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Author Topic: Is there a lighting software that allows you to remove a fixture from a button?  (Read 685 times)

brad rickard

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With the 2 dmx lighting softwares that Iím familiar, Lightkey (Mac) and Enlighten (PC), neither seems to have this ability.  With either software I select several fixtures, set the lights the way I want them, then create a button.  But after that point, letís say I want to take one or more of those fixtures back out; or maybe I included fixtures I shouldnít have, such as the house lights.  From everything Iíve tried, this isnít possible, and my only option is to delete the button and start over, and this time select the right fixtures.  Does anyone know how this might be achieved?  Most all editing softwares, audio or otherwise, allow you to edit something like this after the fact and add to it or remove from it, but not these softwares?  Iím not sure if this isnít possible due to the ad-hoc nature of a dmx network; but even if thatís the case, the software could still be designed to remember the fixtures you put in and allow you to deselect and remove which ones you choose.  The worst part is that this means you canít copy a button and alter the duplicate, which is basically my workflow in basically any other kind of editing software.  Anyone with knowledge or advice on this subject will be greatly appreciated!                   (p.s. I realize Lightkey has the ability to set presets seperately then add them afterward to a blank button, which tends to be a much longer process than just setting the lights and creating a button and includes a lot more editing to get the scene to look right; the only upside is that when you do this, each preset can be removed from the buttonís contents, but this still doesnít solve removing a single fixture if you had more than one fixture in your presets.  Again, any help is appreciated...)
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Jeff Lelko

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Hi Brad, Iím reading between the lines here since your post is a bit difficult to follow and not using industry vernacular, but hereís my take...

If by ďbuttonĒ you mean cue/scene/preset/submaster/playback (language depending on software), than yes, nearly every lighting console or software platform has the ability to update a stored program.  Iím not familiar with either program that youíve mentioned.  If they happen to be free*, DIY, open source, or very niche applications with limited capabilities than this might be why youíre struggling to make this work for you. 

*Iíll caveat that free doesnít mean bad considering that two of the industryís mainstream platforms can be had for free to some extent (MagicQ PC and Onyx), but you get what you pay for and there are plenty of half-baked solutions out there too.

It might be helpful to add what it is youíre trying to do with your system so that we can recommend something more suitable.  Hope this helps!
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Jeff Lelko

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So Iíll double-post and follow up a bit on what I said...  Itís a slow night and I decided to have a look at both programs youíre trying to use.

Lightkey seems pretty well fleshed-out.  Are you sure there isnít a way to do what youíre asking?  Aside from the free version Iíd never pay for a subscription-based software such as that especially at that price, but otherwise it looks for the most part complete.  There are a few other similar programs out there such as DMXIS and Luminair that work well in niche applications despite having what some would consider shortcomings (lack of palettes, etc.), but Iíve never seen this program in the wild.  It seems to be very complete though - at least on the website.

I still have no comments on Elighten other than that I wouldnít pay $600 for their interface, but thatís besides the point.  From the looks of it Iíd say itís a premium version of Freestyler, but not having direct experience I canít really speak further.

What Iím getting at is that unless thereís a specific niche feature in one of these two programs thatís compelling you to use them Iíd consider switching to something thatís more industry standard and can do what you need in terms of programming.  MagicQ PC and Onyx (formerly M-PC) are two of the bigger names in DMX software that can be deployed for very low investment.  Most major lighting consoles have software equivalents too such as ETCís Nomad, Hog4PC, etc., although these typically cost more to run.     
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brad rickard

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Thanks Jeff!  For the purposes of this thread and hopefully finding an answer to my question, I would like to stick with the 2 softwares i mentioned, however I may look further into Magic Q which I had researched prior to getting started with lighting software. 

Also correct that my terminology may be a little mixed and novice-level.  In Lightkey a preset is different from creating a button, and you donít have to create a preset to create a button; but in accordance with your point, yes weíre pretty much talking about the same thing.  The issue is that when you set your lights to the look you want, then create a ďsceneĒ, whether itís an on-screen push button or a preset, you canít go back and take something out of that scene.  For instance, you set some onstage movers, washes, and spots to give the look you want on stage, select all those fixtures and create a scene, not realizing you accidentally selected one fixture you didnít mean to, letís say itís a haze machine at 0% output.  Not noticing that, you move on to program the next few scenes in the same manner.  When you finish programming all the scenes for your event, you turn on your hazer, and then you activate the first scene, and the hazer turns off.  You notice the hazer is off, so you turn it back on, but when you switch to the next scene, the hazer turns off again.  Hereís where the inconvenience lies:  when you try to fix what youíve done by getting into the scene and trying to remove the hazer from it, you canít, at least in the 2 softwares I mentioned; you can only set the included fixture at a percentage.  If you set it at zero, it will of course turn off when you activate the scene.  I want to remove the fixture altogether from the scene, so that it is ignored and unaffected by the activation of the scene.  The only way to do it, as far as I can tell in these 2 softwares, is to re-create the scene from scratch; it would be nicer to be able to edit the existing scene and simply remove the undesired fixture from it. 

Recreating the scene from scratch isnít that big a deal if you only have a handful of fixtures.  But if youíve got hundreds of fixtures and you accidentally program your entire show with the house lights up at the wrong percentage for your event, it can be a nightmare.  Really Iím just curious about 2 things:  1.)whether this is the case with ALL dmx lighting software, and 2.)for anyone using Lightkey or Enlighten, am I missing how to accomplish this ďremoval editĒ?
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Jeff Lelko

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Happy to help, and thanks for the clarifications.  I think weíre both saying the same thing and yes, this would be a huge inconvenience.  Assuming that weíre just not missing the keystrokes to edit or update programs this would be a dealbreaker to me for using either program.  From what you describe it sounds like each preset or button is a full DMX snapshot with no regard to how channels are patched and whatnot.  This is definitely not the standard for most programming (see below). 

Really Iím just curious about 2 things:  1.)whether this is the case with ALL dmx lighting software, and 2.)for anyone using Lightkey or Enlighten, am I missing how to accomplish this ďremoval editĒ?

I canít speak to number two, but for number one I can answer a firm ďnoĒ, and add that both programs are in the minority (and at a significant disadvantage) by not allowing programs to be edited after being recorded. 

Without going too far down the rabbit hole here most professional consoles and software will do much more than just playback DMX snapshots in time.  At the very least you can usually control how channel behave in terms of whatís called Highest Takes Precedence (HTP) versus Latest Takes Precedence (LTP).  In the case of your hazer example, controlling the machine by HTP means that any active cue or playback holding the machine at 100% will remain doing so regardless of what other additional cues are also trying to control the machine.  By contrast, LTP channels will be set by the most recently activated cue or playback even if the newer value is lower than a playback already running.  Thereís a place for both, and thatís just the basic part.

Most proper consoles will go further to add content building blocks such as fixture groups, color/beam/focus palettes, and other dynamic attribute controls so that you donít end up in the exact situation you describe - a minor change drives reprogramming the entire show.  Tools like this easily let me modify, edit, remove, inhibit, mask, or otherwise manipulate my programs - often in real time - to meet my needs as a lighting designer. 

Lots to learn for sure if it interests you, but these are the reasons why I suggest looking into a more capable program if we find out that indeed there is no way to edit your programs once written.  If youíre seriously looking into lighting design the last thing you want to do is ďlearnĒ a technique or concept just to have to relearn everything when youíre ready to step up to a more capable console!  Best of luck though and hope you figure it out!           
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Re: Is there a lighting software that allows you to remove a fixture from a button?
¬ę Reply #4 on: December 23, 2020, 11:50:47 PM ¬Ľ


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