Surfaces behave like smart groups which mask and warp content placed inside of it to match the real world scene. Surfaces simplify the content creation process for complex real-world scenes through an entirely 2D workflow.
Content creation in Lightform Creator is powered by the Smart Scan image and user-defined Surfaces.
In Lightform Creator, content such as images, videos, and effects, live within a Surface. The Surface behaves like a smart group that masks and warps the content placed inside of it to match the real-world scene.
This allows users to quickly augment or add digital content to pixels that have been aligned and perspectively corrected without needing to use 3D tools or create a 3D model of the scene beforehand.
Creating Masks & Surfaces
In most content creation software, content and objects are often created in arbitrary positions based on the user's preference and masks are optional. In projected augmented reality, the position and orientation of content are predetermined by the scene being augmented.
In Lightform Creator, you create surfaces on top of the Scan Image and then apply content to the surface. Surfaces are created using any of the masking tools - the Pen, Shape, Magic Wand, Quick Select, or Brush tool. By creating a surface, you are in effect, masking out a part of the real world that you’d like to augment.
Fit Accuracy: This slider adjusts the accuracy between the mask and the generated curve. Higher values mean more vertices in your surface and a closer fit.
Once a mask is completed, a Surface is automatically created so that content can be seamlessly added to it. Each content element inside the Surface has its own layer but shares the same mask of the parent Surface.
The Perspective Warp tool allows users to modify the perspective of content and warp it onto non-planar objects to approximate 3D surfaces using 2D tools.
Changing the perspective of content is useful for when your projector is not pointing directly at a flat surface, but you want your content to look as if it is flat/undistorted when playing back. A common example is projecting an image or video on a frame; using the corners of Perspective Warp, you can quickly adjust your content to fit correctly inside the frame. By pinning the Asset layer's corners to the corresponding corners of the Surface, the perspective of the content is shifted to match the perspective of the frame.
This is also known as “corner pinning”, or the adjustment of planar perspective of a rectangular piece of content. Corner pinning uses 4 points to construct a new 3D perspective of the content.
Initially, the content is aligned/parallel to the image plane. By modifying the corners, the perspective of the content is changed so that the vanishing points for this content are now defined by vertical and horizontal line segments. There is also a 3D interpretation of this, namely that by modifying the corners, a 3D rotation can be solved for and applied to this content to make the content appear as if it is being viewed from this new perspective.
To corner pin, select a surface and click the Perspective Warp icon in the Toolbar or press W. Drag a corner of the Asset layer and release to pin it in place. Corner pinning edits can be reset by clicking the Reset button in the Properties Panel under Perspective.
Learn more about the Perspective Warp tool.
When one Surface is created, it is reusable on every Slide in the project. Unique content can be added to the same Surface on every individual Slide.
If you refine the mask or perspective of the main Surface, it applies globally to every slide. We designed slides to work in this way to make adjusting the content in your scene much more efficient.