vDesigner user manual
Table of contents
The vDesigner works with the method of saving and loading projects to a file or a device connected via USB.
A project contains everything that has to do with an installation to make it as easy as possible to ensure that every time you save your project everything to do with that particular installation is saved in one file or in the device.
A project contains the following:
The layout is a 2D representation of your installation allowing you to easily select and move the position of your fixtures and add backgrounds.
Each fixture has parameters such as name, data DMX address and colour profile ensuring that the fixture always outputs the correct colours.
Designs saved on device presets
Each preset on your device contains a design, which can be static or contain a shifting colour show.
As the project is saved in your device, it is always easy to modify an installation without the need to have the corresponding project file with you.
It is however, recommended to have a backup on file.
Note: A project file does not contain your design library these are saved locally on your computer.
Note: The background image is not saved in the VX01 device due to space restrictions. If it is connected to another computer that does not have the background image stored, it will not be shown.
Important! The vDesigner must be installed before connecting any device to the USB, or you might risk the wrong drivers being loaded.
To connect a device to vDesigner, first open vDesigner and then connect your device to the USB, wait approximately 5 seconds and vDesigner will start connecting to the device.
When the device has connected the following dialog will appear asking if you would like to load project from device.
If you choose YES the following dialog will ask you if you want to override the current loaded project in vDesigner:
If you have a project loaded that you don’t want to be overwritten choose NO and you can then save your current project to your hard drive by selecting File->Save As.
After you have saved the current project you can then load it from the device again by selecting File->Load Project From Device.
If you have your lighting fixtures connected to your device and your device connected to your PC while you are working with vDesigner, you will get a live output of what you’re doing shown on your fixtures.
This can be an advantage as you can accurately see in real life and real time just how the different designs will correspond with the installation. It also allows you to quick and easily shows a customer different colour designs in real life before saving the preset onto the device.
A connection diagram can be seen below.
For more detailed information please refer to the installation manual.
To make a new layout right click on the Layout Window and select Delete, this will delete all fixtures if none are selected or if you have selected all.
To remove any background picture right click again and select Background->Remove.
To add new fixtures just click on the Add Fixture(s) button or right click and select Add.
You can change the current view size of your layout by using the Zoom In (Picture zoom in) and Zoom Out (Picture zoom out) buttons.
The zoom to fit button (Picture zoom to fit) allows you to quickly set the zoom and position of the layout to the centre and at an optimal size.
To select fixtures in the layout simply click on the desired fixture icon and the fixture is selected.
You can also select multiple fixtures by holding the CRTL Button down and then selecting and de-selecting the fixtures individually.
Another way of selecting multiple fixtures can be done by making a lasso around the fixtures you want to select. Start by holding the left mouse button down outside a fixture icon and the move the mouse to create a lasso around the fixtures you want to select. When all the required fixtures are surrounded, release the mouse button and the selection is done.
To deselect all fixtures just click outside the fixture icons.
To add a background image to you layout, first zoom to the desired size of your fixture icon(s), then right click on the Layout and choose Background->From File. Then choose the image you would like to use as background.
The background image is then added in a size as-large-as-possible for the current zoom.
The fixture icons can be placed in your layout to make a physical representation of your installation.
To move your fixture icons simply select one or more fixtures and then hold the left mouse button down on one of the selected fixture icon and drag by moving the mouse. When finished release the mouse button.
The zoom can be used to reduce the size of your fixture icons and thereby giving you more space to place you fixtures.
The fixture properties can be displayed by either: selecting Setup->Fixture Properties or by right clicking in the Layout Window and selecting Properties.
DMX is the name of the communication protocol used to transmit data between the control device and the lighting fixtures. DMX is a one way communication protocol so before an individual fixture can be controlled by the device both device and lighting fixture(s) need to have a unique address set, also called a DMX address.
A DMX line (also called “a DMX link” or “a DMX universe”) transmits 512 individual channels. Each of the 512 channels can be set to a value representing an intensity value from 0% to 100%.
A normal white light would take 1 channel so therefore 512 individual white light sources could be control on a DMX line independent from each other. An RGB light uses 3 channels - one for each colour – and therefore up 170 could be controlled independently on a DMX line and an RGBW uses 4 channels and so forth.
The DMX address of a fixture must be therefore set depending on how many channels the other fixtures connected will use, as show below:
The DMX address is therefore also often referred to a the DMX offset as it actually is an offset which specifies from which DMX channel the fixture should start reading channel values.
So if 2 fixtures are set to the same address they will receive the same values and therefore behave identically if they are the same type.
To select fixtures in the fixture properties window simply click on the desired fixture.
You can also select multiple fixtures by holding the ctrl button down and then select and de-select the fixtures individually.
Another way of selecting multiple fixtures is simply be done by holding the left mouse button down and then move it down across the fixtures you whish to select.
To select all fixtures simply right click in the fixture properties window and choose Select all.
You can also select fixtures in your layout window while the Fixture properties window is open, as it might be easier for identifying the fixture you want to select in you layout window.
To give a fixture a name simply click on the fixture you want to rename in the Name column, and type in desired the name.
If you want to rename multiple fixtures simply select a range of fixture, then right click in the Fixture Properties Window and select Rename and then type in the name desired. Fixtures are then automatically given the name followed by an increasing number.
The vDesigner offers a unique colour matching feature to make your work easier and your designs independent from whatever fixtures you are using or might be using subsequently.
As most colour changing fixture types are often different in they way they need to be controlled, in order to create the same colour in each, a colour profile must be specified for each fixture type. Then the vDesigner and the device will know how to control the various fixtures in order to ensure the colour output is the same across different fixture types.
If you have already added some fixtures you will need to give them a profile. Just select the fixture(s) then right click in the Fixture Properties Window and select Fixture Profiles->Set Profile. The Profile Selector Window will then appear. First select the Manufacturer of the fixture and then the name of the fixture then click OK.
You can also add new fixture(s) profiles by using the Add Fixture(s) Menu on the top of the Fixture Properties and then select Add From Profile.
If you cannot find the profile for a specific fixture, the Fixture profile builder can be used to create your own profile. Please read the following chapter on how to use the profile builder. For special profiles for more complex fixture types, please contact you local dealer for more information.
The Fixture profile builder can be used to create your own fixture profiles. The Fixture profile builder can be access in the profile selector by clicking in the Top Menu and selecting Advanced and then Create Fixture Profile.
On the right side of the profile builder are instructions shown on how to create a profile.
When you have added new profiles in your Fixture Profiles Selector they are saved under USER PROFILES.
When you have given all your fixtures a profile you will you need to give your fixtures a DMX address.
You can specify an individual address for each fixture by clicking on a fixture in the DMX field and then typing in the address manually.
The easiest way to set one or multiple DMX addresses is to select All or the desired fixtures, and then right clicking in the Fixture Properties Window and selecting Set DMX and then From First Available. The vDesigner will then automatically address your fixtures.
If you want to re-address all fixtures then first select all fixtures and then right click in the Fixture Properties Window and then select Set DMX -> Clear and then right click again and select Set DMX -> From First Available.
Addresses can also be set starting from specific address by right clicking and selecting Set DMX -> From.
When you have set all the DMX addresses you can print out a DMX address plan that can be passed onto the installer so he know which address the different fixtures should be set to when making the physical installation. This can be easily done through the File Menu.
In the file menu you can also load fixture properties from another project if desired.
Note: DMX addresses must be set on every fixture to match the addresses in the Fixture Properties Window. Addresses are normally set on the fixtures themselves physically using dip switches or displays, or on the power ballast, while other fixtures are addressed using special software tools. Please refer to the installation documentation of the fixtures used for further details.
This chapter describes how to add new presets to your device. Before continuing please read the chapter called; Connection.
Changing presets on your device can be done very simple. First connect your device to vDesigner using the USB.
When your device is connected choose YES to load a project from the device.
Selecting preset on the virtual device will give you a preview of what is currently stored in the device.
Note: If you have previously made a colour or speed manipulation of the preset on the device, then these manipulations are not shown. Only the originally designs on the preset are shown.
You can now select and preview different designs in the design library.
When you have found a design you like, simply drag and drop it onto the desired preset button on the virtual device.
When you have finished changing the preset as desired, click on the File Menu and select Save Project to Device. The changes are now stored in the device and ready to be used.
This chapter describes how to create your own design. You should read the chapter Setup->Layout->Selecting Fixtures before continuing.
The colour selector is the tool used to change or set a specific colour when creating or modifying designs.
The colour selector is very simple to work with. The standard colour model is HIS, which stands for Hue (also called colour), Saturation (how deep or faint that colour is) and Intensity (how bright the colour is).
To select a colour, you can simply select the colour directly by clicking on the round colour circle:
Or by using the 3 sliders:
If you wish to make small or finer adjustment to the slider values simply click on a slider and use the arrow keys to make the adjustments.
You can also select RGB colour control by clicking on the HSI label.
(RGB colours are colours created from the mixture of Red, Green and Blue).
Note: Using RGB does not mean that if the fixtures connected are using an RGB colour mixing system you can control the 3 colour values in the fixture directly. It instead depends on the colour profiles of the fixture, so setting Red to full might not make an LED fixture glow Red for example, if Green and Blue are also present.
A scene is also called a static look, meaning a non colour-changing design.
To create a static colour-design simply click on the Edit Button, to open the Editor.
If you have another static or dynamic design running you can clear it out so you have an empty design by clicking on the Clear Icon.
Or on the Clear Button in the Colour Edit Window.
When no fixture is selected and you select a colour, the same colour will be set on all fixtures. If you want to set a colour on certain fixtures simply select the fixtures in your layout and then set the desired colour for those.
Another possibility is to create a scene from an image, meaning that if you have an image that has a desired colour scheme it can be transferred to your fixtures. (This is also known as Pixel Mapping).
vDesigner creates a scene from an image by placing the image on top of your layout and sets the fixtures to correspond with the colours where the individual fixture correlates with the image as shown below:
To create a scene from and image, simply right click in the Layout Window and select
Create From Image.
Then select the image you would like to use in the browser and the picture is transferred to you fixtures. This way of creating a scene can save you a lot of time as a scene with multiple colours can be created in the matter of seconds.
A timeline consist of multiple scenes and is also called a sequence of scenes. You can make the timeline step from scene to scene thus creating a design where colours are changing over time.
Imagine that a scene is a picture, when you have more pictures you can then create a slide show, how fast the pictures (scenes) should change can be adjusted in the timeline until you have your desired colour changing design.
To open the timeline window simply click on the Edit Button.
Change the edit mode to Timeline by select it using the drop down menu.
Before you start creating a new timeline you need to clear it of any other timelines which may have been loaded. To clear your timeline simply click on the button New Blank Timeline or on the Clear Icon on top of the Layout Window.
To add a new scene simply click on the button on top of the timeline called Add Blank Scene, a scene will now appear on you timeline.
Click on the Add Blank Scene button an additional 2 times and you have now created a simple timeline consisting of 3 scenes.
The 3 scenes in the timeline now have the same colour so you now need to give them an individual colour scheme. This is simply done by selecting each scene by clicking in the middle of it.
When you have selected a scene simply set the colours of the scene as described previously in the chapter; Creating a Scene, and using the Colour Selector to the right of the timeline.
When you have given each scene a colour scheme click on the Play Button.
Your timeline will now play back in sequence with the colours changing over time accordingly to you 3 scenes. You can view this in the Layout Window.
You can pause the playback by clicking the Play Button again. It is also possible to scroll through your timeline by clicking on the Time Indicator and moving it manually.
A scene can also be created from an image as described previously in Creating a scene, just right click on a selected scene and select Create From Image.
Note: The maximum number of scenes allowed in a timeline is 24.
You can zoom in and scroll your timeline using the zoom slider and the scroll bar.
When you zoom in, you will centre in on the location of the timeline marker, so to zoom in on a specific location just move the timeline marker to the position you want. Once you have zoomed in you can also use the scroll bar to scroll through you timeline.
Zooming in on one or more scenes can be necessary for selecting and adjusting a scene time more accurately.
To delete a scene simply select the scene and push Delete. A scene can also be deleted by right clicking on the scene and selecting Delete.
To delete all scenes just click on the button New Blank Timeline.
To copy a scene right click on it and then select Copy to End. A copy of the scene is then placed at the end of you timeline and you can then move the scene to the location desired.
To move a scene hold the left mouse button down in the middle of the scene and then drag the scene to where you want it moved.
Note: Make sure that you click in the middle of the scene and not on the side because you might reset timings. If necessary zoom in to make the selection easier.
You can give each scene a name to making it easier to navigate your design. To give you scene a new name just click on the scene text and type in a new name.
If a design or timeline contains one or more scene you would like to use in another timeline, you can copy it to your timeline to avoid recreating them.
To do this, click on the button Insert Scene From Other Design and a window will now open showing you the timeline of other designs.
On the right side of timeline viewer you can select the timeline you want to load. Then hold your mouse down on the scene you want to copy and drag it to you timeline. The scene has now been copied.
When scenes are added to your timeline they are given a scene time of 2 seconds by default. If you wish to shorten or extend this time, simply move your mouse to the right side of the scene and then hold the left mouse button down. You can now adjust the scene time.
The two time indicators show the time of the selected scene you are adjusting and the absolute time from the beginning of you timeline to the end.
It is also possible to adjust the time between two scenes without changing the total time of the timeline. To do this, move your mouse to the left side of the scene and then hold down the left mouse button.
The scene time of the scene selected and the previous scene can be viewed in the time indicators.
A scene consists of two times the Scene Time and the Fade Time. By default the Fade Time and Scene Time are identical - meaning a scene will be faded in during the whole scene time. The illustration below illustrates the two times more clearly.
You might want to adjust your fade time if you want a scene to be faded more quickly in and stay static for the remaining scene time.
The fade time is represented above every scene by a cross triangle Fade Block. To adjust the fade time simple move your mouse to the right side of the Fade Block and hold the left mouse button down and then move the mouse.
The fade time can also be typed in directly by right clicking on a scene and selecting Set Time.
As explained previously is it possible to create a scene from an image and the same is possible with video.
Adding video to your timeline is done by clicking on the button Fill With Video Scenes
Then select a video file in the browser.
The vDesigner will now split the video up into a series of images and add them to you timeline, just like when you created scenes from an image.
The number of scenes created depends on how much space is left in the timeline. As explained previously a timeline can have a maximum of 24 scenes, so if there are no other scenes present, 24 individual scenes will be made with timing set according to the video.
This method of creating a timeline gives you the possibility of creating a colour changing look in seconds that might otherwise have taken much longer.
A colour effect is a method that allows you to easily create a colour changing design. Maybe you need to create a design where colours move from one side to another or patterns changes from circular to square etc. In such cases it is you will need to use a Colour Effect Generator.
To open, click on the Edit Button
Then select the edit mode; Effects in the Edit mode drop down menu.
The effect edit uses two colours called Back Colour and Effect Colour.
The Back Colour is the basic background colour of the effect while the Effect Colour is the colour that you want applied to your effect.
Both colours can be adjusted using the standard colour selector as previously described.
When you click on the Clear Button all the effect controls are set to default, which creates a simple wave effect.
To change the colours of the effect, simply change the Effect Colour and preview the effect in the layout window.
The Shape Preview Window shows the type of shape of the effect without colours.
It can sometimes be difficult to identify what kind of effect you have created if you have a low number of fixtures, so in the Layout Window the Shape Preview gives you a clear example of the effect.
The effect speed can easily be changed by using the effect speed slider.
Or the effect loop time can be typed directly in to the box below the slider.
In the Edit Shape Window the Shape Form and Zoom Slider can be used to change the properties of the effect.
The Shape Form Slider makes it possible select how sharp or soft an effect can be. The illustration below shows how to adjust the shape form of an effect.
The Zoom Slider makes it possible to zoom in and out of an effect as illustrated below.
If the Zoom Slider is set to Far, all the lights will have the same effect.
The effect shapes can be changed using the drop down menu in the Effect Shapes Panel.
You can chose between the following effects:
It is also possible to create randomized effect shapes by clicking on the Generate Random button. Every time the button is clicked the effect is re-randomized.
If you have a wave effect for example, the direction of the effect movement can be changed by using the Angle Tool.
To change the direction of the effect simply click on the Angle Ring and then hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse to change direction.
Note: If you want to make a finer adjustment of the angle, keep the left mouse button held down and move the mouse outside the windows.
The position of an effect can be changed to create a new desired look. (Position will not have any affect on a wave effect as it has no absolute position point). If you select the effect shape called circle, you can change its centre position.
To change the position of the effect move the mouse to the centre point of the position selector and hold down the left button and move the mouse to the desired position.
The Shape Path Panel makes it possible to change the path of how colours go from Back Colour to Effect Colour. Normally the colour would go in straight line as show below.
But if you want a more colourful effect you will need to move through more colours when going from Back Colour to Effect Colour, and this can be achieved by changing the shape path from linear to circular. To achieve this, move the Path Slider.
Saving a design can be done by either clicking on the Save Button or by clicking on the Save Icon on top of the Layout Window.
Type in the name of the design and your name if desired, and the design will be saved to your design library.
Groups is a tool that makes it easier to select a frequently selected group of lights. For example if you have a group of lights that illuminates a front wall and another group of lights that illuminates a back wall, you might want to create a Group for selecting the whole back wall by pushing just one button.
This will save you time when creating designs where you often select certain groups.
To open the group window click on the Group Icon on top of the Layout Window.
To create a group, first select the fixtures in your layout window that you want to be included in the group, and then click on the button; Add New Group From Selection. The group has now been created.
To give your group a name just click on the group text and type in a name.
To delete a group right click on the group and select Delete.
To open the security setting of the device, click on Setup and then click on Security.
The presets on the device can be locked by marking them on the Preset Lock Panel.
When a preset is locked the user will not be able to change it on the device and instead will get a; “OHOOHH” acoustic feedback, indicating that the preset is locked.
Note: The user can still change the preset if the device is connected to the computer using vDesigner.
Locking the layout prevents the user from changing either the layout or fixture properties. The lock is enabled by selecting the Edit of Fixture and Layout.
For this function to be affective a password should be enabled.
The locked functions can be password protected to ensure that none of the layouts can be accessed or changed without a password.
The password is enabled by clicking on the Set Password button
The password can be disabled by changing the password to no characters.
The security settings are saved in the device the next time you save the project to the device.