Abstract Generator Question

Discussion in 'Lasershow Designer BEYOND' started by DZ, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. DZ

    DZ Member

    So I haven't played with Beyond in a while and just last week noticed the ability to create "Classic LD2000 Style Abstract". I absolutely love it, I could never really get the hang of the other abstract generator in Beyond. I also love the fact that you can assign midi to control the functions in the generator.

    I do have one question though. It seems that the way the abstracts are displayed is different between LD2K and Beyond. I have a little fiber fed scan head that I'm using in my office with a HeNe that I use when I just want to play around with some effects. In LD, when displaying just a circle, the output is exactly that, just a circle. In Beyond, it draws part of the circle, then blanks the laser and moves off to another part of the frame, then returns, unblanks and continues to draw the circle. Is there any way to disable this?


    edit- added a pic

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  2. ENOT

    ENOT Software Developer Staff Member

    Hi David.

    About what BEYOND build you talking about? On the picture there are two frames/tracks/cues. Its correct? What Pangolin hardware do you use?

  3. Aaron@Pangolin

    Aaron@Pangolin Staff Member

    Alexey, that is David from the Midi email chain a day or two ago. "Analog is the future!" :rolleyes: I think he has 629 and QM2000.
  4. DZ

    DZ Member

    Hey Aaron! I sent him an email just a bit ago. Not sure if what I'm looking for is possible in Beyond, I hope it is! The abstract generator in LD was just soo clean, but I love the ability to control the abstract generator in Beyond with midi. If the abstract generator in Beyond can run just like the one in LD then life would be great!:p

    And yes, analog is the future!=)
  5. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    Hi DZ,

    As I understand it, you're using LD2000 to generate color sequences that are essentially then used as a kind of "input" along with another abstract generator. So it is another abstract generator (that uses analog oscillators) generating X and Y, while the computer generates R, G and B.

    Back around 1986, I did exactly the same thing in Daytona Planetarium. We used the computer to generate color, and simple oscillators to generate X and Y. This worked well because back then the computer was really "dumb" -- and the entire processor time was spent, in a tight loop, generating the color. Because of this, the two processes (dumb computer generated color and essentially dumb analog oscillators) could be kept in sync.

    Fast forward decades later and now computers are a lot smarter. Software like BEYOND runs on a multi-tasking operating system, and does not take the entire computer's power in a tight loop. This allows running of a sophisticated user interface that lights up as you move your mouse, etc. (Just move your mouse over the BEYOND screen and look at it -- it looks like you're moving a flash light.)

    But the cost of all of this increased intelligence (no longer a "dumb" computer) is that the beam is no longer in constant motion. The motion of the beam must be, in essence, "time multiplexed" with other things that the computer does -- such as running the operating system, running the new cool looking user interface, etc.

    This "time multiplexing" (what we at Pangolin call "time slicing") is invisible AS LONG AS it is the computer that is generating both X-Y and also color information. Around 15 years ago, we developed methods which make this time slicing literally invisible. BUT, if you take the color output of a smart computer and then use it as a kind of "input" for analog oscillators, then for sure the time-slicing will become VERY visible.

    The LD2000 series gets around this because it has a DEDICATED processor (i.e. the QM2000 board) to run the projector, while the Windows-based software runs the interface. However, even in the case of LD2000, time slicing will occur when running a show in Showtime and also when running more than a single visual (for example two abstracts simultaneously).

    Therefore you are able to use LD2000 abstract generator as a source for color because, in such a case, the QM2000 is able to act like a "dumb computer" of yesteryear.

    To get BEYOND to do what the QM2000 did under the circumstances that the QM2000 did it would be difficult. Moreover, such a change is not within the scope of BEYOND (i.e. wholly controlling the laser). Thus, instead of using BEYOND as a source for color, and using the analog abstract generator as a source for X and Y, I would rather see you use BEYOND for substantially everything (in such a case, time-slicing is invisible and imperceptible), and -- setting aside the nostalgia you get from using analog oscillators, BEYOND should really be able to do that!

    One of the four abstract generators (yes BEYOND has four separate abstract generators) was loosely modeled on the old P4, and so if you used MIDI or OSC input to control the sliders of that abstract generator, and then throw in a few effects (for example perspective and such, which are also controllable by MIDI or OSC) you should be able to accomplish everything you did with the old P4, plus a whole lot more.

  6. DZ

    DZ Member

    Hi Bill,

    Thank you for the reply! This is ultimately what I was afraid of. I knew the whole architecture of Beyond is vastly different and since the QM2K is it's own computer that there would be little chance of making Beyond run the abstracts the way LD did. Especially since Beyond does all it's processing on the host pc and treats the QM2K basically as a dumb DAC. It really is no problem, I just needed to know so that I can persue other options for color instead of waiting for a fix that isn't coming.

    And I'm fully aware that LD and even Beyond's abstract generator are many times more capable than an old analog abstract generator however, while there are lots things that your software can do that my hardware can't, there are few things that my hardware can do that your software can't!;)

    Anyway, thanks for the info, Bill!


  7. Aaron@Pangolin

    Aaron@Pangolin Staff Member


    Are you sure you are qualified to make that statement? :D <runs and hides>
  8. DZ

    DZ Member

    ROFL! Hell no! I'm just a hobbiest!:p

    It's just frustrating that LD has the smooth color that I need but not the manual control that I want. While Beyond has the manual control that I want but not the smooth color that I need!

    It really isn't a problem, I was just looking for an easy way out of building a color mod circuit!:rolleyes:
  9. Aaron@Pangolin

    Aaron@Pangolin Staff Member

    I guess you'll have to go searching for an expert... :D (You'd think you'd have a mod board lying around somewhere!) :rolleyes:
  10. absolom7691

    absolom7691 Member

    Hello guys, Unearthing an old thread here. I know Beyond displays LD2K abstracts differently which doesn't bother me too much but I notice that there are severe breaks in the images. As the lissajous is being displayed, there are multiple "blanked" breaks in the lines that are up to one or two inches in length on a 4'x4' image. I brought this up to Pangolin a few years ago and it was determined that my PC was sub-par, and it was. It was only running a Pentium D with 2GB of ram. I have since upgraded and now am running it on a very robust machine. i7 4770K with 8GB of ram. I even set the CPU affinity to have beyond run on every core but core 0. Still seeing the breaks. Any ideas? Are there settings I can adjust? This happens when displaying on my QM card (serial # in the 9000s) as well as my FB3s. Running BEYOND 2.0 699B SLE B32. I would like to get this figured out as it affects all LD2K abstracts as well as the "Classic LD2K Abstracts" generated in Beyond.

    Attached is an example. Note, the breaks I have pointed to are the "blanking breaks" and not camera shutter artifacts because the breaks are visible to the eye when displaying the lissajous.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  11. Bob@Pangolin

    Bob@Pangolin Staff Member

    Can you attach the abstract it self to this post? Or email it to us with complaint to support [ at ] pangolin [ dot ] com ?
  12. absolom7691

    absolom7691 Member

    Certainly! I am currently at work but will post a couple when I get home. I will try and post a video but it's a little difficult to see on video. I should have also mentioned that I have tried this on both Windows 7 and Windows 10.
  13. Bob@Pangolin

    Bob@Pangolin Staff Member

    Please try to save the abstract by clicking the disk in the right top corner. Then save the file to a location on your disk and send us that abstract file. A video is not always that instructive. Also is the problem still in the latest version of BEYOND? We are already at 4.0 1148+
  14. absolom7691

    absolom7691 Member

    I haven't tried the newest version of Beyond yet. I am still using the SLE version due to all the custom settings I have set up. I do have a license for the "production" version of Beyond, I just have not installed it yet. I probably should since I know SLE is no longer being developed. Let me download and try the 4.0 1148+ version.
  15. absolom7691

    absolom7691 Member

    Okay, nevermind! It's working perfectly in Beyond 4.0. I guess that will teach me to update! Working in IT, I get so used to software updates breaking so many things that I put it off until I absolutely have to! Anyway, thank you for taking the time. This was the last obstacle I was running into.

    Loving the midi control that I can apply to the abstract oscillator banks as well as the color oscillators. This is such a huge difference from LD2000. I can set all my abstracts to the harmonics I like and then tweak them in real-time without turning the abstract into complete hash. Really enjoying this software. Keep up the good work, guys!
    Bob@Pangolin likes this.