Prop Shapes

Top  Previous  Next

Prop shapes can be separated into 2 categories: freeform shapes which allow you to manipulate the shape directly; and scalable shapes, where the position of all of the individual light bulbs are fixed in relationship to one another.

 

For many shapes, you will specify a "starting location". This is the location of the first string or first pixel. The starting location may contain the abbreviations "CW" and "CCW".

 

CW stands for "clockwise" and means the strings proceed in a clockwise direction when looking down from the top of the prop.

CCW stands for "counter-clockwise" and means the strings proceed in a counter-clockwise direction when looking down from the top of the prop

 

These are the freeform shapes:

 

Bulb Shape

Lines-Connected

Lines-Unconnected

Lines-Closed Shape

Matrix-Horizontal-Quad

Matrix-Vertical-Quad

Advanced Shape

 

These are the fixed shapes:

 

Arch

Arch Opposing Strings

Candycane-Left, Candycane-Right

Custom

Cylinder

Cylinder spiral

Fan

Firestick

Globe 8 Rows

Hidden

Matrix-Horizontal-Rectangle

Matrix-Vertical-Rectangle

Sphere

Spokes

Star

Stars Nested

Tree 90, 180, 270

Tree 360 wedges

Tree 360 tiers

Tree 360 panels

Tree 360 up&over

Tree 360 spiral

Window Frame

Wreath

 

 

Freeform Shapes

 

Freeform shapes display handles that allow you to manipulate the shape directly. There are no scaling handles; if you wish to scale them you must use the Scale Tab or the Ctrl-UpArrow / Ctrl-DownArrow keyboard shortcuts. Also these shapes can be rotated, but they do not have a natural orientation so Format > Rotation > 0 has no effect.

 

Bulb Shape

 

In a bulb shape, every light is displayed with a red handle, allowing each one to be moved independently of one another.

 

Bulb shape with 3 lights

Bulb shape with 3 lights

 

Lines-Connected

 

In a Lines-Connected shape, each vertex can be moved independently of one another. This makes it great for drawing regular strings of lights. You can draw a Lines-Connected shape interactively by right-clicking on the design canvas and selecting Draw New String from the pop-up menu.

 

Lines-Connected

Lines-Connected

 

Lines-Unconnected

 

In a Lines-Unconnected shape, the string is modeled as series of line segments, each of which can be moved independently of one another.

 

A Lines-Unconnected shape with 5 segments

A Lines-Unconnected shape with 5 segments

 

Lines-Closed Shape

 

A Lines-Closed Shape is modeled as a polygon with each vertex movable.

 

Lines-Closed Shape

Lines-Closed Shape

 

Matrix-Horizontal-Quad

 

The Matrix-Horizontal-Quad shape is like the Matrix-Horizontal-Rectangle, except that the corners are movable.

 

Matrix-Horizontal-Quad shape

Matrix-Horizontal-Quad shape

 

Matrix-Vertical-Quad

 

The Matrix-Vertical-Quad shape is like the Matrix-Vertical-Rectangle, except that the corners are movable. This shape is useful for creating "CCR Trees" like the one shown below. Two props, each with a Matrix-Vertical-Quad shape and 6 strings of 50 RGB pixels, are used to represent the ribbons.

 

12 Ribbon CCR Tree

12 Ribbon CCR Tree

 

The Matrix-Vertical-Quad shape can also be used to represent icicle lights -- made with either traditional lights or RGB pixels. The next picture uses 2 Matrix-Vertical-Quad shapes: 1 for the icicle lights on the left (highlighted in yellow), and another for the ones on the right. In this example, each quad shape has 1 string of 150 lights with 29 folds.

 

Icicle Lights

Icicle Lights

 

Advanced Shape

 

With an advanced shape you can move each individual pixel as needed by dragging them on the design canvas. When moving pixels you should enable the display of pixel numbers so you know which pixel you are moving.

 

You can also change how the pixels are arranged in the effects buffer by clicking the "Edit Advanced Buffer Layout" button. As the name implies, this is is an advanced function, but can be used to create pixel props that cannot be represented by other shapes.

 

In the next picture, a preview has been created with a background image of a snowflake. The pixels have been arranged (with pixel numbers showing) to match how the prop is wired.

 

Snowflake prop with pixel numbers shown

Snowflake prop with pixel numbers shown

 

Next, the buffer layout for the snowflake is defined such that each arm of the snowflake is 4 columns in the grid. Each number in the layout grid corresponds to the pixel number shown above. For help in using the buffer layout grid, see the Custom Shape Light Placement grid topic (it works the same way). With this buffer layout, motion effects that move left or right will go around the snowflake. Motion effects that move up will expand from the center, and effects the move down will go from the outside of the snowflake inward.

 

The buffer layout for the snowflake

The buffer layout for the snowflake

 

This preview contains just one prop; but this prop would be one of many in someone's display. So the final step would be to export this prop from this preview, and then import it into the preview containing the full display.

 

 

Fixed Shapes

 

Every shape that is not a "freeform shape" is a "fixed shape" -- the position of all of the individual light bulbs within the shape are fixed in relationship to one another. Fixed shapes display scaling handles when selected -- you can drag any of the 4 red handles to make the prop bigger or smaller. These shapes also have a natural orientation, so you can use Format > Rotation > 0 to reset the prop to that orientation.

 

Selected prop showing 4 scaling handles and a rotation handle

Selected prop showing 4 scaling handles and a rotation handle

 

Arch

 

The arch shape can be used for:

 

an arch with traditional light strings

a segmented arch with traditional light strings

a pixel-based arch

 

The arch shape prompts for the number of segments. This value should be set to 1, unless you are modeling a segmented arch with traditional light strings.

 

Arch shape

Arch shape

 

Arch Opposing Strings

 

The "Arch Opposing Strings" shape is intended for large, pixel-based arches that have controllers on both sides of the arch. The pixel strings run up both sides and meet at the top of the arch.

 

Pixel Numbering: Arch vs. Arch Opposing Strings

Pixel Numbering: Arch vs. Arch Opposing Strings

 

Candycane-Left, Candycane-Right

 

These shapes can be used to represent candy-canes of various sizes. When used with multiple columns of pixels, the pixel strings are assumed to be run vertically.

 

Candy-cane shapes

Candy-cane shapes

 

Custom

 

A custom shape allows you to define where the lights are using a grid. If you are using traditional lights, you will have more flexibility defining your prop by using one of the freeform shapes. However, for pixel-based props, a custom shape can be an easy way to define the arrangement of those pixels. See the Custom Shape Light Placement topic for more information using the grid to define your custom prop.

 

Here is an example of a candy cane defined using a custom shape with traditional strings.

 

a "1" in a grid cell identifies lights on the first string

a "2" in a grid cell would identify lights on the second string

a "3" in a grid cell would identify lights on the third string, and so on

 

Custom Candy Cane-Traditional Lights

Custom Candy Cane-Traditional Lights

 

Next is an example of a candy cane defined using a custom shape with pixels.

 

"1" in a grid cell identifies the first pixel of the first string

"2" in a grid cell identifies the second pixel of the first string, and so on up to 999

"1001" in a grid cell identifies the first pixel of the second string

"1002" in a grid cell identifies the second pixel of the second string, and so on up to 1999

"2001" in a grid cell identifies the first pixel of the third string

"2002" in a grid cell identifies the second pixel of the third string, and so on up to 2999

 

The next example shows 1 string of 12 pixels.

 

Custom Candy Cane-Pixels

Custom Candy Cane-Pixels

 

Cylinder

 

The cylinder shape allows you to model lights placed on a column. The lights can go completely around the column, or you can specify 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 coverage. If you choose partial coverage, be sure choose the Starting Location entry carefully. When used with pixels, the pixel strings are assumed to run vertically.  Lights facing away from the viewer are shown at a lower intensity in the preview; however, this does not affect the actual lights.

 

The column shape: 1 full coverage, and 2 half coverage examples

The column shape: 1 full coverage, and 2 half coverage examples

 

Cylinder spiral

 

The Cylinder Spiral shape models one or more strings wrapped around a column.  Lights facing away from the viewer are shown at a lower intensity in the preview; however, this does not affect the actual lights.

 

Cylinder Sprial Shapes with 1 and 2 strings

Cylinder Sprial Shapes with 1 and 2 strings

 

Fan

 

The fan shape models a 180 degree fan.

 

2 fan shapes with differing numbers of lights

2 fan shapes with differing numbers of lights

 

Firestick

 

The firestick shape models a single vertical column of lights. When used with pixels, the "# of Sections" parameter should be set to 1.

 

Firestick Shape

Firestick Shape

 

Globe 8 Rows

 

The Globe 8 Rows shape models the spherical tree-topper sold by SuperStar lights. However, you could also use the shape with traditional lights to model a single-color sphere. The number of lights on this shape is fixed at 200.  Lights facing away from the viewer are shown at a lower intensity in the preview; however, this does not affect the actual lights.

 

The Globe 8 Rows shape

The Globe 8 Rows shape

 

Hidden

 

Use the Hidden shape to model items that are assigned channels but don't have any lights. This could include macro channels on Light-O-Rama's Cosmic Color Ribbons, or control channels on a DMX fixture.

 

Matrix-Horizontal-Rectangle

 

The Matrix Horizontal Rectangle shape models a set of lights arranged in a rectangle, where the strings run horizontally. If the matrix needs to be skewed in some way, use the Matrix Horizontal Quad shape instead. When modeling a pixel string on a gutter or eave, use this shape with the number of strings set to 1.

 

A Matrix Horizontal Rectangle shape with 16 strings

A Matrix Horizontal Rectangle shape with 16 strings

 

Matrix-Vertical-Rectangle

 

The Matrix Vertical Rectangle shape models a set of lights arranged in a rectangle, where the strings run vertically. If the matrix needs to be skewed in some way, use the Matrix Vertical Quad shape instead.

 

A Matrix Vertical Rectangle shape with 16 strings

A Matrix Vertical Rectangle shape with 16 strings

 

Sphere

 

The cylinder shape allows you to model lights placed on a spherical object. The lights can go completely around the sphere, or you can specify 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 coverage. If you choose partial coverage, be sure choose the Starting Location entry carefully. When used with pixels, the pixel strings are assumed to run vertically.  Lights facing away from the viewer are shown at a lower intensity in the preview; however, this does not affect the actual lights.

 

The sphere shape: 1 full coverage, and 2 half coverage examples

The sphere shape: 1 full coverage, and 2 half coverage examples

 

Spokes

 

The spokes shape models strings radiating from a central point.

 

The Spokes shape: 6 spokes with pixel numbers on the left, 12 spokes on the right

The Spokes shape: 6 spokes with pixel numbers on the left, 12 spokes on the right

 

Star

 

The Star shape can model a single star with any number of points.

 

4, 5, and 6-pointed stars

4, 5, and 6-pointed stars

 

Stars Nested

 

The Stars Nested shape models 5-pointed stars that are nested one within the other. Up to 6 nested stars are supported. It looks best when the number of lights in each star is divisible by 10.

 

The Stars Nested shape

The Stars Nested shape

 

Tree 90, 180, 270

 

These shapes model trees that are not a complete circle. Whether you choose 90 degrees, 180 degrees, or 270 degrees is a matter of preference - how it looks on the preview -- it does not change the effects on the actual lights. Strings are assumed to run vertically up and/or down the tree.

 

90, 180, and 270 degree trees

90, 180, and 270 degree trees

 

Tree 360 wedges

 

The Tree 360 Wedges shape models the most common type of lighted tree -- one where all sides of the tree are lit. Strings are assumed to run vertically up and/or down the tree. Lights facing away from the viewer are shown at a lower intensity in the preview; however, this does not affect the actual lights.

 

The Tree 360 shape

The Tree 360 shape

 

Tree 360 tiers

 

The Tree 360 Tiers shape divides the tree into layers and is sometimes referred to as a "z tree". Each layer is activated by a different channel. This shape does not support pixels.

 

Tree 360 Tiers shape parameters and diagram

Tree 360 Tiers shape parameters and diagram

 

Tree 360 panels

 

Commercial trees are often built with panels or branches that are placed around each layer of the tree. When creating a panel tree you:

 

1.define the arrangement of lights on a single panel, and then

2.specify how many panels there are on each layer of the tree.

 

There is a limit of 999 lights per panel.

 

Tree360PanelsReal

 

Tree 360 up&over

 

In a Tree 360 Up & Over shape, a string of lights goes up one side of the tree and down the opposite side. Lights facing away from the viewer are shown at a lower intensity in the preview; however, this does not affect the actual lights.

 

Tree 360 Up & Over shape parameters and diagram. The diagram is a view from the top.

Tree 360 Up & Over shape parameters and diagram. The diagram is a view from the top.

 

Tree 360 spiral

 

Tree 360 Spiral shapes model a tree where the strings spiral up around the outside of the tree. The "revolutions" parameter can be positive or negative -- the sign controls the direction of the wrapping. Lights facing away from the viewer are shown at a lower intensity in the preview; however, this does not affect the actual lights.

 

Spiral Trees: 1 with 3 strings, and 2 with 1 string

Spiral Trees: 1 with 3 strings, and 2 with 1 string

 

Window Frame

 

You can use the Window Frame shape to model windows and doors. When modeling a door, set the "# of lights at the bottom" to 0.

 

Using the Window Frame shape to model a window and a garage door

Using the Window Frame shape to model a window and a garage door

 

Wreath

 

Use the Wreath Shape to model any circular prop. When used with pixels, the pixels are assumed to be wired outside to inside, and then continuing back to the outside, then inside, etc.

 

2 Wreaths, one with pixel numbers displayed

2 Wreaths, one with pixel numbers displayed