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Augmented Reality: Light Painting with Litchi

DJ Wes

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2019
Springdale, AR, USA
I have created a workflow and software utility that will allow one to combine the footage from a simulated light-painting Litchi mission with the actual footage from a “viewing” Litchi mission, augmenting reality with synthetic light painting.

Perhaps it is best understood by watching this demonstration video which shows the result of this process.

Two Litchi missions are required to create an “Augmented Reality” (AR) video:
  • A light-painting mission
  • A viewing mission
The light-painting mission does not have to be flown. Instead, it will be simulated using Google Earth Pro where the synthetic footage will be captured into a video file. The viewing mission must be flown to capture the actual footage. The two clips are then combined to create an Augmented Reality video as shown in the demonstration video above.

The workflow and software that I have created will allow anyone using Litchi to do the same. While there are a number of ways to accomplish this, I have chosen to use an exported Litchi mission as the source of the light-painting. This will produce suitable results as long as there are a sufficient number of waypoints. My example light-painting mission has over 200 waypoints. The viewing mission should also contain a sufficient number of waypoints (or curved turns). Something like a straight-line mission will not produce acceptable results. In the demonstration above, I used a spiral viewing mission created using another one of my Litchi utilities.

I understand that more data points could be obtained using flight logs from previous flights. Perhaps doing so would produce superior results. However, for now I wanted to keep this complicated process as simple as possible to allow people to more easily experiment with this workflow.

The above example was my first attempt at an Augmented Reality video. Although it serves as a pretty good demonstration, I know improvements can be made. If you encounter any issues with the workflow or software that I have created, please let me know so that I can improve or correct it.

The “Augmented Reality: Light Painting Simulator” may be found with my other utilities here:

Interesting concept. It is the kind of thing that Litchi might allow us to do with our Mav 3 series that can't be done with Waypoints as the are all locked to bezier curves. I wish dji would give us an SDK but that has been requested to death.
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Interesting concept. It is the kind of thing that Litchi might allow us to do with our Mav 3 series that can't be done with Waypoints as the are all locked to bezier curves. I wish dji would give us an SDK but that has been requested to death.
I'm pretty sure you can do this with a Mavic 3 or any other "DJI Fly waypoint" drone. With enough waypoints, DJI Fly's bezier curve and Litchi's b-spline curve will be very close to the same.

A Litchi mission can be created in Litchi's Mission Hub then converted to a "DJI Fly" mission (using my converter) and flown with a Mavic 3, Air 3, or Mini 4 Pro. This will add a few steps to the workflow that I outlined but it can be done.
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That turned out GREAT!

Thank you for sharing and I look forward to many more of your projects :)
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Maybe it's just the way my mind works but what is the point of this, genuine question?
I admire the skill of drawing a road runner ( I couldn't do it ) and perhaps rotating it but that's 'just' animation.
I like the scene shot but I don't understand the reason for superimposing drawing on the video.
I could understand shooting such a video of drones flying in coordination, in such a way that they draw and rotate a road runner, as that's a real event but the above video is 'artificial'.

What am I missing?
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I think it very much comes down to how an individual's mind works. While the example video may or may not interest someone who is looking at it from a purely 'viewing only' perspective.

Perhaps someone with a creative mind sees the tools at play here and imagines ways to integrate them into their own workflow, perhaps adding their own touch and imagination to create something truly unique or spectacular.

;)There was a time when there were these four-bladed helicopter "thingys" that started showing up at RC flying sites. Upon examination they really couldn't do anything exciting or unique and were viewed as a 'poor mans' RC craft of some sort. Years later someone else thought to throw a camera under it, and yet someone else added a 3 axis gimbal. Now those thingys are pretty much everywhere.
A good idea & in early stages of development. What comes next from over the horizon may add another dimension to drone applications.
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