Our appreciation goes to HB
Laserkomponenten, who helped provide equipment and services for
Pangolin's meeting and trade show stand.
Also, thanks to MediaLas,
who provided additional equipment and assistance, and who was a
co-host of the ILDA 2000 Conference.
Finally, thanks to Jonas von Stockhausen, who presented
at the Pangolin Meeting and helped with the trade show and other
Pangolin held its ninth annual meeting on October 5 in Stuttgart, Germany.
The meeting covered three main topics: new features from Pangolin,
new products from third parties, and judging of entries in the 2000
Pangolin Prize competition.
Craig Nelson from Logic
Systems, with a new DMX control board. Craig also
generously donated a a DMX
1602 decoder board to the first place Pangolin Prize winner.
Patrick Dietzel of Laserlight Showdesign presented his ShowControl
program. This lets users set up various individual shows
that can be quickly loaded or assembled into complete
Holger Walter of HW
Lasertechnik showed a modular fiber-fed graphics
projector that includes lumia and Machida grating effects.
Holger was also busy at the meeting, since his beam show
"Reflections" won first place in the Pangolin Prize
competition. Congratulations to Holger! (Click
here for a complete list of all the prize winners.)
Convert 3D graphics directly to laser
The highlight of Pangolin's presentation was a sneak preview of Lasershow
Converter MAX (LCM), a "plug-in" for the 3D Studio MAX graphics program. LCM lets you use 3D Studio MAX to create
scenes or entire shows, and then render the results not to the
computer monitor, but directly to laser output. The resulting frames
are available to Showtime, where they can be simply sequenced to
create the show, or where additional effects such as abstracts can
Demo show created with 3D Studio MAX
Dave Oxenreider of Singularity
Arts presented a laser show, "Revelation", created
using only 3D Studio MAX and Lasershow Converter MAX (no
additional Showtime effects). The show featured fly-throughs of
objects and scenes from prehistory to the future, set to music from
Andy Hagerman of Singularity Arts. Both the show and the music will
eventually be released to Pangolin clients.
see frames from this show, and more information, click here.
The line quality for this
version was variable. Some of the 30-fps animation was beautifully
rendered, with smooth lines better than a human digitizer could
achieve. Other frames had hotspots and stray lines. Pangolin's Bill
Benner explained that LCM was still early in its development, and
that the line quality would be much improved before release. Bill
noted that despite LCM being unfinished, Pangolin felt it was
important to give clients an idea of the direction laser shows will
be taking in the near future.
Certainly it was clear
both from the show and from the audience's reaction, that direct
rendering from graphics programs will raise laser show production to
a new level. The idea of rendering itself is not new. For
example, Lightspeed Design Group has been using its proprietary,
in-house PrestiDigitize software for two years. What is new is that
this technique is made easier by an integrated plug-in (instead of
using two or three different programs to try to convert frames), and
of course that the program will be openly available to interested
With Lasershow Converter
MAX, laser artists can use advanced computer techniques such as true
hidden-line removal, flying cameras, and 3D models. Show creation is
made easier for the many artists who are comfortable in 3D graphics
programs such as 3D Studio MAX. And it is possible to output the
same show both to laser and to video simultaneously -- making it
perfect for multimedia presentations.
Clipart browser and web publishing
Pangolin demonstrated two new features that had
recently been added to LD2000. A scenario
was presented where a laser
company wanted to provide a storyboard to clients.
Pangolin used Laser
Force's "40 Hour Week" as an example (this show is
provided free to all LD and LD2000 clients).
Pangolin first used the new
Clipart Browser to visually see all the frames in the 40 Hour
Week file. (Pangolin was not looking in
the frame list; but rather
directly into the hard drive file). Pangolin picked the frames best
representing different scenes in the show. These 28 representative
frames were then added to LD2000's frame list.
Pangolin opened the new
Web Publish feature. An HTML template page
was selected, filled
in contact and project information, and specified that
we wanted to
publish the 28 frames. In a few seconds, Web Publish had generated a
final HTML page with information about Pangolin and the "40
Hour Week". A client could view the selected 28 frames and get
a good idea of what the show would be like. Click here to see the
same HTML page that Pangolin published during the demonstration.
Pangolin described how the
output could be sent to a printer (for generating printed or faxed
copies), direct to a website (via the standard FTP file transfer
protocol), or to the user's local computer to view (if an Internet
connection is not available). In all cases, the output is formatted
Browse everything, or search
Pangolin then went back to the Clipart Browser to show its
advanced features. As a browser, you can show all frames in a
particular directory, or even all frames on your computer or
network. As a search engine, you can specify that you want to see
only frames that match specific criteria. This is very useful since
Pangolin provides over 50,000 clip art frames. Searching that many
by hand would be practically impossible.
specified a search for all frames that include the framenote
"woman" and that have the color red somewhere in the
frame. (See screen at right -- click for full-size view).
In about a minute, LD2000 searched over 50,000 different frames, and found 89 that
matched. Pangolin then selected the two specific frames
and clicked the "Add 2 frames" button. The two frames were
added to the frame list, so they could be used in a show.
The new version of LD2000
with the Clipart Browser plus Web Publish will be available for
download later on this website.
LD2000: Now in German
Bill Benner and Jonas von Stockhausen showed the new
version of LD2000. Jonas translated all text in the LD2000 and Showtime
programs, including menus, dialogs and even pop-up ToolTips. This
involved almost 10,000 different text phrases (which gives an
indication of just how complex the LD2000 software is). The German
version will be made available to all users, so any client can use
either German or English; whichever they prefer.
Bill also discussed how
other languages could be developed as well. .