3D Laser Shows

The concept of creating a three-dimensional (3D) laser shows has intrigued laser enthusiasts and lighting designers for many years. Many clients often ask for a “3D Laser” or how to create “3D Laser shows”… In this blog post, we’ll discuss what this actually means, as well as define the various methods and equipment needed to create these types of effects.

Types of 3D laser shows

Inherently, any laser show projected outward towards an audience is in of itself, three-dimensional (3D). The most common types of 3D Laser shows are noted below.

1. Aerial laser beam show

This is where aerial laser effects are projected outwards, towards an audience. The effects can be projected overhead (such as liquid sky effects, targeted beams, etc.), or they can be projected onto the audience (i.e. audience scanning). Pictures of both concepts are shown below.

Generally, the lasers are placed on a stage or area in front of the audience and projected out towards the crowd. *NOTE, when performing audience scanning laser effects, make sure proper safety precautions are taken, and that you are working in a compliant and safe manner.

Aerial lasers

green aerial lasers

 

Audience Scanning lasers

laserface dark and light blue lasers with crowd scanning

Photo credit to Jesse Perez

2. 3D laser graphics show

This is where laser graphics are programmed using a camera path, to give the impression of a three-dimensional laser show. The content projected can be a short, small animation, or a complete timeline based laser show. Examples of both, are included below.

laser graphic gradient circle

3. Projected laser graphics, through a scrim

Often times clients want to see a laser graphic (think a logo, text or perhaps a holiday-themed animation) projected onto a surface, but viewable from the other side. A picture of this is shown below.

The common setup for such a show generally uses a laser, or multiple lasers, placed behind a scrim and rear-projected onto its surface – So the lasers are projected onto the scrim from the back, and viewable from the front. * A “scrim”, is simply a mesh netted drape, which is hung from a ceiling. In some cases, scrims can be automated as well (so they can be triggered to come up / down, as needed).

4. Laser images “floating in space”

The final type of “3D Laser Show” that can be created is one of the most daunting because when viewing it, many people think the laser image they are seeing is “floating in space”. A picture is included below, illustrating this concept.

3D laser projection of bmw car floating mid-air

The reality is that lasers will always need a “medium” to pass through, or a surface to project on, for any projected image, effect, or content to be visible. So to create a laser show with an image that appears to “float in space” you need to project the laser graphic or content through a smoke or water screen.

Such devices let off a small mist of smoke, haze or water, which is generally not visible under normal show scenarios. When projecting a laser image through it, particularly a laser graphic, text or animation, it will give the appearance that the laser content is truly “floating in space”. However, it is not. The smoke, haze or water is capturing the laser projection, and acting as a surface for it to be held onto. Creating the illusion of an image, floating in space.

5. Projecting lasers onto a cloud

Many people remember the movie Batman, where the Batman logo was projected into the sky, for everyone to see. Such an effect is quite desirable, especially when thinking about using lasers for advertising, and related applications. Projecting a laser image onto a cloud is possible, but only under incredibly stringent weather conditions.

As mentioned above, lasers need a medium to project through, or onto, in order for an image to be visible. So, when attempting to project onto a cloud, there needs to be a lot of humidity, and moisture in the air, for any chance of the image to be viewable. You are also going to need an incredibly high power laser, with a fast optical scanning system, to achieve such an effect.

Equipment recommended for various 3D laser shows

Beam effects projected outwards towards an audience:

3D laser graphic shows:

Projected laser graphics through a scrim:

Laser Images floating in space:

Projecting lasers onto a cloud:

Software:

QuickShow

This will be great for laser beam effects, as well as basic text, graphics, and logos. You can learn more about QuickShow, and try a FREE demo by the link below.

QuickShow Demo


BEYOND

This will be great for more advanced laser beam effects across that need to be controlled with other multimedia elements (DMX lighting, water screen, pyro, etc.). It is also ideal if you want to create more dynamic and sophisticated laser graphics, text and logo projections. You can learn more about BEYOND and try a FREE demo by clicking the link below

BEYOND DEMO

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