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It is a bit tricky to find some of this information out there, so hopefully this is useful to other video projection engineers, as well. Worth noting that ProjectionViz solves a lot of this (but not all of it). 

 

I have been working as a projection engineer for a decade. I haven't used VW in more than 10 years so I'm relearning it. I am pro-level with many projection design and engineering applications. So a noob with VW but in no way a novice otherwise. 

 

VW seems like THE tool for engineering for Projection but having come from a background of many other applications there are some points that I'd love to address and discuss. Having gotten into the lighting and sound tools, the built-in projection tools are lacking in comparison IMHO. I'm also curious about other solves out there! 

 

VW projection design tools are designed for very straight forward, traditional video design. But it's rarely as simple as inserting video screens into a design. Projection design is often hacky and needs a lot of flexibility. Imagine designing a custom curved screen with an 18 projector blend in VectorWorks. Doable, but not as easy as "Create Projection Surface from Shape" and "Define Array" and "Define Lensing." That would be killer! 

 

Some questions about projectors / projection design / projection engineering in VectorWorks:

  1. The screen tool is cool, but doesn't allow you to choose a "Custom" projector, does it? Seems like you'd have to manually manage those resources rather than just choosing a resource you already have in the library (there are many). Seems obvious to me that there should be a "Custom" option that allows you to open up the resource manager and select from VW's library (or your own). (ProjectionViz solves this)
  2. Is there a library out there somewhere of custom built projectors (I.e., Ultra-Short-Throw lenses, Hammerhead lenses) and just more projectors in general? The Epson projector library is extensive - but would love to see a similar library for Panasonic, Christie, Barco - and even the little guys like Optoma and BenQ would be good to have. Anyone know of a good resource? Pun intended. 
  3. Similarly, is there a solution out there for projectors where the beam comes from the body of the projector along the top or bottom (UST)? Seems like you can hack this a bit if you have a Projector Model with an UST lens and adjust the origin point in the 3D editor. 
  4. Is there an option to remove the screen and project on to walls or other surfaces? I see there are a bunch of workarounds to achieve this but wondering if there have been any improvements in VW2020 (the excellent plugin ProjectionViz solves this)
  5. You can do a custom Lens Zoom, but the throw is missing from that option. Zoom factor seems to be a stand in for throw ratio when you select custom lens?

 

Some comments from using many other PreViz and projection designer tools:

  1. For a Pro-Tool, I'm surprised you can't pipe in content via Spout / Syphon. Cool that you can do NDI in Vision but not super useful for solely projection design. If all you're trying to do is PreViz and engineer projectors, it seems odd that you need to own a full license of Vision in order to pipe in multiple NDI streams. I don't need Vision for any other reason. You can get a really good sense of lighting without even touching Vision and it would be great if VW added those capabilities to projection. 
  2. For custom images - I appreciate that you can make an image into a texture but it seems like an unnecessary step. It would seem more useful to A) set a projector resolution (not just aspect), and B) import an image and be able to scale it properly within the proper resolution (ProjectionViz solves this, you can insert an image in one step, and you have more control for aspect and resolution). 
  3. Obstructions and throw - would be awesome to see how obstructions interact with the projection beam (ProjectionViz solves this nicely, you just need to have the screen area behind the obstructions). 
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39 minutes ago, trashcan said:
  1. The screen tool is cool, but doesn't allow you to choose a "Custom" projector, does it? Seems like you'd have to manually manage those resources rather than just choosing a resource you already have in the library (there are many). Seems obvious to me that there should be a "Custom" option that allows you to open up the resource manager and select from VW's library (or your own). (ProjectionViz solves this)
  2. Is there a library out there somewhere of custom built projectors (I.e., Ultra-Short-Throw lenses, Hammerhead lenses) and just more projectors in general? The Epson projector library is extensive - but would love to see a similar library for Panasonic, Christie, Barco - and even the little guys like Optoma and BenQ would be good to have. Anyone know of a good resource? Pun intended. 
  3. Similarly, is there a solution out there for projectors where the beam comes from the body of the projector along the top or bottom (UST)? Seems like you can hack this a bit if you have a Projector Model with an UST lens and adjust the origin point in the 3D editor. 

 

Answering some of your "content" questions...:

 

1)  You can create/use custom projectors.  The tools will "see" projectors in your current file and in any VW files found in "\Libraries\Defaults\Video Screen\Projector Models."

 

2)  You can find more detailed info on creating models in the manual found @ http://www.landrudesign.com/VWPlugIns.htm.  You might also find this video to be helpful:  https://youtu.be/ceP2MOpkGMI. It is several years old but the information is still quite relevant.

 

3)  While I don't know of any extensive commercially-available projector libraries, I do know of several users who have developed some pretty impressive models.  You might try inquiring here or in the Facebook Spotlight group.  With the current state of our industry, I wouldn't be surprised if some of those users started baking their libraries available.

 

4)  Creating unconventionally-configured projectors is definitely possible - no hacking necessary.  It is simply a matter of how Symbols are created.  I've attached a quick sample of what might be possible.

 

I hope that this helps to answer at least some of your questions.

 

UST Demo.vwx

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Thanks for the ProjectionViz nod.

 

The Video Screen object and ProjectionViz approach projections from different ends. The VS tool excels at displaying your decided design choices: showing the screen, how it rigs and masks, the audience viewing angle, how the projector mounts, etc. You need to do some work outside of the plug-in to make sure your specified projector can fill the screen.

 

ProjectionViz concentrates on planning and visualization, and is particularly useful when you are projecting onto non-rectangular surfaces, multiple planes, etc., as well as off-axis projection. It has some utility for generating installation drawings, but they are more limited. There is some overlap between the tools, but you may find that you need one or the other or both, depending on your project. (To that end, ProjectionViz will place a Video Screen Object for you).

 

3 hours ago, trashcan said:

Is there a library out there somewhere of custom built projectors (I.e., Ultra-Short-Throw lenses, Hammerhead lenses) and just more projectors in general? The Epson projector library is extensive - but would love to see a similar library for Panasonic, Christie, Barco - and even the little guys like Optoma and BenQ would be good to have. Anyone know of a good resource? Pun intended. 

 

In terms of symbols, you may want to start with the manufacturers. For specifications, this is the most extensive compilation that I've found: https://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm

 

3 hours ago, trashcan said:

Similarly, is there a solution out there for projectors where the beam comes from the body of the projector along the top or bottom (UST)? Seems like you can hack this a bit if you have a Projector Model with an UST lens and adjust the origin point in the 3D editor. 

 

As you say, you can simply adjust the projector geometry in relation to the symbol origin to adjust this. One caution: many projector specifications are actually to the front of the projector, not the center of the lens, even if the lens is behind and under the body, so you have to read the spec sheet carefully and recognize that there may be some disparity between drawing the projector cone from the 3D object and the data you have to calculate that cone. Unlike lighting sources, projector specs have fewer standards and can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.

 

3 hours ago, trashcan said:

For a Pro-Tool, I'm surprised you can't pipe in content via Spout / Syphon. Cool that you can do NDI in Vision but not super useful for solely projection design. If all you're trying to do is PreViz and engineer projectors, it seems odd that you need to own a full license of Vision in order to pipe in multiple NDI streams. I don't need Vision for any other reason. You can get a really good sense of lighting without even touching Vision and it would be great if VW added those capabilities to projection. 

 

This may be possible to add for projecting onto the rectangular screen surface (the image plane in PV). Actually simulating projected light from a content source isn't possible in Vectorworks based on the way it renders textures. It would require some significant under the hood changes to make this happen. Not that it isn't a viable feature request, but I would make it separately, and know that it may take a few years for it to happen.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

in the past couple of years we have added many video projectors to the libraries.  in 2020, they are mostly located in the obj-Ent Video folder, except for Barco, which I forgot to move out of the Lighting Instruments Library.  We have Epson, Panasonic, Barco.  some are still in the Service Select libraries.  I suggest using the Search function to see if a particular projector is available.

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10 hours ago, trashcan said:

Is there an option to remove the screen and project on to walls or other surfaces? I see there are a bunch of workarounds to achieve this but wondering if there have been any improvements in VW2020 (the excellent plugin ProjectionViz solves this)

 

See attached screenshot for OIP settings (works with blends too):

 

1259919821_ScreenShot2020-04-09at5_46_42PM.thumb.png.f5251c77403409691e5cf72fe6c09be5.png

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@trashcan although living outside VW, you may want to check out: https://www.mappingmatter.com

 

Oftentimes, I'll be working with a designer that's working in Mapping Matter, and I'll take that info into VW for prepro, rigging, plotting, paperwork... 

 

Ultimately, it would be amazing to have the functionality of all three tools built into VW, and the guys to do it are in this thread, so fingers crossed... 

 

Edited by Mark Aceto
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@C. Andrew Dunning - VS4 / VS4 plus looks great. I took a quick look through your tutorial for creating projector models. Is creating custom models the same for both using just VW and placing the resource in the right directory vs. using the VS4 tool? Dug into that little UST demo you made as well. Super helpful, thanks for sending along. I imagine all the prefs are locked because I need VS4? Can you do projector arrays with your tool (I.e., a 4x2 on a curved screen)? 

 

@JBenghiat Here's hoping! Projector Central and I go way back 😉 - I've had a few bumps using their calc over the years so I always cross check with the manufacturer's calc and the manual! If there are any massive discrepancies I give them a call. 

 

@Rob Books Thanks for pointing that out. I've taken a look by searching for specific brands. Epson (and Pana) is super thorough and extensive, but from what I can see there are only a few Christie, Barco. Are there any UST / non-traditional optics projectors that I could tinker with? Is there a way to take a look at the service select library to see what's in there? I'd love to see a VW tutorial on "how to create your own projector symbol". Would be very very helpful for a noob like myself. 

 

@Mark Aceto MappingMatter is excellent for PreViz, for sure. I've been in touch with the creator a few times - and it seems that it's great for quickly creating a good PreViz but not exactly right for engineering needs. I haven't used it yet, but it's on my hit list during this excessive down time. Some kind of dynamic link between MM and VW would be awesome (where projector objects are recognized). Ultimately though, it would be ideal to have those features right inside VW. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, trashcan said:

@C. Andrew Dunning - VS4 / VS4 plus looks great. I took a quick look through your tutorial for creating projector models. Is creating custom models the same for both using just VW and placing the resource in the right directory vs. using the VS4 tool? Dug into that little UST demo you made as well. Super helpful, thanks for sending along. I imagine all the prefs are locked because I need VS4? Can you do projector arrays with your tool (I.e., a 4x2 on a curved screen)? 

 

1)  The Landru Design tools and the stock Spotlight tools both use the same body of resources - in the folder(s) I cited and in the "local" VW file.  So, in-general, the approach and process are the same for both.  (This applies to projectors, TVs, stands, and screen content).

 

2)  One thing that the Landru Design tools handle that the stock tools do not is an alternate reference difference.  Some manufacturers base calculations on the front of the lens and others base them on the front feet of the projector.  The stock tools only recognize the former.

 

3)  Yes, to "unlock" the VS4 instance in the file I shared you'd need to have a license for the Landru Design tools.

 

4)  Presently, both VS4-Blended Screen and Blended Screen only do horizontal blends.

 

I hope that helps!

 

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  • 1 year later...

Reviving an old thread here but find it to be a very useful place to read about projector tools in VWX (along with this post

 

For both of you - is there a way to simulate focus tolerances vs. viewing distance?

 

@C. Andrew Dunning wondering if there's been an update to your tool to allow for Vertical blends as well as Horizontal. I have a massive projection project with projectors across the street (yucky) and need to go into an array of approx 10x6. Lots of projectors. I am also wondering if VS4 allows for variable projector positioning? Also curious if there are some updated tutorials for the tool (that show you the curved video wall feature, for example)? 

 

@JBenghiat similarly, have you done any tutorials since we last chatted? 

 

I have finally put in the purchase request to buy both of your tools through my company so I can just figure out if these will work for my ends. Just trying to eliminate some of the manual work of projector specification. Nearly every spec we do is for non-traditional, complex surfaces. Anything to speed that up would be amazing. 

 

image.thumb.png.d45655eeeba23c3ee680b65b377e59c4.png

 

I have created some of my own tricks over the last year and would love to see what else I can do with your tools!

 

( @fuberator this is a good thread for this info, too )

 

 

Edited by trashcan
more info
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1 hour ago, trashcan said:

 

Focus tolerances, no.  Optimal viewing area/zone, yes.

 

1 hour ago, trashcan said:

wondering if there's been an update to your tool to allow for Vertical blends as well as Horizontal.

 

At-present, still only horizontal blends.  Sorry...

 

1 hour ago, trashcan said:

I am also wondering if VS4 allows for variable projector positioning? Also curious if there are some updated tutorials for the tool (that show you the curved video wall feature, for example)? 

 

Yes, projectors for a given "blend family" can be independently-positioned.

 

1 hour ago, trashcan said:

Also curious if there are some updated tutorials for the tool (that show you the curved video wall feature, for example)? 

 

While our documentation has been updated recently, I'm not sure that you would call it a "tutorial."  And, admittedly, it has been a while since I've done one of those.

 

 

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On 6/22/2021 at 6:27 PM, trashcan said:

@JBenghiat similarly, have you done any tutorials since we last chatted? 

I haven't had a chance to publish any tutorials beyond the documentation. 

 

On 6/22/2021 at 6:27 PM, trashcan said:

 

BeamViz does let you set an additional focus plane, so you can visualize the min and max throw. I haven't found any projector specifications that tell you the depth of focus for the lenses, though I imagine that narrower lenses are going to give you better focus tolerances, as will higher-quality lenses. Once you have your throw differential, I would recommend contacting the manufacturer. Some projectors bill themselves for being suitable for mapping onto 3D surfaces, but I don't know how that translates to usable specifications.

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