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Better Projector Tool Roundup


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On 11/26/2021 at 4:39 PM, Mark Aceto said:

Looking forward to:

 

PV-116 - For projector symbols with 2D objects in 3D planes, the planar objects aren't transforming

 

That sounds to me like rotating a PJ will redraw an autohybrid PJ symbol which had been confusing the heck out of a few of us when rotating (rolling) PJ's in Plan view because the image/screen would redraw but the PJ itself would not. It wasn't until I changed to a 3D view that I discovered what was happening.

 

No, this is really just a bug fix that addresses some parts of the 3D projector symbol that aren't transforming correctly.

 

The current mimics what happens in Spotlight with Lighting Devices: adding a 3D transformation to the projector breaks the relationship to the 2D component, so it just becomes a symbol indicating where the projector installs in plan view. Certainly generating a Top/Plan view from the rotated 3D is something I can add to the wish list. I would likely include an option, so that the user can choose between a pre-defined 2D view of the symbol or rendering the 2D from the manipulated 3D.

 

I recently came across a bookmark I saved for Millumin  https://www.millumin.com/v4/index.php  Vectorworks plug-in for something like that could have potential.

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1 hour ago, JBenghiat said:

I would likely include an option, so that the user can choose between a pre-defined 2D view of the symbol or rendering the 2D from the manipulated 3D.

 

That sounds perfect, similar to Spotlight prefs option to: Automatically rotate 2D to focus

 

Ideally, it would be a checkbox in the OIP because I might want to see the 3D rotated auto hybrid while I'm working on it, but then quickly show the unrotated 2D symbol view for plotting purposes when I plate it up.

 

1 hour ago, JBenghiat said:

I recently came across a bookmark I saved for Millumin  https://www.millumin.com/v4/index.php  Vectorworks plug-in for something like that could have potential.

 

That would be rad!

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On 10/26/2021 at 6:30 PM, JBenghiat said:

@Mark Aceto Specifically for ProjectionViz, in Settings, accessible at the bottom of Object Info, you can choose how the object behaves when duplicated. You can maintain the location of the projector, focus, or neither. 

 

I'm seeing a bug when mirroring the projector, where the two lock modes do not work as expected. If you select Neither, however, you can simply use the mirror tool (or duplicate array).

 

I'm having an issue where I try to rotate a group of projectors with Focus, Plan Distance, and Lens locked which works fine for dragging but not for rotating.

 

So basically, 2 things:

  1. It seems like I need to unlock everything but I don't see an option for that
  2. It would be great if there was a lock for each parameter where that parameter is located in the OIP (similar to a widget or the stair tool)

In the meantime, how do I rotate these projectors as a group?

 

1796315504_ScreenShot2022-05-19at7_55_11PM.png.ac8100bedde428457263113db5b9bc5a.png

 

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This is the rock and the hard place that I find myself stuck between:

  • Stock VW PJ tools cannot shoot straight down at the floor: 90º image (screen) tilt, 90º PJ (or -90º ultra short throw PJ)
  • ProjectionViz will not let me rotate a group of PJ's (and honestly, even rotating a single PJ has caveats in the OIP)
  • ProjectionVIz cannot lock tilt, so I'm constantly fiddling with tilt when I edit other parameters

Everything else is a nice-to-have but those are the must-have bottlenecks that send me to one tool or the other.

 

Therefore from an engineering (vs visualization) POV working with deliverables under deadlines in a production environment, it seems like the best practice is to use the stock tools for all PJ's except shooting down at the floor.

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@Mark Aceto

You are correct that ProjectionViz isn't properly rotating around an arbitrary point (in your case, the center of the group or multi-selection). This is something I've solved with BeamViz, so it's possible to improve, and I filed a bug.

 

The UI you suggest with the stair tool is from a dialog, and unfortunately VW doesn't have a mechanism to do anything like that in the OIP. Unlike with stairs, where you have a very specific set of conditions (getting from point A to point B in code-approved increments), PV is designed to allow for experimentation and adjusting, and I don't think going to a dialog makes sense every time you want to adjust a parameter.

 

Note that the Calc Focus Height button provides for additional "locks" that allow you to calculate tilt based on where you want your image to land. Between this and the OIP locks, you should be able to place the projector based on any specification.

 

19 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

honestly, even rotating a single PJ has caveats in the OIP)

Please say more. I can't improve this without a bug report or feature request.

19 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

ProjectionVIz cannot lock tilt, so I'm constantly fiddling with tilt when I edit other parameters

That's not entirely true. This depends what you're trying to adjust. If you're wanting to maintain the tilt angle, then set the throw to lock. This will maintain the vector of the throw, and if you're wanting to maintain tilt, really the only thing you can adjust is image size, lens, and throw.

 

Of course things like pan, image rotation, and lens shift always maintain the tilt.

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7 minutes ago, JBenghiat said:

You are correct that ProjectionViz isn't properly rotating around an arbitrary point (in your case, the center of the group or multi-selection). This is something I've solved with BeamViz, so it's possible to improve, and I filed a bug.

 

I was able to work around the issue by:

  1. Duplicating the PJ's
  2. Exploding the PJ'S
  3. Individually rotating each PJ in the OIP
  4. Tracing a poly around the original geometry
  5. Duplicating the poly
  6. Rotating the poly
  7. Reassembling the duplicated PJ's (aligned to the new poly)

1571763787_ScreenShot2022-05-28at12_04_13PM.thumb.png.5cb130a1df1674c9f7432f26279c3076.png

 

Feature request would be to use the Rotate commands and also the Rotate tool.

 

9 minutes ago, JBenghiat said:

The UI you suggest with the stair tool is from a dialog, and unfortunately VW doesn't have a mechanism to do anything like that in the OIP. Unlike with stairs, where you have a very specific set of conditions (getting from point A to point B in code-approved increments), PV is designed to allow for experimentation and adjusting, and I don't think going to a dialog makes sense every time you want to adjust a parameter.

 

I was thinking the same thing about the dialog, and agree about keeping the parameters in the OIP. I guess the feature request would be to add a Lock checkbox next to each parameter. I'm still confused by what Height means after using the tool for six months. Image height? Projector height? Lens height? PJ trim height? Focus height?

 

From the manual:  "Height – the heights of the projector and the center of the image plane remain constant"

 

1654178531_ScreenShot2022-05-28at11_18_28AM.png.a378806708eacd20372378ca2c244f58.png

 

Would be great to clarify that... maybe rename Height to Projector / Image Height or Projector & Image Height

 

Another feature request might be Unlock All. That seems to be what's missing to freely rotate and drag. I just find myself constantly scrolling up and down the OIP and changing these lock settings when I probably don't need them locked at all for most of my workflow. Or if there's a default lock config, users could quickly override that by holding down the Tilda key or something.

 

13 minutes ago, JBenghiat said:
42 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

honestly, even rotating a single PJ has caveats in the OIP)

Please say more. I can't improve this without a bug report or feature request.

 

From memory, this happened when I started with the PJ at a random plan rotation but I cannot replicate this in testing just now, so if it happens again, I'll come back here with more info. Or maybe my memory is wrong, and I was trying to rotate more than 1 PJ.

 

15 minutes ago, JBenghiat said:
44 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

ProjectionVIz cannot lock tilt, so I'm constantly fiddling with tilt when I edit other parameters

That's not entirely true. This depends what you're trying to adjust. If you're wanting to maintain the tilt angle, then set the throw to lock. This will maintain the vector of the throw, and if you're wanting to maintain tilt, really the only thing you can adjust is image size, lens, and throw.

 

OK that makes sense. I'll try that in future.

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56 minutes ago, JBenghiat said:

@Mark Aceto One more thing — if you're dealing with floor projections, make sure to set your image plane to horizontal. PV will show a horizontal or parallel plane if a vertical plane does not exist, but that makes manipulating the projector more complicated.

 

Yep. All of my PV projects have had floor projections, so that's been my best friend from day one.

 

Here's that same workaroundflow in 3D:

 

1419917749_ScreenShot2022-05-28at12_18_52PM.thumb.png.fba485b0db03c6a6a83f710ee9b03d32.png

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20 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

if it happens again, I'll come back here with more info

The best way to report a bug or request a feature that doesn't require discussion is to go straight here: https://benghiatlighting.com/software/support/report-a-bug/issue-pv/

 

26 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

I was able to work around the issue

A simpler method would be:

- Add a group of locus points or draw a poly either the projector or focus points — whichever is fixed

- Rotate your reference group

- Rotate the projectors in the OIP. They will all rotate together around the fixed point.

- With either throw or plan distance locked, drag each projector into place

 

I will note that the mirror tool works as expected when duplicating, and by your examples, that seems like it would do exactly what you want (you can mirror across a 45° line to get a 90° rotation). Just make sure that in ProjectionViz's settings, you set the duplicating lock to "neither".

 

34 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

I'm still confused by what Height means after using the tool for six months. Image height? Projector height? Lens height? PJ trim height? Focus height?

Actually yes, all of those are maintained. The use case would be something like a ballroom or gallery where you know the placement of your image and the height of your projector as determined by the ceiling. Changing throw or tilt will maintain the heights and adjust the plan distance accordingly (as well as whichever of those two parameters you did not change).

 

37 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

Another feature request might be Unlock All.

That isn't really possible. For example, let's say you change the throw in the OIP. If nothing is locked, you have no way of predicting how the projector cone will reshape. If you're just looking at the projector and image location locks, locking the throw will allow you drag the object and maintain the relationship between the image and projector. You can also always grab a control point and reshape that way — which will basically ignore any locks, as you are manually indicating how you want the cone to reshape.

 

Control points work in both 2D and 3D. If viewing the section, control points default to a working plane parallel to the screen and at the center of the cone.

 

Rotating will also work as expected with a single projector. The current behavior is designed to make the rotate menu commands behave in a more useful and logical way — at the moment that's at the sacrifice of transforming multiple projectors.

 

If this doesn't help, you'll have to be more explicit about the types of transformations you are trying to accomplish.

 

 

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1 hour ago, JBenghiat said:
2 hours ago, Mark Aceto said:

Another feature request might be Unlock All.

That isn't really possible. For example, let's say you change the throw in the OIP. If nothing is locked, you have no way of predicting how the projector cone will reshape. If you're just looking at the projector and image location locks, locking the throw will allow you drag the object and maintain the relationship between the image and projector. You can also always grab a control point and reshape that way — which will basically ignore any locks, as you are manually indicating how you want the cone to reshape.

 

Control points work in both 2D and 3D. If viewing the section, control points default to a working plane parallel to the screen and at the center of the cone.

 

Rotating will also work as expected with a single projector. The current behavior is designed to make the rotate menu commands behave in a more useful and logical way — at the moment that's at the sacrifice of transforming multiple projectors.

 

If this doesn't help, you'll have to be more explicit about the types of transformations you are trying to accomplish.

 

I think the distinction is:

  • Micro / Local - Editing the parameters of the projection itself (everything from lens to image)
  • Macro / Global - Moving a projector or multiple projectors

To make an analogy:

  • Using a camera to dial in the perfect aperture, speed, focal length... to get the perfect shot
  • Picking up the camera from a table, placing it on a tripod, and spinning it around.

What started all of this last week is that the client decided to rotate the room (that's being mapped) 90º, so I grabbed all of the integrated objects in that room (scenic, video, audio, lx, rigging) and tried to rotate them all. Everything is perfectly calibrated from the past 2 installs, so I didn't want to lose any of that. If I had to do it all over again, I would use the mirror tool as you described above, and then delete the old design.


However, if there was an "unlock" mode, I could have just rotated all objects together without having to duplicate anything (and fiddle with layer visibilities and then realigning the mirrored objects with the rest of the rotated objects).

 

Here's a video demoing everything. Btw I tried the group trick (to keep the PJ's oriented to each other) but that didn't work.

 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

What started all of this last week is that the client decided to rotate the room (that's being mapped) 90º, so I grabbed all of the integrated objects in that room (scenic, video, audio, lx, rigging) and tried to rotate them all

 

For clarification, the room is part of a bigger install (not a ballroom). In the future, I think I'll take the Soundvision approach, and align my 0,0 to this room, and then rotate everything 90 in the drawing set as needed. I typically do that anyway but this is such a small install... 

 

1870931253_ScreenShot2022-05-28at3_24_42PM.thumb.png.f8ad148d3ddff41f5545dc7176c96fd8.png

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Posted (edited)

Actually, I just realized the PJ's and image planes are out of alignment after the mirror tool operation. You can see that in the screenshot in the previous post, and below.

 

I'm not sure which parameters to lock to avoid losing any of the OIP parameters. I tested option-dragging, and there are no issues with that.

 

2135578141_ScreenShot2022-05-29at10_08_44AM.thumb.png.15cee9dea1a276407b213399cd8a9385.png

 

Edited by Mark Aceto
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9 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

Actually, I just realized the PJ's and image planes are out of alignment after the mirror tool operation. You can see that in the screenshot in the previous post, and below.

 

I'm not sure which parameters to lock to avoid losing any of the OIP parameters. I tested option-dragging, and there are no issues with that.

 

2135578141_ScreenShot2022-05-29at10_08_44AM.thumb.png.15cee9dea1a276407b213399cd8a9385.png

 

@Mark Aceto I think maybe you’re over-thinking the way locks work. At some point this conversation might be better served by one to one support as opposed to via the forum. 
 

In terms of “unlock all,” I’m only understanding your issue with rotating multiple projectors, which I’ve acknowledged as a bug. To use your analogy, spinning on a tripod is currently possible — via panning or rotating. The only place locks come into play here are whether you rotate the projector, moving the image, or around the focus point, moving the projector. 

 

What the bug prevents you from doing is putting the “tripod” on a turntable and rotating around an arbitrary point. This can be fixed. 
 

In terms of moving the projector cone and maintaining the relationship between the projector and image, you want to lock the throw. However you move the object, the distance and angles of the throw will be maintained. Using a control point to reshape the cone will change the relationship, regardless of the lock. 

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Here's an analogy relating to how locks work, which will hopefully clarify why "unlock all" isn't an option.

 

The locks are like anchors in the standard 2D geometric shapes. For example, when you select a Rectangle, Obj Info shows a little widget with nine possible anchor points. You must have one of these selected, otherwise if you change the Width or Height fields, the location of the new geometry would be unpredictable. These anchor points do not come into play if you drag one of the rectangle's reshape control points, as you are explicitly indicating how you want the object to reshape.

 

Now let's say that Area was not a read-only field. In order for Area to work in a predictable way, we would need a way to choose how the object reshapes to the new area: maintain the Width, maintain the Height, or maintain the Ratio.

 

The locks in ProjectionViz and BeamViz accomplish the same thing: they allow you to accurately predict how changing a parameter will change the object's geometry. You just have a more complex set of parameters that design the shape of the object, as well as features that help you work through real-world scenarios (e.g. you know where your image plane will be, and you need to move the projector around to find the ideal location).

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On 5/31/2022 at 11:16 AM, JBenghiat said:

Here's an analogy relating to how locks work, which will hopefully clarify why "unlock all" isn't an option.

 

The locks are like anchors in the standard 2D geometric shapes. For example, when you select a Rectangle, Obj Info shows a little widget with nine possible anchor points. You must have one of these selected, otherwise if you change the Width or Height fields, the location of the new geometry would be unpredictable. These anchor points do not come into play if you drag one of the rectangle's reshape control points, as you are explicitly indicating how you want the object to reshape.

 

Now let's say that Area was not a read-only field. In order for Area to work in a predictable way, we would need a way to choose how the object reshapes to the new area: maintain the Width, maintain the Height, or maintain the Ratio.

 

The locks in ProjectionViz and BeamViz accomplish the same thing: they allow you to accurately predict how changing a parameter will change the object's geometry. You just have a more complex set of parameters that design the shape of the object, as well as features that help you work through real-world scenarios (e.g. you know where your image plane will be, and you need to move the projector around to find the ideal location).

 

Totally get all that.

 

In this analogy, I want to click on the center of the rectangle, and drag it. Or rotate it.

 

I've been locking Plan Distance but that isn't always the best option.

 

I've been locking Throw as a substitute for Plan Distance but that's not always the best option either.

 

For context, which combination of lock settings make PV behave the most like the stock PJ tools?

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13 hours ago, Mark Aceto said:

In this analogy, I want to click on the center of the rectangle, and drag it. Or rotate it.

 

I've been locking Plan Distance but that isn't always the best option.

 

I've been locking Throw as a substitute for Plan Distance but that's not always the best option either.

 

If you want to maintain the relationship between the image and projector, either of those locks will work. The best one depends on how you want the object to reshape when you enter other parameters (throw, tilt, focus height, etc). If you're not changing other parameters, there's not any benefit of one over the other.

 

You'll need to update to the version released today for rotation on groups, multiple projectors, or the rotation tool to work as expected.

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1 hour ago, JBenghiat said:

You'll need to update to the version released today for rotation on groups, multiple projectors, or the rotation tool to work as expected.

 

That was quick! Just tested it in a new file with all the different methods of rotating, and didn't run into any issues.

 

Also, Cone and Image Plane classing visibility are working as expected now 🙂

 

Thank you!

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Josh,  I hope you highlight BeamViz and ProjectionViz at your NY Spotlight User Group presentation.  Awesome tools, Awesome 3rd party engineering.  They work the way I need them to work.  Although I really appreciate the accomplishment that is ProjectionViz, I don't have a lot of use for its power.  BeamViz does everything I need to visualize the fixtures in the plot.

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On 6/6/2022 at 12:05 PM, Mark Aceto said:

is there a way to control visibility of the slide template thingy with classing or in Viewport settings or would that be a feature request?

 

It's necessary for rendering, so it shows any time you're projecting the image. In order to get a projection in Vectorworks you have to simulate a slide that the light shines through. If you make the image too small, you start to lose resolution. I realize that the image appearing in the line renders is less that ideal, but I'm not aware of a way for objects to hide for one render style only. I fear that if I allowed it to be classed, to many people would have issues with the image not projecting properly.

 

You can link ProjectinViz to a Video Screen object for your object visualization, though I'm not sure if VS handles rotating the 3D component of the projector in the same way.

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22 minutes ago, JBenghiat said:

It's necessary for rendering, so it shows any time you're projecting the image. In order to get a projection in Vectorworks you have to simulate a slide that the light shines through. If you make the image too small, you start to lose resolution. I realize that the image appearing in the line renders is less that ideal, but I'm not aware of a way for objects to hide for one render style only. I fear that if I allowed it to be classed, to many people would have issues with the image not projecting properly.

 

All of that makes sense. Was hoping I missed something.

 

For Hidden Line, I guess the best solution would be masking the slide templates (not in the projection sense) with a solid white filled poly?

 

For realistic render styles, I guess the best solution would be to pick a perspective that makes slide templates less prominent? Classing wouldn't help here for logical reasons. The magic bullet I was hoping for would be something like the Cast Shadows Of Removed Objects viewport setting (although casting shadows is not the same as projecting an image).

 

23 minutes ago, JBenghiat said:

You can link ProjectinViz to a Video Screen object for your object visualization, though I'm not sure if VS handles rotating the 3D component of the projector in the same way.

 

Unfortunately, I get this:

1141661678_ScreenShot2022-06-07at3_05_33PM.thumb.png.de15cdf5aac22b56378cfc0fe6e90382.png

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