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New to S3 Viz, my thoughts/wishlist


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I hope these are taken as intended. Not as complaints/bashing, but as suggestions from the perspective of someone learning the software.

  1. "Locking" a prop/fixture doesn't quite work the way I wish it would. I was hoping a fixture lock would remove the ability to edit the end points of the light strings, but maintain the ability to move the fixture as a whole.
    For example, I'm trying to move all my mini-trees to make put them in a nice straight line. I keep clicking on the strings, and messing up my beautiful little trees, rather than clicking on the move point.
  2. As I'm adding props/fixtures, it's getting crowded. Grouping would be great. Especially if each Prop could be expanded to show its fixtures beneath.
  3. Zoom In/Zoom Out capability. I'd be great to get in close and add detail.
  4. I keep drawing all my strings, and forgetting that I should have double clicked the last point. Some sort of "Escape Key" (enter, middle mouse button, right click...) which would stop the drawing, keeping everything drawn to that point would be great.
  5. Moving props/fixtures. Once I click on the object, it would be great if the arrow keys moved it, either by some small increment, or snapping to a grid. That would really help my OCD-like need to get things perfectly straight.
  6. Copy/Pasting is great, but a "Duplicate" tool where instead of a direct copy, any number in the name is automatically incremented, along with incrementing to the next channel would really speed things up.
  7. Along those lines, some "logic" in the Channel wizard would be great. For example, my arches are RGB+White. Though I have the channels set up, one Controller 1, White is channels 1-8. Red is 9-16, then Green is 1-8 on Controller 2, Blue is 9-16. Made sense at the time for how I wired them. Boy is it a pain to set up the arches with my channel config though! The channels are logically named, perhaps an option to have the wizard look at the channel names, not just numerical order.
  8. Again, following up. It's great that when I edit a fixture, the channels are sorted by name. A toggle to sort by name or controller/channel would make things easier.
  9. Another note on channels... Some sort of "channel property gird" for each Prop would be a HUGE help in configuring or reconfiguring.
  10. Perhaps I'm not creating Props/Fixtures with the best practices, but a "Prop Creation Window" would be very nice to have. Something that brings up a window with a grid, and I can draw an item, similar to how it would be drawn in the old visualizer (and allowing me to assign different colors to the same string of lights). I can see this making wireframes/coro items look really nice.
  11. Being able to use symbols to create a fixture is great, but I'd love to see more basic shapes for drawing string lights. Circles, Ellipses, Rectangles, Triangles, Arcs... I see a number of posts from people who want to make the Mega Tree fewer than 4 channels, or set the arch to 1 channel. I expect this is because people are looking to have a tool which draws a 1 channel triangle of lights to use as a mini tree, or an arc of light to represent a swag.
  12. As I create an arch, I have the option to rotate it in 3D space. This would be great to have for all fixtures. I created a Star fixture, I'd love to rotate it to create a 4 channel 3D star.
  13. The ability to make a fixture a mix of RGB and non-RGB channels. I do a good bit of RGB + White. In the sequencer I have one white channel, with the RGB below it. It'd be nice to do my fixtures the same way.
  14. I have a string of 25 strobes on a string. It would be great to have the fixture setup window let you enter a number of bulbs, and adjust the spacing to give you that number on a string of lights. Also would be great for C9 rooflines and such.

I think this could be a really stand out tool with a few tweaks. Keep up the good work, guys!

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Adding to the list as I'm using it more:

  • I miss having "Simulate Night Time" I realize I can adjust the background image with the slider to make it darker, but somehow it's not the same. Simulate Night Time used to really nail it, dark enough that the lights stood out, but still able to be seen. When I darken with the slider, as I get to the point where it's dark enough, I've lost the areas of the image that were darker to begin with. Also, for some reason, blue lights seem to get totally lost amid the darkened background. That didn't used to happen
  • The arches look more like FireFly pixel arches. As I said in the previous post, mine are 4 color, so as do a chase in white, I wind up with two bulbs of white for each segment. I can barely tell it's doing it's thing. Would it be possible for all the available lights in a segment to be used when only one color is on?
    Playing more with it, I seem to get the functionality I want by creating a White arch, then putting an RGB arch over top of it. Seems like being able to mix RGB and non-RGB channels on a fixture would solve this problem as well.

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Add another: Bulk property editing for all fixtures in a Prop. Just like you can change the level, the ability to change the bulb size or spacing of all elements in a prop would help make things much easier.

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DanglinModifiers wrote:

Add another: Bulk property editing for all fixtures in a Prop. Just like you can change the level, the ability to change the bulb size or spacing of all elements in a prop would help make things much easier.
Found this one, don't know how I missed it.
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Thanks for the suggestions. Please be sure to read through the documentation since a lot of what you are requesting is already there:

1 - Before pressing the mouse button, ensure the cursor is a hand and not a cross hair. Hand=Move, Cross Hair= point move.

2 - 'Use Simple Prop Display', found in 'Options' will de-clutter the list.

3 - Has been requested. If you are trying to create detail for something on your stage, you can always start a new visualizer, import a LARGE picture of what you want, trace it, then export the fixture/prop. When you import it you can resize and it will retain the detail.

4 - Escape will end a string

5 - Has been requested.

6 - Paste used to create numbered copies, but the beta testers didn't like it and it was removed.

7 - Unfortunately the Channel Wizard can't be all things to all people. We had to pick one way to design it, and 'by location' won simply because more people do it that way (as opposed to 'by color'). The good news is that you only have to wire stuff in the visualizer once. The next release of the visualizer will allow you to update channels in the Viz with a reference file based on channels name.

8 - That is not true. Channels that are part of a fixture are never sorted -- they are kept in the order you defined them in. Selection dialogs are sorted, but that sort does not effect the order you defined the channels in.

9 - Reference files can quickly update channels, and the next release will allow for updates by name (meaning you can quickly update Unit/Circuit/etc).

10 - See #3.

11 - The drawing wizards (Arch/Tree/Etc) are there for complex props that can be spun/simulate movement/etc. You can however create arches and trees controlled by 1 channel: Simply wire each fixture created for the prop with the same channel. Just because a prop has 4 fixtures doesn't mean those 4 fixtures can't be wired identically.

12 - The Visualizer is a 2D beast only. The Wizards allow you to make things and rotate things in 3D space, but once they are 'created' they are 2D only.

13 - RGB+W adds a large layer of complexity that would only benefit a few. You can however emulate RGB+W by: duplicating the fixture, and placing the W 'fixture' directly on top of the RGB fixture, and ensure it has a higher 'z-order' (background/foreground).

14 - Instead of creating strings, create a 'single-bulb' fixture. You can then create up to 255 independent bulbs/fixture that can be positioned anywhere you like.

15 - If blues are getting lost because they are too dark, select a different color blue for non-RGB fixtures. For RGB fixtures, blue is blue.

16 - Unfortunately, there are only so many dots on your screen. The Visualizer does its best to simulate things, but it simply can't make your screen higher res than what it is. Remember, you can always create an 'Arch Only' visualizer file that has HUGE arches in it. Use it to program your arches and get an idea what they will look like. Then use your 'main' visualizer to get a better 'overall' look. For RGB+W, see #13

17 - Is there on one of the tabs of 'Prop Properties'.

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With the "read through the documentation" comment, I sense a little frustration in your response. If so, I apologize. I realize that 99% of what I want to do can be done if I learn and follow your methods. I realize that work-arounds have been posted in this forum and elsewhere which would accomplish the end result that I'm looking for.

I certainly didn't mean for you to feel you had to respond to my comments and teach me how to do things, but I really do appreciate that you took the time to do so.

I was trying to bring you the perspective of someone who'd never seen the S3 Visualizer before. I know it's one of your goals to make this software easy to learn and use. My thought was just to give you the things that I came across in my learning that would have made it easier for someone new to the hobby to pick up and use.

I get that many things that I've asked for can't be changed because of the way it was coded. I don't have the expectation that all or even one of my suggestions be incorporated. Some of them can't, some of them don't make sense for 99% of your users. It was just a laundry list of thoughts that I had. I had hoped you'd find it useful feedback.

I'm sure you know there's another suite of lighting software out there which has become famous for telling its customers that they have to "relearn how to sequence." And going on to blame problems on customers not following the exact path the designer intended, regardless of if that path makes any sense to the end user. I know LOR doesn't want to go down that path, and was hoping to provide a "here's how a customer is trying to do it" point of view.

With all that said, if it's not helpful feedback, please stop reading. I'm not looking for an answer to every singly point, if it can't be done, it can't be done. A few of your responses made me think I wasn't clear in explaining, so here comes another list. Again, please just take it as an attempt to help make the software even better, and not as demands or expectations of things I feel you need to do.

1. Yes, I see how to make sure I don't do it. I'm just saying, when I'm trying to work quickly, it's an extra step. It'd save time if there was a lock that made sure I didn't screw up my props/fixtures.

2. That actually has been checked the whole time. It still would be nice to group things. I have 4 arches, being able to collapse and expand an arch group would clean things up. Same with the 13 mini trees.

3. Great tip. Saw Jeff Miller suggested it after my post, and it does work great. Especially with artwork behind it. Even as such, there are little tweaks that I'd like to make after shrinking the fixture where a zoom would help.

4. Escape will end it, but you lose everything you've drawn. What I'm requesting is a separate key that ends the drawing, but keeps everything drawn up to the last point you placed. I just spent 6 hours drawing, and I'm still forgetting to double click!

7. Makes sense, and the way you have it is probably the best way for most people. I know there's someone around here who's fond of saying "Options are Good."

8. I wasn't clear. I meant when I edit a fixture, click on the channel, the channel setup dialog comes up and I can click the button next to name to bring up the list of channels loaded from my reference file. That's the list I'm saying would be nice to sort it by name and by controller number.

11. Good to know, but creating an arch, wiring all 4 segments the same, then inverting it just to get a nice looking garland swag is a bit of overkill. Simple shape drawing tools would go a long way to making this easier to use.

14. Still would be nice to have.

16. I don't think I'm asking for any more dots. As it's set up for me, the visualizer has 8 dots per arch segment. I have a channel each for R,G,B,W. The visualizer then treats each segment with 2 bulbs of W, 2 or Red, 2 of Green... So when I have only Green on, I have 2 bulbs in each segment. My suggestion was that if only Green is on, have all 8 be Green. Then if Green and Red are on, have 4 Green and 4 Red. I realize this may be completely impossible, but it is a "wishlist."

A few new ones having just about finished setting up my display:

The ability to show/hide a prop. I did my Mega Tree first, and then went to do the bushes behind it, which was pretty much a guess since the Mega obscured everything. I realize I can turn off layers, which is nice, but it involves remembering or looking up which layer an object is on, then going through and turning it off. A right click "Hide" on the Props list would be much easier.

It's great that you can draw a string, create the fixture, and then draw a new string and have it added to that fixture. The ability to merge two fixtures after they've been created would also be helpful. I'm taking your suggestion about drawing props in a separate window, to be imported and shrunk. I believe I'm going to have a problem because when I try to bring them all together, a few channel will have more than 16 entities, which an error message told me is going to cause problems. There's no reason these channels couldn't be one fixture, except that I had to create them in separate files to be able to zoom in close. Thus being able to merge them after the fact would help solve the 16 object/channel limit for me.

The ability to lock aspect ratio on fixture resize would be a nice tool.

Again, please take these as I intended them. The musings of a first time S3 user on the differences between what made intuitive sense (to me) and how it had to be done.

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No worries. I'm just here to point out solutions.

1 - I'll put 'separate move locks' on the wishlist.

2 - Sorry, not at this time. There is nothing higher than a 'prop' at the moment.

4 - That is not how that is supposed to work. It should be ending the string, not killing the whole drawing. I'll take a look at that and make a fix (either making it work like I said it should, or adding your keyboard shortcut).

8 - We had a discussion about that with the beta testers , including a poll. In the end, alphabetically won out over 'key' (device/net/unit/circuit). Remember that you can quickly get to where you are going by typing the first few chars of a channel's name (which is what won the beta testers over to alphabetic)

9 - I do have a wishlist for additional wizards, and I think swags is on it (if not, it is now). It's going to be #2 to icicles however :(

14 - I see what you are saying, but unfortunately it's a bigger than a breadbox thing. In order to keep execution speed up, we pre-compute the location of every bulb. What you are asking for would mean that every bulb would have to be dynamically re-created based on the colors in use. Since there are 16 channels available per fixture, that would mean (if I'm thinking correctly on this cold meds) up to 2^16 combinations would have to be computed.

18 - I'll add 'Hide' to the wishlist.

19A - Merge is on the wishlist.
19B - Correct. A single channel can only be used on up to 16 fixtures. You can put it on more, but only the first 16 are simulated. If you feel confident, you can edit the XML of your exported prop and bring all the 'drawpoints' into 1 fixture. Just remember that I can't help you with hand-edited files.

19C - Lock Aspect Ratio is on the wishlist.

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It's not out yet. That is our internal revision number so I can keep track of when I actually fix something. Bob will make an announcement when the next version is released.

We have not planned when that next release will come out, however.

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I know...I can go grab an icicle someone else has spent time to create...but I just thought an icicle string is such a ubiquitous Christmas element, it should be in there with CCRs, strings, and floodlights. I really liked the way Holidaysoft handled drawing strings and icicles. Too bad it was such a dopey implementation of just about everything else.

Keep up the good work. I see tremendous potential in this new visualizer...and I just started using it!

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