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Weekly WYSIWYG: The Concepts Function

When using the design functions or even just drafting in WYSIWYG, and whether or not I am hooked up to a console (which is usually the case), the Concepts function is one of the most powerful organization tools in the WYSIWYG software.  As simple of an item as the Concepts function is, it is something that saves me a lot of time when needing to edit multiple fixtures within a system or in the rig as a whole.

To put it simply, the Concepts function is just like using a console’s Groups function.  It allows you to select multiple fixtures in your rig for editing.

The concepts tool is located with the other shortcuts in the bottom left of your WYSIWYG window:

When you click the tool, you are given the space to work with – you can create a new concept by selecting the fixtures you want in a group in your rig, right clicking on the Concepts space and choosing “New Concept.”  You are given the choice to rename the concept, and I add as many concepts as I can think of, just like breaking up my rig to program.  If I could potentially foresee using a certain group of fixtures at a time, I add a concept to shorten my time.

For example, here’s the concept tool for a rig I’m working on:

I divide it up into as many possibilities as I can think of – this makes editing the rig very fast.  Let’s say I want to change the fixture type for a certain system of fixtures in the rig, or maybe just add an accessory, or any other small or large edit.  If I take a few moments to set up my concepts as I go, I save myself TONS of time during editing – I don’t have to individually select each fixture for editing, I just choose the associated concept.

I hope this helps – it’s a simple tool, but such a timesaver.

Weekly WYSIWYG: Scenes

A tool that I find extremely useful when drafting multiple views inside of WYSIWYG is the Scenes function.  The tool itself looks like this:

and the dialogue box associated with the Scenes function looks like this:

Basically, the Scenes tool is like layer management, and is used to put together groups of layers for different functions.  For example, when I am putting together a set of presentation drawings, I will have different scenes set up to control the look of views like longitudinal section, front elevation, and other views I feel are necessary for the drawing.  Being an AutoCAD user, layers are something that I use quite frequently, and my drawings are always divided so tightly into layers that managing a drawing is easy.  I typically draft with notes and items spread across all three axes – X, Y, and Z – that I need a way to quickly turn off certain layers to have custom views.

Check it out – try setting up some different scenes and find your own functionality with the tool.

Weekly WYSIWYG: The Background Rendering Manager

This week’s Weekly WYG is about a simple tool that is built with WYSIWYG, but one that has become so vital to me when doing renderings and pre-viz for shows – the Backgroup Rendering Manager.

When designing in WYSIWYG, you might find a look you’ve created is perfect for a digital rendering, so you start a rendering inside WYSIWYG, which might slow down the processing power for your machine.  To help with this, Cast has created a tool called the Background Rendering Manager – and it functions with or without WYSIWYG open.  It just renders, renders, and then renders some more, all in the background.  While I’m programming or creating a few looks inside of WYG, I simply send a render to the manager, which renders until it’s finished, and then lets me know.

Awesome.  Check out a screen capture of the Background Rendering Manager:

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: WYSIWYG and Hog 3 PC

If youi’re a Hog 3 user and a WYSIWYG user, you might already know this, but I just started using Hog 3 (being a lifetime Wholehog 2 guy, figuring it was time), and I do lots of pre-viz stuff offline.  As you’re setting up WYSIWYG Perform to connect to the virtual console, in this case, Hog 3 PC, you might notice that you’re only able to bind 4 DMX universes at a time to the Hog 3 PC through WYG.

This, at first, might seem like a real problem – especially if you’re using more than the alloted 4 bindable universes in Hog 3 PC.  For example, I’m designing a rig right now with 5 universe of DMX – my fifth universe has a bunch of VL3500 Spots on it.  So what do you do when you need to have to use more than the alloted 4 universes?  Simple – add another Hog 3 PC and connect!

So, you might recognize the image above as the patch screen on a Hog 3.  At the bottom I have my 8 VL3500’s patched into what appears to be a second DP-8000.  Yeah, that’s right.  A second DP-8000.  How this needs to work is that since WYSIWYG needs to bind four universes of 512 at a time, you have to add a second DP-8000 digitally to the mix.  SO:  universes 1-4 on the first DP stay labeled as 1-4, but universe 5 will appear as universe 1 on the second DP-8000.  Simple.

The next step is to add another DP-8000 in Hog 3 PC.  After clicking the “Patch @” key in the patch you’ll arrive at the Fixture Patch screen.  Once you’re there, click “Add” to add a second DP-8000.  Make sure that you number it 2, and that the first DP is number 1.  Click OK.

The way I have mine set up is that the first DP is using the first 4 universes, and the second DP is mapping the fifth universe to the first output on the second DP.  Confusing yet?  It’s not really.  I have my addresses labeled A-E in WYSIWYG, so 1-4 on DP1 are A-D, and E is on DP2’s first output.  Like below – this image below is DP2’s first output.

What you have to remember is that when you’re patching whichever fixtures you wanted in those universes above 4, you’ll need to make sure to select the second DP, like I have done here.  Only after you patch, obviously, will the data show up on the second DP.  The next step is to tell WYSIWYG that there are two DP’s.

Once you add your two “Wholehog III DP” devices in WYSIWYG, you need to bind to universes and number them.  Mine, just like in the patch, are labeled 1 and 2, with 1 being bound to universes A-D, and 2 being bound to universe E.

Here’s the second DP, numbered, bound, and ready to go.

As in the image above, once you have both of your DPs numbered and bound to universes in WYSIWYG, click each one and click “Connect.”  If you’ve done everything correctly, you should be right as rain and ready to go.  If stuff is still funky, check your settings on DPs in both WYSIWYG and Hog 3 PC, which is usually where the problem lies.

This is repeatable for more than ive universes as well.  If you were using 8 for example, A-D and E-H, A-d would still be on DP1 and E-H would be bound in DP2.  Easy as cake – no, it’s easy as pie.

Mmmm, pie.

Weekly WYSIWYG #9: WYG-It 2

A while ago I was testing out a Marquee console and a Whole Hog II side-by-side – back when I had WYG R20 at a University I was teaching.  I had this great device called a WYG-It 2, which was two DMX universes, a midi port, and connected to my computer/WYG setup via USB.

Check out the WYG-It 2:

The WYG-It 2 allows you to output DMX directly into WYSIWYG from a console.  It’s a few bucks shy of $1200, and if you’re doing a lot of preprogramming or Pre-Viz in WYG, you need it.  I wish I had one now!  The unit doesn’t need external power, and I never had one freeze up, ever.

Go get one of these at Cast Lighting’s Store.

Weekly WYSIWYG 8.5: McNamara Tunnel – WYSIWYG Renderings!

A special installment of the Weekly WYSIWYG posts – I posted an article yesterday about Marcus Wuebker’s lighting design and programming for the McNamara Tunnel in Detroit’s Airport.  I just got an email from Gil Densham from Cast Lighting – that contained the renderings from the project, which was done in WYSIWYG!  Thanks Gil!  Check these out:

Weekly WYSIWYG #8: Pipe Tapes

One of the WYSIWYG features that I find the most helpful (with regards to WYSIWYG as a lighting design package) is the ability to print pipe tapes.  For those of you who have no idea what the heck I am talking about, a Pipe Tape is basically a very long piece of paper or webbing that has instrument hang information on it – placement, channel, dimmer, circuit, where it plugs into a mult, etc.  These tapes are very quickly hung onto a pipe and provide the electricians with a fast reference to get the show up and ready for each lighting location.

I have WYSIWYG Perform, and besides the ability to design and program my entire rig in the comfort of my own office, I can also print these tapes to minimize the load-in time for the production.

I talked to a number of people – old friends, new friends, people who read the blog – at LDI this year about WYSIWYG.  A bunch of people asked me why I made a switch from the AutoCAD environment to WYSIWYG in its entirety.  My only response was that I need something that will minimize my time spent behind the computer and maximize my time spent actually designing.  That’s what WYSIWYG does for me.  I still use AutoCAD on a regular basis for all kinds of tasks, but I am able to saw through a plot in about a third of the time I can in AutoCAD.