20.4 PixelMapping

One of the more complex objects that can be added to a plot is a PixelMap. A PixelMap allows the fixtures inside of it to dynamically change their parameter values based on the PixelMap Layer content being sent to the PixelMap. This process is called PixelMapping. Section 20.2.3 covers how to add and remove PixelMaps in a plot. In this section we will discuss how to add and assign PixelMap Layers to PixelMaps, how to program fixtures to use PixelMap values, and how to manage PixelMap Layer content.

20.4.1 PixelMap Layers

PixelMaps are responsible for mapping media content onto lighting fixtures, but, they do not supply the media content themselves. The content comes from programable fixtures known as PixelMap layers, which are added to the show using the fixture window. Once added to the show PixelMap layers are then assigned to PixelMaps.

To add a PixelMap layer fixture to the show:

  1. Open the patch window.

  2. Click on the fixture schedule button.

  3. Look under the "Hog" manufacturer for a fixture called "PixelMap Layer"

  4. Use the count column to specify how many PixelMap layer fixtures you want to add to the show.

  5. Click Ok on the fixture schedule window.

To assign a PixelMap Layer fixture to a PixelMap:

  1. Open the plot containing the PixelMaps to which you wish to assign PixelMap layers.

  2. Enable the PixelMap edit button at the top of the plot window.

  3. Select a PixelMap in the plot.

  4. Locate the "Pixel Map" section of the properties tray located on the right hand side of the plot window.

  5. Under the text label "Layer fixture patch" you will see all of the PixelMap layers scheduled in the show.

  6. Select the layers to assign them to the pixel map.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Regardless of the user numbers you assigned to the PixelMap layers, they are layered onto PixelMaps using the order in which you select them in step 6. Layer order is important when working with multiple layers as Z position is not adjustable: High numbered layers will always appear on top of low numbered layers.

20.4.2 Programming lighting fixtures to use PixelMaps

PixelMaps are applied to fixtures very similar to how IPCB palettes are applied to fixtures.

To assign a fixture's parameters to a PixelMap:

  1. Make a fixture selection

  2. Open the plots directory (Pig + Open + Fixture)

  3. At the top of the plots diretory choose which fixture parameters you wish to pixelmap (RGB, CMYI, HSI)

  4. Select a plot from the plot directory (be sure to choose a plot in which the currently selected fixtures are plotted inside a PixelMap)

  5. The parameter values of the current fixture selection are now assigned to the plot in the editor. This means that those fixture values will now be determined by the content being passed into the PixelMaps in that plot.

  6. Now select and program the PixelMap layers assigned to the PixelMaps in the referenced plot.

    [Caution]Caution

    Deleting a plot automatically removes any references to that plot in all existing cues and palettes.

20.4.3 Programming PixelMap Layers

PixelMap Layers are used to send media content to PixelMaps which are then output to the mapped lighting fixtures. In the previous section we discussed how to program lighting fixtures to listen to PixelMaps. In this section we will discuss how to program the PixelMap layers to output content to the PixelMaps they are assigned to.

To program a PixelMap Layer:

  1. Select a PixelMap Layer by entering its user number in the command line and pressing Enter.

  2. Adjust the intensity parameter to the desired level.

  3. Choose a media folder and media file using the encoder wheels or the MediaPicker window (Pig + Open + Beam opens the media picker window).

  4. The PixelMap layer will now output the selected content to the PixelMaps it is assigned to.

  5. Use the other programmable parameters of the PixelMap Layer fixture such as scaling, position, rotation, effects, and playspeed to create dynamic and interesting pixelmapping output.

20.4.4 PixelMap Layer Effects

Pixelmap layers can be programmed using the following effect mode and effect modifier parameters which are located under the color kind:

Transparent Black (mod 1 = grayscale select, mod 2 = transparency level, mod 3 = tolerance)

Transparent White (mod 1 = grayscale select, mod 2 = transparency level, mod 3 = tolerance)

Transparent Color (mod 1 = hue select, mod 2 = saturation select, mod 3 = tolerance)

Tiling (mod 1 = x axis, mod 2 = y axis, mod 3 = z axis)

Note: these effects are only available when using revision 3 or greater of the PixelMap Layer fixture type in the fixture library.

20.4.5 Managing PixelMap Layer Content

A PixelMap layer is a programmable fixture that supplies media content to PixelMaps. When a PixelMap layer fixture is added to a show a small collection of stock media content is also added to the show's PixelMap Content Package. The PixelMap Content Package is shared by all PixelMap layers in the show and is organized using a folder and file structure similar to how many standalone media servers store content.

Adding custom content to the PixelMap Content Package is easy. In this section we will review how to import media into the PixelMap Content Package, how to assign dmx values to the folders and files in the PixelMap Content Package, which file types are supported for import, and how to choose and optimize content to ensure smooth playback and effective visual representation.

Importing Custom Media to the PixelMap Content Package

The PixelMap Content Package supports up to 255 folders which can contain up to 255 media files each. All custom media added to the PixelMap Content Package is stored in the show file and is included in show file backups.

To add custom media content to the PixelMap Content Package:

  1. Put the custom content you wish to import into the show onto a USB Flash Drive.

  2. Insert the USB Flash Drive into one of the console’s USB ports.

  3. Open the shows window on the console (Press Setup key on front panel and select Shows from the main toolbar).

  4. Select the PixelMap Content tab of the shows window. On the left hand side of the window you will see a normal file browser where you can access files and folders on both the internal hard drive as well as on external drives such as USB flash drives. On the right hand side of the window is a broswer that allows you to see the contents of the PixelMap Content Package. (Note: If the PixelMap Content tab doesn't show up in the shows window then you have not yet scheduled a PixelMap layer in your show and will need to do so first).

  5. Create a new folder in the PixelMap Content Package by clicking on the new folder icon at the top of the window or by right clicking in the browser and selecting "new folder".

  6. Give the folder a dmx address assignment by right clicking on the folder and selecting "renumber". Enter a numeric value and confirm by pressing Enter.

  7. Use the browser on the left hand side of the window to locate media stored on the external USB flash drive that you inserted into the console in step 2.

  8. Drag and drop the media files you wish to import from the USB flash drive into the folder you created in step 6. Hold pig to select multiple files. You can also drag entire folders of content from the USB Flash Drive to the PixelMap Content Package as long as the folder you are importing does not contain sub-folders.

  9. All files imported into the PixelMap Content Packages are automatically assigned a dmx address. To manually change the dmx address assignment of a file in the PixelMap Content Package right click on the file and select "renumber". Enter a numeric value and confirm by pressing Enter.

    Note: If you wish to have more control over how the console auto-assigns dmx addresses to files during import, then simply prefix the names of the folders and files you are importing with a three digit number that coincides with the desired dmx address value. For example, if you import a file named “023 BigBird.png” it will automatically be assigned a dmx address value of 23.

[Caution]Caution

Any folders or files in the PixelMap Content Package that do not have a dmx address assignment will still show up in the media picker window but will not be selectable for output.

File Types Supported for PixelMap Content Package Import

The following file types have successfully been tested and are supported for import into the PixelMap Content Package:

Image Formats

  • JPEG

  • PNG

  • TIFF

  • BMP

  • GIF (only first frame of animated GIFs will be imported)

Video Formats

  • H.264

  • MPEG-4 Part 2

  • MPEG-2

  • Cinepack

  • Windows Media Video

Choosing and Optimizing PixelMapping Content

When media content is imported into the PixelMap Content Package it is automatically optimized for playback in the PixelMap layer, however certain measures should be taken when choosing and preparing content for import to ensure a more reliable import, smoother playback, and effective mapping. Here are some basic tips for choosing and preparing content for import:

Images:

  • Even though high resolution content can be imported most of the resolution is thrown away during import. For faster import conversion it is best to use lower resolution image files.

  • Remove black pixels from images in favor of transparency and save image as PNG; this will give you more flexibility when using multiple layers in a single PixelMap.

  • Avoid images that feature complex objects such as faces, logos, or text unless you are using a very dense grid of target fixtures in your PixelMap.

Movies:

  • Trim videos to 60 seconds or shorter in length (longer videos will get cut off at 60 seconds).

  • Choose videos that loop seamlessly.

  • Choose video files with frame rates of 30 fps or less and that have a high number of keyframes.

  • Even though most HD (1080p and 720p) video content can be directly imported to the PixelMap Content Package most of the resolution is thrown away during import. For faster conversion during import it is best to use lower resolution video files such as 352×240 (VideoCD) or 720×480(DVD).

  • Avoid using video files that feature complex objects such as faces, logos, or text unless you are using a very dense grid of target pixel fixtures to display this content.