There are multiple kinds of Computer-control software available. Some sequencing titles are free while others are not. The most notable sequencing software consist of Vixen, LightShowPro and Light-O-Rama Showtime Suite, however there are others out there.
|Software Name||Licence Type||Cost|
|LightShow Pro||Basic (1 universes, 2 computer - up to 5 on request)||USD $99.00|
|Advanced (16 universes, 2 computer - up to 5 on request)||USD $249.00|
|Professional (64 universes, 2 computer - up to 5 on request)||USD $399.00|
|Ultimate (300,000 channels, 2 computer - up to 5 on request)||USD $POA|
|xLights (& Nutcracker)||Freeware||$0|
|Light-O-Rama Software Suite||Standard (8 controllers/128 channels no dmx/e1.31, 5 computer)||USD $99.95|
|Advanced (Unlimited controllers with dmx/e1.31, 5 computer)||USD $139.95|
|Animated Lighting Animation Director||Commercial||USD $399.95|
|Madrix||Commercial||EUR $300 - $4000|
|Light Factory||Personal  (100 universes, some fixtures excluded from initial package, personal use only)||USD $499 No longer available|
|1 Universe Pro  (1 universe, commercial use permitted)||USD $499|
Protocol Support Comparison
Light-O-Rama's Showtime Suite and Animated Lighting's Animation Director mostly support their own proprietary controllers only whereas Vixen and LightShowPro provide options for DIY protocols such as Renard and Olsen 595. The comparison table shows the different protocols that each sequencer supports.
|Software Name||Version||E1.31 (sACN)||Art-Net||DMX512 (E1.11)||Light-O-Rama||Animated Lighting||Renard||Olsen 595||X-10||Misc|
|Vixen||2.x||via addon^||?||Yes||via DMX/addon*||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Light-O-Rama Software Suite||S2||No||No||via converter**||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
|Animated Lighting Animation Director||-||No||?||Yes****||No||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|FPP (Falcon Player)||0.3x||Yes||No||Yes||via DMX||Yes||Yes||No||No|
- * LOR Controller support possible with either a supported DMX dongle and DMX-to-RJ45 adapter or a 3rd-party LOR1 plug-in
- ** DMX Lighting requires the advanced version of S3/S4 OR an additional Light-O-Rama component (iDMX1000)
- *** E1.31 Equipment requres the advanced or professional version of S3/S4, 3.5.0 or higher.
- **** DMX Lighting requires an additional Animated Lighting component
- ***** DMX Lighting requires an additional Aurora component
- ^ E1.31 support via optional plug-in
E1.31 is a relatively new way of transmitting DMX signals directly over Ethernet, instead of using traditional USB dongles and XLR cabling.
A simple test utility for testing E1.31 hardware is called da_E131. This can be useful for tracking down whether a problem is hardware or software related.
Utilities may assist with achieving certain effects but do not drive a light show directly. Utilities output some kind of file that may be opened in a sequencer.
The Falcon Player (FP), previously known as the Falcon Pi Player, does playback of your sequences without a connected PC. You can use Nutcracker to convert from various sequencing software to FP format or some software supports direct export to FP like Vixen version 3. If your show is lagging this is a good option.
http://falconchristmas.com/wiki/index.php/Falcon_FPP (Original Wiki Site)
Nutcracker is a free tool that will allow the easy creation of animations for RGB devices. Developed by Sean Meighan and added to xlights by Matt Brown in December 2012.
LED DMX Module Address Programmer
Scott (SBDJ) from the ACL forum wrote and released an application for setting the start address of the simple 3 channel dmx modules available from holidaycoro, Ray Wu and ebay among the numerous sources. It requires an open dmx FTDI usb dongle and the application can be downloaded from http://www.sbdj.co.uk/dmxmodule/ or http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki_source/images/5/5a/DMXModuleAddress.zip
David Duffy of Audio Visual Devices has developed several test programs for testing lighting controllers.
A simple test utility for testing E1.31 hardware is called da_E131. This can be useful for tracking down whether a problem is hardware or software related. Single or multiple universes can be selected. Individual channels, white, R, G or B can selected or chases can be done.
A simple test utility for testing dmx hardware controlled via open dmx or dmx pro usb dongles is called da_DMX. This can be useful for tracking down whether a problem is hardware or software related. After the software is run select "Open Port" to connect to the dongle.
xlights has built in testing features as well. The latest version of xlights incorporating nutcracker effects builder can be found at http://nutcracker123.com/nutcracker/releases/
Forum Signature Generator
Planet Christmas have incorporated Several software providers into the signature generator that is compatible with this Forum. You can generate your own here: http://planetchristmas.com/signatures/
AusChristmasLighting also has a smaller "slimline" signature builder from http://auschristmaslighting.com/signatures/