Pin2DMD Basic Colouring

astyy

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Jan 19, 2015
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Dont be nosey :-)
A few people have expressed interest in a step by step tutorial for changing the default palette supplied with Pin2DMD. This is useful if no colourisation has been done for your machine (yet) and the Pin2DMD default palettes (selectable through the onscreen menu) aren't suitable.

IF colour is available for your machine, bung the artist a few beer tokens and go that route! Check these sites;
- Audiofreaks site https://pin-display.ch/files/
- Dzorbas site https://sites.google.com/view/pin2dmd/colour-files
- VPUniverse downloads http://vpuniverse.com/forums/files/category/102-pin2dmd-colorizations-real-pinball/
- VPUniverse Works-in-Progress http://vpuniverse.com/forums/forum/138-pin2dmd-dmd-colorization-works-in-progress/

If you're still here we need to do some colouring then. I'll describe 2 methods using the Pin2DMD Editer to export a Palette, firstly in as few clicks as possible and second slightly more detailed working with a proper project.

As background, most DMD machines support up to 4 brightness shades and Stern SAM/Spike 16, these shades can be simply replaced with colours by applying a palette. In both cases we'd typically reserve colour 1 as Black used for backgrounds. I'll focus mainly on the 4 colour case as that is what I have experience of. NOTE with advance full colouring all machines can support 16 colours per frame:thumbs:

I'm fairly new to this too, so hollah if anything is wrong.

Next step Install and Register Pin2DMD Editor
 
Last edited:
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astyy

astyy

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Install the Pin2DMD Editor

Download the appropriate Pin2DMD Editor from Luckys Google Drive share https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18wNl_JbPW4XbvLkJQbT_s_DhHZqwq9CI
pin2dmd-editor.exe for Windows 32 bit/x86
pin2dmd-editor64.exe for Windows 64 bit
pin2dmd-editor64_OSX.zip for Mac

For the Windows versions once downloaded copy the .exe to a new folder something like C:\Pin2DMD Editor

Double click the .exe file to run.

The Pin2DMD Editor requires a Java runtime, if this isn't found it should prompt to install, if not it can be installed from here
https://www.java.com/en/download/

All going well by this point you have the Pin2DMD Editor open as below :thumbs:
1593433559979.png

Next step Register the Pin2DMD Editor
 
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astyy

astyy

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Register the Pin2DMD Editor

To work with "real pins" the Pin2DMD Editor must be registered. This uses the same xxxxxxxxx.key license file that activated your Pin2DMD, where xxxxxxxxxxx is the Pin2DMD serial number.

The .key file may be stored on the Pin2DMD MicroSD card.

Alternatively, in the case of the Pinballinfo group buy @MadNat has a copy of these and he's published a video showing how to read the key from the DMD using the "Pin2DMD Tool"

Once you have a copy of your .key file simply select it through the editor Help -> Register option
1593434488526.png

Click Choose and select the .key file from where stored on the PC
1593434635506.png

Upon successful Registration should look like this
1593436289829.png

Next step Edit the Default Palette
 
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astyy

astyy

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Edit the Default Palette "Quick & Dirty" Method :eek:

This is the simplest method to edit and apply the default Palette in minimum clicks. The disadvantage is that you can't see your changes applied to frames before testing it, I'll get to that in the next method, however you're likely only setting black + 3 new colours for most machines, so keep setting, testing and playing until you're happy with your changes.

When the Pin2DMD Editor is opened the Default Palette of 16 colours is displayed in the Palettes panel at the top right hand side
1593439898891.png
The default 16 colours visilble may be reminiscent of what you see on the Pin2DMD splash. This is what we're going to change.
1593438327927.png

IMPORTANT FOR 4 COLOUR MACHINES THESE ARE THE COLOURS TO CHANGE (It is recommended to leave the first colour as Black used for the background)
1593440281489.png

Change a Colour by Control/Clicking the colour box in the Palette and then select a new Colour from the "Color Picker" below then click OK
1593440392668.png

For example Dr Who uses 4 Colours and with the Default Palette looks like this
1593440701240.png
I can leave Black and change the 3 colours to be something more vibrant like this
1593440826174.png

Apply your new Palette by clicking File -> Export Project (Real Pin)
1593441299554.png

Save the File to a MicroSD card named pin2dmd.pal
1593441427748.png

Power off the machine, Insert the MicroSD card into the Pin2DMD and when it boots it should pickup and use the modified palette:thumbs:

This is a very basic modification and the new palette will apply right across the game, some colours that suit some scenes may not suit others.

Next up, if there is interest I will describe how to achieve the same in a Project that can be used as the basis for more advanced editing
 
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astyy

astyy

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See your colours in the Editor screen/capturing a Recording 🌈

The previous procedure described how to set and apply a new Default Palette in a few clicks but it's more convenient to see your colours in the Editor applied to the game scenes as you change them. To do this you need "Recordings" for your game which are captures of the frames that appear on the real DMD. Comprehensive recordings form the basis of advanced colouring.

Recording files can be sourced using various techniques, typically the method records whatever is displayed on the DMD whilst using it, methods include;
- Files shared online, these tend to be from the community artists so the game is very likely coloured anyway!
- Real Pinball machine, a PC running Pin2DMD Tool is connected to the Pin2DMD USB, play game and displayed DMD screens are recorded to a PC file
- Virtual Pinball, play game, option in VPX software to record displayed DMD screens to file
- WPC Emu Debug View at https://playfield.dev/ an online emulator for WPC games, simple method for capturing simple recordings

For WPC games the Emu Debug view is a convenient option to record some content including the attract animations as follows.

1. Open playfield.dev in Internet Browser, I use Windows Chrome, mine opens to Hurricane, you should see immediately the DMD and playfield lighting animation
1593510591358.png

2. Select the required Game in the ROM drop down list (top left) e.g. "WPC Fliptronics: Dr Who". The emulator immediately resets and starts running the selected game.
1593510711265.png

3. Record some content, by clicking the "DMD Dump" button, if you then click immediately click "Reset" it will record from machine boot
1593511110574.png

4. Let the emulation run to capture some DMD content as seen on the screen. You can start a game by clicking COIN+1 to credit then START BUTTON. then click some playfield Switches to activate in-game content (imo this is a bit hit and miss and not the best method to get full recordings). When you have enough content click the "DUMPING" button and the Recording file named wpc-emu-dump.raw will automatically be downloaded.
1593511673846.png

5. Copy the Recording file from the browser download folder to working Pin2DMD folder, I like to create a subfolder for each machine under the "Pin2DMD Editor" folder.
So for Chrome I copy C:\Users\Astyy\Downloads\wpc-emu-dump.raw to C:\Pin2DMD Editor\Dr Who\wpc-emu-dump.raw
1593512327780.png

Next step working with a Recording in the Pin2DMD Editor :thumbs:
 
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astyy

astyy

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Thank gawd we're finally seeing some DMD frames in the Editor :rolleyes:

By this point those who are still awake should have a wpc-emu-dump.raw DMD recording file, captured with the WPC Emu Debug View ready to go in a nice & tidy "Pin2DMD Editor" machine named subfolder :thumbs:

1. Start the Pin2DMD Editor

2. Click "Scene/Recording" => "Load Recording(s)" Menu Option
1593513450672.png

3. Use the File Chooser to Open the .raw Recording file captured earlier e.g. C:\Pin2DMD Editor\Dr Who\wpc-emu-dump.raw
1593513618761.png

4. If successful you should now see your Recording listed in the Recordings Panel and once selected the recorded Frames can be seen and scrolled through below.
1593514159248.png

5. You can now Ctl/Click to modify the default palette, note only the 4 Colours in use are selectable. Yuk, but you get the idea.
1593514511564.png

6. At this point the Palette can be set "Default" again and the project exported to Pin2dmd.pal per post #4 above

7. We're serious Pin2DMD Artists now so let's save our progress as a Project. Click "File" => "Save Project As". I store in the same game subfolder as the Recording
1593514644392.png
 

cr5000462

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Apr 25, 2020
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Excellent guide, thank you for taking the time to put this together! I will be giving it a shot soon, Never know, if a few of us took this on we could cater for ourselves instead of the VP guys
 
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