refleXion news release

At LVA and Wack Monster Interactive We are really excited to launch our new services and software tools into the world this Summer and fall at The Funhouse Toronto . We officially dropped this press release about a month ago and invited a bunch of tech heads and experience creators to come to Funhouse and see what we are up to.

For immediate release: August 19, 2019 

Media Advisory

New Spatial Augmented Reality System Enters Toronto Tech Stream

Launching this month, refleXion, brings its unique visual display technology to the city’s latest pop-up event space

Toronto, ONT, 08/19/2019 — There must be something in the water. How else can you explain the magical visual-effects on display at Toronto’s Funhouse? Deep under the surface of the pop-up venue’s 3rd floor Underwater Ballroom lies a new innovation in multi user visual technology. 
Designed as a tool suite and control system for show designers, artists, marketers and moment-makers, refleXion is launching as a spatial augmented reality experience that enables real-time customization of event visuals like projection mapping, LED displays and lighting systems. The applications are as endless as the ocean is blue – from interactive concerts to live presentations, pre-set visual activations or cumulatively generated curations – the goal is to have a completely unique user-influenced experience with multiple points of interaction to explore. The reactions are environment-based and evolve and project in real-time on immersive visual surfaces. 

With collective backgrounds in UX design, software/game development, digital art and live production, partners Scott Guy and David Boon of Wack Monster Interactive have created the refleXion system out of their desire to enable easy, interesting ways to animate visual experiences. Interacting with 3D-graphics in real-time offers an advanced sense of connectivity between the audience and the live show. Scott, also founder of LiveVideoArt (LVA), a full-service event-visuals and system-controls partner, knows the limitations of current market offerings first-hand.

“As an end-user, the goal was to have a creative 3D tool suite for building reactive visuals and offer complete control of the scene in real-time with an easy to use interface – it’s an empowering way to take your control system to the next level without re-inventing the wheel for every unique application,” says Scott.

LVA, in partnership with Wack Monster, has deployed refleXion to the public for their latest project in creating a 360° ‘Underwater Ballroom’ at The Funhouse Toronto. The space is setup with AR projection-mapping capabilities, interactive elements, music automation and motion-activated scene changes, powered by a custom media server system. refleXion is the AI feuling the animations housed-within, the brains behind the crowd-reactive deep-sea environment. The scenes are filled with schools of fish, seahorses and manta rays, fully-automated with motions that never repeat. Each scene and moment is as unique as the audience witnessing it, and they are encouraged to participate, explore and be surprised with what they uncover along the way. 

“The Funhouse is where refleXion truly came to life, where it really began to swim with an intended ‘mind-of-its-own’. The real-time capabilities of this software allow the visual elements to act independently or be influenced by multiple users. It also gives control to a single-user or the whole audience, depending on your desired result. It reacts to a custom combination of sound, motion, environmental elements and other-users, so it becomes a living world open for each person to discover.”

refleXion is on display at The Funhouse, 101 Lisgar St, during regular operating hours, 3rd floor in the Underwater Ballroom. A special invite-only software launch party will be held September 18, 2019 at The Funhouse. There, creators Scott and David will present key features, entertain with live demos, discuss development and have a Q & A followed by an interactive performance. 

For an invite or for interviews, write to info@livevideoart.com  

About Wack Monster Interactive (WMI):

Founded by creative technologists Scott Guy and David Boon, WMI is a Toronto start-up creating interactive 3D software, games and tools for spatial augmented reality. 

About LiveVideoArt (LVA):

Servicing the entertainment, marketing and tech sectors, LVA designs live visual experiences and builds media server configurations and show-control systems to power high-end projects including multi-projection mapping displays.

PR Contact:

Mandy Leon

mandy@livevideoart.com 

416-317-8715

Online version – 
https://www.prlog.org/12784894-new-spatial-augmented-reality-system-enters-toronto-tech-stream.html

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Adidas time warp with Jam3

Award winning international digital design and production agency Jam3 brought us on board for some amazing projects over the years. Livevideoart is very proud to assist this highly creative and ambitious team and realize some special flagship projects like these two for adidas Originals. We worked with Jam3 team to create powerful interactive immersive experiences around the drop of their latest shoes like the Predator and the newly updated Ozweego.
The Ozweego future of style update and shoe giveaway on August 8th in NYC was a very detailed project with an AR projection system at its core, seamlessly integrated with the set design. The visual concepts were strong and Jam3 delivered amazing content to work with. The whole thing wrapped in a careful social media campaign/free shoe giveaway and it was a big success.
From street side POP Up giveaway in NEW York city to a mobile shipping container deployed in LA and Toronto for the M.L.S cup we are excited to be building augmented reality interactive projection mapping experiences everywhere we go.
Jam3 has been an excellent partner pushing the development of real time projection mapping systems and high quality tech driven experiences like Ozweego project and the Predator experience 2017/18 where we installed a projection mapping media server and installed a floor to ceiling wrap around projection cave into a shipping container. See the case study video by Jam3 and the levels of detail that go into these high end spatial augmented reality experiences.

There are so many possibilities in the experiential marketing sector and we are always pushing the possibilities of what can be done for brands and of course entertainment experiences as well.

The Funhouse is back and about to open June 1st

LIVEVIDEOART is proud to be a big part of The Funhouse Toronto brought to you by Mondo Forma inc. The whole team involved is working overtime and really excited for our upcoming launch Saturday June 1st.
The Funhouse is a walk through exploration exhibit of otherworldly fully immersive art installations and a trip into another dimension that showcases many Toronto artists’ creativity and use of new media technology.

In partnership with Universal music Canada , we are featuring musicians from the label as inspiration to the art rooms, creating visions of the individual artists’ music in tangible form, a feast for the eyes that is drawn from the musicians’ styles.

Spanning the full 3 floors of a custom renovated venue and event space-turned-underwater psychedelic ballroom, that we augmented with a fully immersive smart digital projection environment.
In 2018 we were brought in to add projection mapping illusions to some of the scenes within this massive ARTstravaganza.
After a year of delays beyond our control the project is back for 2019 and all set to open on June 1st. We are really happy we stuck with it and have to send a huge thanks to Mondo Forma inc for making it work out. Mondo Forma is a group of young and creative Toronto entrepreneurs who may be best known for the previous project The House of VR on Queen St. in Toronto. I first met with the team when I took part in a HOVR special event for Nuit Blanche 2017 and we foreshadowed a future of collaborating on something bigger . Well this is the something bigger and with the new location + all the amazing work that gone in  from a huge group of co-creators we are set to launch something even more incredible than I had dreamed and it’s all about the art made for Toronto by Toronto.

As Digital Media Co Lead I am designing and installing the projection mapping systems and animated content. Collaborating with LED lighting lead Nathan Wilford  and Aaron an old friend from Solstice Festival days as electrician in lighting the space and integrating projections and creative vfx over some amazing set pieces built by the production build team Manual Arts and the massive art/design team.

Rigging and testing projectors

We are deploying multiple projection and smart lighting systems to enhance the spaces created in collaborations with a deeply talented group of set designers and artists of different styles and mediums all guided by the high level design vision of the department heads and leaders like Creative Director Steph Payne and Lead ballroom prop maker Leigh Van Maaren. @binaryrainbow . You should take a minute and see all the artists involved on The Funhouse website here ..

Instead of simply creating a seamless projection scene, we pushed our media server and real time control technology to the next level, delivering something brand new and especially mind-bending.
Designed to work with our media servers and created by our sister company, dev team Wack Monster, founded by David Boon and Scott Guy. We are excited to be  premiering refleXion augmented reality 3d projection mapping tools . With our game engine based projection mapping tools we can create living scenes filled with objects, effects and creatures that react to real world inputs and deliver a smart and exploratory visual experience. Big kudos to David for all his crafty coding and  engineering as we have been designing / prototyping the refleXion suite of tools and have developed some interesting ways to interact with live real time visuals. For The Funhouse realtime 3D underwater world we built an array of simple PIR sensors that collect movement data from the entire room.

reflexion sensors . custom made PCB with 3D printed cases .

Projection mapping realtime 3D worlds with refleXion and the power of Resolume Arena projection mapping tools

I will follow up with some more posts about the refleXion system being used at The Funhouse underwater ballroom as I finish the installation and run it over the summer. Additional posts will feature the work collaborating with Casey Watson / Jazz Cartier Ben Johnson and other artists in the Funhouse art maze preceding the ballroom.

 

LIVEVIDEOART is providing the latest LVA360 media server to power the main Underwater Ballroom space. This will drive synchronised visuals to 7 video projectors and also control the room lighting , sound and be automated by a programmed schedule and collection of presets and live crowd scale motion sensor inputs.

We are using a variety of projectors to achieve the illusions and they are all being provided by our amazing tech hardware sponsor Big Digital Corp.  LVA has worked with Big Digital regularly over the last 2 years as their projection mapping technologist while they have been delivering top tech solutions around Toronto and Canada like the Genesis Experience at Pearson Airport or projection mapping City Hall for the Drake Scorpion album launch. I thank them on behalf of everyone at The Funhouse for setting us up with a great set of installation-class projectors and other hardware.

It is a privilege to be part of something like this and I cant wait to see it come alive for you all to experience. Adding projections into such a detailed set is a huge responsibility so I am pleased to say I think we nailed it and had a great time collaborating with the rest of the team .

Watch the @livevideoart and @reflexion_visuals Instagram for lots of behind the scenes posts throughout the summer.

Tickets are on sale and available here https://www.showclix.com/event/the-funhouse-toronto

http://www.funhousetoronto.com

Scott Vj Guy – LIVEVIDEOART
The Funhouse Digital Media Co Lead

Motion and depth sensors for AR and Mixed Reality

We have been using several types of sensor and depth cameras over the years to enable advance 3d tracking of peoples positions or even full skeletons. More and more this is being integrated into live visual experiences, used to control the latest real time projected AR graphics. We are aiming to support a variety of sensors in the refleXion augmented reality projections toolkit and I thought I could list some of the most interesting systems I came across in my research.

When Microsoft first came out with the Kinect sensor it was a game changer for people wanting access to affordable and high quality motion tracking. I was excited to see this kind of tech rise and find ways to use it myself like we are doing with unity 3d and refleXion Visuals . Many in the field were sad to hear the Kinect was going off the market but I am happy to say now we have a new Kinect-DK coming and it is more designed for developers this time. It is cloud enabled for deep learning and I guess whatever you can dream upI am very excited to try it out hopefully in the next month or so. When I do I will write up a little report and post a example.

New hotness !

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/kinect-dk/

The ZED camera by Stereo Labs is a special device that I see a lot of potential in. It has two depth cameras for 2K stereoscopic vision and Zdepth detection.

Also built into the camera body is a set of motion and gyro sensors that can detect positional and orientation movements for the on board SLAM (Similtanious Localization And Mapping). ZED can act as the eyes and positional brain for and autonomous navigating robot.  With a range of up to 20 Meters I am very interested in using the ZED camera in our refleXion toolkit for full room depth and motion tracking. There is the regular and the ZED mini that is intended for a VR head mount display upgrade so you can do pass through AR and depth tracking

For developers and researchers looking for a small light weight low er cost solution for machine vision sensor  Tera Bee has some interesting products I could see being very useful in full room AR installations . The Active IR time of flight depth sensors and mini Lidar are meant for high speed depth detection and can be used in scenarios where privacy is protected and vision cameras are not acceptable.

The one system I know I want but can’t afford unless we get a big BIG project is Black Trax from Cast software . Black Trax is a ultra high end solution for detailed positional tracking. It uses a proprietary beacon system and TOF IR cameras to locate up to 80 different objects precise  movement and orientation. with this you can do things like have auto tracking spotlights on performers and projection mapping on moving objects.  Black Trax is a full system of hardware components and PC server to calibrate and stream the data. The positional data can be sent to any number of inputs like a media server or game engine.

Best regards to anyone who I met this week at FITC , Thank you Shawn and the organizers it was a lot of fun and there were really good presentations and demos throughout . Shout out to Beeple for 12 years of every days . I don’t know how you do it . Good guy, gave me a few moments to talk shop. More about that later.

 

Reverse blogging from insta | Casa Loma 2016

Been organizing my posts on the new insta account and sharing some info on past projects in sets of 3 posts .  All together they make a decent blog entry.

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Large scale multi projection installations require meticulous planning and the right equipment to get high quality results. While working at Casa Loma in 2015-2016 Livevideoart founder @scottvjguy helped design, install and calibrate multiple permanent projection systems. Before that in 2014 we were also the first ever to do projection mapping on this historic building for #dongoodtequila. See the warping mesh here that helps fit the content tightly to the 3d building surface. Achieved with @avstumpfl vioso wings on a custom build PC media server. —- #livevideoart #livevisuals #3dprojectionmapping #mediaserver #projectionmapping #illumination #lightfestival #themeparks #legendsofhorror #installationart #technician #immersive #vioso #casaloma

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Casa Loma started construction in 1911. Working in a designated historical building can be tricky. Many things are actually set in stone and compromise is constantly required to get anything done. Non invasive installation techniques are critical because everything you touch is history. The challenge was worth it because to me it felt like we were representing more than just an event or company. It helps to know the history of a place so if anyone living in Toronto has yet to visit the Casa then I highly encourage it. Built by Sir Henry Pellatt who was Canadas top financier of industry and the General of The Queens Own Rifles. The Gothic Revival style was designed by E.J. Lennox and built by master trades people using fine imported materials from Europe. A big reason for building such a grand mansion was to host royal visits of the King and Queen of england. The place has a interesting history for sure. Many movies and shows are filmed here and it was even a base for our military intelligence spy group during WW2. My Mother brought me here as a kid a lot because we lived just below the hill house in Toronto's Annex neighborhood so it felt strangely like home when I worked there and got to know every inch of the place. Its like I have some odd connection with historical sites . I used to live in one and have worked at several now. ———- #livevideoart #historicalbuilding #toronto #torontonightlife #canadianhistory #casaloma #productiondesign #projectionmapping #eventdesoign #castle #canadascastle #canada150🇨🇦 #canada150 #mediaserver #filmlocation #stockfootage #themepark #immersive #experience #hollywoodnorth #vioso #sgp360 #aerial #drone #areialphotography

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More from the Casa archive, Legends Of Horror 2016~ Developing projection systems across a location as large as Casa Loma required a wide range of equipment and techniques. We used aerial drone photos and digital photogrametry to make the 3d casa model template for projection effects. A variety of speciality projection rigs were needed to cover the expansive live walkthrough shows. It was a great learning experience working under and along side some really talented people at Liberty Entertainment and EMD shows. It hepled make clear to me the way forward for my projection mapping services. ———— #photogrametry #projectionmapping #livevideoart #casaloma #productionlife #mediaserver #projectormount #installation #themepark #experiential #theatertech #livedesign #3dprojectionmapping #barcoprojectors #optomaprojectors #fabrication #casedesign #installationdesign #videoprojectionmapping #3dscan #buildingscan #drone #photosynth #casioprojectors #realityscan #newmediaart #newmedia #casaloma

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Fairland Funhouse Funjob

I was contacted earlier this year about getting involved in the production of a amazing arts and music pop up venue known as Fiarland Funhouse.  The walk through “art maze” and venue experience to be installed in a fantastic location in Kensington Market that was formerly a grocery store. The Funhouse crew is transforming the space with a full renovation to lead the way for the installation of a series of immersive art installations.
I was happy to join Creative Director Stephanie Payne and the rest of the collaborative team as a Technical Director and Lead Projection designer.  Fairlands Funhouse is a great opportunity to work together with a great collection of local artists and creators , some of the team I know already as friends and previous collaborators too so its a really great project to be a part of and build something fun and truly creative for all of Toronto to enjoy.

The pre production is almost done and we are ready to get into the location to set up all the fun , waiting on a few last details and working out the bugs in our new projections system. The place opens in early August and runs into October so there will be lots to share and show everyone from the production to the final works. I hope everyone I know in the area will come and join the experience.

Visit the Funhouse website here for info and tickets –
http://fairlandfunhouse.com

Blog rebuild 2.0

After being hacked and wiped once again I sure hope we have solved our security issues.

LIVEVIDEOART is still here and all those blog posts I put my deepest thoughts into will be reposted and remain in the Archive Section of a new better more regular blog .

Please Visit my Facebook page and drop me a line until we have this site back up to par. https://www.facebook.com/VjGuy/

Or Follow https://www.instagram.com/scottvjguy/

Lighting Up Whiteout

Friday January 26th I will be at MOD club presenting some specially made projection mapping for the Icy cavern theme party Whiteout

Facebook event : https://www.facebook.com/events/1980640345533715/
You may have heard about my friends who built Toronto’s most famous art car, Heavy Meta. The project is one of many well conceived and executed plans to come out of The 4tress. The local Toronto shop is the home for this creative collective who hail from all walks of life . They come together with a multitude of skills creating some excellent experiential art like Heavy Meta, a fire Breathing Dragon built from an old school bus . They had a great first year traveling North America sharing this epic moving art and now that 2018 is here they have even bigger plans and are looking for help raising funds for a new project and some dragon upgrades .
See the team in these shots at The 4tress now hard at work building an awesome set for me to project some frosty effects onto.

Meanwhile I am here working on how to render ice and convincing lighting effects shining through it like this so it can be projected onto the the stage set creating an illusion of depth with refracted light.It should be a cool event (forgive the pun) when we have it all together on stage at MOD club this Friday !

Toronto Light Festival (featuring Heavy Meta)
The Toronto light fest in the distillery district is on again now till March. The free outdoor event hosts a series of light sculpture installations in this historic location. This year featuring some great new additions like the fire breathing dragon Heavy Meta and team of hot fire masters and dragon tamers. It’s worth a walk through to see some art and there are a few good places to eat there too. I hope to see more projection mapping in light festivals of Toronto in the Future and hopefully participate in one locally or possibly in another city.
Thanks too BlogTO for sharing this piece on the Light Fest.

Thanks again for reading the live video art blog. More reviews , projects and event announcements coming soon.
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My appologies to anyone who recieved an unfinished draft version of this post yesterday, it was accidently published. Thanks for your understanding .

International Inspirations

Inspirational, award winning projections from around the world.

The best of the best examples in the field of projection mappings are from across the pond in Europe and other light art supporting nations. It’s not that we don’t have the talent here in NA , WE DO . It’s the support of these larger than life creative public shows that is lacking. Projection Competitions and light festivals are pushing designers to do their very best work and showcasing them on the ultimate large scale HD canvases.

Events like IMap in Romania , The Berlin Festival of Lights and even a large one happening in Sydney Australia offer a deep program of world class projection arts for viewers to enjoy
(scroll dwn to the videos below for some amazing inspirational work).
The cost of such installations are impossibly prohibitive to any grass roots creative collective – so that bill needs to be covered by a major sponsor or government organization. Unfortunately in North America I feel it is harder to get major support for projects that do not include immediate profits or marketing returns. Also I’ve found the way our modern cities are built there are very few appropriate and interesting buildings available to project upon. Light pollution is a major issue for us and I envy all the historical cities that have these old town squares that are historically preserved and not filled with massive animated billboards , street lights and advertisements. There may be more opportunities in the USA because they simply have more buildings and cities. In all of Canada we have only one Capitol building in our one federal capital city but in Europe every small country has a selection of historical castles and state buildings just begging to be lit up.
I have been lucky to work on a few very creative and ambitious commercial projects over the years at venues like Casa Loma in Toronto and for digital marketing firms like Big Digital and Jam 3 inc.
Casa Loma is actually a very interesting large scale canvas with a lot of creative possibilities and I hope to work on another creation there in the future.
I would love to see more high quality large scale public projection art around Toronto but there have definitely been some great achievements in our neck of the woods.

The show at the Parliament building in Ottawa for Canada 150 is a great example of a public large scale projection mapping animating a historical or iconic building with high detail themed 3D visuals.
The Montreal based Moment Factory is responsible for some of the most exciting stage show and public installations around Montreal, Ottawa and many international locations.
Software Touch Designer , the acclaimed interactive visual tool often used by Moment Factory and many others is developed by Toronto development company Derivative

I have yet to attend an international projection mapping or light festival but I will be very soon. I had to cancel plans to attend Berlin Festival of Lights last October due to a big project at home.
The festival in Berlin Germany is one of the biggest and has inspired several sister events around the world like IMapp .
Some of my early inspiration comes from watching videos of these awe inspiring public events from over seas. Around 2010 to 2012 I started seeing these amazing videos from Germany, France and Amsterdam by creative agencies like MUSE Agency from Amsterdam. MUSE is possibly now closed because I haven’t seen anything from them online in about 5 years but they deserve massive cred for paving the way for the medium.
Today you can attend great mapping focused events like IMap in Bucharest Romania, The Berlin Light Festival and in Leon in the South of France is the historically famous light festival where it all started in Europe. All these are destination special events for any fan of the art of projection mapping and general illuminations. I hope to attend and also compete in one of these events in the near future. In North america there is not really comparable mapping competitions but that will hopefully change in time and I aim to be part of that new wave( if there is a will there is a way).
Right now I am really impressed by incredible works from the likes of Limelight3D mapping and production groups like Maxxin10sity projected onto some beautiful building architecture around the world. Check out these winning entries at IMap Bucharest Romania. This massive building provides the canvas for one of the largest projection shows in the world.

IMapp 2017 winning submissionÂ
This level of creative production is beyond what any commercial project would aim to achieve. It takes major sponsorship support dollars to pull it off and still holds its creative integrity by not being turned into a massive advertisement or branding exercise. I do hope to design or contribute to a massive projection like this in a competition setting like IMap in the future.

Winning entry for IMapp 2016 is possibly favorite piece I have seen by the excellent Limelight 3D Mapping company.Â
Panasonic provided projectors for this production and in this video they partially reveal how it is possible to create such immense scale and high detail projection shows. linking over 100 projectors together to playback the amazing works of the projection design competitors from around the world. You can see the special rigging employed to line up all the beams perfectly and how they arranged several arrays on scaffold towers pointing at different angles to ideally cover all visible surfaces of the building.
MAXIN10SITY is the projection mapping company responsible for much of the technical and creative design that powers these shows. Just like in our LiveVideoArt.ca projects they use advanced digital media servers and video mapping software but on a massive scale it seems they can cover any size building with high detail animations.

Learn more about IMap in Romania on the official website. IMap is one of the world’s premiere projection mapping festival showcases. Every year presenting the best of the best mapping animation submissions from around the world.

Click for the IMapp website

MAXIN10SITY is a major player in projection mappings . Also from Romania and a partner in realizing the IMAP projects. They are a team of design curators , technical specialists and amazing animators putting on some of the largest and most impressive shows across the world.

Watch these two stunning presentations on the Palace of Karlsruhe a large museum in Germany.

I really think these companies and competitive public showcases are pushing the boundaries of the art form and setting the bar for other projection productions to aim for be they commercially motivated or for free public entertainment.
There certainly are a huge amount of talented installation designers and animators here working on some amazing productions so I would love to see a international level competition emerge near me that showcases some of our best of the best projection mappers. LIVEVIDEOART.CA would differently submit to compete or want to assist the production .

In a future post I want to discuss some of my favourite animators and interactive experience designers like digital sculpture master Luminokaya and Android Jones who are using custom full dome projection systems and 360 render techniques as well as take a look at MICRODOSE VR a interactive virtual reality visual performance tool designed by some really smart guys including performing artists like Android and a favourite musician of mine Blue Tech .

Hope you enjoyed the post and we see you again at LIVEVIDEOART,CA , please subscribe and share.

 

User Review – Wacom Intous Generations

Wacom Intous Pro
An independent long term user review by Scott Vj Guy
(Live video art is not sponsored by or affiliated with Wacom company this is just a story of my user experience)

The drawing tablet is my main input device on the computer when using creative software. It is critical for using Zbrush, Photoshop and Maya in certain workflows. I also now use it when doing more complex video mapping setups that require lots of warping and edit point adjustments. I have worked with several models and sizes over the years and owned the Intous 3 and 5 medium size.
I don’t enjoy using the smallest version nearly as much because its cramped and does not offer as much detail across the screen. I have large hands and like to rest on the surface so the large version feels good but it is too big for most desks and not portable. The medium is perfect for me.

Touch and wireless feature are nice bit build quality and durability suffer in the latest versions. It is lighter and smaller.

My Intous 3 was great but brokedown after about 10 years after heavy use and some rough transportation. I got the version 5 as a replacement around two years ago.
It was nice at first with wireless connection and a touch panel feature. I do really enjoy that touch feature in some programs and the new take on the scroll wheel with 4 modes was very useful. The pen that comes with the v5 is a bit smaller than the old one and I liked the old larger version. I think for my bigger hands the side button is easier to hit on the bigger intous 3 stylus.
So I was enjoying the Intous 5 but unfortunately over Christmas my Intous 5 has broken after only just over 2 years so just outside warranty. The the board inside the device is failing somehow and the tablet will not stay on even with a fully charged battery or plugged in with USB. I think it might be a result of often holding the device in my right hand while I draw with the left in seated or standing positions. The tablet might have over flexed in my usage but I have been careful with it so I feel the toughness of this new version is much lower than the old. There are also many reports of the USB connection port getting damaged from cable bending and causing problems like not recharging or connecting. So I went online to find a replacement used and I got lucky. I found a like new condition Intous 3 for $80 and scooped it up .

Old classic outshines the new fancy version.

I love my new classic 3. The pen technology is the same industry standard that Wacom is known for and the whole thing is slightly bigger and more solid. I think the drawing surface is slightly bigger and the frame around it is much thicker and made of hard plastic. Like the first one I had, I expect it will last a long time if I care for the cord. The latest version is much lighter and made of a softer plastic and I think that was an unfortunate choice by Wacom but possibly to reduce cost. I question if it being wireless is a good upgrade at all? Personally I am happy to not even think about keeping the v3 charged. Apparently many of the problems people having with broken Intous 4 and 5 is starting at the connection point of the removable USB cable used for charging. This port on the v 4 and 5 can easily be broken . Version 3 has a hard wired connection that is quite durable, re enforced even and cleverly connected with 2 channels for the cable to lay into avoiding it ever getting pinched . The 5 was cool and I liked the touch feature a lot but you can’t beat the build of the 3. I would stay away from the 4. It is a first attempt at the new style and was quickly replaced by the 5.

Look for it used .
You can find the 3 and 5 used from sellers on common online platforms. Ensure the full drawing surface is working and the surface or connection is not damaged .
I would definitely recommend to anyone looking to buy one of these to do the same as I just did and search for a used Intous 3 for a fraction of the $400 current model.

Pros & Cons :
It is really a personal usage preference if you like the size difference between the Intous 3 and 5 . I like the larger pen and tablet casing on the classic version 3 but a smaller human might better enjoy the smaller lighter 5

ProsÂ

  • Intous 3 – Industry standard pressure sensitivity tablet
  • Intous 3 – Hard Surface casing better IMHO than new softer build
  • Intous 3 – Long and sturdy USB cable that is hard wired to device.
  • Intous 3 – It’s more durable
  • Intous 5 – New touch feature
  • Intous 5 – New scroll wheel with 4 modes
  • Intous 5 – Light weight
  • Intous 5 – Wireless

Cons

  • Intous 3 – Wired , because some people hate wires
  • Intous 3 – Less custom button and slider functionality
  • Intous 5 – Softer plastic build
  • Intous 5 – Overtly flexible
  • Intous 5 – Weak USB port on device

Z Brush Character by Scott Guy created using drawing tablet.

Using wacom intous for concept art pieces like this photo paintover

Verdict:
The drawing tablet is an essential tool for many digital artists so it’s a must have for some, and Wacom seem to totally own the market with it’s line of professional tools . I liked both versions that I have had and the touch feature from the new one will be missed since I am using the classic 3 again but it was unfortunate that the version 5 I had broke. I think the version 3 is much better built and am glad I was able to find one in like new condition . There are lower cost options like the Bamboo but I recommend anyone getting into professional or serious hobby digital art should get themselves one of these professional grade tools and get drawing .

Link :Â http://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/pen-tablets/wacom-intuos-pro-overview

Thanks for coming , I hope these review are useful to someone out there . It’s therapeutic for me to write about tech 🙂

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Eurocom Sky X7e User Review

Eurocom Sky X7e . A Portable VJ/VR ready Beast !
An independent long term user review by Scott Vj Guy


For the past couple years I have wanted to move onto a new more portable high powered notebook for show control and portable workstation. I have have been running a mini tower PC for about 6 years and it is getting old and tired from travel plus I am getting more contract jobs for companies that need me to come in and work on location. It was hard to find a system that offered all the power I wanted in a notebook platform. I considered a wide spectrum of computers from gaming systems to tablet hybrids and portable workstations looking for the perfect balance of power and features. In the end I had to make some compromises but ultimately got what I need. After researching and comparing for months and looking at big name and US based custom PC builders I made a discovery right in my backyard .

Once I started leaning toward the custom notebook workstation option I found that the Origin PC EON17 and the Sager NP9876 both custom pc builds from USA I was looking at are the same base system chassis known as a Clevo and it is a system also used by Canadian based builders Eurocom and sold configurable from Eurocom or in pre configured models at Best Buy Online.
The Sky X7e2 is a hefty but really cool modular Notebook computer packing high end desktop features. Four drive bays (2 are M.2 PCIe) and four RAM slots. The X9 model can even support 2 1080 GPUs in SLI for extreme GPU power. The motherboard inside uses a PC spec socket 1152 Sky Lake or Kabby Lake CPU that is great because the chip is more efficient than most mobile options. The size of the machine is actually perfect for me. I love the full size backlit KB and the solid feeling when resting my hands on the chassis. The monitor hinge is good and tight and display is safely encased in a fair amount of hard plastic. There is no Optical drive in mine and only one HDD so hardly any moving parts.
There is a 4k 60hz screen that does look incredible or 1440p 120hz option available. I got the 4k but I sort of wish mine had the 1440p screen because 4K is maybe a bit more pixels than needed on a 17 inch screen. I think I would maybe trade for the faster 120hz screen at 1440×2160 resolution if given the chance.
For me the video outputs are the piece de resistance on this computer. All these systems have the same 3 dedicated video outputs . HDMI + Two 2 x MiniDisplayPort 1.2 .

The Sky X7E2 is specially built for power users with a budget for computing power. Special features like high tech cooling system under a nice back lit full keyboard with number pad. Not to mention Bluetooth, Four USB3 and Two Thunderbolt ports, card reader, finger print scanner, webcam, NV G-sync support and some quality builtin speakers!
This 17.3 inch Notebook system is packed with features and options.
Feels durable, well made and assembled so I hope the build quality is good over time. Fins on cooling vents are a bit flexible but maybe meant for just keeping debris out of there.
Basically this system is a high end frame that’s as good as the components you put in it and several companies have adopted the frame.
It’s a beast book but I am looking for power not pretty.
It does what’s expected of it very well but not everything is perfect.
It’s very heavy on its own and with the power pack you have to carry around it is a real load. Some would consider it too much to carry around all the time but I am fine moving it from house to car to location as needed but I do feel it every time I pick it up. Battery unfortunately does not last any more than 2 hours and less if you are doing anything GPU intensive but that was expected as spec. I am going to see if I can find a higher capacity compatible battery.
I only have strong issues with the power supply. In addition to it being heavy with a short cord the power supply plug in back of computer is a bit shallow and can easily pull out. This is sometimes caused by the weight of the power block hanging below.
Not really a complaint but it would be nice to have a touch display option.Â

The base system is extremely expandable. I upgraded from the stock config 16gb up to 32 gb of DDR4 RAM and added a new 500gb SSD
This system I have plays the latest games at the highest settings in 1080p 60 FPS with ease , getting 30 to 40 fps at 4K . Tested Star Citizen , Assassins Creed Origins, Destiny 2, Steep, For Honor and more. I have been enjoying plugging it into my 55inch 4K display for gaming in screen mirroring mode and using a bluetooth Xbox One controller to play .
I also use multi monitors in extended display mode with creative applications like Maya Zbrush and Adobe creative suite. Once set up this is fine when spanning over to a 4K screen but I have run into complications connecting multiple screens with various resolutions. In order to read text on the built in 4k screen you are forced to enable text scaling in the Windows display options and this can sometimes conflict with certain apps and the way things look on others screens like smaller external 1080p displays.
Now this is a Windows related issue and not anything to do with the quality of the laptop. It is something specific to running a 4k screen on a notebook.
If there is a way to set scaling for screens individually in windows this would be better.

Reviewed system specs :
Eurocom Sky X7E2.
CPU : i7 6700k 4.0 , GPU: GTX 1080 8gb , Memory : 32gb RAM, SSD: 1x 500gb N2m pciE, SSD: 1x 500GB Samsung Pro, HDD: 1x 1TB HDD,Â

Pros:

  • GTX 1080 8gb GPU (desktop class chip)
  • 4K and 1440p 120hz display options
  • Multiple 4K Display outputs like a desktop GPU (1x HDMI, 2x MiniDisplayport)
  • Massive expandability with 4 drive bays N2m PCIE drive support
  • Dependable desktop class intel i7 Skylake quad core. Latest Kabby Lake Options available
  • 1x Thunderbolt, 1x USB 3.1C, 4x USB 3.0 (lots of connectivity)
  • BlueTooth, fingerprint scanner
  • Full size backlit keyboard
  • Excellent speaker system

Cons:

  • Heavy . 8.6 LBS heavy plus a power supply that weighs in at least 5 or 6 pounds. 13 + lbs is a lot
  • 4K display is only 60hz
  • 2 hours or less battery life
  • Power supply cord should be a bit longer and it is very heavy.
  • Power supply plug in back of computer is a bit shallow and can easily pull out. (common Pc laptop issue )
  • No Touch screen options
  • Limited camera options

Verdict:
The Sky X7E2 does everything I expected very well. For more casual lifestyle computing I would pick up a small hybrid tablet laptop but Ultimately the Eurocom Sky7 delivers High speed , High Power, High resolutions capabilities. It weighs a ton but I can deal because it gets the jobs done and I make a point of landing demanding jobs that are often spanned across multiple locations or traveling to do VJ performances and installations.

Link : http://www.eurocom.com/ec/configure(2,386,0)SkyX7E2

Live Video Art Gear

Here is some of the latest gear I am using in my kit rn and why.

Desktop Powered Notebook for show control and portable workstation.
Eurocom Sky Xe7 . A Portable VR / VJ Beast !
Excerpt from my latest user review,
” After researching and comparing for months I discovered a system known as a Clevo and it is also used by Canadian based builders Eurocom. These are bulky but really cool modular Notebook frames. 4 drive bays(2 are M.2 PCIe) and 4 RAM slots and a 8gb GTX 1080 GPU. Packed in with a high tech cooling system under a nice back lit full keyboard w num pad. The motherboard inside uses a PC spec CPU that is great because it costs less and runs faster than most mobile options. Also a 4k screen and the piece de resistance for a VJ all these systems have the same 3 dedicated video outputs . HDMI + Two 2 x MiniDisplayPort 1.2 . Not to mention 4 USB3 and 2 Thunderbolt!”
See the full review here:Â http://vjguy.ca/2018/01/20/user-review-notebook-workstation-eurocom-sky-xe7-clevo/
Product Link : http://www.eurocom.com/ec/configure(2,386,0)SkyX7E2

Micro Projectors
Recently I have used lots of these little mini LED projectors to great effect . If you can manage creative uses of content across multiple projectors at this size you can make projection effects nearly anywhere .
Wanting a set of 4 of these little beauties for my own kit to use on the go and for smaller creative or commercial installations.
Link:Â https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1335995-REG/aaxa_technologies_mp_600_01_m6_led_pico_micro_projector.html

Ultra Short Throw Projectors
Ultra short throw units are highly purpose built for creating a surprisingly large screen when mounted from only a foot and a half away from the wall. Recently by combining up to 6Â units I have used them to create wrap around image projection rooms in witch the viewers can walk and not obscure the image.
Ill be following up with another post soon covering more details on current projector tech like Laser ,LED , Ultra Short Throw and micro projectors that will cover the bennifits and best uses for each.
Link:Â http://www.projectorcentral.com/Casio-XJ-UT310WN.htm

Laser Phospor Color and Laser Hybrid Projectors
More on this in a later post but this new light source technology is nothing short of a revolution in the video projection installation world. This lampless technology makes current generation projectors last much longer without maintenance and they are far lighter and more durable as well.

360 Camera
I have been shooting all year with the Samsung Gear 360 camera . Collecting 360 footage and experiences and learning how to use the 360 view type creatively. I’ve been getting excellent time lapse 360 shots of my production jobs and it gives a great way to record the all surrounding immersive experiences that I create . Check out my 360 content online on Veer.tv. Â

Mavic Pro Drone
As a first time drone owner and operator starting in 2017 and getting into aerial photography I have to say the DJI Mavic Pro has been amazing and I might have a lot more to say about it in a full review post coming soon. I have used it almost everywhere I’ve gone and pushed it in non ideal circumstances. It makes beautiful video and photos that are amazingly stable and it is a dream to fly with several useful autopilot modes. Its also super durable and I may know after having several “emergency Landings” In trees mostly .
After a year of flying and learning a lot of lessons the little guy is flying great and I am in progress of editing a video of our adventures. Look for that post and a full MavicPro review coming soon.

Wacom Intous Pro
The drawing tablet is my main input device on the computer when using creative software. It is critical for using Zbrush, Photoshop and Maya. I have worked with several models and owned the Intous 3 and 5 and now the 3 again. See my up coming Wacom review and why I prefer the Intous Pro v3 over the 4.
Link :Â http://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/pen-tablets/wacom-intuos-pro-overview

Modular LED kits,
In the last few years I have been incorporating LED light systems into my staging and artistic projection mapping installations. I’ve used several controllers for LED strips from supplier Holiday Coro including the AlphaPix 3 for addressable LED strip control via Artnet . Connected to the ENTTEC DMX to USB decoder box feeding control signal from Resolume Arena or other live visual software .
Link : http://www.holidaycoro.com/AlphaPix-16-Pixel-Controller-V3-p/721-v3.htm

ENTTEC DMX USB
These devices are a critical part of the chain when controlling any DMX fixture from your computer using software like Resolume, Light Jockey and Wings.
Link :Â https://www.enttec.com/us/products/controls/dmx-usb/pro-mk2/

MS Kinect
The Kinect motion sensor for Microsoft Xbox1 and PC (support since discontinued) is extreemly useful when creating interactive installations and also for 3D scanning and motion tracking applications. I have been experimenting with Kinect since its release and used it in several live projects

Midi Controller
Akai MPD 226. Professional Build quality , illuminated buttons , Great for expressing yourself during VJ performances.

Trackball

I recently moved back to using a trackball instead of mouse and I like it much better. I also heavily usa a tablet and a Midi Controller when performing but the track ball is a great replacement for the mouse.

These are all key hardware components in my regular performance and day to day process.

I look forward to adding a future post about software tools .

Hope everyone is having a Happy New Year

Vj Guy