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Lec

Power distro symbols

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Hey Sam, thanks for your in-depth reply - I guess it opens up a whole new can of worms when you think about intelligent symbols as most lighting hire companies have their own bespoke power distros  and therefore creating a generic symbol might be difficult. However if it were possible you would start with a simple rectangular shape and by clicking on it (as you would a lighting symbol) you would input whatever data you needed like what sort of input it had, the kind of rcb/mcb/rcbo and if they had variable trips on them - that sort of thing. Then you would specify the outputs - socapex/16A/32A/63A/True1 whatever the rack had you were using from the hire company. So now you have a custom built PD of whatever size you need. The tricky bit then would be to attach the lamp information (wattage, circuit number on the socapex etc) to the PD so you could see on a chart or info pane of some kind the loading and phase distribution on that PD. Then by adding more PDs you could see the total load on your main power from your venue or generators.

I guess what I'm trying to avoid is using 3rd party plugins such as Lightwrite when VW seems to use a lot of the tech already with its lighting symbols and if it just had a custom PD symbol and yes maybe a custom dimmer rack symbol too then it keeps everything neatly inside VW. Braceworks for example can draw truss, calculate loads and do all sorts of fun things. It's just a pity that Spotlight falls a bit short in the production side of things - there's no flow from drawing your plot initially to ending it with a nice clear chart of what's going on where. Sure, you can plug into Vision and pre-vis your show but there just seems to be a gap for production electricians who need to see a show through from the primary source of power through to the lighting fixture/video wall etc without having to use a 3rd party plugin.

 

Lec.

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On 9/21/2019 at 4:09 AM, Lec said:

It's just a pity that Spotlight falls a bit short in the production side of things - there's no flow from drawing your plot initially to ending it with a nice clear chart of what's going on where. Sure, you can plug into Vision and pre-vis your show but there just seems to be a gap for production electricians who need to see a show through from the primary source of power through to the lighting fixture/video wall etc without having to use a 3rd party plugin.

 

And yet Spotlight is the CAD application that comes closest.  This is why it is the industry standard.  The adoption of 3rd party solutions helps VW determine industry needs.  Hoists, Video Screens, an cables tools all started as 3rd party solutions, and even today they are being enhanced by their 3rd party developers.  VW is not just Spotlight, so they have a lot of fish to fry that don't come out of the entertainment ocean.

Excuse the rant, but you are not the only one I have heard from that don't want to use 3rd party products and think VW should be all the industry tool that they want it to be.  Well, asking VW to continually improve and add the tools that the industry needs is a good thing, but avoiding the use of 3rd party tools severely limits you in improving your work flow.  I have heard from 3rd part tool users how the 3rd party tools literally, yes I mean "literally", cut the time it took to do a task from 3 days to 4 hours.  Do what you will.  There are many simple things that Spotlight does not yet do, that it will in the future, and many of those are done by 3rd party tools now.  The single capability in VW that has had the most value for entertainment industry users is the existence of vectorscript.

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I think you misunderstand what I'm saying here - I'm not against 3rd party plugins - I have the Landru Designs Producers Pack and it's great - all I'm saying is that with all the amazing new features architects get time and time again with Vectorworks updates it would be nice if the slightly poorer cousin Spotlight could benefit too from some reasonably simple and ultimately useful tools. No need to rant. 

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I am a bit curious what  a PD or dimmer looks like in Lightwright. I played with the demo a bit but I couldn’t really get through it. 
 

could someone show a screenshot of what the output is in LW for a PD and a dimmer? 

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1 hour ago, Lec said:

new features architects get time and time again with Vectorworks updates it would be nice if the slightly poorer cousin Spotlight could benefit too from some reasonably simple and ultimately useful tools.

 

Architects make the same complaints, about Spotlight and the very special Lighting Device Object

      Not to mention Vision, Braceworks, and ConnectCAD.

Landscape artists make the same complaints

Don't even bring up the subject with plumbing and air conditioning designer/engineers

 

The Producers Pack is very cool isn't it..

 

Sam

 

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Interesting to see the direction this thread headed...

 

A few comments regarding the "3rd-Party" part of the conversation:

1)  I well understand Lec's concern about an apprarent need (to him) that is not being met by the stock VW packages.  I've been there so many times that I've lost count.

2)  Sam is quite right about the breadth of disciplines VW covers.  VW leadership has to make daily decisions about where to apply resources and about which features (or, approaches to implenenting features) fit or don't fit defined conventions.  Along w. that, it CAN be quite frsutrating to see another industry getting love when one's own is seemingly getting ignored.  The evidence is that, using Spotlight as an example, users from that area aren't really "poorer stepchildren" when one considers all of the specific effort that has been applied, there, recently.  The catch is that, within the microcosm of Spotlight, the decisions I just mentioned have to be taken...

3)  Echoing Sam, this is where the beauty of having 3 different options for developing proprietary or 3rd-Party solutions lies:
· Very focused or customised commands and tools can be created.
· Potential needs can be explored in a way that could be difficult under the corporate umbrella.
· Likewise, other approaches/conventions can be explored in a way that could be challenging under the corporate umbrella.
· Intimate interraction with developers is more possible for more users.
· Many developers are creating solutions that they need in their own day-to-day "other" jobs - using approaches and conventions that "think" like they do...that fill sometimes difficult-to-articulate needs...approaches and needs that can be incredibly hard to understand if one is not really immersed in a given discipline.
· Faster turn-around on enhancements and fixes is often possible.
· Commands and tools are seldom tied to a specific VW package.

4)  While this might sound self-serving for me to say, I'm with Sam in being quite surprised at the hesitation of a lot of users to take advantage of 3rd-Party commands and tools - some at little to no cost.  Yes, there is risk involved.  Is there any actual support?  Will the command or tool be available in a month?  Does the command or tool follow official conventions?  I've found so much value in 3rd-Party offerings that those risks are more than acceptable.  And, the more I invest in other developers, the more incentive they have to continue their work...

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Interesting indeed to see the direction this thread has headed - many thanks for all the posts and to be clear, all I was asking for in the first place was a usable Power Distro symbol - I'm really not trying to start a war on 3rd party plugins, I have them, I use them, but I still don't have a symbol for a PD - that's all.

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2 hours ago, C. Andrew Dunning said:

Lec...no "war," perceived, at-all.  Just adding to the conversation...

 

And to that point, it would often be quicker to get a specific plug-in such as the PD in question, by going straight to the appropriate third party developer. I think the “PD Tool” would be a great plug in object and Sam has the cable end of things dialed in so it would make sense to see if he is open to adding that to his available arsenal. If he is, you are now discussing the functionality of this potential product, one on one, with the actual developer. It doesn’t get much better than that in the software development world. 

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2 minutes ago, scottmoore said:

you are now discussing the functionality of this potential product, one on one, with the actual developer. It doesn’t get much better than that in the software development world. 

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Here's how others are feeling about 2020.

On 9/10/2019 at 10:14 AM, Tom Klaber said:

 

Our friends in lighting and entertainment seem to have a lot more to be excited about for 2020.  I have mentioned this before - but I am scared that VW is slowly shifting to an entertainment-focused software.   

 

The architecture video is pretty sad - concentrating so much on inline / in-menu editing - which is great - but long overdue.  

 

Heres hoping that the new stair tool and UI just take a couple of years to get right and we will have a landmark release in 2021.

Edited by mjm

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Lec's in depth reply will be very useful, and another private communication from Sebastian will also be a great source for describing functionality.  Unfortunately, I'm swamped right now adapting an Australian dance show to our space and trying to deal with a VW 2020 changes.  I'm looking forward to examining what Lec and Sebastian have described as needed functionality and incorporating in into AutoPlot, but I cannot at the moment say when the would happen.  It may happen in steps.  I will keep you informed along the way.

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Hi Everyone

I thought I should add to this that we are looking at developing tools for power planning. I can't say when we will release anything as we are only at the initial stages of the background research, but this thread is providing us with some excellent feedback on the subject and will be a big help.

 

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Many thanks everyone for your feedback - I look forward to seeing how things progress and promise not to big up the Architects anymore who seem to be in very much the same boat as us all...

I used AutoCAD many years ago and made the transition to VW in 2008 - it is still the best CAD system out there...:)

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Wow, I clicked on this and didn't realize what it would evolve too.......this is interesting.  Only going to throw out a couple of small nuggets on my opinion.

 

1) On the actual idea of PD's etc in VW.  I have along with others have made a file of most of our PD's.  Main purpose is for 2D/3D geometry, not for any sort of smart functionality, but they do have records attached with notes like power service fed from size, and a few other more basic things.  However speaking from our industry, I know that essentially all of our distros are specific to us and not industry standard (one big thing is we wire them differently) either way which means they probably aren't terribly useful for any other users. In moving to a 3rd part or built-in plugin that opens the door for super levels of variables in equipment between manufacturers, vendors, end-users etc.  Personally I don't really see a huge need and we work on some of the largest touring productions out there. I think being able to show a 2D/3D representation of a dimmer beach area with racks is useful for overall footprint thought.

 

2) On the third party plug inside.  I love that some of these guys have made stuff.  Honestly, if anything seems even remotely useful I try to buy it even if I don't actully use it to encourage these different tools.  For a long time for me, I struggled with the hoist in VW (before there was a hoisting tool in VW).  The only thing maybe more specific to the side of the industry I'm in is 3rd party plugins can bite you if you work up a drawing that goes out and someone at some point wants to adjust something and doesn't have the plugin.  Often times those people aren't super VW savvy and it becomes a tech support call with me or something.  That's my only hesitancy with 3rd party stuff. What is cool is how VW has begun to incorporate things that were non-native plugins into VW.  

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