Tips & Tricks 6: Custom Decals (LDD Tricks Part 2)

This is the second in the 3 part series about LEGO Digital Designer (LDD). Have you ever wanted to put your own unique sticker on a virtual brick in LDD? Now’s your chance! The BrickPhone 2.1, the BrickWatch, and the BrickTab 1.0 have many custom decorations on their parts. You can now do the same, with this trick.

Introduction

If you haven’t activated the Theme Access option as featured in the first part in this series, you need to do so before you start this one. The custom decals will definitely work without the option, but if you choose to activate it later you will have to do this all over again. This trick is for Windows systems.

Let’s get started!

 

Editing

(1) Download the LIF Extractor program here. Click on the link relevant to your system (32-bit or 64-bit), to download a ZIP folder. (2) Extract the ZIP folder anywhere you want, and open up the new LIF Extractor folder, and find the LIFExtractor program. (3) Now, find the AppData folder for your LDD. It should be here (substitute USERNAME with the name of your computer):

C:\Users*USERNAME*\AppData\Roaming\LEGO Company\LEGO Digital Designer

You’ll find some folders in there, another ‘Preferences’ .INI file, and a massive ‘db.lif’ file. (4) Drag and drop this file onto the LIFExtractor program. The program should immediately start working. It may take awhile. When it’s done, you’ll find a brand new ‘db’ folder in that LDD location we just went to. (5) Rename the old ‘db.lif’ file to ‘originaldb.lif’, so that LDD will read parts from the new folder instead of the old file. (6) Open the new folder, then the Decorations folder. You’ll see a ton of images, all of which are decorations to parts on LDD!

 

Designing

Each image is a square, exactly 128 pixels by 128 pixels. LDD is programmed to map images like this on to their designated pieces. Wanna start making your own decals? Let’s find out how. We’ll start with a minifigure face. (7) Find the picture titled ‘608147’. It’s a standard face: two dot eyes and the classic smile. Though, it’s kind of squeezed together, so you’ll need to use this as a basis for drawing a face. (8) When you’re down with drawing your face, make sure that it is a square, PNG image, with dimensions exactly 128 x 128. (9) Rename your new image a 5- or 6-digit number–one that is not already used in the ‘Decorations’ folder. It has to be something easy to remember; try ‘00001’. (10) Put your new image in the ‘Decorations’ folder. (11) Now, go back out of the folder, and you’ll see 5 different XML files. ‘DecorationMapping’ is the one we want. (12) Using a file editing program, open up the file. If you don’t have one, you can download a great one called Notepad++ by going here(13) Remember that ‘608147’ face? Scroll down through the file until you find it. When you do, you’ll see a unique 4-digit Design ID number. That’s the part number for the minifigure head piece. Use that number in the next step. (14) Scroll back to the top of the file. Under the “DecorationMapping” header, type the following line above the first decoration map, substituting the number of your new picture in the first set of asterisks and the 4-digit design ID number in the second.

<Mapping decorationID=”*****” designID=”****” surfaceID=”1″/>

Be sure to put a tab in front of that line, to line it up with the rest of the maps. (15) Save and close the file. (16) Open up LDD. (17) Use LDD Extended; as I said before, this only works with LDD Extended. (18) Take out a minifigure head piece; use the Decorations Tool (find it by clicking on the paint bucket), and you’ll find your brand new decal for the minifigure head!

 

Application

whew That took awhile. Any time you want to make your own decal, start at Step 7; it’s usually a good idea to find an existing decal for the part you want to decorate, so that you can find the unique designID number in the DecorationMapping file. You can also find the part number on LDD as you build, if you run your cursor over the desired part and look at the bar on the bottom of the screen for the number.

With this trick up your sleeve, you can design anything you want! You are no longer stuck with the used designs LDD provides; your creativity is now boundless! Have fun building and decorating!

Building Technique by Brickster_Tim

17 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks 6: Custom Decals (LDD Tricks Part 2)

    • That happend to me too. I’d just click start, search db click open file location go back a little bit. Copy the address. And make a shortcut to the appdata folder

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  1. Hey I’ve followed the instructions and it still didn’t work I went Into Ldd at the end and none of the blocks worked they all had a alert on them? help?

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  2. This unfortunally doesn’t work for me. I do everything exactly as you said. But once I start the LDD it replaces the db.lif folder with the standart db.lif file that was there before, like the programm resets itself to base setup.

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