LaserGraph DSP


There are three versions of software that run on either the Lasergraph DSP compact or workstation models: easy, progressive and superior.  You can upgrade to a higher version at any time.  If you are running a network of machines for a large installation, you only need one copy of the SUPERIOR version, as it migrates to the other machines running EASY on the network.  The software is continually being upgraded, and registered users may download the latest implementation of the version they are licensed, for free from the company's website.
  • EASY
  • This software version comes with every hardware platform, and is used primarily for play-back applications and live-control installations.  It can play back shows no matter which software level they have been created under.
    Designed for users who design their own lasershows on a small scale.
    This is the tool for the demanding lasershow designer and the professional producer. 


The Lasergraph DSP Software in Summary

Due to the intuitive structure it is easy to get started; even with the first basic commands, impressive results can be achieved.

There are three different ways to enter commands: by clicking with the mouse, by pressing the respective function keys, or by entering keyboard shortcuts. Many commands require the entry of additional parameters. Most values can be adjusted comfortably by clicking and dragging with the mouse button pressed; when entering via keyboard the system will show which values are legal (if necessary).

Construction of a laserfilm usually begins with the creation of an image in the Picture Editor. Here there are many tools available for designing the picture. Afterwards, the Animation Editor is used to create animated sequences from single pictures. Finally, pictures and/or animations are integrated into a Trickfilm. This is where chronological sequence, size, position, movement, speed etc. are defined.
There are several ways to control the correct starting of each section. With the help of a timecode, sequences of a film can be synchronized to a DAT tape, CD-ROM, or one or more Lasergraph DSPs in a network. The sequences may also be assigned to the keys of a MIDI keyboard and thereby triggered by hand. For games, up to eight joysticks and 64 analog signals can be connected.

Trickfilms can not only be used to define pictures and animations, but also the states of up to 256 analog outputs on peripheral cards. DMX512-connections are used to integrate the whole spectrum of effect generating devices, such as fog machines, dimmers, motors, beamswitches, pumps, etc.

Lasers which have a serial interface can be remote controlled and monitored using the Lasergraph DSP, the respective commands can be integrated into a trickfilm. This allows running a show fully automatically, including starting the laser, adjusting output power, and switching the laser off.

A CD-ROM drive or a CD writer may be connected using the SCSI interface. Using a CD-writer, complete shows with music and all data can be stored on a CD. A special operating mode makes it possible for even an inexperienced user to start the show simply by inserting a CD-ROM and clicking the start button.


Picture Editor


The Picture Editor is used to create and edit two- and three-dimensional laser pictures. The picture can either be displayed and edited in the classic X/Y/Z display or in perspective view. The display can be zoomed from 25% to 5000%.

A picture is simply drawn using the mouse or the graphics tablet, the system automatically generates the necessary points. Letters or geometric shapes (parabola, circle, ellipse) can also be inserted directly.
Afterwards, points are selected for manipulation either individually or in groups. Cutting, copying and pasting of points, parts of pictures, or whole pictures is possible. Selected areas can be moved, scaled (enlarged/reduced), rotated, clipped or colored. Interpolation (linear/spline) and approximation are available. By using the repeat function (batch mode), it is possible to apply identical editing steps to different pictures automatically.

One useful aid is the transparency function (Overlay). One or two previously created graphics are displayed underneath the current picture; that way hand-drawn Frame-by-Frame animations can be developed quickly and precisely.

Colors of pictures are defined using palettes, for which more than 281 trillion colors are available. These palettes can be changed continually, even for each individual picture, in order to achieve soft color transitions, dimming, cross-fades, color cycles etc. Elementary colors are assigned names to simplify their handling.
The Lasergraph DSP supports lasers with up to six color lines. Due to separate definition of laser- and monitor colors, laser colors can be adjusted for different laser systems without changing the display on the monitor.



Classical Frame-by-Frame animation, where every picture is created by hand, can be realized on the Lasergraph DSP as well as modern, computer-aided animation. Here only key frames are created, the in-betweens are generated automatically in real-time when the sequence is projected. Movement and morphing are programmed fast and easily that way.

Frame-by-Frame animations are created and edited in the Animation Editor. Individual pictures or complete sequences can be cut, copied and pasted, transitions between pictures can be viewed in detail. Especially useful is the fact that several copies of the Animation Editor can be opened simultaneously, thereby comfortably providing access to different sections of the same film.

Morphing, transforming one picture into another, is made possible by the Auto-Animation-System. This calculates any number of steps between the key frames in an animation and so ensures smooth movements. The calculation is done in real-time while projecting.

Pictures can be positioned, enlarged or reduced, rotated, cut, blurred and moved in real-time, without the necessity of calculating intermediate pictures in advance.

A movement may be defined comfortably by a curve or by any arithmetic term. Rotations, shifts etc. can be executed in a linear, oscillating or accelerating way. This way total freedom of positioning is achieved.


The camera (viewing direction of the spectator) and objects (pictures and animated segments) can be moved on curves in space. These curves are created in the Picture Editor just as any other three-dimensional picture. For instance, if you want to show a flight through a landscape, the flight curve is simply drawn into the three-dimensional picture of that landscape. The direction of view is either adapted automatically to the flight curve, or lined up to a specific point. Objects are shown in perspective, the visible scene can be adjusted from wide-angle to tele. Display of those parts of the picture which are positioned behind the camera is automatically suppressed. This makes it possible to move the camera inside objects or through the objects.

Up to eight parts of a picture can be animated separately while retaining the connections between them. For example, the top of a cube could be rotated without changing its base. The vertical edges would then be rotated accordingly.

  The use of Depth Cueing achieve a realistic three-dimensional effect. Objects appear darker the farther they are in the background, until they are completely faded out.

If the time span for a movement is changed later, the course of the program adjusts itself automatically. For instance, a curve for a movement can simply be defined, which is then followed through in whatever time is available. Sequences which are defined once can be used for different lengths of movement time, if necessary even for different objects.

  If desired, Pictures may be displayed only in part or slowly built up and deleted. This also works for several pictures simultaneously, for instance one picture can vanish while two others appear.
Games or interactive shows are easy to realize, because any parameter can be influenced during the course of a program by external events (digital or analog). A flight simulator, programmed using basic commands, is delivered with every Lasergraph DSP as part of the basic software.

Several techniques are available for displaying objects realistically. The Hidden Surface Technique makes those lines of an object which are positioned behind planes of the object invisible; Image Masking (SWC) prevents display of objects which are hidden by other objects. Several examples of this are shown in our  showroom.

Any number of segments may be defined, in which individual pictures or all pictures are modified. These segments are freely definable and movable. Pictures inside these segments can have effects (for instance flashes) added, be recolored or clipped. By clipping it is possible to realize circle- or wipeblinds.


To TopThe Trickfilm Editor

A trickfilm sequence consists of a series of commands. These are designed like forms and simply have to be filled in. Inputs are automatically checked for plausibility; in case of false inputs, help texts are displayed.

By clicking into an entry field and not releasing the mouse key, the mouse can be used like a fader. By moving it back and forth, the value is changed. The change is immediately visible on the laser.

Instead of variables and arithmetic terms, it is possible to use curves, which can be easily generated and edited graphically in the Curve Editor.

Variables can be used in mathematical or logical functions, for instance to realize accelerated movements. Conditions, jumps and loops in the trickfilm allow an interactive control of a program.

Four sequences can be edited simultaneously. By copying and pasting segments of sequences, previously programmed routines can be used repeatedly. The demos which come with the system already contain a lot of very useful material.
A trickfilm can be divided into up to 1000 blocks, each of which then can be triggered externally by MIDI or by timescript. For frequently used procedures it is possible to create up to 500 subroutines.
Repeats with practically unlimited graduations can be achieved using several available loop structures. Any number of pictures, different animations and several running texts can be displayed simultaneously using one projector.

The timescript is used to synchronize up to four trickfilms. If required, loaded films can be replaced by others while the script is running. Using the timecode, up to four projectors can be synchronized independently, as well as up to 256 peripheral devices (lights, effects in laser projectors, fog machines, robots, etc.).
Individual entries of the timescript can be edited. Also, using the record mode, routines can be recorded live with a MIDI keyboard and then edited and replayed.


Display, Projection

Pictures which are sent from the Lasergraph DSP to the laser projector are automatically optimized. When switching the blanking signal, delays are added. Because all images are vector graphics, only anchor points have to be defined, points on a straight line are not necessary. Points between two anchor points which are very far apart are interpolated; if not all existing points are needed (for instance when a picture's size is reduced), the number of points is reduced.
This results in a much improved quality of pictures, since the distance between points is continually changed while rotating, zooming and moving etc.; flickering rates are reduced, hot spots (points with higher brightness) are avoided to a great extent. In addition, the speed of the scanners is used optimally because of dynamic interpolation. With the Color Delay function a correct color allocation is achieved on the different scanner types.
For perfect tuning to the currently used laser system (scanner, scanner amplifier, blanking system) it is possible to adjust dynamic interpolation, point reduction and blanking signal delay for single pictures or a whole sequence. With the Color Delay function, blanking- and color-signals can be tuned to different scanner types.

All changes to pictures, programs and settings are displayed in real-time, so that the effects of the changes may be evaluated directly in the projected laser picture. If the Picture Editor is started from within a trickfilm, the picture is displayed with those parameters (size, color palette, etc.) that were defined in the trickfilm. While editing a trickfilm command, all commands concerning the complete picture are taken into account for the display. This makes it possible, for instance, to display several pictures simultaneously while positioning one of them.
The projected picture can be shifted, rotated and scaled using faders without having to make any changes to the picture itself. Finished sequences can be adjusted in size, position and color balance while the show is running, without interrupting the show or changing the programming.


The Lasergraph DSP offers a handy tool to adjust a picture to the projection surface: Using the digital picture correction, pillow-, cylindrical- and trapeze distortions are easily eliminated.



Up to 240 previously programmed sequences can be started by pressing a key on a MIDI masterkeyboard. In addition, each sequence can define the state of up to 256 8-bit peripheral outputs (with dimming, crossfading etc.).


The Lissajous-Generator allows the creation of three-dimensional figures by entering a few parameters. The spectacular improvement of this is the Abstract-Generator Fascinating elements, which permanently change their shape and color, can be integrated into trickfilms like normal pictures. Colorcycles can be easily created and edited using the Colorcycle Editor. Please see the examples in our  showroom.


One or more bitmap pictures (windows bitmap) can be "applied" to a laser picture. This modified laser picture is a normal object and can be used without any limitation. Movies are easily produced, too.

Trimagic is our patented procedure for real-time 3D-laserprojection. Three-dimensional pictures, either in anaglyphic (red/green, red/blue) or in polaroid technique, can be designed in unequaled quality without extra programming effort. For the polaroid technique a special projector is used.

Automatic functions make transformation of two-dimensional pictures into three-dimensional objects easy. Selected areas are simply transformed onto a predefined three-dimensional shape (cylinder, sphere, torus, helix, or any other object). The calculation of the inbetweens (pictures between key frames) is done automatically in real-time by the Lasergraph DSP when sending the data to the laser projector.

More than 20 fonts are delivered with the Lasergraph DSP. Running text may consist of up to three different fonts and is easy to realize. Customized fonts can be designed in the Picture Editor, if necessary with the help of the graphics tablet. Several texts and pictures can be displayed simultaneously, independent of each other.


To TopNetwork

Setting up a laser system with several lasers, scanners, color controls and control computers as well as the necessary periphery for laser shows requires complicated cable connections, especially when the positions of the components are far apart. This has considerable disadvantages, such as a deterioration of signal quality due to loss of signals as well as the immense amount of work necessary for setting up the system.

If, however, several Lasergraph DSPs are connected via an Ethernet network, the number of necessary cables is greatly reduced. One big advantage is the fact that the Lasergraph DSPs can be positioned in direct proximity to scanners, color controls and optical benches so that no signal losses due to long cables will occur. For remote controlling the Lasergraph DSPs, for instance a PC with the special program LGRemote can be used.

When Lasergraph DSPs and PCs are connected via a network the data transfer between both can easily be handled. In addition peripheral devices (e.g. CD-ROM, MIDI, faderboard etc.) which are connected only to one Lasergraph DSP or PC are available to other Lasergraph DSPs in the network.
Support of ethernet network is a standard feature of the Lasergraph DSP workstation and Lasergraph DSP compact. If a PC is to be connected to an ethernet network, an ethernet card has to be installed.

The picture shows an example for remote controlling a laser system with several Lasergraph DSPs compact via network by a PC or a Lasergraph DSP workstation to which a graphics tablet, a faderboard and a MIDI-keyboard are connected.
In the picture the single computers are connected to a central hub or switch. If you use wireless ethernet, no cables between Lasergraph DSP and remote control (Lasergraph DSP workstation or PC) are necessary at all.



General Facts

You can use SMPTE or MIDI timecode to synchronize show elements with music or other events.  Up to four DSP cards can be put inside a Lasergraph DSP workstation, each controlling one scanhead.

You can import pictures in the following formats: ILDA, ZAP, DE2, DE3, and HPGL.  Then you can optimize the data to eliminate redundant points and to define anchor points.  Data may then be exported in ILDA and HPGL formats.

They offer a 2 day training course with the purchase of the software licenses progressive and superior.   They also host a free DSP user meeting every year in Berlin where users from all over the world meet and exchange experience and learn more about Lasergraph DSPs capabilities.  Demo programs, fonts, and some shows are included with the system.





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