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DIY RGB AmbiLight

post #1 of 234
Thread Starter 
I have been looking a bit into how to make these things. It really started with mr. one asking what it would take to make one of these.

It has to work with both games and movies, so my first thought was that it would be simple, just do some DirectX screen captures a bit of processing then hook up some RGB LEDs via USB and it's all good. But unfortunately it's pretty slow to capture the front surface buffer and it's slow to copy surface data from GPU memory to system memory, so it would effect frame rate. Also I ran into all sorts of problems with games on different DirectX versions.

I thought since Fraps works well in capturing the screen it would be straight forward. So I had a closer look at how Fraps actually works, and I'm a bit shocked weirdsmiley.gif, it's really nasty eek.gif, it injects itself into pretty much every process on the machine to check for when a D3D DLL is loaded and then hooks onto the rendering events. I'm scared of running Fraps now, although I don't think it's every caused me any issues, but it could crash everything.

I did have a go at doing it the Fraps way, but less aggressive and only inject into a specific process (I used Far Cry 3 for testing), then hook into the End Scene event. Kind of works, but not very reliable and it still has impact on FPS performance.

Now I'm considering totally abandoning this approach, unless we got some DirectX experts who knows a much better way of doing it (I'm really not and expert on DirectX, I only know just enough to be dangerous ninja.gif)

Anyway, this is the kind of effect I'm after, just bigger and better with support for multiple monitors etc biggrin.gif (Without too much performance penalty and not having to buy a Phillips TV)



There are quite a lot of DIY projects out there, but they all seem to suffer from limitations (see bottom of wiki page for links)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambilight

I'm considering doing something totally different. Instead of capturing the screen I would hook into the signal directly, but that it not so simple with high speed DVI, HDMI and DP digital signals, I do have a few ideas though.

Let me know if anyone got some good ideas, maybe I'm trying to solve a problem that has already been solved, that wouldn't be the first time biggrin.gif
post #2 of 234
Thread Starter 
I have been thinking about something like this:



Not sure if I'll ever build this, but I'll do some research and experiments and add them to this thread.

If anyone already got a working AmbiLight running on their PC, I'd be very happy to hear about experience with it.
post #3 of 234
i had read some , and what i found is easiest way to do is using ardruino smile.gif one guy from tussia sells some assembled pieces and suggesting free software something like boblight smile.gif
post #4 of 234
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr one View Post

i had read some , and what i found is easiest way to do is using ardruino smile.gif one guy from tussia sells some assembled pieces and suggesting free software something like boblight smile.gif

I had a look at this one http://code.google.com/p/lightpack/, it's probably the same one. But, without knowing for sure, I do believe it suffers from the same limitations as it's code based screen capture. The easy part is controlling the LEDs, the hard part is capturing the screen image without impacting performance. I know I would not use it if it cuts 20-50% of my FPS in games. smile.gif
post #5 of 234
I have a lightpack system at home, works pretty good for the most part.

There are a few issues though. Many games will not work with it unless in windowed mode, not sure why. Window media center does not work with it either due to some block wmc has for recording on screen content. The software basically take snapshots of little squares (you can place the squares where you want them) then projects that color onto the LED.

Here are some pictures of my lightpack system.



Here I installed it onto the back of a laptop to test the system out.

post #6 of 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejohnson View Post

I have a lightpack system at home, works pretty good for the most part.
There are a few issues though. Many games will not work with it unless in windowed mode, not sure why. Window media center does not work with it either due to some block wmc has for recording on screen content. The software basically take snapshots of little squares (you can place the squares where you want them) then projects that color onto the LED.
Here are some pictures of my lightpack system.

Here I installed it onto the back of a laptop to test the system out.

Looks interesting, and whats more interesting is that it work when games in windowed mode smile.gif
post #7 of 234
Unforuntately I don't know anything about this subject, but definitely interested to see what you come up with after seeing your other work. thumb.gif
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post #8 of 234
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejohnson View Post

I have a lightpack system at home, works pretty good for the most part.
There are a few issues though. Many games will not work with it unless in windowed mode, not sure why. Window media center does not work with it either due to some block wmc has for recording on screen content. The software basically take snapshots of little squares (you can place the squares where you want them) then projects that color onto the LED.

Thanks, good to hear some real experience with that system. I also tried doing the screen capture, some details in the first post, but it's really hard to cover everything. Especially games running full screen, not even considering multiple monitors. When you run them in windowed mode it's simpler to capture. For it to work perfectly I guess it would have to deal with DirectX, OpenGL and GDI.

It looks like your system got 10 LEDs? is that enough for a good effect? I guess that depends on screen size smile.gif
post #9 of 234
It worked well on a 21 inch lcd, I have not tried it on anything bigger yet though. I have a triple screen setup, but have not had time to play with it due to work, baby, and a failed motherboard.

As soon as I can get everything back up and running and get some time I will hook up all the LEDs to the triple screen and take a video.

Whats also nice with the lightpack software is that it can interface with alienwares LED system to display the on screen stuff onto the keyboard lights.
post #10 of 234
Good timing on this one. I am currently rebuilding mine with some newer components. I run a pretty simple setup with a screen capture written in processing. The code is from the Adalight project. I've delved into lightpack and boblight and honestly didn't see any performance increases. Then again I didn't notice any performance decreases either while running the system.

The physical system is pretty simple just LED strands with WS2801 controllers with an arduino setup. It pushes 60 LEDs in total. I am looking at what it would take to move to a denser LED strand (60/m instead of 30/m) but would need to move to something more powerful than the arduino platform. There are also some issues with multiple screens and how to deal with that. Here is a video of my setup running from awhile back.

I'd love to see what you come up with on the software side. I've been trying to get my hands on a used phillips ambilight pc system and take it apart to see what it is made of. Not much luck with that so far.
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