Augmented Reality: Light Painting with Litchi

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:

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