BitVision images - share and discuss

Discussion of modular and standalone video generating/processing techniques and associated hardware.

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BitVision images - share and discuss

Post by bitSmasher » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:29 am

For those that own the LZX BitVision, and other curious folk...

The product information mentions
Finally, we wanted BitVision to be an expandable and continually useful tool for creating video art. To this end we’ve included an AVR-ISP programming header on the circuit board which can be used to reprogram BitVision with new images, palettes, or entirely alternate applications

Whilst it's not an entirely straightforward drag+drop to get images on to the BitVision it's still easy enough for most tinkerers with the right tools.
The "hard" part is creating simple 32x32 pixel images that work effectively in terms of both graphics and palette.

Taking the idea from a post in another thread-
andrewF wrote:Maybe we can get an image thread going for people to share code.
If anyone missed it the page for creating new images is here -
http://lzxindustries.net/bitvisiondev/bitvision.swf

for anyone wanting to mod their BitVision: a good way to find images is use google search, select images, then in the left side column, under "Any size" select 'exactly' and input 32 pxl by 32 px, then search away.
images need to be in gif or jpg, but can be easily converted in Paint.
It is even worth just looking for B&W images, as the image converter works off brightness, so these tend to turn out better in Bitvision. Colour images can be hit & miss, some are ok, some don't work at all. Of course if you are creative you can draw your own.
Here it is... a thread to share and discuss BitVision images.

It'd be great to have the image and palette posted as both screenshots and code.

I'm working on a bunch right now and will hopefully have them finished and tested by the weekend - will endeavour to post any/everything I create :cheesy:

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Post by andrewF » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:44 am

here's a bunch
I have the code but it is a 73 page document, maybe better just to choose the ones you want and use Lars' converter page.
Got more somewhere.....will post when i find them
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Post by lizlarsen » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:41 am

Awesome!! I have some I can post, too.

It's important to note that images get split into a 16 color palette when they go into the converter application. This palette is treated like an amplitude map of sorts, and when applied to the Bitvision's envelope follower modulation settings, translates palette index into shape. In the Atari Video Music you have a two mixed horizontal & vertical triangle-wave ramps. These create a diamond shape. In Bitvision, it's the same basic principle, except instead of two ramps, you have a small frame buffer! Therefore when creating images for the Bitvision, it's possible to kind of design an animation into a still image itself.

xart

Post by xart » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:44 pm

OK. you sucked me into it. Time to :party: like its 1977.


Just ordered the AVR programmer. :tu:

How can i resist not making art with 32x32 pixel imagez of my kitty, Princess!

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Post by dantombs » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:37 am

Hi Guys,

Been loving using the bitvision in tandem with my VDMX set up on my Mac, however I am still struggling to get my own custom images on the bitvision, I have a virtual install of windows XP on my mac but getting frustrated with AVR studio, doesn't seem to want to talk to my AVR programmer.

Has anyone had any success with AVR software running natively on Mac OS X?

Thanks Dan

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Post by revmutt » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:25 am

dantombs wrote:
Has anyone had any success with AVR software running natively on Mac OS X?

Thanks Dan
I have the same question. It's really the only thing holding me back. I want to be able to actually program my own images.
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Re: BitVision images - share and discuss

Post by bitSmasher » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:36 am

bitSmasher wrote:I'm working on a bunch right now and will hopefully have them finished and tested by the weekend - will endeavour to post any/everything I create :cheesy:
Did I say weekend of the 14th? Woops, I meant weekend of the 4th... been a bit distracted with equipment failures and other frustrating hardware issues :evil:

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Post by bitSmasher » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:10 am

Alright, after a few weeks of procrastination and other setbacks, I commited myself to get the BitVision working by the weekend...
This'll be split in to two long-winded posts, I'm a bit of a n00b so will detail what I went through for other n00bs to learn from :tu:

Firstly, creating images:
My editor of choice is Paint.NET as it's a bit like MSPaint but with layers and a few extra features. Pretty cool for simple stuff, like what we're undertaking.

Firstly a 32x32 pixel grid was created as my base file, then use a layer or two for drawing in. It took a bit of struggling with strained eyes staring at the grid for a while before I found the "pixel grid" option in View menu... so no need for a grid background anymore and slightly less of this > :zombie:

Using Google image search, and narrowing options to 32x32 size, was a quick and easy way of finding material to start with.
Even easier was the ability to drag the image from FireFox and drop it in Paint.NET, which would create a new layer for it. Brilliant!
A lot of icons rely on shading for detail, a luxury we don't have with our 16 colour palette. To deal with that, the Fill tool was used on Global setting and fine adjustment (plus a lot of ctrl+z) of the Tolerance helped.
All images were edited to use lots of contrasting colours and the shapes outlined where possible - knowing this would make for more effective output when manipulated.

I stuck with the same 16 colours for all images I worked with, but looking back I'd probably create a custom palette of greyscale in Paint.NET to reflect the BitVision's amplitude.
After creating all my images, I tried uploading them to the converter... and realised that it was seeing all my different colours as being the same amplitude. Oops.
What to do? Well, it's clunky and I'd like to know of a way to automate this - I went through each image manually, and changed the colours to grayscale.

Each image had a new layer created, for the grayscale.
A reference graph was made and kept open all the time, and using the colour picker I'd nominate which greyscale amplitude would best suit the actual colour I had used:
Image
A lot of ctrl+tab between images, using the colour picker then fill tool :doh: Didn't take as long as expected, but something to avoid in the future.

Once the images were saved with both colour and grayscale layers I saved the grayscale as a PNG file to convert via the web page. As each file was loaded in to the converter I took a screen snip of the resultant colour, and copied the code. Both of which were saved to individual documents for future reference.

Here's an example of two, I used a lot of game icons (mushroom, star, coin, cherries) as well as a few abstract patterns:

Image

Image

Since I wanted to create a pool of images for us all to use, attached are the first 16 of mine as well as the "standard" palette I started with.
In the zip is both the grayscale PNG file to drop in the converter, and the output code from converter copied and saved as .odt Open Document file (I'm using OpenOffice).
Enjoy 8_)
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Last edited by bitSmasher on Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by bitSmasher » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:37 am

Part 2... lots of swearing involved. Pretty much wasted 8-10 hours getting this working, mighty frustrating.

Conveniently I had a USBtiny AVR programmer from when I bought a SpokePOV kit... but it won't talk to AVR Studio. You need to jump through hoops to get the two working together.
:huh: :!: :eek: :help: :bang: :!: :fu: :bang: :bang: :bang: :twisted: :huh: :rage: :bang: :bang: :nuke: :nuke: :nuke: :nuke: :nuke:

Couldn't get com0com working properly on my Win7 laptop so dug up my old 800mhz thing that's running XP, albeit very slowly. That took a few hours to figure out to start with.
Once AVR Studio 4 could talk to the programmer I tried to build the hex file, but it couldn't find an elf :hmm: Not sure why, there was a mushroom image amongst it all so maybe the elf hid under that.
Just for curiosity's sake I flashed the BitVision with the default hex file to ensure that all worked, and it did. Partial Success! :w00t:

Couldn't figure out why AVR Studio 4 was having issues, so downloaded AVR Studio 5 and installed on my Win7 machine - I didn't dare take a chance with the old beast attempting to run it... but that meant I'd have to transfer the hex file between computers, and at that point I found my old one had a virus. Ugh, virus checks every time I swapped USB sticks, tedium.

You can import AVR S 4 files in to AVR S 5 from the File menu, that's handy. It built the file second go, which was a false success as I couldn't find the hex file anywhere. After half hour of clicking around and searching the web, I found the answer. Sneaky.

You have to right click on the Bitvision folder in "Solution Explorer", select Properties from the dropdown, then tick the box for Hex file to be generated:
Image

This hex file will appear in the Default folder under wherever you chose to save the converted AVR S 4 files.

So... hex file transferred to old computer, flashed to BitVision, and worked! A frustrating and clunky process, but I learnt alot. The above meandering will be of reference to me if noone else, and I'm sure we can all talk our way through the process to refine it and create a decent How-To.

The major obstacle I had was getting the USBtiny programmer working. I didn't appreciate the need to have two additional pieces of software installed just to get AVR Studio talking to it. Are there other affordable and readily available programmers that would be directly compatible with AVR Studio?

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Post by bitSmasher » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:11 am

Triple Post :eek:

Here's a sample of the new images:
[video][/video]

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Post by lizlarsen » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:42 am

Woah, great posts and really great images, Rik! I'm glad you waded through all the setup muck and emerged victorious (and thanks for documenting for everyone else.)

The programmer I'm currently using (with AVR Studio 5) is the AVRISP Mk2. You can get it from DigiKey. It has been very hassle-free for me so far.
http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSea ... avrisp+mk2

A Bitvision page on the video synthesis wiki with some of this info is probably a good idea. I also need to upload code for the current batch (v1.2) of Bitvisions I sent to Analogue Haven a couple weeks ago.

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Post by lizlarsen » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:50 am

Oh, and by the way here are some more "pixel art"-focused graphics creation programs to try out...

Cosmigo Pro Motion
http://www.cosmigo.com/promotion/index.php

GraFX2
http://www.eclipse-game.com/?menu=tools

PxPaint
http://pxp.grapefruitopia.com/

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Post by bitSmasher » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:45 pm

creatorlars wrote:The programmer I'm currently using (with AVR Studio 5) is the AVRISP Mk2. You can get it from DigiKey. It has been very hassle-free for me so far.
http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSea ... avrisp+mk2
Excellent, worth paying a small amount more to avoid a whole lot of hassle :tu:

More images to come soon enough, will get much quicker with experience...

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Post by lizlarsen » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:08 pm

Just a quick note here. The newest Bitvisions that went out for sale are "V1.2" (printed on the PCB.) This version had a couple PCB changes that required a new software version. In addition, I'd moved over to AVR Studio 5 and the AVRISP Mk2 programmer, which is a lot simpler and involves less setup headaches. I've uploaded the V1.2 project code and revised programming instructions here:
http://www.lzxindustries.net/bitvision

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Post by barto » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:14 pm

Lars - do you have some sort of schematic for the physical dimensions? I think i want to model a custom project box and get a 3d print. i could use calipers but i think that will take longer. i dont want this thing to get damaged when i take it to live events.

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Post by lizlarsen » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:18 pm

I can give you a vector file of the 2D PCB layout (like you see in the assembly manual), but I'm afraid the software I use doesn't do a full model of all the parts -- so you may have to use a caliper or something. Or you could look up the datasheets for all the parts and model them, but caliper will probably be less hassle.

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Post by barto » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:22 pm

actually that would be perfect! all i really need is the top down view so i can place holes for the pots and buttons and mounting holes. i can figure out the rest

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Post by lizlarsen » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:24 pm

alright cool! attached is a to-scale PDF.
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Post by bitSmasher » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:07 pm

Screw it to a plank of wood! As seen in bottom right:

Image

You can also see the KPE and HSS3i which are cable tied to another plank of wood :tu:

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Post by DonaldCrunk » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:38 pm

hah! this is what i did with mine as well. woodvision.

loving the new images gents, i'm taking the default images out for a spin at a couple gigs in early april (gotta love the digital egyptian) but after those are over i'm for sure going to be trying some of these out!

my friend is already hard at work pixelating my favorite character choices from Nintendo's Super Smash Brothers Brawl to live inside. those should be nice.

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Post by tachyons+ » Tue May 15, 2012 6:55 pm

Music video that Austin TX visual wizard duo VIDKIDZ created for a song that Os Ovni debuted in April 2012.

The BitVision art was designed by Omebi of O.O. for this video and a tour we did last year using the BV as our background projections. Was mega fun going around the U.S. showing tons of people not familiar with analog video synthesis what the BV is capable of. At times, people seemed more interested in it than our music. Had we the foresight we could have actually sold BV's on tour and supposedly people bought them after our live demonstration. Amazing how well it held up, not being cased and being played on a near nightly basis by different people for 2 months.

Hears the vid:
[video][/video]

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Post by default » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:42 pm

Just ordered said kit. Jumping in here to keep notified. Thanks to the hard work of others! :sb:
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Post by default » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:01 pm

AVR Programmer question without notice.

Has anyone had luck using a AVR STK500 Ver. 2 programmer to talk to the v1.2 BVs? Or are the AVRISP MkII's picky about who they play with? :hmm:

After ten years of not having anything to do with microprocessors, good to see confusion still reins!
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Post by default » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:14 pm

default wrote:Or are the AVRISP MkII's picky...
Sorry, that should read 'Or are the Atmega328's picky...'.

Sleep, I remember sleep.
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Post by lizlarsen » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:25 pm

I've got an AVRISP MkII which I use with AVRStudio 5 to program the current version of the BitVisions. Should be just fine!

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