ofxILDA, do we have something like that for Max?

    Nov 22 2013 | 10:34 am
    I'm currently toying with lasers, inspired by Edwin van der Heijde and Robert Henke's laser works. I've got a pretty good grip on oscillator based controls, similar to what they 're doing. Now what I'd like to achieve next is vector based drawing similar to the beamer projections I use in my Integration projects. Basically turning Jitter 3D geometries into ILDA laser control signals.
    I came across Memo Atken's ofxILDA that does exactly that, for OpenFrameworks: http://www.memo.tv/ofxilda/
    Do we have something like that for Max? I'm afraid not so, or I should have found it. Now this would be a good trigger for me to delve into ofx and Max external coding. Won't happen for my next deadline though. Doing the visuals at a big techno party next week... In the unlikely case that I missed a Max counterpart, please do say so!

    • Jan 18 2015 | 6:39 pm
      Any news in this field? I'm actually working with audio signals driven lasers. The only solutions I know to convert real-time images to laser signals are opensource like openlase or the Lumax object for vvvv to dialog with Minilumax interfaces. There's a repository on github related to a Jitter porting of OpenLase, but the user who made it seems to be totally not interested in releasing a compiled and working version. Then, lot of opensource projects exists that works with DACs and EzAuDac...the Laserboy, Innolaser Lasercam, OpenLase, Lasershark etc...But obviously, would be more convenient to have an external for that task inside Max.
    • Jan 19 2015 | 12:41 am
      I have started on a little project to create a Max external for the Ether Dream DAC.
      The Ether Dream DAC is a popular ethernet based DAC that is open sourced and has fairly well documented cross platform drivers.
      I am not interested in supporting USB audio-interface based DACs - as to me that just seems like a big kludge and they usually operate quite a bit outside of the ILDA spec as far as voltage differentials go.
      So far I have a Max external working on Mac OS X - I am able to load an ILDA file into Max and send the frame data to the Ether Dream using my Max External - it even supports multi-frame (animation) ILDA files - as seen in the demo video posted.
      A lot of work is needed before I make this available for others.
      The biggest problem so far has been in developing the secret sauce point optimization algorithms that most pro laser show software companies keep close to their heart. Without optimizing the points you send to the DAC, you get really poor results - and possibly even really dangerous results, i.e., single solid points (very dangerous to skin and/or eyes) - or too few points/too sharp of angle transitions that exceed the physical limitions of the scanners (very dangerous to the expensive scanners/galvos used to control the positioning mirrors).
      So, it is possible - hope to be able to share some updates soon!
      Edit: Here is a little teaser video showing my initial progress - reading an ILDA file with Max and outputing the resulting frames to the laser projector in real time using my Ether Dream Max external:
    • Jan 19 2015 | 9:07 am
      LIGHTSPEED.JOHNNY, thank you for your output!
      In my opinion, the best goal would be to have a good algorithms to convert video to laser signals in real-time, like the LaserCam or ofxILDA does for example. I feel pretty unconfortable working with .ild files for example.
      The biggest problem so far has been in developing the secret sauce point optimization algorithms
      I've tried to figure out how to develop a decent "centerline auto-tracing" algorithm to convert silhouette images to audio signal but whitout any kind of good results. It's pretty impossible within Max. I think that OpenLase, which isn't made for deal with ILDA protocol, is the best at this at moment.
      Keep up your great work!
    • Feb 05 2015 | 1:58 pm
      Lightspeed.johnny, any news about your externals for etherdream? Any chance to beta test or just try it?
    • Feb 05 2015 | 4:29 pm
      Yes... though what I am working on looks to be quite a bit different than what you are interested in. There are already quite a few commercial solutions that handle live video image tracing for lasers, as well as still image tracing to ILDA files - so I don't really have much interest in that area.
      What I am working on is more of a "Laser Synth" - or Abstract Generator. Something like a software emulation that pays homage to some of the old hardware laser abstract generators.
      So taking something like this:
      And turning it in to this:
      Maxwell is not ready for beta testing yet, unfortunately... Laser output is working through my Ether Dream external - as seen in this sneak peek teaser video:
      And lots of work is currently being done refactoring the GUI, making it more user friendly, adding more effects (like a modulation matrix and rotation effects), and support for other DAC APIs - currently only Ether Dream is supported and only on OS X - but it should be easy to add support for any EzAudDac supported driver. I don't have any plans at the moment of supporting audio interface DACs other than through the EzAudDac API.
      Here is another video showing some more progress that has been made:
      I will create a thread here on the c74 forums when a version is ready for testing!
    • May 30 2016 | 11:56 am
      Hello Lightspeed Johnny Do you have the external for the etherdream somewhere public. I am using an other DAC, RayComposer with an open api. So I would be interessted to create an external for this one. As they depend quite a lot on each other, I'd like to build on your code if ok. Best Jonas
    • Jun 06 2019 | 10:56 am
      Hi Lightspeed.Johnny.
      Is there any chance to test your external these days? I have a OSX + Ether Dream setup. I am having troubles compiling ofxIlda and would love to try interfacing my laser on Max. Kind regards, Julien
    • Dec 07 2019 | 5:58 pm
      Hi LightSpeedJohnny, I also have a OSX/Ether Dream setup and also struggling to make it work with Max. Driving lasers in an optimised way is really tricky, as the points have to be optimised and this involve some pretty difficult maths. I have seen that you did all this for Maxwell already, it would be awesome if you could share or release the object to the community. I'll be happy to contribute with a donation for your hard work... Thanks in advance!
    • Dec 07 2019 | 6:56 pm
      This guy has some videos on his youtube about building geometry with a laser. Maybe that will get you started?
    • Dec 08 2019 | 8:24 pm
      This guy has some videos on his youtube about building geometry with a laser. Maybe that will get you started?
      Thank you very much for the link, but I'm already familiar with this technique; indeed, this is been the best way out so far...unfortunately with this way the drawing of the points is not optimised :-( Also, I invested in an Ether Dream DAC (a really neat piece of hardware), which would be definitely the best solution compared to a Motu sound card with looms of jacks, especially if I intend to use multiple lasers... Also, all this is really DIY, lasers could be quite dangerous to handle, it would be safer and nicer to use a dedicated Max object for this task that include safety features... My only hope is still an EtherDream external released for Max, I've been waiting for this present for years now, I'm now desperate and will write a letter to Santa (aka LightSpeedJohnny)!