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FabK

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Everything posted by FabK

  1. If I may add and ask, could you all finish your post by a simple line: If I had to choose, I would upgrade RAM or CPU or GPU so it is clear for the less computer technologie oriented fellows? Thanks again.
  2. Thanks everyone for all your comments and tips. It is very interesting but I must admit I am somewhat more confused today. I thought I would get a simple and unanimous response such as :"Go for the Graphic card!" or whatever. It seems that it is more complex although I don't really see why it should be knowing my quest is only in regards to using VW with the main purpose of rendering 3D stage design with lights. At the moment, I feel that there cannot be a single choice and one should upgrade everything to get a clear vote. I wish it was that easy financially for me. Perhaps we should turn to VW engineers who exactly know what hardware is most useful to boost their 3D engine. But again, thank you all for the time you have taken looking at this issue.
  3. Hi, I am about to buy a new Macbook Pro 15'. This is my only computer as I travel a lot and carry my work everywhere. I am a lighting designer and therefore render 3D set models with lighting. I can afford to boost my expensive new toy only with one feature. CPU, RAM or Graphic card. Which on will speed my render the most? 1- Going from Intel hexacore i7 2.6 Ghz to Intel hexacore i9 2.9 Ghz? 2- Going from 16 Go of RAM to 32 Go of RAM? 3- Going from Radeon Pro 560x 4Go GDDR5 to Radeon Pro Vega 20 4Go HBM2? Thanks for the advise.
  4. Scott, I am glad to read that I am not the only one to wish to have a fully functional software. As many people, your give some useful tips which only underline the urgency for the developers to add the elementary features that are missing. The option to make myself not just one soft version of a gobo but ten to have a full choice on how soft I want it is just ridiculous in a program specifically designed for lighting designers. This is an elementary feature as are the possibility to see shutters and gobo in open GL and a proper projection tool. Imagine the heliodon tool fixed at 1pm January 1st and telling the architects that they need to rotate their building to get the proper position of the sun. It just makes no sense and shows a serious ignorance in our profession. I have looked a bit more into the subject and realised that VISION offers all the control features that we miss. You can focus with the arrow keys, control gobos, smoke level, shutters, everything with instant render. The know how is there, it is just a matter of a decision to offer it which is even more infuriating. If the intend is to get us to buy VISION, it will never work. We are designers, not programmers. I personally have no clue on how to operate a console and no desire to learn. A console is a very complex machine and you need a professional to operate it. As a designer, I don't patch, I don't run cables, I don't set up network. The only things I choose are the lights and their positions, colours, purposes and channels. Once this is done, months later I pass on the VW file to the production and someone else does all of tech stuff . The other option would be to get the production to hire the programmer six months ahead to spend several weeks with me in my studio to operate a virtual board with the need to patch and set up the show as if it was all done when I am just studding my possibilities until I have found what I am looking for. This is just impossible in my main trade of opera and theatre simply because I don't choose the programmer or the board, it is all house staff and equipment. But even in the commercial projects, all of that would represent such a cost and additional work that it simply will never happen. Regarding Cinema4D, renderwork does a pretty good job and for my presentations, I don't need to achieve a PIXAR quality. I might once I get to use Renderworks with all the missing features and want to go one step further but for now, I need the basics to make Renderwork my standard. Fabrice
  5. Dear Andrew, Thank you for your help, It makes total sense. I now understand better how it works and therefore what behaviour is normal. Best regards, Fabrice
  6. FabK

    Channel numbering

    Hi Damien, Thank you so much for the tip, very useful. Fabrice
  7. FabK

    Channel numbering

    Thanks Mark for the tip. I may do that even though I find it a bit sad that my high end program costing close to $4000 needs a fix from a shareware.
  8. Anyone knows if there is a way to assign the same channel to a serie of lights when using the "numbering projector" function? I like to use the the mouse to select the next light but sometime, the next light has the same channel number. So instead of having to stop the numbering and reset the starting number to the last number used which is tedious, I would love if there was a short cut such as holding the option key or whatever that would stop the stepping to the next number and allow me to number several lights identical. Anyone knows of that is possible? Thanks and have a great day. Fabrice
  9. I happen to be doing a show in the US at the moment. I asked my US assistant to do the procedure on her US Vectorwoks. The tool works perfectly but contrary to what I was expecting, the program behaves exactly as mine does. No special Video classes are create when she places a Blended Screen, and in the property menu, all classes are set to "blended screen classes". Exactly like me, the only difference being, I don't see the projectors and she does. Really strange.
  10. No. I insert the screen, then go back to the property window and click on "insert screen". Did the projectors appear when you opened the file or when you clicked on "insert projector"? And what about the classes, do you have a video class with sub-classes when you open my file?
  11. Thanks bcd for the file. I can see the projectors on your drawing and noticed a specific video class with sub-classes. When I create a screen, these classes are not created. I get this. I tried creating your classes manually but this did not change anything, the projectors did not appear. I then went into the property menu of the blended screen, into classes... and noticed all classes were set to "Blended Screen Classes". I clicked on "use standard classes" and all the classes got renamed properly in the property window. But when I clicked ok, only two got actually created. Frames and Screens. And still no projectors appearing on my drawing. This is very odd. Here is a file as I get it from my end. I just inserted the screen and projectors and did not touch any settings. Perhaps you can make more sense than I can out of this. Blended Screen NoVP.vwx
  12. I can indeed add it manually which is what I did. But as there is something wrong with it on my computer, I called support. Their answer was :"we don't support that tool because we did not include it in the French version"! So they did not give you a complete answer. it is available indeed but "as is", in English and if you have a problem you are on your own. I did look into the classes, couldn't find anything that would make the VP appear.
  13. I did but something's wrong with it. When I finalize the process and click on "insert projector", nothing happens. My VP do not appear. So I called for support which started the whole thing.
  14. Hi Andrew, As I mentioned, I was told that each country could decide which tool they could drop, and the French distributor decided, for whatever reason, to drop Blended Screen.
  15. From your screen shot, Blended Screen seems to be the only missing tool. I spoke to the support service from CESYAM, the french distributor. I don't know the name of the person I spoke to. support@cesyam.fr Thank you so much for your help. Fabrice
  16. Very odd indeed, I am using the French version of VW (the one with the &!@#!! dongle which I always forget at home)! I had to retrieve it from the custom setting of my tool box where all the tools appear. I called Service Select because my VP did not show and the answer I got is that they couldn't help me with my problem because the tool is no longer standard and they do not give support for non standard tools. Fabrice
  17. I called the service select tech support yesterday due to a problem with Blended Screen. I was extremely surprised to hear that blended screen is no longer part of the standard Spotlight tools and is no longer supported. This was a great tool to work out projection. To my knowledge, it has not been replaced or added to the standard Video Screen tool that doesn't allow to work out how to build a large image with multiple beamers. Anyone has an idea why or perhaps I am missing something. Fabrice
  18. Dear Andrew, You are correct, my comment on large cyc was irrelevant as the option exist to create a custom size screen. Thanks for pointing this out. However, the rest is still very much true. If removing the screen does not project the image I don't really see the point. I would indeed see the cone lines and could see that I cover my set but I don't need Vectorworks for that really and that does not help me much in what I am missing. In fact, even if the image was projected when removing the screen, it would still not be of any use as long as I cannot add the necessary masks. Has anybody EVER used front projection on a set without using masks? In my opinion, the VP should have a camera where the lens is, allowing the user to view the scene from the lens in 1 clic in the property window. Masks don't need to be made in Vectorwoks but those masks cannot be made without a picture from the lens. There should also be an option in the property window to insert those masks in front of the media so I don't have to constantly go back to Photoshop or Final Cut everytime I want to test a file. The point I am trying to make here is that Vectorwoks has brilliantly fulfilled all its promises in the technical aspect but has poorly failed when it comes to visualisation. Just about every tool supposed to allow me to light a scene for presentation has been ill designed and the result of the cumulative defects is that Spotlight does not allow me to light a scene in high quality using Renderwork unless I am willing to spend a ridiculous time on it and lose my sanity . Fabrice
  19. Hi Mark, Thank you for your input and the tips. These workarounds are very useful but I would much rather see Nemetschek address these issues that I consider very serious. There is a major part of the software developed for designers that is not functional at the moment and it is becoming increasingly complicated to ignore the problem. I really do not see myself going to photoshop everytime I want to use a gobo to make my own texture nor do I want to tweek the program to see my light coming out of the fixture. This is what the program should do and that is the reason I bought it. My workaround is to work in 2D for my plot and place lights set to spot where I need to light the scene. At least I can focus them properly and get a general look with key lights. When I absolutely need a shutter, I create a volume that I place in from of the light and tweek it until I have the right shutter cut. Sad indeed. Fabrice
  20. Hi everyone, I am a French lighting designer, have been in the industry for 30 years and I would like to share with you my thoughts about increasingly urgent improvements I feel needed in the rendering options of Spotlight. Vectorworks Spotlight is a great tool for all lighting professionals to organize their work and design plans with all the necessary information for the technical departments in charge of the installation. The latter can very easily take up the plan realized by the designer and add their specific information, allowing the whole chain to work within a single document. The interconnectivity with Lightwright or the addition of a program such as Vision has provided us with the most advanced tools on the market and provides designers as well as technical services with a complete and powerful platform. Nevertheless, I noticed that if the technical tools offered by Vectorworks Spotlight are extremely powerful and relevant, it is not the same for the design tools which for many of them are simply unusable. Until now, the need to create luminous renderings was very limited simply because theatres and set designers did not provide 3D drawings. The entire work was done exclusively in 2D and Vectorworks Spotlight fulfilled its mission. Today, almost all theatres provide a 3D model of their stage and a growing number of set designers are providing a 3D model of their project. These two recent changes have opened up new possibilities that have prompted me to use rendering functions of Vectorworks Spotlight and Renderworks. I then very quickly faced many inconsistencies that cumulatively made the function of light of the projectors simply unusable. I resolved today to use simple lights and not the fixtures that I hang to illuminate my scenes and make my renderings. This circumvention of the difficulties encountered is doubly penalizing. First of all, it requires a significant and time-consuming additional effort while the tool is there to facilitate our work. Secondly, lighting equipment are extremely sophisticated devices with adjustments that are not available in simple lights (shutters and gobos are a good simple examples). With this technique, the renderings are therefore not as precise and textured as they should be. It seems to me today urgent, while the presentation of rendering of lights is more and more required, that Vectorworks Spotlight improves not from a technical but an artistic approach, In order to offer designers a relevant tool, allowing them to faithfully represent their work. Here are the difficulties I have encountered on a standard production that can includes several hundred fixtures: 1- Focus Points: Adjusting a light according to the impact of a centre point is only the first step in the adjustment process. We start by positioning the light in relation to what Spotlight calls point focus (the position of an actor or a chair in the decoration for example), but once the projector is positioned in the desired position, it is then adjusted depending on its impact on the ground and the manner in which the designer wishes to treat the surrounding light. In Spotlight, only this first step is possible, then it is impossible to adjust the position without moving the focus point and therefore all the projectors associated with it. It is therefore necessary to create a focal point per projector to correctly adjust the lights this way, which makes this function very cumbersome and unnecessary since there already exists a "function" field in the information window of the unit which makes it possible to insert a focus note. In addition, the trial and error process imposed by not seeing where the light is taken makes the process incredibly tedious. The movement of the beam does not occur in real time when the focus point is moved and there is no possibility of moving this focus point or the adjustment of the light by its Horiz / Vert coordinates as is done with a none theatrical light. Moreover, this method is the only one that truly corresponds to the way things are done. In reality, we have a technician who goes up focusing the light and we observe the beam that moves to guide it and give our instructions. Finally, knowing that some moving lights can have ten different focus points, one can easily end up with several thousand focus points which makes the plan totally unreadable and the function unusable. 2-Shutters: The adjustment of the shutters requires careful adjustment which can only be done by visualizing the manipulation. Again, the trial and error method that Spotlight imposes by not show real-time movement makes setting virtually impossible. Focusing a shutter should take only a few seconds, in fact it takes several minutes to do it accurately in Spotlight. Knowing that there are 4 shutters per lamp and that there are several hundred lights that themselves can have a number of focuses, it is clear that this part quickly becomes a nightmare. Adding to this that the shutters do not appear in OpenGL and that it is necessary to render after each attempt, and it becomes clear how one quickly abandons the function. 3- The Gobos: In Spotlight, it is impossible to adjust the focal length on the gobo. The result is that all gobos appear as a sharp image. In reality, very few gobos are set sharp and not having access to this function makes the image rendered totally absurd. The angle option of the gobo also requires working by trial and error, which once again increases the time needed to adjust. Finally, the gobos are not visible in OpenGL, which imposes as for the shutters to render with each setting. Again, the constraints make the function totally unusable. 4-Fixture names in the light window: In the light window, each of the fixture is assigned a strange name such as 1000.1.1.0.0 that one cannot modify as it is for a simple light in the property window. Once our 300 projectors are hung, needless to say that it is simply impossible to find oneself and one loses patience when one has to turn on 30 fixtures before finding the right one. The light can be selected by clicking on it, but that requires changing the view to comfortably access it. Again, it becomes very tedious. 5-Projection: Many shows today uses projection which, in opera, theatre, musical or dance, is in the vast majority of cases made by very large scale video projector. Vectorworks Spotlight offers only the possibility to project on a screen which makes it impossible to project on the set. Moreover, the screens option have predefined or limited sizes, which again make it impossible to illustrate a rear-projection on a large cyclorama. All the points mentioned above are related (a projector must be adjusted, can have shutters and gobos, and must be easily accessible in the middle of hundreds of others). It is therefore at each step that the user is confronted to the incoherence fo the software making all functions unusable. When I see the features and viewing options available, I feel that Spotlight was designed for people installing stands at trade shows or for small presentations that require a few projectors to light a speaker, project the company logo, and a screen to show a power point presentation. We are far from the very advanced and complex functions specific to large scale productions that Vectorworks offers in the other aspect of the design and planning process. There is a glaring discrepancy between the engineering functions and the visualization. Here are some suggestions I can would make to help: 1-Focus points: A focus point could be identical to a palette on lighting board. That is, the setting of one or more fixtures at a given point but not necessarily all centred on that point. To do this, it would require to offer the Horiz / Vert setting for the lighting fixtures that are available on the traditional lights. Assigning a focus point to a light would focus that light on the focus point as it does today, but then the designer would manually position it precisely where he wishes to focus it. The light can ultimately be very far from its focus point, it does not matter. For example, if I created a Focus Point « DS Back Light », I could put 20 lamps on it and make a straight back light from SL to SR. It does not matter that their beams are not concentric because they have a general function that together forms this « DS Back Light ». I would then have 1 focus point instead of 20 and that would exactly match the way I work in real-life. 2-Shutters + 3-Gobos: Shutters and gobos can only exist if they can be adjusted visually. The gobos and shutters must also appear in OpenGL and be adjusted by a cursor with visualization in real time. This is the only way to make the function usable. 4-Fixture name in the light window: Fixture should automatically be assigned their circuit numbers by name, simply because that is how we name them. The possibility of classifying them by position would help to find them better. If this automatic allocation is not possible, they should at least be able to be named manually. 5-Projection: The design of a specific tool to project an image, allowing to choose its lens and then to visualize the scene from the lens in order to create masks which can then be assigned to the projected object becomes urgent. Finally, I would add that because of the specificity of our business, the limit of 8 lights lit in OpenGL very quickly reaches its limits again requiring time consuming rendering. Working only in Renderworks is unthinkable, yet it is what we are forced to do to use the functions of Spotlight. If OpenGL does not allow certain renderings, it is necessary to develop a similar viewing mode, fast, allowing to visualize everything and sufficiently realistic to be able to light a scene without any bad surprise during rendering. I hope you find this topic interesting, and useful, and I am looking forward to your insight. Fabrice

 

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