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Martin Mac Ultra Performance, and AURA PXL rendering problem

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I am having some issue with the Martin Mac Ultra Performance, and the Aura PXL GDTF files. 

It seems some geometry is in the way of the lens. 


I tried to move the emitter away from the lens, but it don't seem to solve the problem. 




Are any of you seeing the same behaviour? 



Here the Mac Ultra only has a ring of light. 

When tilting and pacing it changes. 




The PXL does kind of the same. It has small flickering when moving. 




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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

That is an odd looking movie!! Not what I'd expect for sure 😛 


Can you post the GDTF and/or the MVR file so I can take a look? I wonder if this is an issue with the fixture, the fixture's geometry, or the scene's geometry.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
2 hours ago, mhersland said:

I am not allowed to upload GDTF files to the forum.

Ahh, I will work with the forum admins to see if we can add GDTF and VSN to the allowed uploadable formats 🙂 


I ran the following test with your GDTFs and shadows off. Perhaps, this is why it is working for me and not for you. I tried enabling shadows, but ran into some bugs that I believe are specific to GDTF and not Vision's native litfiles. We generally recommend running with shadows off anyway, as this drastically improves performance.


Perhaps, you could upload your MVR file to the forums since that format is allowed? I might be able to better and more easily reproduce your issue if I have your precise MVR document.

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Yes, it works when I disable shadows. 

However I usually have a set-design to interact with, so I need shadows. 

A work around for the JB P18 was to disable shadows for fixtures. This solves the problem to. But since the problem keeps coming up, I hoped to find a better solution, or at least make my own GDTF files for the fixtures I use often. 



I will send you the MVR file directly. 🙂

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

So, it took me a while to figure out why you were running into issues with the file you DM'd me. At first, I could still not reproduce your issue. However, after revisiting your screenshots above, I realized this can only be reproduced when Dynamic Shadows Vision Application Preference is set to Objects & Fixtures. So, I can indeed reproduce the problem.


And you are correct. It appears the fixture's own geometry is blocking part of the light. In theory, moving the light emitter in the GDTF Fixture Builder should've solved the problem. I will need to get the appropriate content creators and engineers to investigate this more closely.


However, I would like to discuss Vision's Dynamic Shadows setting in a little more detail. It is probably the least understood setting in Vision and its effect on performance (and therefore quality) can be massive when shadows are enabled.


If you truly need the Dynamic Shadows set to Objects & Fixtures in Vision, there may be nothing more to do than to continue playing around with the GDTF until it works. I do not think this is a bug in the rendering code as I believe other GDTFs work properly in this regard. I believe this bug is in the content (GDTF) itself.


The file you DM'd me was quite detailed! It looks great! There are also a good number of lights in that file. I'd like to ensure you're getting the best performance and quality out of the product and that requires a bit of a balancing act. Increasing quality and enabling certain features has a negative impact on performance. And often increasing performance requires disabling features or lowering the quality.


Setting Dynamic Shadows to Objects and not Objects & Fixtures will still allow your lights to interact with your set design; which seems to be your ultimate goal in having shadows enabled. All stage elements, curtains, character models, floors, walls, etc etc will cast shadows properly. So, unless you are really needing/using lighting devices as set pieces, I doubt that lighting devices casting shadows will be necessary. In my experience, most lamps won't cast light onto other lighting devices in any significant way, but there are exceptions (which is why the Objects & Fixtures option exists). The only drawback to using Objects and not Objects & Fixtures is that while objects will cast shadows, fixtures will not. One advantage of using Objects and not Objects & Fixtures is you will not run into issues with lights "blocking" their own light.


But, I want to discuss the ramifications of Objects & Fixtures in a little more detail as well as I noticed that your Shadow Quality was set to Low. This was likely necessary because when you use Objects & Fixtures, any time a single lighting device pans or tilts, all shadows for all devices must be updated. This is incredibly expensive. So, using Shadow Quality Low would almost be required as you would be updating shadows so often that you'd need to do everything possible to make those updates "as fast as possible".


When using Objects and not Objects & Fixtures, a single lighting device panning or tilting has no effect on shadows of other devices and so only that single lighting device needs a shadow update. By using Objects and not Objects & Fixtures, you could likely increase the Shadow Quality to Medium (or even higher) getting a better "look" and most likely better performance at the same time. And this will sidestep the issue of lights blocking themselves. It's honestly a win win win. Better quality, better performance, and a workaround to your issue.


I hope this information helps. More often than not, setting Dynamic Shadows to Objects will get the job done and using Objects & Fixtures is not necessary as it has little to no difference in the final rendering. I'd highly recommend giving it a shot. In the event that you do need fixture shadows in the final rendering, you can try playing around with the GDTF more while we try to do the same internally. If I have any updates on that front, I will do my best to follow up and post them here!

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Thanks for a great and clear answer bbudzon! 


It makes a lot of sense, and I believe you are right, that most often I dont need fixtures to cast shadows. 

At the moment we are working on the file at a Windows system, with a GTX 3080 graphics card, that does a pretty god job in performance. 

The screenshots are from my MacBook Pro, that struggles a bit more. 


However it seems like a god performance upgrade to use objects, and not Objects & Fixtures. 


It is interesting with the GDTF fixtures, and the edits to come in this area. 

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I'm glad that information has helped 🙂  


I also noticed you were on Vision 2021. I thought it might be worth mentioning a pretty cool new feature in Vision 2022, which is a Performance & Quality Slider in the Vision Application Preference dialog. This makes adjusting settings super easy, while still allowing an "advanced mode" that lets you tweak the settings to your individual needs.


Lastly, we recently found some performance differences between Vision's native "litfile" devices and GDTF. We are hoping to resolve those GDTF issues which should help the performance of GDTF in Vision even further without degrading performance 😉 


I hope you have a good rest of your day!

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