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Updated: 9/15/2022 What are the MINIMUM system requirements for Vision? On Windows: Windows 10 (64-bit), Windows 11, a 2.5 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 4GB video card, and a mouse with a middle button or scroll wheel. On Mac: macOS 12 (Monterey), macOS 11 (Big Sur), a 2.5 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 4GB video card, and a mouse with a middle button or scroll wheel. For both PC and MAC, it requires a dedicated graphics card supporting GL_ARB_draw_buffers extension. It is recommended to have 8 GB of VRAM, preferably 12 GB of VRAM or more. A graphics card released in the past three years (e.g., NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series, AMD Radeon RX 6000 series) is also highly recommended. We do not recommend any integrated Intel video chipset. While Vision may run, we do not support integrated graphics cards due to their lack of performance and speed. For the full list of system requirements and system recommendations, see Vectorworks System Requirements. Does Vision run macOS M-series? Yes, Vision runs on M-series machines. We recommend a M1 Pro or greater with a minimum of 32 GB Unified Memory. How many lights can I run in Vision? The speed of your video card and rendering settings directly impacts the number of lights that you can run. You can improve the performance of Vision by adjusting the Vision Preferences to better match the capabilities of your graphics card. This is most easily accomplished by adjusting the Performance-Quality slider in the Vision Preferences . If more control over the settings is desired, enter the Advanced portion of the Vision Preferences. From here, turning off Render shadows and Use haze texture; reducing the Texture Quality; rendering fixtures as black or turning off fixture rendering, and many other settings, can significantly increase the performance of Vision. If you are running a slower video card and are still experiencing sub-optimal framerates, you should consider upgrading to a faster video card. What is a dongle? Do I need one to run Vision? A dongle is a USB key that contains your license information, including the number of universes that you own and subscription data. Vision dongles are not compatible with macOS M-series computers. You do not need a dongle to run a Vision license. However, if you need to use grandMA2 with MA-Net2 as your DMX provider, MA Lighting requires the use of a dongle for Vision. The Vision dongle can be purchased directly from Vectorworks. Vision 2022 or higher: MA Lighting supports visualizer connectivity on the grandMA3 via MANet3 using the viz-key. The viz-key is available from purchase from your local MA distributor. How do I control Vision? Vision is listening for DMX-512. Any console or onPC/off-line editor that outputs Artnet, Hognet, MA-Net, MA-Net3, or sACN can be used to control Vision. MAC product integration is limited to Artnet, sACN, and MA-Net3 at this time. How many lights are in the Vision fixture library? While the numbers are continually 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. What if I need a fixture that isn't included in the library? Vision customers are entitled to request a maximum of 4 lighting fixtures per 30 days, using the “SPOTLIGHT AND VISION FIXTURE REQUEST” form available on the support page of the customer portal. What exactly is Update Dongle, Update Library and Update Vision? The Update Dongle command contacts the Vectorworks server to update your dongle. It should only be necessary to run the Update Dongle command when you renew your Dongle Vision license. If you have an online activation license, there is no need to run this command. The Update Library command contacts a cloud-based internet server that all of our customers can access. When you access the Update Library server, it compares the latest library 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 most recent data available. We recommend that you run the Update Library command before you begin any major project. You must have an active Vision license to access the Update Library server. The Update Vision command contacts the Vectorworks server to update your Vision software to the latest available service pack. Do you have a trial version? Yes. Vision has a free downloadable 30-day trial which will allow you to run Vision. This will allow you to test Vision's capabilities and see the superior quality of Vision. You will find sample files, DMX recordings, and detailed information regarding patch, etc. in the "Demo Documents" folder within your Vision Trial installation. INSTALLATION Do I need any other programs to install Vision? All necessary support files are included in the Vision installer package. Should I plug my Vision dongle in before I start the install? We recommend installing using the provided serial number. For Vision 2023 the dongle is only necessary for using the MA-Net2 dmx provider. Can I change the installation directory? It is not recommended to manually change the installation directory of Vision. If you need to relocate Vision it is recommended that you uninstall the current version and run the Vision installer to install in a new directory. VISION 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, press 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 Vision online help. How do I focus conventional fixtures in my rig? Select the lights that you wish to adjust in the scene. All the lights are turned on. Another way to select the fixtures you want is to use the Once the lights are selected, you can move them all in sync by using the four arrow keys. These keys correspond to the pan and tilt of each fixture. If you wish to focus all selected lights to the same position, move your mouse to that position, right-click and select "Focus selected lights here." If you wish to focus each light individually, be sure to have the main window picked and hit the page down button which will highlight a single fixture. Focus that fixture using the arrow keys. When you complete, hit page down again and the next light is highlighted. Continue the process until all fixtures are focused. How do I adjust the haze in the scene? Haze can be adjusted in the Document Preferences window or by select the ROOT from the Scene Graph window. The movement of the haze is controlled by Haze Vertical Speed, Haze Horizontal Speed, Haze Depth Speed, and Haze Turbulence. By setting these to 0, the atmosphere will be constant without any movement. To set the amount of haze in the scene adjust the Haze Amount up or down, to suit your needs. A setting of 0 will assume no atmosphere (such as in a theater setting). If haze texturing is on, you can increase and decrease the density or cloudiness of the haze with the Haze Density setting. The performance and quality of haze renderings can be adjusted in the Vision Preferences window. This is most easily controlled with the Performance Quality slider. More detailed control of haze quality and performance can be unlocked in the Advanced section of this dialog. Haze Rendering Style, Haze Rendering Quality, and Use haze texture all impact the quality and performance of haze. Haze in its entirety can also be enabled or disabled at an application level with the Render haze checkbox. If I am running a complex scene, how can I increase speed? The easiest way to increase the speed of renderings is to adjust the Performance Quality slider in the Vision Preferences dialog box. By moving this slider towards Performance, quality will decrease but performance will increase. Try different slider settings to see what works best for the given scene. If you want more detailed control over performance and quality, the Advanced section of the Vision Preferences window may be helpful. You may consider eliminating the geometry associated with the lighting fixtures by setting Render Fixtures to Off in the Vision Preferences. You will notice that the fixture will disappear from the Vision, but the light is still emitting from where the fixture used to be. Significant speed increases can also be achieved by turning off Render shadows in the Vision Preferences . If your file contains multipart fixtures, checking the Force Emissive option for these fixtures will also improve performance. Lowering the Haze Rendering Quality or lowering the Haze Rendering Style may also improve performance. For files with a very large number of fixtures, disabling the High Precision option may increase performance with minimal impact on rendering quality. How do I connect my console to Vision? To begin, check out the forums on DMX Connectivity, which contains 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. See the DMX Connectivity Articles for more details. What is the optimal resolution for running Vision? Once again, this is somewhat determined by your video card. Generally, you should run Vision at 1280x720. This will give you the optimum performance and quality for your real-time visualization. Vision is capable of running at much higher resolutions, but lower resolutions allow for better performance. Resolution is configurable from within the Vision Preferences and should be adjusted to best fit your needs based on the hardware being used. VISION UPDATES I have an expired Service Select membership; how do I get the latest build? Contact the sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org and renew your Service Select membership. Vision Support will be able to reactivate your dongle remotely so that you can update the software to the latest version. My Service Select membership has expired. Can I still run Vision? Yes. Your version of Vision will still be available for you to use. However, you will no longer have access to the latest versions of Vision. To ensure that you have the latest and greatest versions of Vision at your fingertips, you’ll want to make sure that your Service Select membership stays current. Be aware that any fixtures released following your subscription date will not be visible in your Vision model.
What are the MINIMUM system requirements for Vision? On a PC, Vision Pro requires a 2.5 GHz 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 VRAM. 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 the 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. 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 macOS? Yes, Vision is cross-platform and runs on the MAC and Windows operating systems. MAC OSX 10.6 or greater is the only requirement. The MAC version currently supports Artnet 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 HD 7970 or the nVidia geForce 780 GTX, both with 1GB of RAM. 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. 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 subscription data. 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? You can purchase anywhere between one and ten universes. Once you purchase 10 universes, the system is deemed unlimited, allowing you to use as many universes as your hardware will support (to a maximum of 256). Your dongle will determine how many universes you have purchased and may use. How do I upgrade my dongle for more universes? Contact Vision Support and we can update you 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. 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, at this time. How does the subscription work? Vision provides a subscription service for all Vision users. The first 12 month's subscription is included in the purchase price. The subscription 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 subscription is active. Your subscription also gives you access to support via our online chat, email, and telephone support. After the first 12 months you can renew your subscription for the next 12 months per universe. If I let my subscription expire, what then? Once your subscription expires, you have 30 days to reinstate your subscription without penalty. Beyond that, you may reinstate, with a penalty. All back subscriptions 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 maintain your subscription, 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 subscription expire, there are certain rules and fees associated with reinstating your subscription. Please contact support for details. How many lights are in the Vision fixture library? 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 72 hours, 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 subscription 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 an Vision model file. Of course, you wont be able to run Vision without the dongle. Installation 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 subscription 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 theplugins. 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. Vision 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 and click OK. All the lights are turned on in blue. Another way to select the fixtures you want is to use the mouse and arrow in the scene. You can select individual lights , or draw a box around the lights that you want to select. You can add to your selection by holding down the Ctl key while you are selecting lights. Once the lights are selected, you can move them all in sync by using the 4 arrow keys. These keys correspond to the pan and tilt of each fixture. If you wish to focus all selected lights to the same position, move your mouse to that position, right-click and select "Focus selected lights here". If you wish to focus each light individually, be sure to have the main window selected and hit the page down button which will hightlight a single fixture. Focus that fixture using the arrow keys. When you complete, hit page down again and the next light is highlighted. Continue the process until all fixtures are focused. 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. The variability and movement of the atmosphere is referred to as HAZE. By setting this to 0, the atmosphere will be constant without any movement. 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). Can I invert pan or tilt in Vision? While usually done on the console, you can do this directly in Vision. Select the lights in question, and in the properties window, check the Invert Pan or Invert Tilt boxes as required. If I am running a complex scene, how can I increase speed? Yes. There are two things that you can do that may assist you when running an extremely complex scene. The first is to eliminate the geometry associated with the fixtures themselves. You can do this by turning Light Geometry off in the Properties window. You will notice that the fixture will disappear from the Vision, even though the light is still emitting from where the fixture used to be. This can add some speed by eliminating a certain number of polygons from the scene. 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. 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 forums on DMX Connectivity, which contains 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. On the MAC, this currently defaults to Artnet, so no need to worry about the selection. 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 1280x720x32. This will give you the optimum speed for your real time visualization. If you wish to view this in more of a full screen view, simply change the resolution on your monitor to match that of Vision output. 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. Plugins 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? Yes 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. Updater What is the Update Server? The Update Server is a cloud-based repository of the latest versions of Visionand 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 subscription, you will not be able to get the latest version of Vision. If your subscription 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 subscription, how do I get the latest build? Contact Vision Support and renew your subscription. Vision Support will be able to reactivate your dongle remotely so that you can access the Update Server once again. My subscription 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 subscription 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 subscription date will not be visible in your Vision model. Vectorworks 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 access this in our downloads section. 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.
So I did my first export to Vision from VW 2017 and found some differences in the workflow: - My userconfig.xml got overwritten. Does this mean that when you install 2017 you HAVE to change the ESP mapping in the vectorworks spotlight preferences? or was this just my issue? - Rotating completely changed! I had realized that 3D rotation un VW had changed, personally it's strange but will have to get used to it, but know the default for vision is a "hanged" fixture, not a "floor" fixture. Is this right? Mayor issue when you have your personalized libraries set to work with the old Vision Workflow! - When assigning fixture mode in VW It does not always display it in the Object Info Pallete (see attached) nor does it have any info int the Edit Vision Data menu, but when exported to Vision it is exported properly... Besides these differences, are there any other? I've looked for release notes or some other document that lists these differences but haven't found one, is there such? Has anyone else done any exporting to vision? Cheers