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Thread: cheap sd card projector, software and ild formats

  1. #1

    Default cheap sd card projector, software and ild formats

    Hi,

    I'm just getting started on this laser trip and hoping someone can offer some knowledge. I just picked up a small, cheap laser projector with SD card reader.

    I'm satisfied with the power of this little guy for testing some ideas. A lot of the more complex animations it comes with flicker a lot but that's ok. I'd like to design some simple custom animations of my own. The supplied software 'laser v1.0' is pretty flaky and uses a .ctn format, but it can import .ild also. The problem is exported ild files from laserboy, monchaDraw and bmp2ild don't load into this software, whereas some other ilds I've downloaded do. Is anyone aware of the different versions of ild and what might be causing compatibility issues?

    I'm not sure how to troubleshoot this so any ideas appreciated. Feel free to tell me I'm barking up the wrong tree or to grow up and get a big boy laser.. but I'd like to keep things cheap and simple for now.

    My observation on this interesting laser software scene so far is every web page and piece of software I've come across looks like it was designed in the late 90's (no offence to creators) and the community seems fragmented with a lot of broken links and sites. I'm curious as to why this is. There also seems to be a lot of DIY projects which is great.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by lockjaw View Post
    The problem is exported ild files from laserboy, monchaDraw and bmp2ild don't load into this software, whereas some other ilds I've downloaded do. Is anyone aware of the different versions of ild and what might be causing compatibility issues?

    My observation on this interesting laser software scene so far is every web page and piece of software I've come across looks like it was designed in the late 90's (no offence to creators) and the community seems fragmented with a lot of broken links and sites. I'm curious as to why this is. There also seems to be a lot of DIY projects which is great.
    There are a handful of different ILDA file formats. Almost everything reads formats 0 and 1. Formats 4 & 5 came later and some software can't read or write them. I'm surprised that the software you mentioned is creating files you can't load, though. I suggest finding a file that it does load and then determine which file format it is. LaserBoy can probably tell you what it is.

    There are a ton of engineers in the laser scene. In fact, I would say most people involved are engineers or technicians of some sort. It's funny because laser shows are so art intensive yet engineers are almost always bad artists! But engineers love to create things that do cool stuff and laser projectors and associated hardware and software fit that bill. Being so, you'll find a lot of DIY stuff from technical minded people who understand the technical aspects but aren't so great at making pretty interfaces or web pages. And since they are DIY projects, they often die at some point because they are just hobbies, not profitable businesses.

    I started working on the Spaghetti laser show software some 6 years ago or more. Development is still going but I have to admit slower than it used to be. Mostly because I have a life outside of laser shows.

    Anyway, I think this generally explains the entire laser show hobby scene.

  3. #3
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    I like to plug my own software as I guess I'm one of those with a technical mind...

    http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/...Ilda-view-tool

    It doesn't do much at the moment but you can see which ilda version is used and if the files have a palette included. This could provide information about which files work and which don't.
    "We thought our liFe by aN allegory with a jOurney, with a pilgRimage, which haD a serious purpose at the end, the thing was to get to that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after your death. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played."

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    Quote Originally Posted by lockjaw View Post
    My observation on this interesting laser software scene so far is every web page and piece of software I've come across looks like it was designed in the late 90's (no offence to creators) and the community seems fragmented with a lot of broken links and sites. I'm curious as to why this is.
    Looks can be decieving, the layout is indeed not an eye catcher but it's what you do and can do with it.

    It's a small but growing industry and very specialised that being another factor in the whole explanation.
    Community is pretty good especially here people keep in touch but there is always information that is being kept away from others (it's a small industry but since it's growing people try to find ways to stay unique to stay in bussiness in one way or another).

    The .ild format is the format standard and most people are adviced to focus on solely ilda V5 (as this provides true color and shading).

    Regarding the SD card projectors: mostly the SD card feature is used for frames triggered by DMX or for some other auto show thing a DAC with supporting software is needed for real control.

    That laser projector you picked up at first sight already looks unfit for custom beamshows and especially unfit for graphics shows.

  5. #5

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    Thanks all for the swift responses. John that gives a good background on the scene, nice explanation. masterpj I'm pretty sure I can get little blue to do what I want as a standalone unit for now but in future I'd love to learn more about DACs and live control.

    colouredmirrorball very cool to see Processing being used here. I've used your program to export to different ild but still having problems. If I load in a working (as far as 'laser v1.0' software software is concerned) ild into IldaViewer I discover it is Ilda version 0. If I export from your program directly to Ilda ver 0, I can no longer import the file into the laser v1.0 software as it crashes. I've attached these 2 files. There must be a difference between them but not sure what it is.

    thanks.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    I have to make a confession.

    Each Ilda file is composed of frames. A frame is composed of a header with frame information, followed by points. A header contains the word "ILDA" followed by three zeros and the ilda version number. Then some other data follows, like the name, company name, point count etc. (it's all displayed in the text at the right). The points are formatted differently for each format (like 2D versus 3D, or RGB versus palette number).
    Each Ilda file ends with an empty frame, meaning a header with no points, even if the actual file has only one frame (so there is one real frame and one end frame). This is to indicate the end of a file. The header is composed in the same way as the others. It starts with ILDA, three zeros and some number.
    Now here comes the embarassing part. My program writes this extra header, but instead of three zeros, it writes the ascii character '0' which is equivalent to the number 48. This is a really silly mistake I should have caught much earlier, but my program could read the faulty files just fine by some coincidence... Of course, a lot of software will have trouble with reading the resulting files.

    Anyway, this bug is fixed and I plan on releasing a new version soon. Files produced with the faulty version will be able to get loaded in again but will contain some extra points as the invalid header will be considered as regular data. There are some unique new features which don't really work yet, so I kind of don't want to release it now. But if somebody needs an emergency fix, I'll hapily provide a developer version.
    "We thought our liFe by aN allegory with a jOurney, with a pilgRimage, which haD a serious purpose at the end, the thing was to get to that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after your death. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played."

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by colouredmirrorball View Post

    Now here comes the embarassing part. My program writes this extra header, but instead of three zeros, it writes the ascii character '0' which is equivalent to the number 48. This is a really silly mistake I should have caught much earlier, but my program could read the faulty files just fine by some coincidence... Of course, a lot of software will have trouble with reading the resulting files.

    Anyway, this bug is fixed and I plan on releasing a new version soon. Files produced with the faulty version will be able to get loaded in again but will contain some extra points as the invalid header will be considered as regular data. There are some unique new features which don't really work yet, so I kind of don't want to release it now. But if somebody needs an emergency fix, I'll hapily provide a developer version.
    Thanks for the info. I'd be keen to try a dev version for sure, or is there a way to edit the header manually this end? I've done some amateur coding with Processing, Touch Designer, VisualStudio and Android before so this interests me.

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    Sure. If you can get the program to compile with Processing (see the original thread), look for this line in the FileWrapper tab:
    Code:
    theBytes.add(byte('0'));
    (around line 300 - 350) and replace it by
    Code:
    theBytes.add(byte(0));
    without the ''.
    "We thought our liFe by aN allegory with a jOurney, with a pilgRimage, which haD a serious purpose at the end, the thing was to get to that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after your death. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played."

  9. #9

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    I installed the correct libraries but getting the error below. Any idea of what might be missing?
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	proc.jpg 
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ID:	42413

  10. #10
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    IldaViewer.java should not be there. I think you should delete that tab.
    It's weird, normally it doesn't get opened along with the other .pde files. Could be it changed in a later update.

    Before compiling, Processing parses all .pde files to a .java file, with additional things like a main method to make it valid java. Normally you don't need to edit this.
    "We thought our liFe by aN allegory with a jOurney, with a pilgRimage, which haD a serious purpose at the end, the thing was to get to that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after your death. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played."

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