Creating Pixel Mapper effects
The Pixel Mapper works on a group of fixtures, which you have set up using the Group Layout function. This tells the console where the fixtures are physically located on the stage. The console then maps the fixtures as pixels and uses them to output a 2D effect.
At the end of this section there are a number of step-by-step examples of creating effects with the pixel mapper. It's much easier to get to grips with if you can work through some examples.
You create effects with the Pixel Mapper as follows:
- Select the group of fixtures
- From the top level menu select Shapes and Effects then Pixel Mapper
- Select Create effect. The Pixel Mapper Editor will open with a blank background. You can overlay your fixture layout on the window, to help you see where your fixtures are, by clicking on the Fixture Overlay 50/50 context menu button.
Click on the + button at the bottom to add an effect, and choose a graphic element. You can remove elements by selecting them and clicking on the button. The graphic buttons as shown below provide the following elements to animate:
- Scribble (you draw an image on the touch screen)
- Image/bitmap (loaded from disk)
- Synergy content from Ai media server or Prism Zero
The graphic element will appear in the top part of the window and will be output to the fixtures. You can change it using the sliders below, which will vary depending on the shape but may include:
- X, Y position
- Width, height
- Border width
To change the colour, click on the layer name
Then with the graphic element selected on the left hand side, click on the + button again and choose an Animation (how your graphic element will move or change) or Visual Effect (which change the appearance of the element). The animated effect will show in the black window and be output to the fixtures You can add multiple animations which will combine to give the overall effect.
Available animations are:
- Grid Fit (elements will accurately align with the pixel grid)
- Linear gradient
- Radial gradient
- Motion blur (adds a trail to objects)
The animation will move or transform the element. It can also "spawn" or create new copies of the element.
You can edit what the animation does by selecting the name on the left hand side. Sliders are provided to configure the animation, the sliders may vary depending on the particular effect but may include:
- Speed (speed of the movement)
- Speed Random (adds a random factor to the speed of each element)
- Spawn Rate (sets the rate at which new elements are created)
- Spawn Random (adds a random factor to the spawn rate)
- Spawn For (sets how many elements will be spawned, after this no more will appear)
- Run For / And Then (for each element, sets how many cycles it runs for, and what happens to it after that - freeze or kill)
- Direction / Direction Random (for movement effects only)
- Start Angle / End Angle (for rotation effects only)
Some points about animations:
For Grid Fit you need to specify the number of rows and columns in the grid.
For the gradient animations you set the start and end opacity and the offset between them; you also set the Spread which can be Pad (single gradient), Reflect (repeats the gradient in and out) or Repeat (snaps back to start then repeats the gradient fade)
If you specify Spawn For or Run For, the simulation will stop after the specified number of cycles. To restart the simulation, click the reset button on the top right of the Effect Editor window.
For an effect with a start point and end point, the number of cycles is the number of times it goes between the start and end points. For an effect with no end point the number of cycles is based on the master clock and animation speed.
Pixel Mapper Preview Window
If you don't have fixtures connected, you can see how the effect will look on the fixtures using the Pixel Mapper preview window - open it by double pressing Open/View then press Pixel Mapper Preview from the window select buttons. A real life view of each effect currently running is shown in a button at the bottom of the screen, you can select each of these by pressing the button.
If you wish you can overlay further layers on the effect. Once you have an effect you like, you can save it to a playback.
When adjusting the parameter sliders, as well as using click/drag on the screen you can also use the wheels or type in a numerical value. To assign a slider to the wheels or for numerical input, click the value box to the right of the control. Double click the value to reset it to its default, or use the +/- softkey to change the sign of the value.
You can reorder the Pixel Mapper layers by selecting the layer to move and clicking on the up/down arrow buttons.
You can copy or move layers, elements and animations by pressing Copy or Move, then select an element, then select a destination to copy or move it to.
Effect Master Parameters
Each effect you create also has master parameters which affect how it will combine with other effects. Click on the effect name top left to set these parameters:
The Block Effect switch allows you to create a pixel map effect which will block out any pixel maps running on the selected fixtures (according to the priority setting). This lets you create a cue which will temporarily stop a pixel map effect (similar to Block Shapes).
Colour sets the background colour of the effect (Will have no effect if Back Opacity is 0)
Back Opacity sets whether other effects will show through in the background of this effect. By default this is 0, so other effects will show through.
Opacity sets how much other effects show through the foreground of this effect.
X/Y/Zoom/Rotation let you modify the position and size of the effect
Master Speed sets the overall speed of the effect, this controls animation speeds and cycle counts
Pre-Spool makes the effect start mid-flow as if it has already been running for a time. This lets you start slow-building effects in their full glory.
Run For / And Then sets how many cycles the effect will run for, and what will happen at the end (Freeze, Kill or Stop Spawning). Run For defaults to "Forever".
Pixel Mapper Layer Masters
You can assign each of the four layers to a master. The master allows you to adjust the layer controls in real time. When the master is assigned to a fader handle using Create Master, Pixel Mapper, selecting Layer 1 through Layer 4 and finally pressing a handle select key, the fader will control opacity of the layer.,
This means you can create cues and palettes which can manipulate the layer settings of effects which are running in other cues.
To enable the layer master, turn on the Use Master switch in the effect editor window.
Layer masters may require an updated personality file
Stopping pixel map effects with Mask FX
Using the Mask FX function you can create a playback which will stop the pixel map effect on all fixtures or on a group of fixtures.
To create a Mask Effect:
- Press Mask FX on the Shapes and Effects menu.
- If no fixtures are selected the mask will apply to all fixtures. If some fixtures are selected the mask will only apply to those fixtures.
- Press Create Mask Pixel Map. (The Create Mask FX button will mask both shapes and pixel map effects.)
- You should see the mask taking effect on the output - if you store it in a playback, the playback will stop all pixel map effects while it is active (on the fixtures it was programmed for).
The Clear mask from programmer button will remove any mask shapes or mask effects from the programmer for all fixtures.
This function replaces the Block Effect function of previous versions. Shows containing Block Effect from previous versions will load and work as expected, but they will be renamed "Mask".
The personality library may need updating for this to work.