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Holidaysoft Designer


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Is anyone else having problems with the Holidaysoft designd software. This version 4 is awful . I just bought it, it's a waste of money. I know Mike said he was going to update in January but sheesh it a PIA!

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I have it and find it pretty nice...just takes a while to learn all the buttons.

I was having trouble with it tonight...couldn't get it to connect to LOR.

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I have it and it works ok. My main problem with it is that it is a resource hog. It takes about 5 min for it to load my file and often key strokes are delayed for a few seconds waiting for the computer to catch up. This is on the same machine I use for my video editing, I can render HD video in the background while running several programs and have resources to spare; but HLD 4 slows my computer to a crawl. This is one of many problems the update should correct.

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Yeah resources, slow, sluggish & for some reason it's not letting me add more than one light string to the mega tree! I've been following the tutorial exactly! Although LOR visualizer is a lot more blocky, at least everything works! I can say that Holidaysoft does link with the LOR easily now. I hope Holidaysoft has a great update, too bad it's not for this season though :)

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I would have to admit that I've been fairly underwhelmed with this program as well.

It also appears to show an odd sensitivity to ATI video cards when it comes to view scaling. I had noted that light strings and other inserted items would vanish when you scaled down past about 32%. Makes it pretty hard to work on a large layout.

It did not exhibit this behavior when running on a computer with an NVIDIA video card though.

Not extensively tested beyond that point, as this was sufficiently annoying...

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LONG POST.....But hopefully helpful:)

Hey folks. Just some thoughts on HLD.

True, it can be a resource hog. But, I have found some work arounds that may help you.

Mega Tree:OK, one of the first things I do, is to create a Main HLD Project with my house images set, and yard image if using that; and most importantly the Channel layout.

I print out the Channel Property Grid to help. Hopefully, someday Michael (Holiday soft) will have an import feature to import channels from LOR-HLD.

Then save this project file as your 2009 Christmas design template. So, now you have a blank canvas so to speak.

Now go through the steps of creating your Mega Tree. Height,width Etc.

Now when my tree appears, this is IMPORTANT. When looking at the tree placed in the location you intend to use it, locate were your Channel 1 is. If in front...easy. If in back, like me..little more difficult. Because, that is were you will start your Controller/Channel layout.

Example: My Red lights on the Mega start with Controller 4, so I would set my HLD selection to Controller 4. However, my Channel 1 is in the back of the tree, so I have to start with Ch. 9 which is the tree frame line in front of me.

Now that is determined, Adjust your zoom, so the tree is close up to you. Main reason, due to the fact when rotating with "Orbit Tree" selected ON; it spins the entire image, not just the tree itself. So, if the tree is further away, as you get to the back of the tree; the house image may interfere.

This is a little tricky, but try and get the tree rotatated to were your guideline on the =frame is straight as possible. Takes a little tweakijng, not too difficult.

Now, it's time to lay out your lights. Make sure you have Add Lights selected on the tree Panel.

Click at the bottom of the frame line and then the peak of the tree. The lights will draw almost instantly.:D

IMPORTANT: If doing more than 1 color, go ahead and layout your other lights at the same time.

Example: OK, I have a 16ch/3 color Mega..Red,Green,White.

Red: Set HLD to Controller 4/Ch. 9(again, this is my front channel, use what works for your tree.)

Now keeping the same line on the frame in front of you, set your second set of lights.

In my case, I would then select Controller 5, but leave my Ch. at 9.

make sure you have "Layering" selected on the tree panel. Then do the same for your next colors.

Next, rotate the tree again to the next line. Now, that have the initial light strand, you can tell a little easier were the next Channel will be.

Follow your tree all the way around, till done with your Controller,Channel,Lights setup.

VERY IMPORTANT; Take your Time! Make sure you readjust, the Controller/Channels BEFORE laying down the next light set. Iyt's a little difficult to go back, when you have the lights layered...so take yur time...no worries then. :D

Will Continue this another thread.



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OK, now you have all your Controllers/Channels Layed out; it's time to save your Mega Tree.

You will have noticed too, that drawing the light strands etc. should have been much faster. I created my 3 color 16ch, in approx. 30 minutes; using this method.

Save the Tree. On the Tree design panel, you'll see a folder icon. Click on that.

Save your newly created mega tree under a tree object name. I saved mine as: 2009 Christmas Show Mega Tree Template. Anything will do. :)

Now, awesome. You have a cool tree layout, that you created, it will contain all your channels already set up!

AFTER, you have created the rest of your layout, THEN bring in the Mega and place it in your scenery were needed.

Reasons: It will slow down some when you put then mega in the scene. So, if you are drawing more lights, it WILL slow down somewhat. Especially, if you have several Mega trees in the scene. So wait till the end.

Also, when trying to draw lights on areas of the house etc.... the mega can interfere. So, get it ALL done first before the Mega. :D

Now, granted. If you have a ton of Mega trees; your right. HLD 4 probably won't be able to handle the load sufficiently; if you don't have a powerful machine.

However, maybe try and compromise. IE perhaps if you have a Mega that just. changes colors, maybe consider making an image with lights, as opposed to creating another full tree. I'm sure you'll think of some things. :)

Which Brings me to Mini Trees. Rather than creating the minis in HLD, use a paint program, photoshop,paintshop pro etc, and create your mini trees that way.

I have 9 minis in the yard. 3 colors. Red,Green,White. I jsut used Phtoshop and layers and created my mini trees.

Basically, create a frame, then use the line tool but with dots, or something similiar, and create the first tree. Then add a layer fro your next tree. That way you can put the lights, in between the underlying lights so they don't overlap. Do this with the remaining colors as well. Make sure you get the dots as bright as possible, so they show up in HLD the best.

I have my jpg images of the minis. Will be glad to share if anybody is interested.

Same with the Mega tree object. However, your channels would have to match mine if you use the mega. PM me, if interested.

Now, import your images into HLD. I then placed the red Minit tree down in it's proper location. make sure you have your Channels/Controller selected.

After the Reds are placed, select the Green minis. I then get an approx. placement for the tree. Then use the light move tools to place the mini on top of the red. Just, move the tree till you see the red burst through the green color, then click one back to overlay properly. Do the same wit your other colors.

Ok Mini trees Done. :D

Once you have your entire layout done, then Open the tree designer window; select your Mega tree object you created, and add it to the scene.

IMPORTANT: Not sure if this is a bug, but make sure you have "Move tree" selcted on the tree window...AND..make sure "Layering" is turned OFF. also, turn your treeframe off as well. Then you can move your tree and palce were it's needed. yes, with the other stuff now added, it will be slower. Howeever, at least your not trying to create a Mega with all this stuff, jsut place it in the scene. :)

And yes, things will get a little chop when it's added.:(

Then SAVE your Final Project. I saved mine as 2009 Christmas Show Setup. whatever is easiest for you. I also put it into a seperate folder to not confuse myself. Again, whatever is easiest for you.

PERFORMANCE: This can be a tough one. Very disappointed Michael had to put the update on hold. But, understand he did what he felt he needed to do.

So, we work with what we have. :)

1. Try and find a program that will maximize memory. I use a program I used for flightsim, called FS Autostart. It will stop all unecessary services,programs running that you don't need. after finishing, it will restart them again as well.

Just do a search. I know there are several out there. main thing, you want to give as much memory to LOR/HLD as you can.

I also start LOR and make sure the seq. plays before using the memory tool.

Another thing that can help. Reduce your resolution on the monitor. I use the lowest setting that will utilize my widescreen monitor. Whatever works for you.

Caveat: I know some have mentioned having problems with ATI cards. Apologies to you if some of the teqniques don't work; as i use Nvidia.

LOR started, use your memory tool to start HLD. In my case, FS autostart will shut down as many services and programs i selected. However, it doesn't seem to be able to shut down malware and anti virus programs..you may have to do this your self.

2. OK, now we have LOR and HLD running. make sure in LOR you have Control Holiday Lights selected ON.

3. Next in HLD, OPEN your project..ie 2009 Christmas Show. After a short period, dpending on the size of your scene, you'll now see your 2009 Christmas Show with everything ON, in the image.

4. Next, click on the little lightbulb by the LOR name iun HLD. A Connect box pops up. Click on "Connect" YOu should see a connected "Yes" message.

At this point, LOR and HLD should be ready to talk to each other. One thing I forgot to mention. It's always best to start LOR BEFORE HLD. just seems to work better on the Comm. thingy.

5. OK, one thing I have found that will help with playback. Not much delay when I do it this way.

If you look along the top of the toolbar in HLD, you'll see some monitor screen icons.

Click on #1 View icon. This will open a little window. It can be resized as well.

After you open this View #1 Window, Minimize the MAIN HLD interface. You have the connection done, so don't need it.

Re-size the View #1 window for your tastes.

I'll take my LOR screen, and shrink it down using the middle window button thingy(upper right corner, with the minimize and maximize and X buttons).

This will overlay your HLD View 1 sceen. The just hit play or spacebar on the LOR.

If it all goes well, you'll see all the lights in HLD turn off. That's when you know they are talking to each other. :D

Then watch your show. There may still be a very slight delay; but, overall it should give you an idea what things will look like for real.

If you want to verify everything is correct. Leave your LOR window open, so you can watch your channels turn off and on to compare.

agree, HLD can be a memory hog at times. But, as oyu can see; you can find work arounds.:D

Watching one of my sequences last night, just had a big grin on my face, after optimizing HLD the best iI could.

Again, apologies for the LONG post. But, I wanted to give some insight and little tips/tricks i found that actually helped get a lot of benefit form HLD.

Can't wait to see the new improved version, sometime next year.

Feel free to PM, if you have further questions. :D

Have Fun.



PS sorry in advance for spelling errors, and run on sentences etc. workig on sequences, just stopped long enough to type this info.

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I also turn off all of the "Plays":

"Control Lights"

"Move Grid With Play"

"Vary Color of Channel Buttons"

"Highlight Current Event"

"Highlight Current Time"

No really need to see the grid move if you are watching it in HLD.

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Alan, no problem. Of course, all my post may be a moot point when the new version comes out.

Jim, great ideas. Forgot about those. Thank You

Although, if there is still a little delay, may consider leaving the channel light up switched on for reference.



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  • 9 months later...

I just purchased the new version of Holiday Lights and cannot get it to install. I had an expired trial version which I have uninstalled. I went to the holiday soft siite and tried the remedy suggested in the forum.. When i start up the setup to install it starts but quits after a few seconds. I've tried to run it in various windows compatibility modes. I'm running windows 7 ultimate. I've contacted the support email three times and the 'make a ticket' site once in the past two weeks and have yet to receive a response... And I dont find a contact telephone to try.. Any advice appreciated.



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Ross Boelling wrote:

I just purchased the new version of Holiday Lights and cannot get it to install. I had an expired trial version which I have uninstalled. I went to the holiday soft siite and tried the remedy suggested in the forum.. When i start up the setup to install it starts but quits after a few seconds. I've tried to run it in various windows compatibility modes. I'm running windows 7 ultimate. I've contacted the support email three times and the 'make a ticket' site once in the past two weeks and have yet to receive a response... And I dont find a contact telephone to try.. Any advice appreciated.



Looks like others are having problems contacting them also.

Check out this thread:

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I could kick myself in the a$# for buying this software. It was when I was in the DNS (and I don't mean Domain Name Server) stage and just buying everything that seemed to be recommended. And, it's my own fault for not doing more research before I did.

The bottom line is that I am completely unable to import a suitable picture of my house. I have two huge trees in the front yard that block most of the front of the house. I thought I could Photoshop the trees out, but I was just kidding myself. Plus, I run LED C9's on 3 sides on my house trim, and there was no way of getting a view that would show all the effects. IMHO, unless you have no obstructions, fences, etc.; or you have a neat little house like they use in their advertising, don't waste your money. Spend a couple of hours in LOR creating a nice visualizer. I did and know have a visualizer that works just fine. Even a casual observer can see what my sequences will do just by watching the visualizer run.

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In defense of Holiday Soft, you can't blame them because you have trees in front of your house!! LOL I like their software...but also got used to LOR's animation.

I thought in Holiday Soft you could "rotate" the view? You could also just put lights to the side of the house to represent those that you can not "see" from the 2d view.

Though I don't think either one measure up to one of the competitors...

Are they deciduous trees and could you get a better view after the leaves have fallen off? (I know, a little late in the season to wait for that).

Send me you house pic and I will see what I can do with it!!


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