What are the MINIMUM system requirements for Vision?
On a PC, Vision Pro requires a 2.5 GB processor; 4 GB of RAM; a mouse with a middle button or scroll wheel; Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1(64-bit), Windows 10 (64-bit); a discrete fully DirectX 9.0 and OpenGL 3.0-compatible video card with at least 1GB of VR AM. Ideal specifications would be 3.0 GHz processor, 8 GB RAM, and a video card with 2+ GB of VRAM. For a Macintosh, Vision Pro requires OSX 10.10 or 10.11, a 2.5 GHz processor, and a gaming-level video card (NVIDIA GeForce 580 series or better or ATI RadeonTM 5770 series or better). For both PC and MAC, we do not recommend any integrated Intel video chipset. While Vision may run under these environments, we do not support them due to their lack of performance and speed.
What are IDEAL system requirements?
On Windows: Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1(64-bit), Windows 10 (64-bit) with at least 8GB RAM. This allows Windows to operate more efficiently. A 3.0Ghz processor is ideal, but Vision doesn't really benefit from anything faster than that, so take the cost of a faster card into effect, as well as other products you may be running on the Vision computer. Finally, the video card is the all-important component. Video cards change dramatically from day to day, but we recommend a GAMING video card for its higher clock speed than it’s workstation counterparts. The best cards today are the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or the ATI Radeon R9 3xx series. For the MAC environment, get the best video card that they offer. Usually, this is several generations behind the Windows counterpart. We do NOT recommend workstation graphics cards, as they are made for pre-rendering frames, and Vision renders frames on the fly, requiring a gaming card.
Does Vision run on the MAC OSX?
Yes, Vision is cross-platform and runs on the MAC and Windows operating systems. MAC OSX 10.10 or 10.11 is the only requirement. The MAC version currently supports Artnet and sACN as DMX providers. All Vision licenses are cross-platform, allowing you to run on either PC or MAC.
How many lights can I run in Vision?
The number of lights that you can run is directly impacted by the speed of your video card. Vision currently recommends the ATI Radeon R9 390 or the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080. This provides you with the fastest performance and the most lights available. If you are running a slower video card and are experiencing sub-optimal framerates, you should consider upgrading to a faster video card. Remember, speed is the most important factor in upgrading your video card.
Do I need to own some other CAD program to use Vision?
Instead of creating our own CAD program for exclusive use with Vision, we decided to let you choose the programs that you are already comfortable with and already own. Currently, our plugins work with the latest 2 releases of Vectorworks SPOTLIGHT & 3D Studio Max. Of course, for simple scenes, you can create your model directly in Vision using our library of scenic, trussing and set pieces. We also support merging of 3ds files from any of a number of programs, such as Sketchup.
What is a dongle? Do I need one to run Vision?
A dongle is a USB key that contains your license information, including number of universes that you own and license information. Yes, you need one to run your Vision license. This device allows you to install Vision on as many machines as you choose, but will only allow Vision to launch on the machine currently with the dongle attached.
How many universes can I buy?
Vision is now offered as one of three options: Vision, Vision Plus, and Vision Unlimited; which are 1, 4, and unlimited universes respectively. Your dongle will determine how many universes you have purchased and may use.
How do I upgrade my dongle for more universes?
Contact sales at: email@example.com and we can update your dongle over the web. It will NOT be necessary for you to return the dongle for a new one.
How do I control Vision?
Vision is listening for DMX-512, converted from a number of different protocols. If you do not have a console, you can use a number of protocols, including Artnet, Hog-net, MA-net, and others. MAC product integration is limited to Artnet and sACN at this time.
How does the maintenance work?
Vision provides a maintenance service for all Vision users. The first 12 months are included in the purchase price. This maintenance provides you with unlimited access to the update server. The update server allows you to get the latest version of the library files, gobo files, and the latest builds of Vision software, while your agreement is active. Your agreement also gives you access to support via our online chat, email, and telephone support. After the first 12 months you can renew your maintenance agreement for the next 12 months per universe.
If I let my maintenance program expire, what then?
Once your program expires, you have 30 days to reinstate your maintenance program without penalty. Beyond that, you may reinstate, with a penalty. All previously owed amounts will be due in order to reinstate. Check with support if you have any questions.
Will I ever have to buy the new version of Vision?
If you keep your maintenance program, you will always have access to the latest and greatest version of Vision. You will never be asked to purchase new functionality as we improve the Vision software. Should your maintenance program expire, there are certain rules and fees associated with reinstating it. Please contact support for details.
How many lights are in the Vision fixture library?
Thousands, since 2006 we have been adding multiple fixtures per week. While the numbers are constantly changing, you can be assured that the fixtures from the major manufacturers are included. These include High End, Martin, Coemar, Vari*lite, ETC, and many others. If you need a fixture that isn't listed, submit it using the fixture request link on the home page, and we will respond within 72 hours.
What if I need a fixture that isn't included in the library?
If you need a fixture that is not included, simply submit a request to Vision Support via the fixture request link on the homepage, and we will make every effort to provide that to you within 3 business days, often sooner. Additionally, we will make that fixture available to all our users via the update server.
What exactly is the "Update server"?
The Update server is a cloud-based internet server that all of our customers can access. When you access the Update server, it compares the latest library files and Vision files against what you have on your computer and updates any files that have been added or changed. This ensures that you always have the latest files available. We recommend that you access the Update server before you begin any major project. You must have an active maintenance program in order to access the Update server.
Do you have a demo version?
Yes. Vision has a downloadable demo which will allow you to run Vision on a demo file that we will provide. This will allow you to play with Vision's capabilities and see the superior quality of Vision. Find detailed information regarding demo patch, etc in the "Demo Documents" folder within your Vision Demo installation.
What if I don't own Vision software, can I create a Vision file?
Vision makes its library files and plugins available to anyone at no charge. This will allow anyone to create a Vision model file. Of course, you wont be able to run Vision without the dongle.
Do I need any other programs to install Vision?
All necessary support files are included in the Vision installer package.
Should I plug my dongle in before I start the install?
We recommend it, as the installer will run the updater automatically after completion which requires an active maintenance program to access. If your dongle is not handy at the time of installation, you can later run the updater by inserting your dongle and running the updater from your desktop or from the Vision folder to ensure you have the latest version of the software and library.
Already installed plugins, anything special for full install?
No. The installation will complete without incident, even if you have already installed the plugins.
Can I change the installation directory?
Yes, you can. However, once installed, Vision will always look in the installation directory for the files it needs. If you need to relocate Vision, you will need to reinstall and connect to the patch server to update the new installation. Always backup any important files before attempting this, though.
How do I navigate in Vision?
All navigation within Vision is accomplished using the middle mouse button. To pan up, down, or around, hold down the middle mouse button and move the mouse. To zoom in or out, hold Ctl+Alt and the middle mouse button and move the mouse in and out. To rotate the scene, hold Alt and the middle mouse button and move the mouse. You can also use the tools that are provided in the tool window to zoom, rotate, pan, and tilt. Find a complete list in manual.
How do I focus conventional fixtures in my rig?
Select the lights that you wish to adjust in the scene graph, which will highlight them. After selecting the lights you wish to focus, select a location in the scene and right-click, then choose “Focus Selected Lights Here” to make all conventionals selected snap to that location. Once you have the lights pointed in the right direction, select one at a time and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to adjust the focus. Further control over conventional fixtures can be found in the software console, found by pressing the ‘S’ key on your keyboard or under Window>Software Console.
How do I adjust the atmospheric level in the scene?
There are fields in the Properties Window which can adjust the density of the atmosphere, found by selecting ‘ROOT’ in the scene graph. To set the density, find "Volumetric Amount", and adjust up or down, to suite your needs. A setting of 0 will assume no atmosphere (such as in a theater setting). You can also adjust Volumetric Quality, although higher values in this field will slow the scene. Settings for ambient light and exposure can also be found here.
If I am running a complex scene, how can I increase speed?
There are three main things that you can do that may assist you when running an extremely complex scene. The first is to eliminate unnecessary geometry in your scene such as decorative 3D features of the venue itself. Secondly, you can turn particle density all the way down to zero in the Properties window. Atmospheric painting on certain video cards is very hardware intensive and eliminating the beams in the air can speed the render engine significantly. Lastly, comb through your scene and simplify whatever geometry you can; such as changing truss from round to square cord profiles. This is due to one of the golden rules of 3D: nothing is actually round. The closer you get to a round object, the more polygons it has. We recommend that if you are doing this on a regular basis, you should consider upgrading your video hardware to the Vision recommended video card.
How do I connect my console to Vision?
To begin, check out the kbase articles on DMX Connectivity found here: http://kbase.vectorworks.net/categories/How+To/Vision/ which contain detailed instructions on connecting Vision to a number of the most popular consoles. In Vision, you only need to select the DMX Provider under the DMX menu.
What is the optimal resolution for running Vision?
Once again, this is somewhat determined by your video card. However, as a general rule, you should run Vision at 1920x1080x32. This will give you the optimum speed for your real time visualization. The Vision window is resizable and will stretch across different resolutions and multiple monitors.
Are there any special requirements for configuring my display?
Yes. You must always select 32 bit color. Choosing any other color quality will result in Vision failing to launch.
What are the plugins and how do they work?
This discussion relates to the 3d Studio Max plugins. (See Vectorworks below for additional information on Vectorworks). There are several plugins and we will discuss each individually. The primary plugin is the Light Primitive plugin. You can access this by selecting ESP Primitives in 3D Studio Max. ESP Light button will be displayed. The Light Plugin allows you to select the type of fixture that you want to place in the scene. You can choose the light based upon its type, manufacturer, or by looking at a complete list of all fixtures. Any selection that has a + next to it indicates that there are sublevels to the selection. These sublevels may reveal different modes or different types of the main fixture type that are available. Select the light that you wish to include in the scene and click in the scene to add it. Depending upon the light, you may be able to modify the defaults, such as color wheels, gobos, lamps, lenses, scrollers/animation wheels, etc. Each fixture also has informational notes that may be of interest that you can view by clicking on the "View Notes" button. Finally, you can set the DMX universe and channel individually now or you can use the Patch plugin, as described later. NOTE: Once you make any changes to a fixture, you must click on the "Apply" button to save your changes in the fixtures. The Patch plugin is available under the Utilities tab. Once you activate the Patch plugin, each time you click on an ESP Light, it will assign the value in the Patch Plugin window to that fixture and automatically increment the patch plugin based upon the number of channels used. If there aren't enough channels to increment within the same universe, it will automatically move to the next universe. You can assign the same DMX value to multiple fixtures by selecting all the fixtures you want by name. Additionally, we provide the "Replace" and "Mass Modify" plugins. These are somewhat self-explanatory, and are found under the Utilities tab, as well.
Do the plugins have to be in a certain place?
Yes, the plugins will be placed in the appropriate directory by the installation program or by AddPlugins program. This is usually the underlying plugins directory of the modeling software that you are using. These should not be moved.
If I copy/paste a fixture, will it remember my custom settings?
Can I add custom gobos to my selection list?
Yes, simply add the image to the gobos directory.
If I upgrade Max or Vectorworks, can I get new plugins?
Yes. In fact all you need to do is rerun the Vision installation or Add Plugins and select only the plugins that you need. Once they are properly installed, make sure that you run the Update server to ensure that you have the latest version of the plugins.
Can I copy plugins over when I upgrade Max or Vectorworks?
No. Each version of the plugins requires certain configuration and may take advantage of new features of the latest upgrade. It is important that you run the AddPlugins application to properly configure your new plugins after installing new releases of Max or Vectorworks.
What is the Update Server?
The Update Server is a cloud-based repository of the latest versions of Vision and the necessary libraries. It is available 24/7 and can be accessed to update your copy of Vision or your libraries at any time.
Can anyone access the Update Server?
Yes. However, based upon your current status, you may not have full access to all the files on the Patch Server. If you don't have a dongle, you can access the Patch Server to access the latest versions of the plugins and library files so that you may create Vision models. However, unless you have the dongle and an active maintenance program, you will not be able to get the latest version of Vision. If your maintenance program is active, you can download the latest version of Vision as well.
How does the Update Server work?
The Update Server looks at the files on your machine and compares those to the ones on the Server. Any files on the Server that have not been updated are downloaded to your machine. This allows you to maintain the latest version of Vision at all times.
I have an expired maintenance program, how do I get the latest build?
Contact the sales team at: firstname.lastname@example.org and renew your maintenance program. Vision Support will be able to reactivate your dongle remotely so that you can access the Update Server once again.
My maintenance program has expired. Can I still run Vision?
Yes. Your dongle will still be active. However, you will no longer have access to the latest versions of Vision. Make sure that you keep your maintenance active to ensure that you have the latest and greatest versions of Vision at your fingertips. Please be aware that any fixtures released following your maintenance program date will not be visible in your Vision model.
What version of Vectorworks Spotlight do you support?
We support the 2 most recent releases of Vectorworks Spotlight.
Are the Vectorworks plugins free?
Absolutely. In fact you can download the plugins by downloading and installing the Vision demo.
Can I use the Apple Version of Vectorworks to model?
Yes. Vision offers a Mac version of the plugin for supported versions of Vectorworks for Mac. You can install these during the demo install process.
I own Vectorworks but I don't have Spotlight.. Do I need it?
Yes, you need to have the SPOTLIGHT component of Vectorworks for the Vision plugins to work properly. We also highly recommend Renderworks.
Edited by JimW