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[Bug] Spotlight - Instrument Summary tool - Count function has bugs which give false counts



This is an active bug in Spotlight 2023 SP6, but I've seen it for a few years.  The attached file and screenshot show what's happening, so I'll try to keep the post itself as short and to the point as I can.

The Instrument Summary Tool's Show Counts function gives false results when you have multiple lighting device symbols with certain identical data in the Light Info Record (LIR) and OIP.  Specifically, the [Inst Type] and [Model Name] fields in the symbol LIR and the [Instrument Type] field in lighting device OIP's are involved.


As seen in the screenshot, There are 12 instruments in the drawing, but the counts in the Instrument Summary are wrong.

The Instrument Summary list is organized by symbol name, with each symbol having a separate line and its own count.  The root issue appears to be that symbol name is not the top-most criterion used for counting.  This means that instruments generated from different symbols can be counted together on the lines for each separate symbol, multiplying the true number.

In the demo drawing, I have four instruments generated from four discrete symbols representing Arri Skypanel S60-C's.  The two black and white symbols were imported directly from the resource library, then the red, blue, and yellow versions were created by duplicating the original symbol and changing the 2D geometry color.  Because the relevant fields in the LIR's are identical, they all get counted under each symbol.  Note in particular that the yellow symbol is not even present in the drawing, but still shows the count for the other four due to the bug.

It's worth pointing out that anyone using the two black and white skypanel symbols taken from the VW resource library will encounter this bug without having made any customizations.  There are other examples in the resource library of sets of symbols with identical LIR's which will cause this bug out of the box.

I created the bottom three rectangle symbols in the Instrument Summary from simple 2D geometry which I turned into a symbol, attached the LIR and copied the [Inst Type] field from the skypanel symbols, then duplicated.  I included the Lighting Symbol Maintenance dialog in the screenshot to show the LIR values of the various symbols.

The counting bug takes on different behaviors depending on which of the data fields match and which don't, as noted in the screenshot.

The bug variations for the rectangle symbol counts come from the [Instrument Type] in the OIPs being different from [Inst Type] in the LIRs, whereas they are the same for the skypanel symbols.  For the dark grey rectangle devices, the OIP [Instrument Type] matches the skypanel device OIP's, and for the white and light grey rectangles it is different.


FWIW I have encountered this bug numerous times through sharing files and collaborating with other users on film set lighting plots.  As a team, we frequently create customized variations of the resource manager lighting device symbols, most commonly to represent instruments which are not in the resource manager, or for different accessory buildouts.  It is quite easy to duplicate a symbol, tweak the geometry or colors, then begin using it without updating the LIR fields, but it is rather tedious to make sure each symbol variation has unique data in the relevant places to avoid this bug.  In my experience many Spotlight users aren't familiar with the finer points of using the Light Info Record in the first place and don't know how to update it.

To my mind, the ideal solution would be to fix the count algorithm so it uses symbol name as the first distinguishing criterion, as that would remove the requirement to give each symbol unique data in the LIR and OIP.

Thanks as always for all the work the mods and devs put in to keep VW humming.

instrument summary count bug.vwx

Edited by mdrohn
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

This is actually a feature of this tool that has existed since it was created to support older workflows and multi-circuit instruments.
Multi-circuit fixtures consist of multiple symbols.  The instrument summary counts all symbols with the same Instrument Type and Model name as the same. In the instrument summary this allows the user to say that it takes 3 symbols of this type to make one 3 cell light so it will not report each cell of the light.

It also supports a workflow that is uses by some users that do not want to use the 3D rotation feature of the lighting device. They create multiple symbols, i.e one floor mounted and one hung. This creates 2 different symbols but the user can set the Instrument Type and Model name the same so both symbols count as the same fixture.

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Thanks for that explanation, that is very interesting! 

Having a stand-mounted version and a rigged version is precisely the kind of symbol differentiation that we use, however in our workflow we WANT to see separated counts for both versions in the summary.  That really helps us very quickly look at a plot and see how many of each variety we need to order regarding stands, diffusers, specific rigging hardware, and other accessories (before anyone says, there are no existing symbols for many of the accessories we frequently use and in any case, it's much faster and easier to just use the symbol name or model name to indicate what is needed).

I can see the merits for being able to count multiple symbols together, but the way my collaborators and I use VW, where we frequently need to generate new lighting symbols quickly, the current implementation opens up a pitfall that results in false information being displayed.  I lose a lot of productivity from cleaning up symbols to avoid this issue, because more often than not the other users who make them aren't digging into the LIR to change the data fields to make sure they are unique. 

Could there perhaps could be an option added to the tool, so the user can choose which kind of counting priority they want?

Anyway, even given all the above, it certainly seems like some of the existing count behavior is buggy, particularly when the OIP data for instrument and/or model info doesn't match what is in the symbol LIR (as with the rectangle objects in my demo file).

Edited by mdrohn
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