Builders’ Journeys: Okay Y. Looks To 9731 Vision Command

Welcome back to another of our Builders’ Journeys, where we look at sets that were inspirational in setting AFOLs along the path that they have taken. This week, we hear from Okay Y, from the USA. Okay submitted his contribution as part of our Vintage Minifigure Collection Giveaway. (This giveaway is open until October 24 – so you still have a couple of days to get your entries in.)

Okay was heavily influenced by the release of 9731 Vision Command: once of the LEGO® Mindstorms kits released in 2000. With 139 parts, this set came with a USB Digital Camera, along with software that allowed you to integrate simple visual recognition software with your LEGO Projects, including the ability to integrate it with the LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System. You can see the introductory video here. But why don’t I let Okay tell his story:

This set may not seem like more than a webcam in a LEGO shell with a brick-built tripod, but to me it is much more than that. I have always been fascinated by films, especially animation. I never got the LEGO Studios Moviemaker set as a kid, but I did get this one which had essentially the same camera and stop-motion software.

While Vision Command had more a focus on robotics, and while I did enjoy using it to build Mindstorms contraptions that would react to certain things the camera was seeing, I was much more interested in the brickfilm capabilities of the camera. I spent many hours on my bedroom floor creating stop-motion short films, be it a podrace, a fight between Bionicle figures, or Johnny Thunder’s latest adventure. The fact that I was able to bring my LEGO alive and create engaging stories for people to watch was like magic to me!

It was then that I knew I wanted to make videos for a living: I went on to study digital art and animation, using LEGO as my medium or subject in whichever school project would allow it, and eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in motion graphics. I now work as a marketing video specialist at a large company, a job which I enjoy very much and pays well enough for me to not only make a living, but support my LEGO addiction as well. My experience in handling a camera and my education in digital art have also come in handy for my LEGO hobby as it allowed my take better pictures of my MOCs and sets and post-process them. These skills helped me to become one of the official Eurobricks reviewers, create popular single-pane funnies on Flickr, and photoshop my MOC pictures for a more engaging presentation. I believe the understanding of art, storytelling, and visual effects that I gained also helped me create better MOCs.

Sadly, adult life doesn’t offer me enough time to create brickfilms anymore, but I do occasionally still create short animations for my set reviews. The Vision Command camera and software have become outdated long ago, but I still keep the set assembled with its tripod as a reminder of how my journey to becoming a fairly successful video specialist, digital artist, and LEGO builder all began.

Thank you, for sharing your story, Okay – its great to hear about the different ways that LEGO play might influence the way we grow up, and influencing the path that we take. Whether it be working towards towards an indirectly related career, a life long hobby, or a way to travel and meet people around the world those early experiences with LEGO Sets can certainly shape the directions that we take.

If you would like to share your story with our readers, click on this link – do it before 11:59 this Sunday night (October 24th 2021) to enter our giveaway for a chance to win the Jumper Plate Minifigure Town Collection.

Was there a LEGO set that forever influenced the direction you took in life? Why not leave you comments below, and until next time..

Play Well!

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