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The Design tab of the Preview Design window is where you create props (display elements) and arrange them so that they match your display.
This is the first of 5 tabs on the Preview Design window. The others are:
The Design Tab
The Design Tab is divided into 2 main sections:
On the left side:
•At the top is the list of props and groups that are in the preview.
•The bulb tab allows you to control the shape, size, and transparency of the bulbs that make up a prop.
•There are several ways to modify the size of a prop; the scale tab is one of those ways.
•The background tab allows you to choose a background image for your display.
On the right side:
•At the top is a toolbar that allows you to add and modify elements of your display.
•Below the toolbar is the visual design canvas - a representation of your display that will be used to simulate your lights during sequence playback.
Items in the Prop and Group List can be selected by clicking on them. The prop or group that is selected will then be displayed in yellow on the design canvas to the right. You can also do the reverse: you can click on a prop on the design canvas and its name will be highlighted in the Prop and Group List.
You can also select more than one item at a time. This is often useful for moving several props at the same time or for creating groups. In the Prop and Group List, Ctrl-click on an item to select it in addition to items already selected. Use Shift-click to select a range of items in the list. When selecting items using the mouse on the design canvas, hold the Shift button down on the keyboard while clicking the mouse and that prop will be added to the ones already selected.
In the picture below, the “Gutter” prop has been selected – it is highlighted in the Prop and Group List and displayed in yellow on the design canvas.
The following keyboard shortcuts can be used on the design tab:
The Prop and Group List is displayed on the left side of the design tab. Every prop and group in your preview will be listed here in alphabetical order. To help distinguish groups from props, groups will be listed with blue text. In the picture below, "Arch 2-3", "Arch 4-5", "Arch 6-7", "Arch 1-7" and "Arches with subgroups" are groups, and the others are props. Props "arch1" through "arch7" are selected.
To select an item in the list, just click on it with the left mouse button. You can use shift-click to extend the selection, and ctrl-click to select additional items. More information is available in the Selecting Items section.
The Prop and Group List
The Prop and Group List with right-click menu displayed
After selecting 1 or more props, you can change the bulb settings for the selected props. The default bulb shape is square, which uses the least amount of computer resources; however there are a variety of shapes available.
There are some specialized bulb shapes:
•Strobe 1 - a strobe that flashes about once per second
•Strobe 3 - a strobe that flashes about 3 times per second
•Snowfall Tube - simulates single color snowfall tubes (also known has drip tubes and meteor tubes).
•Flood - use for flood lights, single color or RGB.
Making the bulb size larger can make the prop easier to see on the computer screen. For strobes and floods you will almost always want to make the bulb size larger than the default in order to make them look realistic.
For most props, you will want to leave the bulb transparency setting at 0%. For floods, you may want something more transparent (> 0%). Adjust the transparency slider until you achieve the desired appearance.
An example of strobes on a megatree along with the associated prop definition:
After selecting one or more props or groups, you can use the buttons on this tab to increase or decrease the size of the selected items. This can be useful for fine-tuning the size of an item. It also the best way to resize freeform prop shapes, as they do not display resize handles on the design canvas.
Click a button once to perform a small change, or hold the button down to continuously scale the selected items.
The "Change height and width" buttons have the following keyboard shortcuts:
Using a background image (such as a picture of your house) can be a great help in creating a realistic preview. Click the “Set Image” button to choose the image file. Clicking the “Clear Image” button will remove the image from the preview. You can adjust the brightness of the image from the toolbar.
Save Image with Preview
If this box is unchecked, then the image file will remain separate from your preview, and the sequences that use the preview.
If this box is checked, then the image file is stored with the preview. If you export such a preview and send the export file (LORPREV extension) to someone else, the background image will be included. The background image will also be included if you send a sequence to another user and the sequence uses such a preview.
The toolbar consists of (in order):
•Undo and Redo buttons
•Background image brightness control (this will be disabled if a background image hasn't been assigned to the preview)
•Options menu: icon
Create a new prop using one of the built-in shapes, or define a custom shape
This option opens the Prop Definition window, allowing you to create a prop from scratch. The wide variety of built-in shapes makes it easy to create many common display elements.
Some of the shapes that can be selected in the Prop Definition window
Create a new group from existing props and groups
This option opens the Group Definition window, allowing to create a new group. Any props and groups that are currently selected on the Design tab will be preselected on the Group Definition window as members of new group. Of course you can change the selections once you are in the Group Definition window.
Add a Light-O-Rama device (AC controller, Cosmic, Pixie, Pixcon, Flood, etc)
This option will create props according to the Light-O-Rama controller and unit id you specify. It is a good way to quickly create props that have accurate channel assignments. Flood lights created with this option will look realistic, but you may need to change the shape for props created for other controllers if you are going for realism in your preview.
Add a DMX device
This option can be used to create a generic DMX device that uses regular (single) or RGB channels. It is a quick way to create props that have accurate channel assignments; but if you are going for realism, use "Create a new prop" or one of the "online" options instead.
Add an RGB device (generic)
This option can be used to create RGB floods and "dumb RGB" props attached to Light-O-Rama controllers. Each prop will be created as single RGB bulb with a star shape. It is a good way to quickly create RGB props that have accurate channel assignments; but if you are going for realism, use "Create a new prop" or one of the "online" options instead.
This option loads props and groups into your preview from a file that had previously been exported. These files have an “.lpeprop” extension. You should review the channel assignments on any imported props to make sure they match your controllers – this can be done by double-clicking on the name of an imported prop to open the Prop Definition window. By default, an imported prop will be assigned the name that it had when it was exported. However, if that name is already being used in the preview, then a numeric suffix will be added to the name in order to make it unique.
Import a Visualizer file (fixture, prop, or complete visualization)
This option imports a file created with the S4 Visualizer. You will be prompted to select a Visualizer fixture file (.LFF extension), prop file (.LPF extension), or complete visualization file (.LEE extension). All of the fixtures and props defined in the selected file will then be loaded into the preview. Visualizer fixtures will become S5 props. Visualizer props will become S5 groups. You should review the channel assignments on any imported props to make sure they match your controllers.
This option allows you to import model files created by the xLights program. This feature only supports models that use the Custom and Star shapes. Most commercial props are modeled using the Custom shape.
Light-O-Rama props (online)
This option will open the Online Prop Import screen, allowing you to import props for items sold in the Light-O-Rama store, such as pixel trees and singing faces. It is recommended that you have internet access when using this option so that you see the latest available content (content will likely change over time). You should review the channel assignments on any imported props to make sure they match your controllers.
This option will open the Online Prop Import screen, allowing you to import props that match sequences sold by SuperStar Lights. It is recommended that you have internet access when using this option so that you see the latest available content (content will likely change over time). You should review the channel assignments on any imported props to make sure they match your controllers.
Boscoyo Studio (online)
This option will open the Online Prop Import screen, allowing you to import props for items sold by Boscoyo Studio. You will need internet access when using this option so that you can retrieve the content. You should review the channel assignments on any imported props to make sure they match your controllers.
Prop definitions imported from this link were created by Boscoyo Studio. Light-O-Rama provides a connection to the data in order to make our software easier to use, but is not responsible for the content.
WowLights Productions (online)
This option will open the Online Prop Import screen, allowing you to import props for items sold by WowLights Productions. You will need internet access when using this option so that you can retrieve the content. You should review the channel assignments on any imported props to make sure they match your controllers.
Prop definitions imported from this link were created by WowLights Productions. Light-O-Rama provides a connection to the data in order to make our software easier to use, but is not responsible for the content.
Generic Props (online)
This option will open the Online Prop Import screen, allowing you to import props for some commonly used lights. It is recommended that you have internet access when using this option so that you see the latest available content (content will likely change over time). You should review the channel assignments on any imported props to make sure they match your controllers.
clicking this icon allows you to draw a light string directly on the design canvas.
When you click the icon, the cursor will change to the edit cursor when moved over the design canvas. Click on the design canvas to start drawing your string. A single click of the left mouse button will insert a node (vertex) into the line and allow you to continue drawing the next segment. To stop drawing, double-click the left mouse button or use the ESC key. When you stop drawing, the Prop Definition window will open so you can adjust the number of bulbs in the string and also assign a channel.
You can double-click on an item’s name, or you can single-click on it and select “Modify” from the Edit Menu. Either method will open the Prop Definition window if a prop is selected, or the Group Definition window if a group is selected.
This command opens the Copy Prop Dialog, which is very helpful in creating a collection of props that all look the same, such as a series of arches or mini-trees.
Use this command to delete the selected props and groups. You will be asked to confirm before the delete actually takes place.
Use this command open the Layout View window - a printable layout of the selected prop or group with channel information for every string or pixel. It is very useful for pixel-based props because it shows how the pixels are arranged when motion effects are applied. The layout view can be quite large depending on the number of channels/pixels involved.
This command opens the Wiring View window. It displays how pixel-based props are wired together - with every pixel labeled with its string and pixel number. This is particularly useful for props that have a "custom" shape.
Copy prop to advanced shape
This command is used to copy a pixel-based prop to a new prop with the same channel assignments and pixel locations but with the Advanced shape. This allows you to preserve the look of the prop, but rearrange each pixel's virtual location in the effect buffer.
This command exports the selected props and groups to a file. You might do this so they can be imported into another preview or so they can be shared with other users. You will be prompted for a location to save the export file. Export files have the extension ".lpeprop". To import props, see the Add Item button.
All items on the Format menu are also available on the Design Canvas's right-click menu.
If multiple props are selected, the items on this sub-menu allow you to align those props in various ways.
Make same size
If multiple props are selected, the items on this sub-menu allow you to resize the selected items such that they all have the same width, height, or both.
If multiple props are selected, the items on this sub-menu allow you to make the horizontal spacing between them equal, or to remove any space between them (so they abut one another).
If multiple props are selected, the items on this sub-menu allow you to make the vertical spacing between them equal, or to remove any space between them (so they abut one another).
After selecting 1 or more props, the actions listed under the “Rotation” menu allow you to rotate the selected items back to their default orientation (0 degrees), to 90 degrees right, or 90 degrees left. Selected props and/or groups can be rotated to any angle by dragging the rotation handle that is displayed when they are selected or using the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl-LeftArrow and Ctrl-RightArrow. Ctrl-0 (control key + zero key) is a shortcut for resetting rotation back to the default orientation (0 degrees). Note that freeform prop shapes do not have a default orientation, so the Rotation > 0 command has no effect on them.
After selecting 1 or more props, the actions listed under the “Reset” sub-menu allow you to reset the selected items back to their default position (centered), or default size (half of the canvas size), or both. Resetting the position is particularly useful because it is possible to drag items off the edge of the design canvas. When this happens, select the prop from the Prop and Group List, then choose Format > Reset > Position from the menu to make it visible again.
clicking this icon undoes the last operation, and has the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Z.
clicking this icon reapplies an operation that was previously undone, and has the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Y.
If you have assigned a background image to your preview, you can use this slider to adjust the brightness of the image. Move the Brightness slider to the left to dim the background image, simulating the view of your display during nighttime. The buttons on the left and right will modify brightness up or down one step at a time. Image brightness can also be changed from other areas of the program.
You can zoom in on your props to make fine adjustments. The buttons on the left and right will zoom in or out one step at a time. Or you can use the slider to quickly move to the desired zoom level. If you are zoomed in, clicking on a prop in the Prop and Group List will cause the canvas to scroll so the selected prop becomes visible.
clicking this icon captures a snapshot of the design canvas and prompts you for a file name where the image can be saved (PNG format).
This option displays a number next to each pixel in the selected pixel-based prop. The number indicates the order in which the pixels should be wired; however, it does not indicate which string the pixel is on. You will need to zoom in to read the numbers. A check mark will be displayed to the left of the menu item when enabled. This option is also available on the Design Canvas's right-click menu.
Set color for pixel number labels
This option allows you to change the color used to display pixel numbers when Show pixel numbers on selected props is enabled.
New prop defaults
This option allows you to set some defaults when the Prop Definition screen is used to create new props.
Preview Design Preferences
In the picture above, there is 1 blue string, 2 red strings, and 5 RGB arches. The second arch is selected.
In the preview design window, traditional strings (incandescents, LEDs, strobes) are displayed with the color of the string (e.g. a string of red LEDs will show as red). RGB pixels and dumb RGB strings are displayed in white. Any string that has been selected, traditional or RGB, is shown in yellow.
The selected item is always shown in yellow and has 4 red scaling “handles” at the corners (lines just have 2 handles) and a rotation handle to the right. You can select multiple props using Shift-click on the design canvas, or Ctrl-click or Shift-click in the Prop and Group List. The selected prop(s) can be dragged around the design canvas using the mouse. They can be resized by dragging any one of the 4 red handles in the corners, or by using the Ctrl-UpArrow and Ctrl-DownArrow keyboard shortcuts. You can rotate them by dragging the handle on the right side, by using the Format > Rotation menu, or by using the Ctrl-LeftArrow and Ctrl-RightArrow keyboard shortcuts. If you have multiple props selected, you can align them in many ways using the Format menu.
You can double-click on a prop to open its Prop Definition.
Any movement, scaling, or rotation action can be undone by clicking the undo button or using the Ctrl-Z keyboard shortcut.
After right-clicking on the design canvas you can:
•Add an item - this has the same effect as clicking the toolbar's Add Item button.
•Draw a new string - this has the same effect as clicking on the toolbar's Draw String button.
•Modify the selected prop (hidden if no prop is selected)
•Copy the selected prop (hidden if no prop is selected)
•Delete the selected props (hidden if no prop is selected)
•Perform any of the operations available on the Format menu
•Enable or disable the display of pixel numbers on pixel-based props when they are selected
•Capture a snapshot of the design canvas and save it as a picture file - same as clicking on the toolbar's icon
Right-Click on Lines-Connected Vertex
With these menu options, you can add and remove line segments without opening the Prop Definition window.