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How do you know what your animation will look like


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Just thought I'd ask... This is my first year doing any sort of animation. I have already started building musical sequences and was wondering how I can check what I have worked on and what it will look like. I know there is the animation wizard, that is a great tool but I can't really visualize what the display will look like when completed. I am going to set up some stuff this summer(outside) to get a better idea. I can't really drag everything out because of two young children and limited space to test. How does everyone test or check their sequence before the season?



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You have to visualize a lot in your head but I think it is very important to have a few strings of lights hooked up to a controller so you can see the effect of what fades look like since they look a lot different than they do on the visualizer.

I set up a few things in my computer room so I could get a feel (plus it warmed up the room!)

room2.jpg

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I've had to build a mini display to double check the work I've done. I have found things that look very bad and lost hours of work because it looks so different with lights on. I hear many people do a small set-up and that helps. I have a handycapp because I am running 193 channels on one display. Even in my mini display I'm pulling 50amps and I take one corner of a wearhouse.

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Thanks for the reinforcement. Like I said I am unable to check things inside the house. I am planning on putting up the megatree in the backyard this summer. A warehouse that would be great. There is a place where we store our rv for the winter since everyone removes it for the summer and it is empty perhaps I can rent that for a few weeks to do some testing.

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A few weeks should be good. Each song is 1:00m to 3:30m long so it won't take long to see what you have. I work a few weeks on each song then I spend a Saturday connected to the display.

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Hook up a few lights in critical areas and experiment...I have a few thousand mini's some stobes and a mega tree mini in my home office with 12 controllers- 192 channels.
I can see the layout in my head I'm just uncertain of the effect.
People freak when I tell then it's just some sync.

Bill

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Bill, I have a queston. How long do you spend on your programing? I have one bridge and 14 seven foot trees in one display all in sync with each other, the time is killing me at 192 channels also.

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I don't vizualize mine...I just use the animation window and make it look really creative and real-looking...It works for me and gave me a good product for last year's show.

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jshelby wrote:

Bill, I have a queston. How long do you spend on your programing? I have one bridge and 14 seven foot trees in one display all in sync with each other, the time is killing me at 192 channels also.

My wife says I don't spend alot of time.....It's all my time! It can become quite tedious. I had five songs last year and although I started to sync shortly after Christmas I'm only adding three songs this year because of the time involved.

As far as using the Animation Window or in my case with AL, using the visualizer- My display is so spread out I can't import a picture large enough to include it all. It's about 300 ft. of road frontage and 3/4 of an acre. But at times I think our time would be better spent in classes which teach alot of time savers and shortcuts, just havent had the time.:laughing:

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Carrie Sansing wrote:

I just use the animation window, that has been good for me. I throw in a lot of detail on there and its been fine.



I agree with Luke and Carrie,

The animation window is probably the most important tool with LOR. It gives you the best visualization of your display without actually hooking up lights.

Just my thoughts,

Tom


Edited: spelling
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Last year was my first with LOR. I only used the animation wizard. One thing I would suggest for those who have not animated before is to hook up a controller and play with the shimmer and twinkle effects. I did this when I tested the kits that I built. Those two effects were different than what I imagined and you can only get a true idea of what they are when you see the actual lights. I know I went back and changed some sequences after seeing an actual twinkle and shimmer the first time.

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Some 10 years ago when we synced lights to music using precision timers [before LOR ,AL, and the others] , we built a large board with lights that represented the entire display in our yard. The board , which can be seen at http://www.magicchristmas.org - click on light show then on electronics of lightshow- allows us to to create our light shows in the comfort of our computer room . There is no guesswork or surprises here. The show will be exactly what you want and you can see it before presentation. This does take some extra commitment to build the board and requires a dedicated space , but we have found the paybacks are well worth the effort. We hauled the board to PLUS 2003 where it was demonstrated . Some of you in attendance back there might remember that. In summary , we would recommend a large board or equivalent to get your light show in order way before the curtain raises on your production. There will be enough surprises to deal with other than having to massage your light show on opening night.

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greg s wrote:

Just thought I'd ask... This is my first year doing any sort of animation. I have already started building musical sequences and was wondering how I can check what I have worked on and what it will look like. I know there is the animation wizard, that is a great tool but I can't really visualize what the display will look like when completed. I am going to set up some stuff this summer(outside) to get a better idea. I can't really drag everything out because of two young children and limited space to test. How does everyone test or check their sequence before the season?



greg


Greg,

We don't use a L-O-R, but what we did might give you some ideas. We made Test boards to make it easier to visualze. Here is a link to a photo of them in Carl's home office.

http://users.larucorp.com/pmb/images/2006/IMG_7350-Cropped.jpg

Each light bulb represents a different circuit. Each bulb that is colored is colored the same as the corresponding light string. Yes, I colored each light bulb by hand.
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Bill V wrote:

jshelby wrote:
Bill, I have a queston. How long do you spend on your programing? I have one bridge and 14 seven foot trees in one display all in sync with each other, the time is killing me at 192 channels also.

My wife says I don't spend alot of time.....It's all my time! It can become quite tedious. I had five songs last year and although I started to sync shortly after Christmas I'm only adding three songs this year because of the time involved.

As far as using the Animation Window or in my case with AL, using the visualizer- My display is so spread out I can't import a picture large enough to include it all. It's about 300 ft. of road frontage and 3/4 of an acre. But at times I think our time would be better spent in classes which teach alot of time savers and shortcuts, just havent had the time.:laughing:

My problem with the visualizer on AL and BTW, its so identical to the one that came out for Dasher 2.0 just before AL purchased Christmas Cave, well using a daytime photo of your house and draw in lights just doesnt do it for me. I never use it, I much prefer just to proof out the timing with real flood lights connected to channels 1 thru 4. Once there the photo very little resembles the display so your imagination is forced to work just as hard as would be with Animation window on LOR. I dont aways trust the visualizers to show the true responsiveness of lights so I test with both floods and string lights so microsecond latency issues with lights dont push some of the lights to appear "late". I could be wrong but I just dont get the impression about the timing of a light flash as being "early" or late when using these simulators as opposed to really seeing lights in action.
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Joseph,

The bigest problem is how long my display is, almost 400 feet long and only 30 feet wide. At 192 channels a lot of the animation looks like it gets stuck. I've beefed up my ram memory and changed computers to a faster processer to no avel. My next project is going to be a row of trees 1/2 mile long. With the problems I'm having viewing the animation I'm sure it's going to be tuffer than my little display, but I don't know, it's only 64 channels.

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Video that gets stuck without audio problems also, is not likely to be improved by more memory or processor speed. It is most likely the video card that is too slow for rapid changes. Video that’s built into a mother board typically shares memory that’s used for program storage. This is way too slow for rapid video changes. The higher you have the resolution set, the worse the problem will be.



One way to check the video card is to play a DVD full screen. If it hesitates, the video card will be too slow for a lot of fast screen changes also.

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jshelby wrote:

Joseph,

The bigest problem is how long my display is, almost 400 feet long and only 30 feet wide. At 192 channels a lot of the animation looks like it gets stuck. I've beefed up my ram memory and changed computers to a faster processer to no avel. My next project is going to be a row of trees 1/2 mile long. With the problems I'm having viewing the animation I'm sure it's going to be tuffer than my little display, but I don't know, it's only 64 channels.


I have touched LOR but mostly one of the first public releases as I inherited a couple used cards from someone that was in financial trouble and his software but had no right that I am aware of to LOR updates.

Am I wrong or cant you like temporarily hide sets of lights so that you can work on certain features. Like me, I will do multiple passes... one pass I do my lights on the house, one pass the yard effects, one pass on driveway arches, one pass to do the unique things in the 1 neighbor's yard and another pass to do another neighbors. Generally I have no problem sequencing lights to which 70% of my display is out of my view. I mean I can see the yard out my window but as long as my timing is done, I can predict reasonably well what the effect is, but when I also go to look at the results I have to put coat on and go outside and view it for the end result. Big problem about big displays is that once past 32 circuits, each set of 16 circuits adds about 1.5 hours to sequencing time for songs. For me there is a lot of duplication on neighbor's however I have to account for differences. One neighbor has a 3 chaser roof while me and other neighbor have 4 chaser roofs. This means for the 3 chaser guy, copy/paste means every 4th beat is dark, so he needs a total from scratch conversion to 3 circuits to keep him from looking "glitched".

Like you, actually the area of lights I am managing is actually 300 X 300, within the large main areas that use 256 circuits of Animated Lighting, I have sub displays that are not in sync with the main show but running its own separate sound track. 16 circuits of LOR drive sub displays in neighbor's rear yard and 16 circuits of Dasher using 9 year old hardware drive. The Dasher and LOR displays run separate sound tracks and are unique and changed annually to be totally different from year to year. The Animated Lighting sound track is the big on that makes it on my videos and has more legacy sequences, some are back by popular demand and nostagia for visitors have run 8 years in a row.
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Ernie, I have a mini display running all 192 channels and when the video sticks (it hangs and jumps) so does my display. What would you suggest to fix the problem.

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