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Thread: Noob looking for some help getting started with building ilda files.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Portland, OR
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    Default Noob looking for some help getting started with building ilda files.

    I run a DJ company and recently upgraded from the basic one effect lasers to a RGB ILDA unit (ebay type SDcard+ILDA port 280mw RGB). It is spiffy and works well for our application and I am now wanting to design and make my own logos and frames for it. I have searched tons and what i think i am missing is mainly the terminology. As with the china lasers i am using ishow which i am not married to by any means. I am trying to make a basic logo for our trade show booth. I made it (looked great when ishow previewed it) but when i send it to the laser the faster the Kpps the more sloppy and scribbly it gets, at a very slow speed it looks much better but it obviously flashes a lot and still has several ghost tracks between the letters. Reverse engineering the .ild's that came with it i see many points that are black probably to assist in the path the laser takes between objects.

    I have see others just asking to get their art made in to a ild file which would be great but I would like any suggestions on maybe some good how to's or small tutorial's i can follow to get better. I would not mind buying some inexpensive software but i may only make a hand full of these and do not require the pro level design software.

    I have have seen suggestions for the ILD SOS software to convert vector files to the ild format. Will this figure out all of the point needed to make the image display correct?

    Thanks
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ultimate Ent.jpg  


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    dude a cheap chinese laser will never do the logo that you posted, and certainly Ishow wont even come close. you need true 30k scanners and prob better laser blanking.

    i would recommend laser show designer or even mamba black , Ishow is just crap.

  3. #3
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    So this is probably a dumb question but what is Laser Blanking? This laser was advertised at 20k, and i am sure when using this laser it will be shakey (yeah it is cheep Chinese) but it does several more detailed images already just not as fluid i am sure.

    I have heard the name Mamba Black, I am getting the demo right now, any tutorials that you know of for it?

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Smile Hi there!

    Where are you located? A quick Google-search seems to suggest that you are in the US, possibly in Oregon. If so, there are several PL members near you who could offer assistance. If you fill out your profile information, it will make it easier for people who are close to you to offer their assistance.

    Blanking refers to the process of turning the laser on and off so that patterns can be drawn that are not a continuous line. (Think about drawing a picture on a piece of paper. When you lift the pen to move to another place on the paper, that's like turning the laser off (blanking) so the scanners can move to a new location before you start drawing again.)

    Blanking can either be TTL (on-off only) or analog, which gives you variable brightness (like a light dimmer). Analog is preferred, since it allows for greater color mixing, giving you lots of extra colors to choose from when designing your artwork.

    The logo you posted is far too complex to scan with current scanners, even if they're running at 30Kpps. If you omit the bottom line of text, it's possible to do the top part only, but even so, it may flicker a bit unless you use a stick font (single line).

    As a general rule, if you are scanning at 30K speeds and your image has more than 1200 points, it's too complex. Your goal should be no more than 800 to 1000 points. If you are only running 20K scanners, then you need to reduce those numbers by 1/3.

    The tails and scribbles you speak of are characteristic of a set of scanners that are being driven too fast or too wide. They will fail if you continue to overdrive them like that. Most chinese scanners that are rated for 20K speeds are actually only capable of around 15K speeds.

    Watch out that you don't try to scan too wide. The wider you scan, the harder the scanners have to work. If you are increasing the size of the scan field and the image starts to distort, you are pushing the scanners too hard. Either reduce the speed or the size.

    Mamba Black is very capable software, but you will still need a controller to use with it. I don't think the I-show controller will work with Mamba Black, so you'd need to purchase the EasyLase USB controller or the Ryia multi-bus controller to use Mamba Black. (There may be a few other controllers that will work as well; I'm not familiar with the current list of supported controllers.) I still have an older copy of Mamba Black, and while I don't use it much these days, it's still nice to have. (I currently use the LD-2000 system from Pangolin.)

    Another controller you may want to consider is the Flashback 3 from Pangolin. It's cheaper than the cost of Mamba Black + an Easylase controller, and the Flashback 3 (or FB3 for short) comes with some very nice software, including the new Quickshow 2.0 software, which is ideal for DJ work. Go to Pangolin.com and have a look... (There are also several threads here on PL that discuss the FB3 and the new Quickshow software.)

    Finally, I should remind you that if you are indeed in the US, then your laser shows fall under federal regulations set forth by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, or CDRH for short. The CDRH is a branch of the US Food and Drug administration, and it regulates everything from medical lasers, to industrial and surveying lasers, to laser light shows and laser light show projectors.

    If you plan to use your laser projector here in the US for a public show, you will need to file for a variance with the CDRH for the show itself, and also complete a laser product report for your projector. It's a lot of work, but it will save your ass if you ever get sued by someone who is trying to claim an injury from your show.

    With a variance, you can demonstrate that not only were you in compliance with federal law concerning laser shows, but that your show was designed to be intrinsically safe. That's usually enough to stop even the most aggressive lawyers right in their tracks, long before you get to court.

    But if you don't have a variance, you are basically admitting to gross negligence, since you are automatically in violation of federal law. What's worse, you can also be fined by the CDRH for failure to comply, even if you never get sued.

    There are several threads here on PL that discuss the variance process. If you are located in the US, I strongly urge you to read those threads and start asking questions about the variance process.

    If you are not in the US, understand that many European countries have their own laws governing laser shows. It would be a good idea to educate yourself about those laws before you use your projector in public. While the penalties may not be as severe as they are here in the US, the legal threat is still there.

    And finally, welcome to PhotonLexicon! There is a lot of good information here, if you have the patience to read through it all. We look forward to more questions from you in the future!

    Adam

  5. #5
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    Adam, Thanks that is a lot to think about.

    First off, i got to the first line on Blanking, and I felt stupid for not figuring that out, makes perfect sense, so thanks for the great description.

    For the logo, i completely understand the complexity issue, and your rule of thumb for the number of points is going to be come a sticky on my desktop that is super helpful. What I took away from that was remove the lower line, and don't wire frame but use a single line font for the top 2 words and the divider line and a 15-20k laser will display it with some minor lag but be easily viewable. Mines advertised 20k, which i have ran at a few times, but for most of the art i have used 12-15k works fine and so i pulled the speed back to cap at 15k.

    I installed Mamba Black trial last night and just began to look at the interface, My laser allows for ILDA and it also has a SD card slot so i can just save the shows to the card as well and not use a USB>ILDA dongle. Does Mamba save to this .ild format? And does it calculate the invisible points for the Blanking to track properly between each object?


    And your comments about the Variance is understood, I am sure i do not have the proper variance currently We have ran the 3R and 2 stuff for years which does not need one supposedly. When I got this laser it bumped us in to the 3B level. I normally work with the Fire Dept./Police for noise and crowd permits. The fire dept, kindly provides a line item to "allow laser use at a public event" and takes my money, but i don't think they are truly providing a 3B Variance. All of my lasers provide the proper fail safes etc, and when calling the FDA here in oregon they provide the rules to conform to but no information or rule that a Variance is required. I guess I will keep googleing for that information, unless any one on here knows a phone number or web address for the FDA laser variance dept. I do have a form for the federal Variance, but when i researched this last year i was under the impression it was a state level thing.

    Thanks again for the help.
    Last edited by DJCyrus; 01-11-2011 at 10:16.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2011
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    I also own one of the SD card slot lasers that use ild files. I was also wondering if there was an easy to use program for making these files. I'm VERY new to all this and would love any help you guys could offer.

    I noticed that there are some ild files on the forums. Will these files work with the SD card?

    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    R4ZORx,

    I have found that for the most part they work, i found one on here from another thread that had a full color penguin and background, it was way to detailed for out little lasers but it did work, i had to amp the speed up to 20k which i was told is safe and it looked like the v hold on an old tv that had gone out kinda a cool effect actually. I bet you could crank it up further but risk damaging your unit.

    I am working on that Black Mamba demo trying to get to know it and build something, i will let you know if it works out.

  8. #8
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    UK
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    You can download a trial copy of Pangolin Quickshow here:

    http://www.pangolin.com/_Files/Setup_QS2_Ev.exe

    It has a tracing facility thats very good for converting logos to files you can display on your laser.

    It also comes with around 3,000 cues, many of them logos and graphics so might be ideal for your needs.

    BTW you can't output to the laser from the trial as it uses its own proprietory DAC thats included in the price.

  9. #9
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    This is your logo done in QS (5 second job):



    Picture is taken of the output window.

    However, as Adam said its far too complex to scan well. I get 5fps indicated with 20K scanners. If they're doing less than 20k then the frame rate will drop further.

    Removing the bottom line increases the frame rate to 12 fps, still likely to be flickery but passable (but again on true 20k). What I'm essentially suggesting you do here is have a cue made up of many frames with the each part of the logo on a different frame so only 1 part is displayed at a time.

    Another way of improving frame rate is with faster scanners although the complete logo will never scan well as it is. With 30K scanners, the 1/2 logo climbs to 18 fps.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    Cleveland, Ohio
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DJCyrus View Post
    I have have seen suggestions for the ILD SOS software to convert vector files to the ild format. Will this figure out all of the point needed to make the image display correct?

    Thanks
    Hi, Others have addressed other parts of your question, but the answer to this one is 'Yes' and it will give you control to do a better job (higher FPS, less flicker) than other solutions, as well.
    Welcome to the forum!

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