Leap Motion


I like my gadgets. I am admittedly a bit of a gadget freak… but I don’t often actually buy them. Normally because they are expensive and I know deep down I won’t use them as much as my mind believes I will. But the Leap Motion is different.

The Leap Motion is a USB powered hand/finger tracking device. Think of it as an xbox kinect for the hands perhaps? It’s made for Mac and Windows too which is great.

The into video explains the basics very well…

I have bought one (second hand off eBay for £40 I might add) to use at work and at home. I have a few ideas for it and if nothing else will be a handy (pun-intended) gadget on my office desk – it’s already plugged in actually. It’s small sleak and sits flush to my MacBook Pro. It’s a shame it’s not wireless as it takes up a USB plug but I have a powered hub on my desk.

How am I going to use it? To be honest I have no concrete ideas. There are a few Isadora users who have made a few OSC/MIDI related actors to control Isadora scenes which I am going to look at and I am sure I can find a few uses in that area. I also like the idea of using it for generate/live painting in a VJ context. Will I look an idiot waving my hand around at a gig to make stuff appear on the screen? – probably! Do I care?…. probably! But we shall see.

I also want to see if it can be used in a commercial sense. At the museum and art gallery where I work we have interactives for visitors but people, for some reason, LOVE to hack, break, pull, snap, spill drinks, etc, etc on keyboards, mouses, touch screens, etc. Now this can’t be helped all the time of course, but there is a tiny percentage who do it on purpose, I’ve seen them! Maybe a Leap Motion placed under some perspex (military grade?) could replace the keyboard and mouse idea? Problem is the learning curve! How will people know how to move their hands or even to put their hands above the device? Similar to the Kinect sensor it’s not a recognised Human Input Device (HID)

So – I will keep you posted. Minority report… Yeah! Let’s do it!

Do you own one? Let me know how you are using it. I wanna know… Let’s talk!

Projection Documentation Tool


Matthew Haber has yet again blessed us with another cool isadora/projection tool called the Projection Documentation Tool or ‘PDbase’ for use in your shows. It has a lot to offer – just read the key features below!

I have shamelessly (with permission!) taken this from his website as it explains it all perfectly well. Thanks Matthew!

PDbase-Production is the only publicly available database application for data and workflow management for live performance projection and video designers. PDbase keeps track of nearly 400 different pieces of information for a given project, supports complex multi-user access, and can generate and share over 30 different types of paperwork based on this information. PDbase is vastly more powerful than any other known database solution and is the result of nearly 18 months of development and testing. PDbase is uniquely just as suited for the record keeping needs of a single freelance designer working alone as it is for a large studio with numerous designers, editors, and other collaborators who all need data access. PDbase can also provide other departments on a production such as stage management and lighting with the information they need when they need it via a secure webpage, saving you and your team the time spent issuing daily paperwork updates. Ultimately PDbase is far too comprehensive to explain in a single page so I recommend you download the fully functional free version and try it out on a show after reading through the knowledge base.

Key Features:

Documents vital information for cues, still and moving content, media and font assets, editing workflows and software plugins, render queues and render nodes, production contact information, video shoots, work notes, and individual task lists for team members.

Generates a diverse range of paperwork and keeps track of changes made so you and your collaborators don’t have to.

Comprehensive access controls and versatile multi-user workflows insuring the biggest of teams have access to all of the information they need while maintaining data privacy and security.

Hundreds of separate procedures that invisibly validate your data to insure any errors are caught before they become a problem.

Handles the biggest of shows with support for hundreds of thousands of records.

Built in web interface allows anyone you authorize to access important information whenever they need it.

Powerful tools to help keep track of licensing and rights management for the media assets you use in your design.

Cues, content, etc are all closely interlinked just like they are in the real world.

All data can be imported from and exported to standard formats such as comma separated, tab separated, XML, Excel, etc.

PDbase streamlines communication between designers, assistants, editors, asset wranglers, researchers, and other production departments insuring that everyone knows what they need to know and does what they need to do.

PDbase can be run locally on a personal computer or hosted on a local or off-site server.

PDbase is being constantly updated with new and improved functionality.

PDbase-Production is built on FileMaker Pro 12. This permits massive flexibility in terms of easily adding new and custom functionality. This also takes advantage of FileMaker’s built in powerful and reliable Server functionality.

PDbase-Studio, a companion application for comprehensive record keeping at a business level (invoicing, CRM, time-tracking, etc) is under development and will integrate seamlessly with PDbase-Production once it is available.

PDbase-Rental, a companion application for rental shop and general equipment and resource tracking (asset scheduling, packing and shipping management, etc) is under development and will integrate seamlessly with PDbase-Production and PDbase-Studio once it is available.

[DOWNLOAD HERE]

How to add a custom Plugin into Isadora.


There are many custom actors written for Isadora if you search the forum.

They are pretty handy and increasingly becoming more popular (you clever people!) I myself can’t code so I do not have any of my own. These are NOT to be confused with user actors. These are actual actors programmed from the ground up using source code and SDK files.

Don’t let this put you off! If you are on Mac then this is how you can install them on your machine….

And for those who wonder how to install the compiled plugin under Windows : just copy the .dll file into ‘IsadoraInstallationFolder\Isadora Plugins’, e.g. C:\Program Files\Isadora\Isadora Plugins. Don’t forget to restart Isadora. The plugin should then show up in the list! (Thanks djinoui)

2d to 3d – Finally!


I have been pondering this idea for a long long time! I have experimented with the Kinect camera to scan 3D objects and make virtual 3D copies but I have always toyed with the idea of making realistic 3D objects using 2D images. This can be done somewhat in photoshop and after effects but this method blew me away!

Source : http://createdigitalmotion.com/2013/09/from-a-single-2d-photo-3d-objects-created-easily/

Basic: Mapping a cube in Isadora tutorial [FREE DOWNLOAD]


I decided to put together a little demo of how I would map a basic cube in Isadora using standard Isadora actors. No IsadoraCore upgrade or third party installers required. This should work on Mac and PC also.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 08.07.40

I have to stress this is very basic but for some it could be very interesting and extremely useful. I decided to zip the files and media so you can open it and follow it as you go along.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 08.08.18

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You need the latest version of Isadora. (I actually used the latest beta but this will be fine)

[DOWNLOAD TUTORIAL & ZIP FILE HERE]

Don’t forget I always welcome a beer if you found this useful 😉

Any questions or comments then please add them below.

Cheers. Enjoy!

Skulpture

REWARD: Recreate this Windows Bug = Cash Bounty!


Mark Conilgio needs a helping hand to recreate a small bug in Windows Systems, he says;

“There’s been a bug affecting a handful of Windows users for a while now that I’ve tried, and tried and tried again to recreate with no success. So, I’m offering a “bounty” of US$200 or a free license of Isadora if you can make the problem happen on your computer and give me precise instructions how to make it happen on my computer.”

READ MORE AND HELP HERE: http://troikatronix.com/community/#/discussion/629/reward-recreate-this-windows-bug-cash-bounty

 

 

 

Projection Mapping in Isadora


This post is to help people understand and get started with Projection Mapping in Isadora. It is not an complete walk through or advanced post (you are best asking on the Isadora forum for advanced topics) but hopefully this will shed some light for new users, or those new to the idea of mapping.

What is mapping?

Mapping has been around for quite some time but my opinion is that it is the art of cutting up images and video to line up with complex shapes that are not the usual method for of display pictures and/or video. It allows artists to project onto buildings, cars, sculptures and custom built sets or similar. Basically anything that a light source (a projector) can hit!

Why Isadora?

Obviously you don’t have to use Isadora but one thing Isadora has that none of the other softwares has in the Interactive angle; motion tracking via Eyes and Eyes++ combined with the easy work flow and ever growing community.

Can Isadora do projection mapping already?

Isadora has had features that have allowed basic to fairly complex mapping for quite some time. It’s just the way in which you use them. Granted; it could be better but with a few 3rd part Quartz plugins 99% of things can be done easily.

Here are some basic actor that you should be taking a look at…

Isadora’s Existing Actors…. 

BASIC PROJECTOR

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 10.36.30*SOMETIMES* the basic projector can be used. In particular look at the perspective, aspect mod and zoom.

HINT: Hold SHIFT when clicking and dragging values for smaller increments and fine tuning!

PRO’s:

  • Great for projecting on very basic shapes.
  • Helps you understand and learn about perspective and basic 3D perception.
  • Ideal for beginners and not too complex.
  • You can layer up multiple projectors

CON’s:

  • Limited mapping functionality.
  • Won’t do complex mapping (isn’t designed for mapping)

3D QUAD DISTORT

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 10.36.59

I use this one a lot. It’s really great for mapping and has enough features to explore new mapping skills but won’t overpower you with scary numbers or names.

HINT: Hold SHIFT when clicking and dragging values for smaller increments and fine tuning!

PRO’s:

  • You can pick each corner of the image/video and move it in an X and Y position.
  • The Z translate (default -2.5) moves the image back and forth in 3D (3 dimensional) space.
  • You can rotate the X, Y and Z axis.
  • Has all the normal features of a the standard Projector actor.
  • Not too overpowering. A nice step up from the Projector actor.

CON’s:

  • You cant add corners or ‘break’ the image up into a grid.
  • It can be tricky at first. Using Shift helps but depending on what you are mapping it can be a bit tedious.
  • It can get complicated when you have a lot of these on your screen. You are best renaming the actor so you can see what’s what; such as “Top Right Window” or “DJ Booth – Left Side”.

Matthew Haber’s Mapping Tools.

Some of you knew this was coming! Pro user Mathew Haber has created a bunch of user actors that make mapping a lot easier. Based on the _1024 Quartz Composer

Matthew has created a topic just for support for the plugins on the Isadora Forum so please ask and discuss them HERE

The Cornerpin Mask user actor is in my eyes one of the best tools ever!

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 11.00.48

“This actors offers click-and-drag cornerpinning functionality for masking video. This has built in facilities for rectangular and oval masks and it also accepts a user Image input for any black and white image mask.”

PRO’s:

  • It’s just amazing! it works and makes life easier.
  • The red circles that pop up when you turn Edit on allows you to click and drag the corner to where you want them. Not only this you can do it on the stage output… meaning you can map directly onto objects whilst looking at it. So yes, you literally move your mouse onto the output screen. NOTE: Check in isadora Stage preferences that your mouse is visible on stage output otherwise you won’t see it.
  • Because this is a Mask; you can mask objects. Send in a black and white mask and it will block out areas you don’t want.
  • Easily flick between the type of masks.
  • it’s free – kind of…. Needs Core upgrade of Isadora.

CON’s:

  • There are non really. Who can complain at this? Mathew has spent hours upon hours putting it together and creating it. If there was one negative it is simply that you need the Core Upgrade for Isadora and you have to instal a few bits and pieces; but once its done its done and you never need to do it again.

Syphon it out to somewhere else…

There are lots of other softwares that just do video mapping. And with apple you can send it out via Syphon to another software that can do it all with very advanced features. There is nothing wrong with doing this. Here are a few suggestions….

MadMapper. It’s been around for a while now and appears on all the main forums when you are talking about mapping. They where one of the first to create an external/stand alone mapping application and its developed along the way. It’s not free but it does a great job.

Visution Mapio is a powerful FreeFrameGL plugin for creating projection shows. Now you can work not only with the standard screen, but also with any inclines, including cylindrical and spherical and various shapes.

Shaped by Ixagon SHAPED is a user-friendly projection mapping software. It enables the user to easily map many different surfaces and attach content to them. The content is managed in a sophisticated sequencer similar to those found in video-editing and music-production software.

MeshWarpServer Quite a complex application. Ideal if you have a mesh/3D CAD designs of a building or object. A steep learning curve but it does have Syphon so you can send media in from isadora. Worth a look for those of you with time, patience and advanced 3D knowledge.

There are LOTS more; VVVV, Resolume Arena, Max, MSP, etc.

Hope this helps some of you.

Graham (Skulpture)