Now that you've played around with LF1 and tested out our cool effects, it's time to dive into building a fuller experience with Lightform.
Step 1 Build a scene
Unlike VR or typical projection mapping, PAR (projected augmented reality) is much more focused on highlighting the physical world than replacing or disguising it. The objects' physical details work hand in hand with the content Lightform Creator generates. Building a scene that is rich in texture, color contrast, and geometry will help create a more impactful experience.
In this example we did a generic birthday/party setup. A scene that serves a specific purpose like such also helps provide context during your design process.
An adequate amount of ambient light will help your content look more integrated into the scene.
Step 2 Surface creation
The next step is to create surfaces. Surfaces can be seen as the canvas – you are actively telling LF1 where to paint with light.
1. Making interesting selections
Often times, highlighting a key area of an object is much more interesting than illuminating the whole thing. Find the most interesting details and give them their moment.
2. Stream your masks for finetuning
After surfaces are created, you can hit the stream button to visualize your masks in the scene. LF1 will show the selected surface as white. This will help you clearly spot overspills or areas that you've missed during selection.
3. Err on the safe side when selecting
You can often get away with making your surfaces a few pixels shy of the objects' edges. On the other hand, an overspill (light projecting outside of the desired area and sometimes spilling onto the background) is significantly more distracting, so not filling your selections all the way to the brim will save you time on cleaning up afterwards.
4. Dealing with scan distortion
Since the scan image is a calibrated image, there will be some minimal distortion. In cases where the distortions become misleading for surface selection, it's a good idea to decrease the Fill amount in the scan (found in scan properties). Play around with the setting until you find a more accurate representation.
The scan properties are revealed when no surfaces are selected.
Step 3 Layering up effects
Lightform Creator comes with a variety of intelligent effects and stock videos, all with distinct looks and feels. Finding the right combination for your scene can help create a cohesive visual experience.
1. Mix up pacing
Effects such as Digital Fade, Depth Trace, or Ghost Flash have a clear on and off rhythm, where as effects like Iridescent Edges, Tron, or stock videos have constant motion. Using a combination of both can keep the scene from looking too busy, and also give some breathing time for each effect to shine.
2. Slower is usually better
Our eyes are accustomed to seeing very fast motion on screens, however in reality rarely do things move at the exaggerated speed screen animations do. Try lowering the speed on effects, and you'll generally find the projection to be much more relaxing and enjoyable.
3. Blend modes (Labs)
Blend modes are great for mixing up different effects for a unique result. It can also be used for unifying the look and feel in your scene. If the content overall seems a little messy, try blending the same effect or video to all the surfaces.
Step 4 Slides
All of your surfaces are shared amongst different slides, but the effects applied in one are independent from others. This naturally makes slides great for a few things:
1. Store different experiences
Since each slide is capable of holding a complete experience, it's easy to create slides for different occasions beforehand and toggle between them after publish. For example, for projections at home, there could be a day mode and night mode that you switch between; for store displays, you could publish slides for different holidays such as Halloween or Christmas, and choose accordingly to the time of year.
To prevent slides from auto-advancing after publish, remember to set every slide to loop. You can then switch between slides from the control page.
2. Use slides as an iteration tool
You also have the option of selecting only one of many slides to publish. While you explore different looks for your scene, you can store looks you like along the way into different slides and compare between them to decide which one to publish.
To publish only a single slide, right click on the desired slide and choose publish.
3. Use empty slides for off-time
In some cases, such as projecting on murals or posters, you might want the projection content off for a certain amount of time for viewers to see the original design. In these cases you could use empty slides to create an off-time before the projections come on again.
These tips & tricks are what we've discovered by testing out LF1 here at Lightform. As we continue our testing and developing new features, these will continue to be updated, so stay tuned!