3.x Introducing Vixen 3

Discussion in 'Vixen' started by adski, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. adski

    adski Dave Brown

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    So, you're interested in using Vixen 3 ...

    Well, here's the first thing you need to know:
    Closely followed by:
    As the development process ramps up for 2014, there will be development builds made available for testing, but heed the warning on that page!

    Documentation is not yet complete, but what there is, including videos, can be found at http://www.vixenlights.com/vixen-3-documentation/

    Dave
     
  2. OP
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    adski

    adski Dave Brown

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    So, what's so different about Vixen 3?

    The biggest single conceptual change (from previous versions) is that Vixen 3 encourages you to think primarily in terms of the STRUCTURE of your DISPLAY, i.e., the actual lighting props - the ridge and gutter strips, the mini trees, the candy canes, the matrix sign, the mega tree, etc.

    In fact, you could fully design and sequence your display without ever worrying about how the lights are connected to controllers - that is the function of "Patching", which can be left until you need to actually turn on lights.

    So, if your display looked like this,

    [attachimg=1]

    then your display element list might be structured like this:

    [​IMG][attachimg=2]

    When sequencing, effects can be applied to each element independently, or they can be applied to logical groups of elements. The mini trees can be treated separately, but for example, a chase effect could be applied to the group so that each tree lights up in turn. If detailed control of the megatree is desired, then its structure can be revealed by expanding the element tree (click the "+")

    Or you might prefer the elements grouped like this:

    [​IMG][attachimg=3]

    so that you can apply effects to all of the strips on the house as a single group, and apply a single effect to all trees together.

    You could also structure as:

    [​IMG][attachimg=4]

    so that, for example, you could apply a colour wipe effect across your entire display.

    The point is that you can use element grouping to structure your display in a manner that best suits the artistic requirements of your sequencing plans - all without needing to know which light is connected to which channel on which controller.

    Dave
     

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  3. battle79

    battle79 Full Time Elf

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    I like how you put that Adski.

    Thinking I might put my hand up to do a Vixen Presentation at Melbourne Mini.

    Only thing stopping a lot of people jumping on board ATM is their is no insurance policy. If the scheduler doesn't work well (it worked very well as it turned out)or whatever else doesn't do it's thing, you are stuck with nowhere to go.

    This is being corrected very soon. I'm really hoping to see a output/conversion to xlight/FPP early this year. The earlier it arrives, the more people are likely to be willing to give vixen3 a go this year.

    Another reference:

    Think it has a few extra videos
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcvG5_3yaRGSy6LLMgaDf2A

    Regards,
    Rowan
     
  4. OP
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    adski

    adski Dave Brown

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    So, what else is different?

    Well, let's create a new sequence and see what we get:

    [attachimg=1]

    OK, that's a bit sparse! - a few menu items, some controls and tools along the top, a handful of effects and .... what happened to the timeline??? .... a single item .... and markers at 1 second intervals - that's not a grid!!!

    Where do the effects go?

    Well the simple answer is "anywhere you want them". You're NOT CONSTRAINED to a fixed timing grid - the music that you sequence to may not fit well to a 50 msec grid - its tempo may not even be constant. In Vixen 3, you can place effects to match the beat of the music EXACTLY!

    So let's add some audio, and place some marks on the music beats. (You can tap these out, or place them manually, but the easiest way is to use Audacity, a free music editor - a subject for another day)

    [attachimg=2]

    Here we see 4 collections of marks (represented by 4 different colours) - one for each beat in the bar. Note the magnet in the toolbar - when it is activated, effects will "snap" to the timing marks. Increasing the weight of a mark collection will result in a stronger snap, making it very easy to place effects precisely.

    Effects are applied by dragging them from the effect panel to the desired location on the timeline, and adjusting the length by dragging the right edge.

    Now it's possible - actually very easy - to create fairly speccy sequences using just the "Whole Display" element, but artistically, you'll probably want to control individual items. To do this, you just need to expand the group/element list to reveal what you need. So, you may find yourself working with a window like this:

    [attachimg=3]

    Here, a wipe efect has been applied to the whole display, some colour gradient pulses to the roof and window strips, a nutcracker effect to the megatree, and a spin to the group of pixel mini trees.

    For the demo, I've kept the window fairly small. Of course, in practice, you'd probably resize the window to fit more in (right up to full screen if necessary). You can zoom in and out on the timeline, and also zoom vertically to fit more or less elements in the window.

    In any event, compared to what would be required to achieve the same thing in Vixen 2, this is a very clean representation of your sequence.

    Dave
     

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  5. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    great to see the info coming along
     
  6. Karob

    Karob Let there be Light!

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    Thanks for the info Adski,


    For someone who is looking and experimenting with Vixen right now, your information has been very helpful in helping me set up my display for a good relaxed look.


    With the information you have provided on ACL, we may see more people look at making the change to Vixen as it can be very daunting making a swap of software after using something else for so long.


    Keep up the updates please


    Rob
     
  7. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    If you ever saw the patching process on what I am told is an early version of Vixen 3 you'll know that bashing your head against a brick wall is a fair way up the list above patching the channels. The process was absolutely ridiculous in the state I saw it. the fact you you pretty much had to manually assign every channel to a colour and an output device on a crosshatch type thingy was just plain wrong imho.
    the fact that you couldn't export your sequences to anything was the only reason that I didn't actually give it a serious go to do some sequencing with before Xmas 2013. The actual sequencing was pretty easy. The problem lay in that channel patching was below having your toenails removed with pliers on my list of favourite things to do.


     
  8. OP
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    adski

    adski Dave Brown

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    What's New

    There are major efficiency improvements planned for this year, especially in the area of playing a scheduled show on a not-so-new computer, or exporting sequences and shows, but what's happening now - what's in the current development build (or soon will be).

    Built-in bug report packaging. Have you ever been asked to zip up your V3 directory and include it in a bug report? You'll soon be able to do it automatically from within the Vixen application.

    Preview Updates

    [attachimg=1]
    Ability to zoom preview image. (There's also keyboard and mouse control)

    [attachimg=2]
    Addition of alignment, distribution and property matching tools.
    Addition of a "Star Burst" (a.k.a. spinner, firework) to the smart drawing objects.

    [attachimg=3]
    Also added to display setup.

    In the longer term, look for multiple viewing planes - possibly a 3D preview.

    Sequence Editor

    Speed/efficiency improvements - reduced memory and CPU footprint.

    [attachimg=4]
    Improved effect alignment tools - right-click context menu.

    [attachimg=5]
    Improvements to the Curve editor.

    Ability to export beat marks.

    Most of this is available in the current development build (3.0.11.2), but BEWARE - development builds are released for testing - there may be bugs (there are in 3.0.11.2), so back up everything before playing!

    Dave
     

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  9. kiwi

    kiwi New Elf

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    Hi adski,

    I would love to try Vixen but I have a mac computer, as far as I can see vixen is not available for mac or is it?

    Cheers,

    Kiwi
     
  10. OP
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    adski

    adski Dave Brown

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    Sadly, no - it only works on Windows - Vista and later versions.

    Dave
     

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