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WYSIWYG Release 24: Virtual Lighting Designer Heaven

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Over the last few weeks I have been testing out Cast Lighting’s new release for WYSIWYG – Release 24.  In the last year, R22 and R23 have revolutionized the way that we’ve been thinking about viz software, and R24 is the crown jewel of the improvements in R22 and R23.  The real-time rendering engine in R24 is so full of awesome that there is next to no need to sit and wait for a rendering of the look.

The interesting movement in R24 is that the processing feels like it has been allocated in the most efficient way – meaning graphic properties seem to be moved to the GPU, and numeric functions have been retained into the CPU.  I could be totally off here, but I have used the program on a very, very slow machine and on my laptop, which is configured to be a desktop replacement.  Nothing lags, nothing drags, and I have not crashed it yet.  Believe me, I have been trying!

There are some excellent new features in Release 24 that everyone should know about – from the ability to snap a pic of your instrument’s focus and send it up to the electrician in the cherry picker for focus, to live beam-in video for digital lights across a network:

  • LED: R24’s LED models use a point source to better represent a diode for LED fixtures and LED walls that look better and enhance overall efficiency and performance when dealing with all LEDs. New LED light sources and LED flare capability offer better representation in Shaded Views for better presentation.
  • Colour temperature: Information from WYG libraries includes lamp wattages that more accurately display photometrics.
  • Hot Spots: Hot spots add another aspect of realism to looks – fixture footprints are based on photometric data.
  • R24 introduces a time-of-day capability in Shaded Views. Use climatic or environmental conditions specific to the time, place and even weather, specific to an event’s geographical location anywhere around the world to test ideas and demonstrate work.
  • Geometry Smoothing in OpenGL: This new shading technique delivers better-looking sets and people, plus a performance boost.
  • Inverse Square Law: A new upgrade in R24, it calculates accurate beam drop-off in visualization calculations.  Hot spots have also been integrated into the Shaded View, giving a lot more realism to the visualizations.
  • CITP Protocol for Video, which allows consoles supporting this protocol to stream video content across a network into wysiwyg to be displayed on a video screen or a digital light fixture.

Time of Day information is one of the coolest features relevant to me right now – I have been experimenting with different structures, times of day, and locations in the new release.  Using just the included file of an outdoor venue I put myself into Stockholm, Sweden at 9:45pm:

wysiwyg-timeofday

Time of Day Options dialogue:

viewoptions_timeofday

Color Temperature is another great feature that WYSIWYG R24 has implemented.  With a large database of photometry to work from, WYSIWYG R24 has integrated lamp color temperature variations into the program.  Lamps going through amber drift has been in WYG for ages – which is a very important function when dimming in a rendering.

Low Color Temperature and intensity:

wysiwyg-r24-color-temperature

Lamps post-amber drift at full intensity:

colortemp2

Before I get too far with this, did I mention that the Library Browser is SEARCHABLE?!  (Oh thank you thank you thank you thank you!)

wysiwyg-library-broswer

A few additional features worth noting – making focus charts, new color picker in Design mode, new font interaction, and animated atmopsherics.  Starting with the atmospheric animation (smoke or haze to the layperson), WYSIWYG Release 24 gives you the ability to alter direction and speed for X, Y, and Z coordinates.  Take a look at the control dialogue for this:

viewoptions-wysiwyg-animated-smoke

In Design mode, WYSIWYG also has new features in the color picker for fixtures.  In addition to having the option to use RGB, CMY, or HSI mixing (HSI means Hue, Saturation, and Intensity), you can enter in hex values for the colors across the three variables and pick from a picker:

colorpicker

Last but not least in this review is the ability to make focus charts for your fixtures.  Imagine having an electrician in a lift in a situation where you need to get something focused, but communication is almost impossible – or you’re not on site for some reason and something needs to be focused.  You can look at the stage, architecture, or whatever else you’re lighting from the view of the fixture and get fixture information, channel and dimmer info, and the patch.  Snap a pic of that and send it up to the electrician in the basket on his or her iPhone – done.  I love it:

wysiwyg-r24-focus

I use WYSIWYG for everything I do in lighting design.  Release 24 is amazing, and performs beautifully.  Thanks for a great product, Cast.

Check out some screenshots of the live visualization feature – and get your own copy of WYSIWYG R24 here.

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wysiwyg-r24-render

wysiwyg-r24-render

R23 IS HERE!

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I just downloaded WYSIWYG R23 last week; I am now plugging my way through a few posts about the new features, but I can tell you that the new live viz tool is stunning.  Spectacular is another word that comes to mind.  They’re also knocking $800 off of the price of WYSIWYG Perform Unlimited, and WYSIWYG Design to Perform upgrade is $800 off list as well.  Times are tough, Gil and his people aren’t stupid.

New in R23:

Visualization (Shaded Views)

  • Improved Beam Footprints
  • Shadows
  • Hotspots
  • Video in Beams
  • Improved Smoke Controls
  • AVI Movie Creator

Lighting Design Tools

  • Footprint Focus
  • Fixture Point of View (POV)
  • Updates to Designer Tools
  • Ruler Tool

Security & Product Levels

  • AES Dongle Encryption
  • Dongle-less Background Render Manager
  • Dongle-less Console Viewer

Library

  • Sixty-five (65) new Fixtures
  • Two hundred seventy five (275) new Truss pieces
  • One hundred (100) new Gobos

Cast has a ton of screenshots for the new release – check them out here.  Also, go to Cast’s WYSIWYG page to get more info on getting R23.

Weekly WYSIWYG: R23 is Coming!

If you’ve been following along, WYSIWYG R23 is coming soon – you’ve still got about a week to get 25% off the membership renewal rate (ends Jan 13, 2009), so act fast!

Some of the new tools and functions of the new release are quite spectacular.  I wanted to post a few screenshots here so that you had an idea of the badassery that R23 proves to be.

Is badassery a word?  It should be.

Beam Attenuation

Variable Focus in Colored Gobos

Variable Focus over Distance

Beam Hot Spotting

One of my new favorites:  Fixture POV Window!

Updated Designer Tools!

This is going to be a spectacular release.  I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Weekly WYSIWYG: 25% Off Membership Renewals!

Right now through the close of business on January 13, 2009 WYSIWYG Members can renew for 25% off the regular price!  Folks, this is a good time to get WYSIWYG if you don’t have it.  It has changed the way I design shows.  I highly recommend it – and I have AutoCAD and Vectorworks 2008 as well as WYSIWYG R22.

From the site:

CAST Software recognizes the challenging nature of today’s economy and for the first time ever, we are offering a 25% discount off all wysiwyg Membership Renewals. But you must act quickly to take advantage of this limited time offer.

Now, more than ever, professionals like you need to make sure you have the tools to conduct your business efficiently and effectively and to power ahead of the creative curve. wysiwyg’s latest suite of products allow you to create even more lifelike photographic quality images to help you sell your ideas and win more contracts. Break -through enhancements such as new 3D beams with a more realistic look, stunning color mixing and animated smoke are just a few of the major improvements featured in R22.

Go here to get more info on this deal.  Email Michell Perez or call 1.416.597.2278 ext 221.

Weekly WYSIWYG #3: FOCUS CONTROL in R23!

Ok, so for this week’s WYSIWYG post, I wanted to share a little up-and-coming information on the next release of WYSIWYG, R23.  There are some amazing things coming up in the new release of the software, and they are some of the exact items that many of us have requested over the years.

I had a great long conversation with Gil Densham this week on the phone about the stuff coming up – if I may say so myself, there are some amazing new technologies coming out soon, and others in heavy hardcore development.  There will be posts about these in the future – what was astonishing from my conversation with Gil this week was how involved Cast Lighting is in the process, and how they’ve pioneered and made important solving some of the challenges that our creative brains have created in the advent of new technology.

This week, I want to start chronicling the new additions to the R23 build of WYSIWYG.  For a long time there has been desire to have live control and output in the Live Beam Visualizer of optical focus – gobos on surfaces, shafts of light through the air from a breakup gobo exhibiting a hard and soft appearance when being run through an effect, etc.  R23 has this in the bag, and this is extremely exciting!  Imagine being able to exhibit a nice slightly over-focused pattern wash on a wall or piece of scenery, or show a client a focus effect across a truss.  It’s coming.  Check out the image below:

This image shows a template being projected onto a sphere in the foreground, and spilling onto a wall in the background.  New to R23 will be the ability to control the focus as it hits two distant surfaces and render it realtime.  Well, kiss my grits.  Check out the other side of the focus below, sharp on the sphere and out of focus on the wall:

Amazing.  Have a great weekend, everyone!