LEGO 90s Pirates Poster

View 6K full-res poster


This is a modern interpretation of LEGO posters/catalogs from the early 90s. Something that always fascinated me as a kid – even though I wasn’t really able to put it into words back then – was the rich composition, vibrant colors, and the life that was brought into those little plastic bricks with the help of some clever staging and photography.


Rendering this poster in 6K was a little bit of a pain but allowed me to tell an entire story in a single picture: If you zoom in you’ll spot the Islanders in their temple in the cove watching the intruders on their big ship. Captain Redbeard was so excited about the gold that he just went ahead with Bo’sun Will to dig out the treasure. Meanwhile First Mate Rummy is still standing on the Black Seas Barracuda waving, with the treasure map in his hands, that they forgot to take with them in all the excitement.


In terms of lighting, I generally like to stay as physically plausible as possible. I knew that I wanted to use a lot of practical light sources. Even though this is something that LEGO usually doesn’t do, it would technically be possible to have little LEDs inside the transparent bricks. The remaining outside of camera lights are placed like it would have been done with real toy photography in a studio. The “moon” is obviously not a real moon – it is way too blue for that – but rather a blue studio disk light that would resemble the moon.

With the help of ACES, I was able to push the intensity and saturation for my light sources far beyond what would previously have been possible. Since 90s LEGO bricks have a very limited color palette (5 to be precise + black, grey and white) the colorful lighting allowed me to get a very vibrant image with a high dynamic range.

If you want to find out more about my approach to lighting, I recorded a talk about Lighting design in CG. I’m using this poster as the main example.


I built the environment with brickini which I created last summer. It takes simple geometry as an input and turns it into a brick-built version. The island is a simple sculpt done in Blender, the ocean is the Houdini ocean. Since I made the video below, I extended brickini’s functionality allowing to scatter LEGO bricks onto the original sculpture, enabling me to create the foam on the ocean and the vegetation on the island.


In regards to references, I often find inspiration in Romantic art. I love the color palette in The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons by JMW Turner and if you would flip the image you might find some resemblance. Obviously not quite as violent.

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich is quite remarkable in regards to how he plays highly detailed areas against the misty and undefined backdrop. This was one of my main references when I experimented with the amount of fog, grain, and depth of field for the background of my rendering.







19 responses to “LEGO 90s Pirates Poster”

  1. […] out his website and Artstation profile to see more of his work and check out the entire poster in its entirety, […]

  2. Classic Pirates Avatar

    This is bleedin’ phenomenal!

    You’ve captured the classic Pirate style and brought it into the 21st century very nicely!

    1. stefan Avatar

      Thank you! I’m happy to hear that I was able to capture the original feeling smile

      1. Classic Pirates Avatar

        Now create more of these wonderful posters!

        The Imperial Armada is calling you…

        1. stefan Avatar

          Haha! I definitely want to do more of these. I’m not a crazy Imperial Armada fan, but Bluecoats is high on my list bigsmile

  3. Brandon Avatar

    Great work, thank you so much for sharing your art and passion with us. Have fond memories of playing with the 90s pirate sets.

    1. stefan Avatar

      Thank you for the kind words smile

      1. Juraj Avatar

        Stefan can I buy copy of this printed? thx

        1. stefan Avatar

          Hey Juraj,
          Thank you for your interest!
          Since this is fanart and 100% LEGO’s IP I don’t have the rights to sell this smile

  4. Anders Knudsen Avatar
    Anders Knudsen

    Very, very nice poster. Thank you for spending time om this!

    1. stefan Avatar

      Thank you very much! smile

  5. Jason Daniel Avatar
    Jason Daniel

    Would you allow it to be downloaded for use as desktop wallpaper at 6k? Awesome work! I love the Lego posters during this time as well.

    1. stefan Avatar

      Thank you! Yes, of course. You can just download it right above! Just do right-click on “View 6K full-res poster” and choose open in new tab and then you can right click on the image in the new tab and choose “save image as”. That should give you the full 6K resolution. You can then crop it yourself to whatever your screen resolution is smile

  6. Petr Avatar

    This is really beautiful! Btw, do you know that some Chinese bozo sells prints of your artwork for 37 EUR on eBay?

    1. stefan Avatar

      whaaaat for real? Do you have a link by any chance? I wanna see bigsmile Who would have thought I would ever reach that point. haha

  7. Louis Avatar

    This an awesome poster !!! Hope you you like Lego castles too wink

    1. stefan Avatar

      haha, I see what you did there bigsmile I would love to do a castle poster as well. Just need more time sad Happy to hear you like it!

  8. Thomas Avatar

    Brilliant work, you brought back that 6 year old dreaming away in the old LEGO catalogue. The ideal trip down memory lane for this time of the year. Great work!

  9. Gustaf Qvarnström Avatar
    Gustaf Qvarnström

    Beautiful work 10/10! Thank you for sharing

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