A shape is simply an automatic sequence of values which modify a particular attribute of a fixture. A circle shape, for example, applied to the pan and tilt attributes, would cause the fixture to move its beam in a circular pattern around its current position. You can set the size of the circle and the speed of the circle movement.
Shapes are most useful when used with a group of fixtures. You can then choose to either apply the shape identically to all the fixtures, or offset them so that the shape runs along the fixtures creating "wave" or "ballyhoo" type effects (called the Spread or Phase of the shape). This allows you to very quickly create impressive light shows.
In addition to position shapes, there are a large number of other shapes available in Titan. The shapes are defined for a particular attribute such as colour, dimmer, focus and so on.
Titan also has a Mask FX function which lets you mask out certain shapes, preventing them from appearing on the lights. For example, if some fixtures are running a Circle shape, and then a playback is fired which has a Position Mask Shape programmed for some of the fixtures, those fixtures will stop running the circle shape. This can be very useful to modify playbacks at show time. See the Mask FX section below for details.
Creating a Shape
When you create a shape, it will be applied to all selected fixtures.
- Select the fixtures the shape is to be applied to.
- At the main menu press Shapes and Effects then Shape Generator.
- Press Create to start a new shape
- Press a softkey to select the attribute type to use in the shape or press All for a full list.
- Press a softkey to select a shape, or touch the desired shape in the Shapes window. You can type a search word on the keyboard to search for a particular shape.
- The shape will be applied to all selected fixtures.
- If you open the Shapes window, it will remain open for instant selection of shapes (you don't need to select Shape Generator). The window will only show shapes which are possible on the selected fixtures. Pressing attribute buttons will filter the Shapes window to show only shapes for that attribute. Press the Dimmer attribute button to show all shapes.
Shapes are based on the current settings of the fixture, so for example a position circle would move around the current pan-tilt position of the fixture.
You can change the base value of a shape (e.g. the centre of a circle) by changing the attributes using the wheels in the usual way. You can reduce the Size to zero (see next section) to help you see what the base value actually is.
You can run more than one shape at a time by repeating the above procedure. You can run several shapes on one fixture and the output will combine in interesting ways.
Press Shapes and Effects, Shape Generator then Edit to show what shapes are running.
If you apply the same shape to two different groups of fixtures, the shape will appear twice on the shape list. You can edit the two shapes separately to give different directions, speeds etc (see later)
If the selected fixture has sub-fixtures (cells) then you will be given the option to run the shape on the main fixture, keeping all cells identical, or spread across the sub-fixtures/cells. The options are:
- Run on Super Fixtures - cells are ignored, fixture operates as one block
- Run on Sub Fixtures (Linear) - the cells are used in numerical order
- Run on Sub Fixtures (Group) - the layout of the cells is used as programmed in the Layout Editor for the group
Each shape is designed to work on a particular attribute. Obviously if the fixtures don't have the attribute, you will not see any effect if you use the shape.
Each shape has a default size and speed setting (defined in the shape file).
When using a Rainbow colour shape, to get the full range of colours you need to set the CMY or RGB attributes to 50%.
Changing Size and Speed of a Shape
It is easy to change the size and speed of a shape after it has first been created. If the display above the wheels is showing Spread and Offset rather than Size/Speed, press Adjust Speed, Size and Spread.
Control the speed of the shape using the left hand wheel
Control the size of the shape using the middle wheel
The size and speed is shown above the wheels on the display
Other things to know about size and speed of shapes:
If you have more than one shape running, the controls operate on the most recent one. You can edit the parameters of any shape that's running using the Edit Shape function, see Editing a Shape in a Cue Using Include.
The minimum size is zero. This will "hide" the shape, and the fixture will resume its previous settings. The shape is, however, still active.
Once a shape is saved in a playback, you can use the playback fader or a separate Speed or Size master to control the speed and size.
Changing the Spread of a Shape Across Multiple Fixtures
Shapes get more interesting (and look more impressive) when you apply them to multiple fixtures. You can control how a shape is spread across several fixtures. You can also control Phase, which is a different way of selecting the same thing.
The sequence of the shape across the fixtures is controlled by the order in which you selected the fixtures when you created the shape. You can edit the order by selecting Fixture Order in the Shape Edit menu.
- If the right hand wheel isn't showing Spread, press Adjust Speed, Size and Spread
- Control the Spread of the shape using the right hand wheel, or to set in terms of Phase, press Adjust Spread, Phase and Offset and use the middle wheel.
Spread = 12 (Phase = 30 degrees):
Spread = 6 (Phase = 60 degrees):
Spread = 2 (Phase = 180 degrees):
In Phase mode, the display above the wheel shows the phase in degrees. For example, 180 degrees repeats every 2 fixtures, 90 degrees repeats every 4 fixtures, 60 degrees repeats every 6 fixtures, and so on.
The Offset function allows you to set the starting phase of the shape, when more than one shape is running. For example, if you were running a Cyan shape and a Magenta shape to create a mix of colours, you would probably want to start them with Cyan at full and Magenta at zero to give the full range of colours. In this case you would set one of the shapes to have a Phase Offset of 180 degrees. Without the phase offset, both shapes would reach full at the same time.
After adjusting offset or phase, it is useful to Restart the shape so you can see how it will look when fired from a cue. Press Restart Shapes on the shape Edit menu.
The Direction softkey opens a menu allowing you to set a direction for the shape. If you have defined a 2D layout for the group this allows you to have shapes that visibly move in particular directions.
You can keep the shape direction menu open using the Menu Latch button, to allow you to try different options and see the effects.
Beat and Cycles
The Adjust Beat and Cycles option lets you set on the wheels how the programmed speed will trigger the shape, and how many times the shape will run.
The Beats option defaults to Beats=1 which makes the shape run at normal speed. Higher numbers will divide the count, for example Beats=4 will make the shape run at quarter of the speed. This is really useful to synchronise different types of shapes which are running together.
Clicking the middle of the wheel roller image on screen or pressing @A for Wheel A allows you to type in a number for the Beats parameter, and also shows two further options for Beats: Match to Spread sets the beat count to be the same as the current Spread setting for the shape. This is useful when using dimmer shapes with movement shapes as it will make each fixture turn on for a full cycle of the movement shape. The Custom option resets the Value option to the last entered value.
The cycles option sets how many times the shape will run. By default this is set to infinity (∞) which means the shape will continue to run until you stop it. If you set a fixed number, the shape will stop by itself after that number of cycles.
You can type in a number instead of using the wheels by clicking the middle of the wheel roller image on screen or pressing @B for Wheel B. If you are typing in a number you can enter part cycles, for example 1.5.
Using Shapes in Cues
When you save a shape into a cue, you can set the playback fader to control the size and/or speed of the shape in playback Options to give you more options at show time; you can also control the size and speed from separate Size Master and Speed Master faders. For Dimmer shapes, the fader controls the shape size by default.
You can use shapes in a cue list, see Shape Tracking in Cue Lists on how the shapes will behave as you go from cue to cue.
You can adjust a running shape at playback time, see Editing a Live Running Shape.
Shape Overlay or LTP behaviour
When a shape or key frame shape is running in a playback it can behave as Overlay (default - always overrides the programmed attributes) or LTP (shape can be overridden by more recent playbacks) by setting the Shape Behaviour option.
In Overlay mode (default) the shape will have control of the programmed attributes regardless of whatever else you do. For example if a shape is controlling fixture colour, firing another playback, recalling palettes or changing colour using the wheels will have no visible effect. Once the shape is stopped, the changes you made will become visible. This means that if you want to you can preset what will happen when you stop the shape.
In LTP mode, changes of the same or higher priority will override the shape output. For example if your shape is set to normal priority, firing a playback with normal priority will block the shape output. Killing the playback will restore the shape output. Quick Palettes and manual changes (the programmer) have High priority. Setting the shape priority to "Very High" would prevent the programmer taking over (see Priority in playback Options).
Masking shapes using Mask FX
It is often useful to be able to partially or completely stop a running shape, for example to freeze the look at the end of a song or to modify the look for different moments.
The Mask FX softkey on the Shapes and Effects menu allows you to record a mask which will stop shapes (both normal shapes and key frame shapes). The mask can be set to stop all shapes on all fixtures, or only shapes controlling certain attributes. You can also select certain fixtures for the mask and leave other fixtures unaffected.
To create a mask:
- Press Mask FX on the Shapes and Effects menu (Diamond 9 has a dedicated Mask FX button - press twice to turn all attributes on in the mask).
- The Attribute Bank buttons (Position, Colour etc) will flash. Choose which attributes you want to mask by toggling the buttons on and off.
- If no fixtures are selected the mask will apply to all fixtures. If you only want it to apply to certain fixtures, select them now.
- Press Create Mask Shape. (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 the shapes it's set to mask while it is active.
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 Shapes function of previous versions. Shows containing Block Shapes from previous versions will load and work as expected, but the block shapes will be renamed "Mask".
The personality library may need updating for this to work.
Storing Shapes in Palettes
You can create palettes containing shapes. This is really useful to quickly call back shapes pre-configured with different spread and speed settings. See Creating an Effects Palette (Shape or Pixel Mapper).