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Sam Jones

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    Technical Director
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  1. TMI about my experience with the problem and lack of solution. This has always been frustrating. I have on occasion had to put up an alert during the running of the command telling users to nudge the selected objects up and back down after the command completes in order for the screen redraw to complete. All the evidence, and there is very little of it mainly coming from _c_, points to some problem in the script code, but I have not been able to track it down in my code. Some problem in our code that prevents some object redraws and also prevents refreshing of the OIP, is probably better than the problem being buried in the VW engine. Since I can't find it, I blame VW with my users. BTW, when using handles and parameter values, try to be sure to check for NIL values of the handle. VW usually can handle NIL handle values, but every now and then it will bite you in the ass. Running your final checks in developer mode will catch NIL handle values.
  2. Not stupid, different industry; although there may be a similar circumstance in yours. I do different shows in different theaters, and while the geometry is different from theater to theater, it is usually very similar. Additionally, even when a venue has a significantly different geometry, my drawing will have my usual layer and class structure. It is much easier to copy and paste sheet layer VPs and adjust the crop. That way I don't have to worry about layer visibilities and overrides, and I don't have to worry about class visibility and overrides, and the data visualization is already set up. So much time is saved when copying a SLVP instead of trying to set it up from scratch. Sometimes after a file has been upgraded a number of times it is time to copy and paste everything into a new file. I have a scripts that will help me copy the layer and class structure to a new files, but getting the VPs set up is a bitch copying and pasting from the old file does not seem to take away the advantages I gained by creating a new file. I'm @_c_ can probably come up with a bunch of architectural workflow examples
  3. Why would the Fixture ID parameter of a Lighting Device reference another parameter (Instrument Type) essentially creating a duplicate parameter of no use. I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying that this seems ...I'm struggling here... uselessly stupid. Is there a nicer way to say that? There's an explanation that my simple mind is missing, right? I would have though that "Fixture ID" would be a holder for what some consoles use as a control channel, e.g. the Grand MA's "Fixture Name", but I guess not. Chris, I think you are going to need to create a custom user parameter in the Spotlight Preferences of the Document Settings to hold your Fixture ID and assign that custom user parameter to an LL.
  4. In VW 2021, Spotlight's "Find and Modify" command should do what you want.
  5. AutoPlotVW command "Copy Field to Field". https://www.autoplotvw.com Let me know if you have questions.
  6. Assuming you are using VW 2012, and assuming you have attached the top hat using the Accessory Insertion tool, hit the "Edit Accessores" button in the OIP of the light the Top Hat is attached to. In the Edit Accessory window, select the accessory, presumably the Top Hat, that is displaying the Label Legend. Go to the "Use Legend" field in the Object Info Palette and select "None".
  7. I'm pretty sure you will need to do this with a command and put it in a workspace with a keystroke. With a tool, you're going to have to select the tool and then click somewhere to activate it. While I have created point and path objects and tools to place them, I have never created a pure tool, something that acts on something else, so maybe there is a way, but I'm pretty sure you will need a command.
  8. I have attempted to do this, but it is surprisingly difficult.
  9. I try to put the suffix " Class" on all my class names.
  10. Another shameless plug. Using the the AutoPlot Tools for Spotlight command to place accessories will automatically assign the fixture's unit number to the accessory's unit number. This, of course, assumes that the fixtures are already numbered. https://autoplotvw.com
  11. I tried it, and I see what you see when I reshape. I'm not going to worry about it. That's a bug. However, when that happens, type a 0 into the Part 1 of the cable that screwed up and it will recalculate to make just one part unless the path exceeds the length of the longest available inventory. I won't be worrying about the bug; I use AP Cable Tools. Yep, "Universe" is not what you think it is. "Universe" is setting in the DMX system. The highest DMX setting is 512 (1-512) (actually, 0-511, but that is going to take us deeper into the weeds than we need to go). Each universe in the DMX system can hold 512 numbers: Universe 1 (1-512), Universe 2 (513 -1024), Universe 3 (1025 to 1536), etc... One DMX cable can only carry signal for 1 universe, but that can be any universe. CAT5 cable can carry signal for multiple universes. So, that brings us to ask what are you trying to accomplish? Cabling the data for lights is an elaborate process that takes into account different amount of addressing per lighting unit, different lights use different amounts of DMX address. All of this is best left to the Master Electrician, Production Electrician, or a pissed off Lighting Designer. The cabling is based on the address consumption needs of different lights around the room. I don't know what your project is like, but it will take very little time at all for addressing and cabling lights to get beyond your expertise. I think this part of the conversation is best continued privately. Correct. I haven't tried it, but the Spotlight numbering command might be able to assign numbers to cables. I just tried it and the Spotlight numbering command will put cable IDs into the Cable Run ID field of selected cables.
  12. BTW, by "I will remember you fondly", I meant I'll never hear from you again. Best of Luck, s
  13. You are absolutely right, and that is what happens in the drawing I create. Does this happen when you open a new drawing and immediately draw a 56'4" cable? If it does reinstall VW. No guarantees there, but I can't duplicate your problem. Another approach. What happens when you type 0 into part 1 while "Calculate Parts" is checked. This should reset the calculation, and come up with a 75' cable. (I bet it doesn't) Yes it is, old school, time consuming, and Vectorworks. To be fair, making a user interface(UI) for describing the offset in distance and direction would be a bit of a challenge. Just try describing how you think that process would happen. If you get it right, I'll try to code it. In the meantime, you can take one of the cables and move it the farthest away you want the offset cable to be, then select all the relevant cables and use the VW align/distribute command to evenly lay them out. Cable heads may still be an issue, but life is a %#@&. I'm not sure what you want to achieve here. Any cable can be of any type and any universe. If you want a muticable to be a data multicable with different wiring in it, you will need to specify your own breakout with different wiring. If the cable itself is to have multiples of different wiring in the same jacket, you would have to fake it with multiple cable runs, but I have never heard of such a thing. The latter example of CAT and DMX in the same cable jacket is new to me. Can you tell me more about it? As for different universes, The "Universe" field is a text field so you can put anything you want in there, including "cable type/universe", but you may find your paperwork difficult to manage. Specifically what would you like to see. As for uniqueness, not necessarily; it depends on how you use the cable IDs. In almost all cases, multicables want unique IDs, and that is what Lightwright expects; however, that is not true of all jumpers and data runs. Additionally, if jumper and data IDs are unique, they often want to share an ID then add a ".suffix", e.g. A1.1, A1.2, A1.3 or B4.a, B4.b, B4.c. If you were to be given a command to place cable IDs automatically, what would that UI look like and ask for. Prefix? Suffix? Both? Would it ask for a starting number or letter? Would it ask for both, and then combine them in a user defined way? What would that UI look like? I can't help you with the preview tools. Learning the built in tools won't hurt before learning the AP tools, except you will struggle with a bunch of stuff you shouldn't have to struggle with if you go straight to the AP tools. Since the AP Tools are a superset of the built in tools, take whatever approach floats your boat. If you want to wait until you ace the built in tools before getting together, I will remember you fondly. If you like both the current tools and the preview tools, that's great, but you will be investigating 2 different universes. Considering the goals are the same, you might think of it as learning Chinese and German at the same time in order to write one technical manual. (I have been told that learning the 3rd language is easier than learning the 2nd.) I am playing around with the preview tools a little bit, but they don't think the way I do, and I will leave it to Jesse to explain them. Answers to the user interface questions I have asked will only affect AP Cable Tools, because those are the only ones I can have an effect on. However, the answer will both inform you and others about the specifics, and I mean "specifics", of how the tool should ideally behave. I am snidely thinking this will be much more difficult to describe than you imagine, but that is unfair of me. VW, and those of us who create 3rd party tools, need to get into the mindset and workflows of users as deeply as we can. Engineering limits will always affect what can be achieved with software, but everyday work should define the goals of the software. Are you sure you don't want to hop on a Zoom meeting? Anyone?
  14. If the length of the cable run is 55', the default calculation is to use the next single length that would make the run, i.e. 75'. That is what happens when I open a new document and draw a data cable run whose length is 55'. Perhaps you could post your drawing and I could take a look. There are some times (many?) that you might want to override a cable part length calculation, but your example isn't one of them. Something is very strange if you are not seeing part 2 in the worksheet, if it is longer than 0". You need to be sure that you have Part 2 set to be displayed in the cable worksheet set up. The graphic to display multiple cable runs is different from user to user. Users usually duplicate cable runs and then convert them to a different type if needed. Once the needed number of cables has been created. One of the 2 following methods is usually used. 1. Nudging the cable runs just enough to separate and see the runs, or 2. using Call Outs or other text labels to indicate multiple runs. Usually when number 2 is used, the Reshape tool is used to move the last vertex of the cable run (the cable head) just enough to differentiate each one. The "Terminator Angle" is the angle off of vertical that the little terminator indicator will lean on the drawing. The cable tool plug in that you are probably thinking of is in AutoPlot Tools for Spotlight, www.autoplotvw.com. It is an extensive expansion of the tools that are in Vectorworks. If you want a tour of them and how they work, I'm willing to have a Zoom meeting show them to you and answer your questions. I don't have a lot of shows to prep right now. Vectorworks seems to be going in the direction of abandoning the current tools and developing the tools shown in "Preview Features". Those cable tools are a whole new ballgame. Learning the current cable tools will be no help in learning the "Preview Features", cable tools. I have a whole bunch of issues with them, but @Jesse Cogswell can lead the discussion of these tools and how to use them. Planning cable will always be a chore, even with good tools. The alternative it to pay for twice as much cable as you need, guessing the lengths with the tape measure tool. However, this alternative is of no help when you need to make cable run build lists. Good Luck. Sam
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