Since the media server d3 was last featured on LiveDesignOnline, UVA has been hard at work developing their software. I got a chance to speak to Ash Nehru, part of the software team working on d3, while he was at LDI.
One of the features that caught my attention was new functionality for projector simulation, which includes assorted settings for visualizing projector output. Using the software you can change the settings of the virtual projector lens to change the throw ratio and the size of your image. You can also adjust the number of lumens your virtual projector is outputting to match the brightness of your actual equipment. Alternatively you can place a virtual projector and test out different brightness settings to help you pick equipment to rent. Of course there are other factors involved, but it can be a good starting point.
While these simulations assume perfect conditions, real life is not so kind. Projected light is very sensitive to distortion and unless your projector is exactly parallel to your viewing surface, you are going to experience some distortion. Fortunately d3 also throws in a few tools to deal with distortion problems beyond the standard keystone correction. There are also correction tools for skew and barrel distortion, and masks to help blend the edges of your overlapping projectors.
Something else that Nehru mentioned blew my mind. The d3 system can detect when one of its display computers isn't functioning and can automatically trigger an event to send commands to the video matrix to switch to an appropriate backup preset. That means that a designer can come up with advanced contingency plans that will automatically put themselves into action should some of the d3 computer network fail.
Daniel Brodie is a freelance New York-based projection designer and multimedia artist. Check out brodiegraphics.com