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Thread: Pixels in REAL Trees?

  1. #1
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    Default Pixels in REAL Trees?

    How many of you have actually started putting pixels in real trees in their displays? I decorate 30+ 20-30 ft trees in my show and want to slowly start to add pixels to some of the trees. The first one I want to add to is one of my favorite trees in the yard, and the wife and I are thinking about leaving the pixels up year round in that one tree, and then just changing these colors depending on the current holiday.

    The tree is a 30' conifer, with about a 12' wide base. I want to light it 360 degrees, as it can be seen from all angles. The picture below is how it currently gets decorated each year.

    Questions for the group:
    - If you put pixels in large trees then please share pictures or videos
    - How many pixels would you think I would need to make it stand out as nicely as it does now?
    - How do you power inject?
    - Recommendations on equipment?
    - Any other advice to help me along...

    270233343_3158456971054744_1861430811034890283_n.jpg

    Thanks in advance!
    Ricky

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    I used to have a dogwood tree that I put 7 WS2811 strips into. It looked great. At this house I have a huge oak tree and the same strips go up and follow branches out over the yard. It makes a great effect. There is nothing like nature to add a bit of randomness to the lights.


    2022 - Not sure yet. At least two new songs.
    2021 New Tune-to sign. New 40x27 matrix at the house. Retiring the Strip based matrix. Updating some of the old window frames to the new house. Adding two new songs.
    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/MartinMueller2003

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    There was someone who figured out how to model the tree using multiple camera angles. was written up here or at diy. google fu failing at the moment. might be worth it if you are doing year round.

    I considered doing my blue spruce starting with 700 c9 lights but it would look nothing like your current tree. The points of light on your current tree are amazing. You will need a lot of lights to recreate that.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    Oh I would love to know how someone has mapped a full tree with pixels, anything you can remember to help me search fee free to share.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    Try here

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by angus40 View Post
    Try here
    This is great! And way over my computer skills…lol…maybe one day.

    I still welcome any additional advice anyone may have on completing the project. Once I actually get it done then I’ll try to see if know anyone smart enough to help with the mapping portion.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    I will be working on my tree this year to see if I can re-create the look I had with standard LEDs, and use pixels. I put up a "mini mega tree" last year in order to learn how it all works, and this year will be changing the whole house to pixels, and hopefully the tree. I lined a lot of the main branches with the led strings and really like the look. At the end of the season, I take the LED strings off the trunk, and have left up the other lights in the tree, and by spring, the new leaves have come in and hide all the strings. Come fall when the leaves fall, the strings are already hung and I just add new strings to the trunk.

    I think I am going to do the same thing with the pixels, and have a connection point at the bottom of the main tree, so I can add the trunk section each year as well. Need to plan power injection, etc., and mapping this in Xlights will be tricky, but think I can pull it off.

    Quick look at the front parkway tree I am talking about.

    front tree.jpg

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    I have many real trees with pixels. I use bullet pixels, I try to find at least 4 inch spacing on the wires. I run the string to the end of the branch, then bring the signal
    and power back down the branch to the next branch, run out to the end, and keep repeating until I bring the signal and power back to the beginning. All power injection is at the trunk. I have branches like the one shown in the picture for every major branch of the tree. It is just one long string.

    To map the pixels, I use the Vixen custom prop editor. I set up a camera on a tripod near the tree, but on a line from the tree to the optimum viewing location. I map it as a 2D prop, even though it is not. What is important to me is that it looks good from the normal viewing location. I light up an individual branch and all of its sub branches, giving each sub branch a different color, and take a picture of the entire tree. This makes picking out the pixels in the custom prop editor much easier. Since all of the photos were taken from the same location, I can use one phot in the prop editor, map the pixels for that picture, then swap out the picture to that of another branch. When I have mapped all of the pixels for that tree, I now have a custom prop for that particular tree.

    I leave the pixels in the trees year round. I tie them to the tree with landscape twine, which will break as the tree grows. Trees only grow from the tips, so as long as I prune the trees, everything stays the same. I just have to replace ties occasionally as they break.

    IMG_branch.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by gingrbredman View Post
    I will be working on my tree this year to see if I can re-create the look I had with standard LEDs, and use pixels. I put up a "mini mega tree" last year in order to learn how it all works, and this year will be changing the whole house to pixels, and hopefully the tree. I lined a lot of the main branches with the led strings and really like the look. At the end of the season, I take the LED strings off the trunk, and have left up the other lights in the tree, and by spring, the new leaves have come in and hide all the strings. Come fall when the leaves fall, the strings are already hung and I just add new strings to the trunk.

    I think I am going to do the same thing with the pixels, and have a connection point at the bottom of the main tree, so I can add the trunk section each year as well. Need to plan power injection, etc., and mapping this in Xlights will be tricky, but think I can pull it off.

    Quick look at the front parkway tree I am talking about.

    front tree.jpg
    Thanks for sharing. I think we’ll both do great. Look forward to seeing how it turns out for you!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pixels in REAL Trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by derfnivrag View Post
    I have many real trees with pixels. I use bullet pixels, I try to find at least 4 inch spacing on the wires. I run the string to the end of the branch, then bring the signal
    and power back down the branch to the next branch, run out to the end, and keep repeating until I bring the signal and power back to the beginning. All power injection is at the trunk. I have branches like the one shown in the picture for every major branch of the tree. It is just one long string.

    To map the pixels, I use the Vixen custom prop editor. I set up a camera on a tripod near the tree, but on a line from the tree to the optimum viewing location. I map it as a 2D prop, even though it is not. What is important to me is that it looks good from the normal viewing location. I light up an individual branch and all of its sub branches, giving each sub branch a different color, and take a picture of the entire tree. This makes picking out the pixels in the custom prop editor much easier. Since all of the photos were taken from the same location, I can use one phot in the prop editor, map the pixels for that picture, then swap out the picture to that of another branch. When I have mapped all of the pixels for that tree, I now have a custom prop for that particular tree.

    I leave the pixels in the trees year round. I tie them to the tree with landscape twine, which will break as the tree grows. Trees only grow from the tips, so as long as I prune the trees, everything stays the same. I just have to replace ties occasionally as they break.

    IMG_branch.jpg
    I like how you created the custom prop, that sounds easier than the 3D mapping the other guy did, though eventually I may need to figure out the 3D mapping as my tree can be seen from 360. It’s just seen from a lot further away on the back side.

    Would you mind sharing some pictures of what your tree looks like with the pixels in it?

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