How to draw in laser | Pangolin Laser Systems

How to draw in laser

Laser graphics, logos, text and abstracts (as shown below) are some of the nicest things that can be projected when running a laser light show. They have also become an essential part of many laser displays, and you see these types of projections at corporate events, trade shows, festivals, arena shows and more. Pangolin laser show software already includes a wide variety of laser content and cues, much of which is graphical in nature. In this educational post we are going to show you how to create your own custom laser graphics, logos, text, beam effects and abstracts, as well as teach you how to animate that content, so you can truly bring it to life. So let’s begin…

Watch the video, and develop a foundation.

To start, watch this video tutorial below from our good friend Nathan Miller. In the video, Nathan will show you four easy ways to create and draw your own custom laser graphics, animations, text and logos, using the Pangolin QuickShow laser show software. Many of the principles here also apply to our higher level BEYOND laser show software. So understanding these concepts helps build a foundation for you to grow from.

* NOTE – To create quality laser graphics, logos and text, you need to use a professional laser show projector with a high speed optical scanning system. While there are many good laser projectors on the market, we recommend our ClubMAX line of laser show projectors in that regard, because they use the state-of-the-art Compact-506 optical scanning system, which is one of the fastest and most durable optical scanners in the world. In this video, Nathan uses a ClubMAX 3000 laser projector to create the content displayed. 

Examples of laser graphics, logos, text and abstracts


Now, lets review the main tools inside Pangolin Software, that make this all possible…

QuickTrace – For fast and easy laser logos.

The QuickTrace tool inside of Pangolin laser show software (both QuickShow and BEYOND) allows you to quickly and easily covert an existing bitmap graphic file into a projected laser display. You can see a tutorial below demonstrating this feature inside of the QuickShow software. The same principles showcased in this tutorial, carry over to, and are expanded upon, in our professional level BEYOND laser show software.

You can see screen shots of the QuickTrace tools in QuickShow and BEYOND below.

QuickTrace inside of QuickShow

laser show software

QuickTrace inside of BEYOND

QuickTrace Laser Show Software BEYOND

The QuickTrace feature inside of both QuickShow and BEYOND also offers multiple import detection modes, allowing you to import bitmap images in different ways, to obtain a more optimized result. These import methods include:

Color Separation
Separates the image based on it´s different colors.

Highlight Separation
Detects the image based on it´s brightness and contrast. A threshold determines the detected information that is used for the resulting laser image.

Centerline Separation 
Detects the image based on it´s brightness contrast but also combines narrow double lines into one line (in the center) to create the laser image.

Useful Tip! – Convert your bitmaps to a vector file format. 
Because a vector image is a mathematical representation of points and lines in an image, it is the best way to import a image for tracing and thus projecting from a laser.  In essence, all laser graphics, text, logos and animations are in a vector file form (again, a mathematical representation of points and lines). So importing your bitmaps in a vector file format helps you get better resolution and clarify from the projected image.

How to create laser text.

We are asked all the time… “Is it possible for me to write in laser?” The simple answer, is YES!

If you are trying to create laser text, both QuickShow and BEYOND offer a QuickText module. You can see a short tutorial video below showing how this works. The same principles showcased in this tutorial (made using QuickShow laser show software) also carry over to our BEYOND laser show software as well.

QuickText inside of QuickShow software

QuickText QuickShow laser show software

Taking it a step further… Drawing laser frames by hand, using the Frame Editor.

Drawing laser frames by hand is an art form. It is one of the oldest, yet still one of the best ways to get very detailed laser graphics, text, logos and animations. The reason it is so popular, is because it allows pinpoint accuracy and precision when designing laser content. While QuickTrace and QuickText are great, they are tools for creating “fast and easy” laser content. For more precision and refinement, the Frame Editor is the way to go. Both QuickShow and BEYOND include custom frame editors. Screen shots of both Frame Editors are shown below.

Frame Editor inside of QuickShow

Frame Editor inside of BEYOND

To use the Frame Editor in Pangolin laser show software, simply right-click on an empty cue in your workspace. Then, a new single frame or multi-frame (which would be used for a laser animation) can be drawn. If you have a bitmap template, you can place it in the background and start drawing on over top of it, tracing the outline and edges. Or you start from the scratch, drawing any image you have in mind.

The Standard Frame Editor in QuickShow works in a similar fashion to most paint programs. It offers you the ability to create laser images and multi-frame animations.
The Advanced Frame Editor in BEYOND works in a similar fashion as the popular Photoshop program, and it includes more tools and effect options for things like fading in/out, rotation, write in/out, layering, etc.. These additional tools allow you to create more intricate and sophisticated looking laser graphics, text, logos, and animations.


How to draw laser beam effects.

If you want to draw custom laser beam effects or create custom laser abstracts, this can easily be done using the abstract editors inside QuickShow and BEYOND. Simply select a desired shape, apply affects as you see fit (such as modulators, zooms, color effects, and more), and then instantly project that custom beam or abstract effect in laser. It’s just that simple.

Abstract Editor inside of QuickShow 

Frame Editor inside of BEYOND

BEYOND laser show software abstract generator

You can also see tutorial videos showing the Abstract Editors in both QuickShow and BEYOND, below.

Creating 3D laser animations

For advanced applications where the creation of 3D animated laser content is required, Pangolin’s BEYOND software offers a state-of-the-art 3D laser animation and modeling program. Truly the first and only of it’s kind, and built “for laser people, by laser people”, the 3D animation and modeling program inside of Pangolin BEYOND Ultimate laser show software gives artists complete creative freedom, in a three dimensional workspace. BEYOND also supports third party plugins (including 3D Studio Max, Maxon’s Cinema 4D, After Effect and more) for conversion of standard 3D files into laser frames.

3D laser show software beyond 3d

You can see a full tutorial videos series built entirely for BEYOND 3D, below.

Where to find FREE laser content, and how to connect with laser artists.

Pangolin Cloud laser graphics

With all Pangolin laser show software, you will gain FREE access to the Pangolin Cloud. The Pangolin Cloud is like the “iTunes” for laser shows. And it is stocked full of FREE laser show content for you to download, including over 400 FREE laser shows, and thousands of FREE pieces of laser clipart and cues. In addition, the Pangolin Cloud provides you with access to a wide selection of profiles (for MIDI devices, consoles, and more).
As a client, you can access the Pangolin Cloud by simply creating an account on the Pangolin Cloud, and logging in. Then, all content we have available can easily be downloaded immediately, anytime you need it. And new content is constantly being added.
If you are a laser artist, the Pangolin Cloud also presents a unique platform for you to share your work with others in the laser industry. You can create your own custom profile (similar to Facebook), and then upload content to your profile to share with others around the world. In time, you will also be able to sell your content through the Cloud to others who may be interested.
To further help you connect and obtain laser content, we at Pangolin have created the world’s largest laser show group on social media. We call it Powered by Pangolin, and you can join the group by clicking here. Inside of this group you can connect with thousands of other laserists from around the world, many of whom are freelance laser artists and programmers. So if you need something custom made and it is not already on the Pangolin Cloud, try posting in the group. Chances are an experienced laser artists will connect with you, to help you get the job done.
We at Pangolin also offer design services if needed. If you need help creating some custom content and need our assistance, just contact us. We are here to help.You can see a short tutorial showing a BETA version of the Pangolin Cloud below. 

This concludes the educational post, on how to draw in laser. If you have further questions, or need assistance contact us. We are always happy to assist.

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