on top of a stonebrick wall,
  • Coloring an indented area a darker color  than the rest.
  • Putting a rim around the top of a wall which reaches a few blocks out from the wall.
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- Depth -
Depth means pushing a part of a build inwards/outwards a number of blocks from the rest of the build.
Depth should almost always be used in a build, as it creates contrast, and shape.

Depth should be used exactly like contrast. Depth=contrast, contrast/=depth.

Ways of using depth:
  • Pulling out a window a number of blocks outwards from the wall
  • Adding pillars and/or roof lips (out-stretched edges)
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- Texture -
There are many ways of doing texture.

Most people do:
//set <block>,<block>,<block>
This is fine for certain textures like consistent gravely surfaces.

But (most) textures need larger particles, and larger blobs.
//br splatter <block>,<block>,<block> <size>
This command will create larger blobs of material instead of fine gravely textured ones.

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- Color -
Color can be used just like contrast.

Color can be used to:
  • Separate parts of a build
  • Make parts of a build easier on the eye
  • Draw the eye to areas of the build
  • Create mood, and theme
When choosing color, never go too overboard on smaller sized builds. Always choose a careful amount of color that will fit the theme of the build.
Examples:
  • A small palette of colors for a small build (like a house, singular building, ship, etc)
  • A larger palette of colors for a larger build (such as a town, city, or fantasy organic/terrain build)
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If there's anything I missed, or could change, please let me know.

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