Create a full multi LED pipeline from scratch

Send content into multiple led screens

The objective here is to create a full setup allowing to send content from the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More into pixel maps defined into multiple outputs.
For the purpose of this tutorial we will take a study case in which we have two outputs in HD and a control monitor in WQHD (2560x1440).
Into theses two HD outputs we are going to fit several led screens with various resolutions.
This way of creating a diffusion pipeline into Smode has been used numerous times through TV show or spectacular events.
This Pipeline creation allows to:
- Ease creation process with well organized content maps and stage pre-vizualisation
- Create pixel mapped outputs to make the bridge between the creation setting (content maps) and the diffusion process (Processors)
- Show in-context pre-vizualisation to clients
- Display gap-less content on several screen thanks to Content Mapping Automatize complex dispatch of content from the Show toward Content Map Read More
Here is what will be reviewed during this process:
- Configure Video Output Device Video Output Device are device allowing to send video stream out of Smode Read More
- Create a new Project and build Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More and Content Area Organize your content maps Read More
- Create Processor This section describes how to configure Smode processors in order to configure your output(s) and also make some nice and smooth stage pre-visualisations Read More to create the pixel map from the content maps with Pipeline Layer Use pipeline steps to inject them inside a Processor Read More
- Connect the Processors to the video Outputs
- Create a 3D Stage 3D modeling of the real-world video setup Read More simulation
- Create a stage pre-visualization with the Processor This section describes how to configure Smode processors in order to configure your output(s) and also make some nice and smooth stage pre-visualisations Read More you can connect to an output
- Use a 3D Camera Mapping Dispatch your content creation using 3D transformations procedures Read More to display seamless content and open some door to interactive design
At the end of this tutorial you'll see a little video of the whole process to make sure you didn't miss anything.

Introduction : Pixel outputs and Stage setup

Here is the pixel map we are going to use:




And here is what the 3D stage will look like:


In this stage, we have the following elements:
Main Center / Main Right / Main Left : 6mm pitch LEDs
Floor : 10 mm pitch Led
Main Top : 14 small led with a 25x100px resolution, 6x20mm Pitch and separated from each other by 250mm
Cube : 2 meters wide led cube with 312x312px resolution on each face

Configure outputs in Smode and Windows (00:00)

First in Windows do a right click -> display settings -> advanced display settings and make sure of the position of your outputs inside windows.
This step is important as this is the output coordinates we are going to use inside of Smode.
Make also sure that:
- All your outputs fits inside the lowest possible resolution (see also the Video Output Represents the connection of a Video Output Device to the Pipeline Read More part of the documentation).
- Your global output window does not overlap your control monitor.
So here we are going to do the setup as show on fig.02:


Once it's done we can now configure theses 2 HD outputs inside Smode. To do that go inside preferences (F11) -> Video Outputs and add 2 new video Outputs and make them fit to monitor 2 and 3:


As you see here, the monitor position and resolution are defined here inside the ouptu configuration. Here the second output has a position of x=4480 y=0 and a HD resolution


As defined in our windows output configuration:


Apply changes and as last step I renamed the video Outputs as "Output 01" and "Output 02".

Create a 2D pipeline with multiple outputs (00:47)

Create a new project with FILEMenu for Opening, Saving and Closing operations New project and choose minimal project with default settings:


So we have now a project containing one HD Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More and our 2 HD video outputs:


The first thing I'm going to do is to manage the Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More organization. To create a Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More do a "right click->Create->Content Map" inside the Pipeline Define how video content is processed in a project Read More :


Each time you create a content map you can:
1 - Change it's name
2 - Change it's color label (this way each target will have a specific color inside the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More )
3 - Change the resolution (here you can change to "custom" at the bottom of the list
4 - Define an alpha background for the content map
5 - Change the signal mode of the content map (here I will put the signal as "content" for each content map so we will be able to send layers to them from the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More .)


This step is a process regarding the content creation for the designers and should be set up to ease the creation process, independently of the output map.
I will create 3 different content maps. One for the cube, one for the floor and one for all the main screens.
The main screens content maps total resolution will be a sum of it's components:
x=640+1280+640=2560
y=1000+100=1100
For the y resolution of this content map, the "+100" part si due to the fact that inside our content maps we will rotate the "main top" output as on the real stage this surface is displayed horizontally. This will make the work easier for the content designer.
So my main screens content map will be of 2560x1360 with a red color label and a "content" signal mode
The floor content map will have a resolution of 1024x768 with a green color label and a "content" signal mode.
For the cube content map we will have a resolution of 1872x312 with a blue color label and a "content" signal mode.
You should have something like on the screenshot below. Here in the green circle you can see an Icon representing the default "content map". This mean that when you'll create a new layer inside the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More , it will automatically be sent inside this content map. To change the defaul content map (default target of the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More ), right click on the content map -> set as default target.

Now lets go inside each of our Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More and split them into different Content Area Organize your content maps Read More s corresponding to our different screens:


On the "Main screens" content map we will wo have 4 content areas: center / top / left / right.
To create a content area, "right click on the root of the content map -> Content area".
Then for the content area to be easier to place, I usually transform their Placement in order to have an Anchor point at 0px / 0px.
To change the resolution of the content areas, go inside their placement parameters, turn the "placement-Scale" parameter into "size" and enter their values in px after having changed the global units values in pixels. Here is an exemple to place the left screen inside the content map:


And here is the values I gave to each content areas. Focus on the position and scale (in pixels), as every Anchor point as been set to 0px / 0px:


Let's rename theses content areas in Left / Center / Right / Top, so it will be easier for us later on.

Now let's go inside the "Cube" content map. This time, defining the content areas will be easier. As our cube is spitted into 6 equal areas, just select the root of the cube content maps and "right click->split horizontally".


And now your content map is split into 6 equals content areas. Let's rename them with more friendly names, top / bottom / left / front / right / back


The last content map will remain unchanged.
Now if we go back inside the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More we see that every Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More and Content Area Organize your content maps Read More is available as a target for any content with it's own color label:


The content Map process is here to help the content designer to ease it's creation, it define the pixel workspaces in which you will be working. Now I can for instance either send a content into my main screens altogether or on a specific one only:


Now comes the time to define our outputs. For that process we will use the Processor This section describes how to configure Smode processors in order to configure your output(s) and also make some nice and smooth stage pre-visualisations Read More :
Let's start with the first output and create a HD Processor we will rename "Output 1".
To do that go inside the Pipeline Define how video content is processed in a project Read More and "right click->Create Processor":


And click on the Processor Tab to access this processor:


And now we will Import our content area to make them match with the pixel map.
For that, let's import our pixel map as background of this Processor This section describes how to configure Smode processors in order to configure your output(s) and also make some nice and smooth stage pre-visualisations Read More by dragging it into it's Element Tree The hierarchical view of documents in Smode Read More from the Files Panel Where all of your content medias are Read More . If you don't know how to configure the media directories, please refer to that part of the documentation.

Now we are going to put the corresponding content areas and content maps into this first output. To do that, inside the Processor This section describes how to configure Smode processors in order to configure your output(s) and also make some nice and smooth stage pre-visualisations Read More 's Element Tree The hierarchical view of documents in Smode Read More do a "right click -> Pipeline Layers" and select the right layers. Theses Pipeline Layer Use pipeline steps to inject them inside a Processor Read More are only available inside of processors and allow to get any content map or content area.


Repeat that process for the second output. On the following screenshots, you can see the position parameters I used for the "main top" area (red squares). I also temporally switched the "signal mode" of the content maps from "content" to "test pattern" (green circles), to see better what i'm doing.


Now that theses two processors are configured, you can delete the pixel map from the processors. and connect each processor to the outputs we previously configured:


And here you have a fully working 2d pipeline.

Create a 3D stage simulation (10:24)

Now that all our Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More and Processor This section describes how to configure Smode processors in order to configure your output(s) and also make some nice and smooth stage pre-visualisations Read More are ready, we can start to create the 3D stage simulation. This will have many different purposes.
The first one is to have a nice visualization of how your creation will look like in the actual stage, and thus adapt and fine tune your creations before going on site.
The second point is to place the screens and projection surfaces in the right position in a 3D space in order to enhance 3d mapping inside the creation process.
First let's build the Stage 3D modeling of the real-world video setup Read More and then we'll build some Content Mapping Automatize complex dispatch of content from the Show toward Content Map Read More .
To create a stage element, such as a Led Screen Screens with a pitch and a luminosity Read More , just do a right click inside stage tab and choose a Planar Led Screen Regular led screen Read More . Then a bog will open asking you to choose which content map will be displayed on that screen:


Note that the Led Screen Screens with a pitch and a luminosity Read More will automatically adapt it's resolution from the Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More we connected it to. Then inside the Planar Led Screen Regular led screen Read More parameters you can find pitch and size information.
Here we will consider that every screen except for the "main Top" are 6mm pitch LED screens. Now let's repeat this operation and place the left / right screens as well as the floor. I leave you place them as you want in your stage, here is how mine looks like. As you see, I chose to put my 0 point on the center bottom of the main central screen.
On the screenshot you'll also see how i placed the right screen. Again, make sure to look at the video at the end of this tutorial if you don't want to miss anything.


Now let's place the bottom screen which has a particular setup. In order to simulate it well we are this time going to use a Tiles Led Screen Is a Led Screen with tiles options Read More instead of a Planar Led Screen Regular led screen Read More :


This Strip Led Screen Has the same behavior as Led Screen but got only a length and a pitch Read More will allow us to simulate led screens with peculiar settings.
As this top area is constituited of 14 small led with a 25x100px resolution, 6x20mm Pitch and separated from each other by 250mm, here is the setting I put inside the Tiles Led Screen Is a Led Screen with tiles options Read More parameters:


Now remain to place the last element, the cube. To do that we will use a Free Shape Led Screen Turn any Smode primitive into a LED screen Read More . The difference between this led screen and the other one is that with this one we cannot simulate the pitch of the LED, that is why we will have to enter the cube size manually in meters.
- Right click->Elements->Free Shade LED screen
- Change "geometry Type" to "Box"
- Finally, change the "Geometry UV mode" to "Horizontal Split"


Note that we used here a Free Shape Led Screen Turn any Smode primitive into a LED screen Read More because here the geometry is simple. If you have a complex LED screen sculpture, you may have to use a fbx with unfolded UVs instead.
Here is a little Tip, to send quickly a test pattern in an element. For that purpose, we'll use the "Signal Mode" of the Content Map This section describes how to set up your content maps and use Content Area Read More :


And here you have it, the stage is created.

Create a 3D stage pre-visualization from the simulation (15:29)

To create a previsualisation we are going to create a new Processor This section describes how to configure Smode processors in order to configure your output(s) and also make some nice and smooth stage pre-visualisations Read More in HD that we'll call "Previz".
Now that we have a 3D stage simulation, we can get it back inside the processors as a Pipeline Layer Use pipeline steps to inject them inside a Processor Read More and create a Camera A camera filming 3D content Read More :


From now on, you have every compositing tools available to make this stage pre-visualization look prettier. You can also import some 3D File External referenced 3D file (.fbx, .obj or .blend) Read More to add details (such as stage / scene / singers etc.)
You just have to connect this previz processor to any output to have a stage pre-vizualisation for client demonstrations or simply for working and creating content.

Use the simulation to display content through content mappings (16:56)

Here we will create a new target inside the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More that will display content around the cube using a spherical mapping. For that we'll use a 3D Camera Mapping Dispatch your content creation using 3D transformations procedures Read More inside the stage simulation and use it deform the medias inside the content map.
First let's create a Mapping Item inside the stage, set it as "Spherical" and place it in the center of the cube:


Now create a 3D Camera Mapping Dispatch your content creation using 3D transformations procedures Read More inside the Pipeline Define how video content is processed in a project Read More , give him a 2K resolution, and choose inside it's parameter the "Spherical Mapping" as Mapping. I renamed this Content Mapping Automatize complex dispatch of content from the Show toward Content Map Read More as "Spherical Mapping" and gave it a color label in order to identify better it's target inside the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More later on.


Now you see that we have a new "Spherical Mapping" target inside our Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More , in which we can send any new content:


Now to discriminate the surfaces in which we want this Content Mapping Automatize complex dispatch of content from the Show toward Content Map Read More to apply, we just have to move elements inside it's parameters from the impacted elements (bottom part) to the excluded ones (top part of the parameters). Here I excluded every surfaces from the Content Mapping Automatize complex dispatch of content from the Show toward Content Map Read More except for the cube:


Another tip, if you want to be sure that your content fit the whole Content Mapping Automatize complex dispatch of content from the Show toward Content Map Read More , do a right click->Placement->full over the content you'll send through this target from the Show Contains all the video content of the project Read More :


Now if you check back the content maps, you'll see the deformations created by the spherical mapping:


And so obviously inside the Output Processors too:


To make that clear, here is what happen inside the stage simulations and content maps once I rotate the cube inside the stage elements. For that demonstration I imported the cube content map inside my "previz" processor:


This technique has many purposes, the first one was to deform what we send through the content maps accordingly to the placement of led screens in the real space, but we can also use that to create interactive installations.
Here I inverted the impacted elements of the 3D Camera Mapping Dispatch your content creation using 3D transformations procedures Read More and linked the rotation of the cube and the spherical mapping using Exposed Parameter Allow to control multiple Link Target with a single value Read More :


Now if you rotate this exposed value, here is what is happening:


Now if we get back the real cube rotation information with any Control Device Use any external controller in MIDI or OSC, DMX and ArtNet Read More such as OSC Use an OSC Device as a controller Read More , midi or whatever, and bind to this Exposed Parameter Allow to control multiple Link Target with a single value Read More , then we'll have our interactive installation.
Go check the other tutorials for other use cases of the 3D Camera Mapping Dispatch your content creation using 3D transformations procedures Read More .


See Also: