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  Frames and shows never before possible
  Free raster show with LD2000
  Where to get raster source frames
  Technical notes on rasters
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  VST2002 realtime video system
  Raster frame preview example
  LD2000 main page
Comparing LD rasters
to LD2000 rasters

Pangolin's older LD system can also show raster images. However, LD has a limit of 256 total colors in all laser frames. Since a single frame could use up all 256 colors, color accuracy is limited.
     Also, LD raster frames were only about 30-pixels-by-30-lines.
     In contrast, the new LD2000 system has 60x60 resolution -- four times greater -- and unlimited colors.
Raster frames were co-invented in 1995 by Pangolin Laser Systems and Lightspeed Design Group. In 1996, the technique won an ILDA Technical Achievement Award and the Laserists' Choice "Brewster" Award for Products.
     William Benner and Jason Alday worked on the 1999 changes to LD2000 which enable these much-improved raster images.


Click here for full-sized photoFor over 25 years, there have been just a few basic effects available in laser shows: abstracts, cartoon-like graphics, beams and fans, and lumia/diffraction effects.
        Now, thanks to Lasershow Designer 2000, you can immediately use an entirely new set of effects in all your laser presentations: photorealistic raster frames.
        The picture at right shows a typical LD2000 60-pixel-by-60-line raster frame. You can see the detail and subtle shading which is only possible with LD2000. You might think this picture is too good to be real, but amazingly, the laser image on the wall looks just like the full-sized photo!
        You can even do live video rasters with the included  Lasershow Video (VST2002) real-time video system. Lasershow Video is a separate program provided free with all LD2000 versions (Pro, Basic and Intro). Just hook up a camera, and see your "video" image live, projected with your standard galvanometer scanners.

Frames and shows never before possible

With LD2000, you can create TV-like images from pictures (bitmaps), video or even live TV. You can use them alone (single frames) or as part of movies. They work with any standard galvanometer scanners, such as ILDA 30K General Scanning or Cambridge, or the new faster 60K Cambridge and TrueK scanners.
        Here's some ideas: For corporate shows, show the CEO or the product in full color, like a TV picture. For discos and nightclubs, aim a camera at the crowd and show them dancing live. For logos and type, you can rasterize the graphic to get a more realistic look.
        Using raster frames also saves you time. It is usually faster to rasterize an image, than it is to hand-trace or digitize that same image.

Free raster show with LD2000

Click here for full-sized photoLD2000 comes with a free 3-minute show called Linea. This show is entirely done in raster -- there are no vector frames. It was produced by Doug McCullough of Laser Show Design, with Jeff Hwang, programmer. The custom music is from Tom Habes.
        At right is a frame from Linea. One technique used by McCullough is to vary the raster resolution. For example, in a horizontally-oriented frame like this, he might specify a 80-pixel-by-40-line raster, to increase the horizontal resolution. (Click on the picture for a full-sized view.)
        Since each frame has 6,000 points, and just about every frame in the show is unique, this show takes a lot of memory. To run Linea, you'll need a QM2000 card with 128 MB or more of memory.

Where to get raster frames

If you can make a bitmap (BMP), graphic file (GIF) or compressed picture (JPG), you can make raster frames. The source can be anything that can be "captured" into the computer, such as scanned photos, video, Internet downloads, or screen captures.
        You simply specify the source BMP, GIF or JPG file and the raster to be applied (example, 60x60 or 80x40). You can move the raster lines up and down, and resize them to get just the right position and density. When you're finished, save the final version as a standard, galvanometer-projectable laser frame.
        Movie animations are easy. If you have a string of source bitmaps (from a video digitizer, for example), you only need to set up one frame. LD2000 loads the remaining source bitmaps automatically. You can make a movie in one short step!
        Conversely, you can also have a single source bitmap with animated raster frames. Just render your raster animation in LD2000, then tell it to apply the bitmap to the animation frames. LD2000 does the rest.

Technical notes on raster frames

  • Raster frames cannot be recorded well on ADAT tapes, or any other device with less than 120KHz sample rate.
         ADATs sample the incoming signal at 44.1KHz or 48KHz. The color information in an LD2000 raster frame typically changes at 120KHz. This means the ADAT misses two of every three samples.
         The result is a blurred, mis-colored image. It is probably acceptable as a draft or sample, or when the audience isn't paying a lot of attention (e.g., raves). But most clients would deserve the quality of direct QM2000 output.

  • Although Pangolin gives you an all-raster show, you normally would want to use rasters as special effects along with traditional vector graphics. For example, you could use rasters as "fills" inside of vector outlines. Or, rasters could be "speed lines" on fast-moving vector objects.
            Rasters are ideal for pictures of people or products that ordinarily would be hard to recognize as an outline drawing.

  • Raster frames usually cannot fill your entire projection area. Rasters are made up of horizontal laser lines. For the best-looking image, the space between lines should be no larger than the laser width on screen.
         For example, if your laser is 1 inch wide at the screen, then each laser line will be an inch high, and the space between lines should be 1 inch at maximum. This is 2 inches per line. A typical LD2000 raster is 60 lines high, so this is 2" x 60, or 120 inches (10 feet).
         Thus, if the laser is 1 inch wide at the screen, the maximum recommended raster size is 10 feet high.

  • Cambridge 6800 and 6210 scanners exhibit "power limiting" when you try to scan a wide raster. For these scanners, Pangolin recommends a maximum horizontal scan angle of 10-15 degrees. You may need to test your particular scanning system.

  • Click here to see a raster preview of the Mona LisaSource bitmaps look best if they are close-ups without a lot of detail. You can get a good idea of what a bitmap might look like by using the "mosaic" function in a graphics program. Click here to see a detailed example of how this preview would work, using a sample picture of the Mona Lisa.

    This page last updated: Wednesday, Januari 29, 2020

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