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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports

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ILDA - 1998 Amsterdam Meetings

(Advanced Technology Workshop)

Pangolin Live! Handout

The Live! screen from the "Money" show
The Live! screen from the "Money" show. Each button has been set up to trigger a different scene in the show. Buttons can also be set up for individual frames, animations, and scrolling text. To set what a button does, the user right-clicks with the mouse to bring up an editing screen.
There are 48 cue buttons per "page", with a maximum of 9 pages. This is a total of 432 cue buttons per setup.


A cue playback program built into Pangolin's Lasershow Designer's Showtime software.

Hardware interface

  • Uses PC keyboard, so standard configuration does not require extra hardware.
  • Can also be run by external hardware controllers, both custom (Pangolin-specific) and general (MIDI).

Cue types

  • Frames/animation: Display a single frame or a sequence (animation). The sequence can simply run, can morph between two frames, or can morph between all selected frames. A Showtime effect (example: zoom in, rotate, change color) can be added to the cue, as well as number of iterations and looping on/off.
  • Showtime shows or segments: Display an entire Showtime show, part of a show (module or scene) or any time within the show (example: play from 00:01:30:00 to 00:02:30:00).
  • Text: Display non-moving or scrolling text. Select from 26 fonts. Set font width, height, color (including cycle), perspective on/off and scroll speed.

Cue options

Cues can set up to 16 TTL lines for on/off control. Each cue can have its own size and position, so different cues can display on different screen.

Playback options

During playback, change cue speed, overall brightness, size. Turn looping on/off while playing. Pause playback. Stop cue immediately, or with fade out or zoom out.

The Ctrl-F1 key combination is being set up to play an animation sequence
The Ctrl-F1 key combination is being set up to play an animation sequence. This particular sequence will show frames 272 to 277 twice over 2.5 seconds, using an effect which zooms up from a dot and then fades.
You can also set what happens to the effect when the Live! button is released. In the upper right is a slider to set which frame is shown on the F1 button in the main Live! screen.

Pangolin Laser Systems, Inc. Orlando, Florida, USA (407) 299-2088, fax 299-6066 www.pangolin.com

Pangolin Image Masking Handout


The ability to automatically have a foreground laser frame hide or "mask" a background frame. This effect was pioneered by Laser Animations Sollinger.

How to use

In Lasershow Designer's Showtime program, each frame (or animation) can be on its own track. The track order determines masking order. For example, a frame in track A will mask objects in tracks B-Z; a frame in track B can mask anything except track A, etc.
For each track, you specify whether the frame creates a mask, responds to (is covered by) other masks, or both.

Advantages of masking

  • Shows look more lifelike, since objects cover other objects in the background.
  • Video effects can be easily done, such as wipes and rolls.

Special masks

  • A mask can be "negative", where one object reveals the background inside the object, but masks outside the object. An example is two circles making "binoculars", which reveal objects only inside the two circles.
  • The area inside a mask can "sparkle", which is used for video-type traveling highlights.

Pangolin implementation features

It is simpler to use. There are fewer special cases than in other software. The user just selects from a few general cases, such as "receive a mask", "mask outside", etc.
LD masks more complex shapes. The algorithm used automatically takes care of horizontally concave shapes. Without this feature, the user would have to create a custom mask from two (or more) hidden masks to perform the same operation.

The screen shots below show a three-level mask. In this example, we will put a drawing of whales in front of some text. Both the whales and the text will in turn be in front of a background grid. We begin by placing the objects on a standard Showtime timeline. The nearest object is in the highest track: the whales are in track A, the word "Orca" is in track B, and the background grid is in track C.

Here we set the whales (track A) so that they create a "Visible Outside" mask. This means other frames are masked inside the whale graphic, but are visible outside the graphic.
The Mask Preview window shows the mask in black.
This sets the word "Orca" (track B) so it creates a Visible Outside mask. It hides the background (and in the picture) the whales as well.
To ensure the word is hidden by the whales, we also have to add it to other masks, e.g. track A.

To complete the scene, we set the background grid. It does not mask any other frames, but it is hidden by ("responds to") other masks.
Showtime now automatically handles the mask, even as objects rotate, grow, etc.

Pangolin Laser Systems, Inc. Orlando, Florida, USA (407) 299-2088, fax 299-6066 www.pangolin.com


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