Today I’m unveiling a project that I’ve actually been sitting on for several months and finally summoned the willpower to write about: the BIONICLE Image Database. It’s a huge collection of about 7,700 images related to official BIONICLE content, which I started in an effort to gather high-quality images to add to the Great Archives encyclopedia. I shared this project several months ago with a few other people, who made some excellent contributions of their own. This is likely to be one of the most comprehensive collections of BIONICLE images you’ll see around – it should even contain a few files that aren’t included on BioMedia Project, although BMP definitely has some images that haven’t been added here yet. Don’t worry – the BMP staff (especially emily/peri) has already been aware of this database for a while and used it in their most recent pictures update.
Something I wanted to improve upon over BMP was to add a way to document where each image comes from. To that end, a lot of images and folders in this database have an associated text file that explains where the images were originally downloaded from, which is useful when they come from obscure places like artists’ personal web pages. The database can also contain several different versions of the same image: different resolutions, different overlay text, different backgrounds, and so on. The images in the database come from all sorts of sources imaginable – the official BIONICLE website, retail websites, style guides, decompiled Flash objects, artists’ personal web pages, Faber Files, DeviantArt, ancient Brickshelf galleries, you name it. I also used some tricks to make sure certain images, like images from the Faber Files, Mata Nui Saga, and some artists’ websites, were downloaded in the highest possible resolution by modifying the URLs. Because of this, some of these images are preserved in higher quality than you will find anywhere else.
I’m also partial to the way I’ve organized images into folders. All images are organized by story year, then further organized by type. Here are some of the most common sub-folders:
- Official artwork, usually made by Advance, that depicts "storyboard" scenes from the storyline (like the ones found in the old instruction booklets)
- Official artwork of sets set against some sort of illustrated background (like the ones used as box art or the Bios on bionicle.com)
- No Background
- Official images of sets against a blank (white/black/transparent) background
- Images of packaging for the sets
- Images of comics, which can be scans of physical comics or files with just the artwork without any text
- Images of collectibles such as masks, krana, kraata, etc.
- Miscellaneous images, sprites, or other files extracted from games, animations, websites, etc.
- Things that don't really go anywhere else; the sub-folders within it are organized by source if possible
I originally based this database on a folder full of BIONICLE images that I had lying around ever since the 2001-2010 days, and it continues to be a work in progress. That’s why you should help contribute too! If you are aware of any BIONICLE-related images that are missing from the database, please join our Discord server and let us know in the #image-database channel. We’ll be sure to give you due credit for the find. The image database itself is being hosted as a git repository on GitLab, which allows us to keep a permanent record of all changes made to the database. For the more tech-savvy people, you can clone the git repository directly from GitLab and open a merge request.
You can find more detailed instructions and information about the database on the GitLab page. I can’t wait to see others’ contributions – the BIONICLE community is bound to do a much better job at finding images that I can do alone!