Testimonial about the latest update

Discussion in 'Lasershow Designer 2000' started by Pangolin, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    Hi All,

    I wanted to forward the comments from David Kenedy about our latest update. We actually get a lot of comments like this, but since there has been some discussion of using CCD cameras to videograph laser lately, somehow his comments seem particularly relevant


    -----Original Message-----
    From: David Kennedy [mailto:david@strictlyfx.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 2:39 PM
    To: 'William Benner'

    Hey Bill!

    Live Pro is great! Very intimidating at first, but it starts to make sense pretty quickly.

    I really like the new avi output options... Using the enhanced reality preview is a great option! It looks maybe better than taping with a 3 chip DV camera! That'll really help with client communication. The enhanced reality preview update is amazing! It looks *REALLY* great!

  2. Peter H

    Peter H New Member

    The new enhanced preview window is simply amazing :eek: . I
  3. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    Thanks for the kudos Peter :N

    In keeping with my usual tradition of giving credit where credit is due, let me tell you a little bit of the history behind this Enhanced Reality Preview.

    Our research into this started more than 2 years ago when I added the ability to preview the shows as either beams or graphics. I developed our "Beam preview" which allowed you to see truly transparent beam effects and added some extra lines here and there so that at least you can tell the difference between an array of beams and a fan effect. Although this was a simple wire-frame representation, our users liked it very much.

    Nevertheless, we felt that it would be really cool to see real beams with real fog and so we put a little time into this. One of our software engineers named Jason Alday (who currently works at the video board company S3) worked on a little program called Vapor. This program was a sort of proof-of-principal of what might be done with DirectX along these lines. It was interesting, but it had a few problems and looked unrealistic under some circumstances, and so we put it on the shelf for a while.

    In the mean time, many of you may know that there was a similar technology called "Showroom" in LAStudio software. This "Showroom" was very similar to the "Vapor" program developed by Jason, and actually had similar problems. We felt that neither the "Vapor" nor the "Showroom" technology really lived up to the quality or performance that Pangolin is known for.

    Alexey and I got to musing one day about what might be done to improve things and Alexey mocked up some test functions. Interesting results, but still not perfect. So Alexey and I discussed some alternate methods and Alexey made what amounts to a pretty simple change and BOOM, we were starting to make some major progress!!

    I added some critical code which really highlights the difference between an array of beams and a fan, and some additional code responsible for the realistic view of laser graphics as well as beams.

    As some of you know, we work with Dieter Burkard in Germany. Dieter expressed an interest in this early work done by Alexey and I and so he contributed some too in the way of extending the viewport range and adding the "scrim" (he calls it Gauze) code.

    Dieter sent it back to me, and I made some more changes. Then we sent it to Alexey who made more changes, etc. This went back and forth for several months, with Alexey, Dieter and myself each making incremental improvements.

    At some point, we sent it to Ante Uglesic, one of our users and co-developers who wrote the following:
    "I don't have the words. I've been watching some of our multiscanner lasershows again and again, tonight. They look better than live. This was the best birdthday present you could give me."

    I felt that we had achieved a breakthrough, so we released this as version 2.50 on July of 2002.

    Around the time that ILDA came around in November, Alexey and I got to musing some more about what we call "infinite beams". This was really the big step from "hey this looks pretty cool" to "I can't believe how realistic this is". Alexey mocked up some code to give an "infinite" view and sent it to me. Once again, I added some tweaks, made some changes, etc. Dieter did some work in here too... We showed it at ILDA full screen at 1280 by 1024 at our tradeshow booth. Many people made positive comments and so we released this with our other software in version 3.0.

    So basically that's the story. It was a sort of pet project that started as saying "what if...", and it eventually turned into something that really kicks but... a true aliance between developers, with some input from users thrown in for good measure.

    I love it when things work out this way... :N

  4. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    By the way, here are my favorite settings for the Enhanced Reality Preview:

    Preview Image Size, X and Y = 200
    Preview Image Position, X = 0, Y = 26
    Preview Beam Diameter = 1
    Preview Virtual Projector Position, X = 0, Y = 67

    Fog Density = 71
    Fog Speed = -28
    Gauze distance = 68

    Preview Window Menu: View->Enhanced Reality Preview->Fog Attenuation Model

    William Benner
    Pangolin Laser Systems