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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:
These are the fixed 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.
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
The Icicle shape has 4 corners that can be dragged so that the icicles can follow a horizontal gutter or a sloped eave. This shape can be used to define icicle strings that use traditional lights (single color) or pixels (RGB). When defining the Icicle shape, you define the total number of drops on the string, and also the pattern of drops. For example, if the string has 15 drops, but the pattern is 3 pixels, then 4 pixels, then 5 pixels, you only need to define the 3-4-5 pattern once. The pattern will be repeated as many times as needed to fill the specified total number of drops. When defining the pattern, drops with a length of 0 are ignored.
3 icicle props using a 4-3 pattern
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.
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-Closed Shape is modeled as a polygon with each vertex movable.
The Matrix-Horizontal-Quad shape is like the Matrix-Horizontal-Rectangle, except that the corners are movable.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
The "Circles Nested" shape allows you to model concentric rings as might be used in a wreath. When creating the prop, you specify the number of lights in each ring - each ring can be different. The center ring can have a single light if desired, as shown in the example on the left. When used with pixels, the prop is assumed to be wired ring by ring - see the pixel numbers in the examples below. If your prop is wired in a zigzag pattern inside to outside or vice versa, then use the wreath shape instead.
Circles Nested shapes
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
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
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 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
The fan shape models a 180 degree fan.
2 fan shapes with differing numbers of lights
The firestick shape models a single vertical column of lights. When used with pixels, the "# of Sections" parameter should be set to 1.
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
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.
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
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
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 to 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 spokes shape models strings radiating from a central point. Wiring for all spokes is assumed to originate from the center, as illustrated by the pixel numbers in the picture below. If wiring for your pixel-based spokes alternates outside-in then inside-out, use the wreath shape instead.
The Spokes shape: 6 spokes with pixel numbers on the left, 12 spokes on the right
The Star shape can model a single star with any number of points.
4, 5, and 6-pointed stars
The Stars Nested shape models 5-pointed stars that are nested one within the other. Up to 10 nested stars are supported (versions prior to 5.5.0 were limited to 6 nested stars). It looks best when the number of lights in each star is divisible by 10.
The Stars Nested shape
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
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 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
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.
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 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
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
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. If your pixel prop is wired a ring by ring, then use the Circles Nested shape instead.
2 Wreaths, one with pixel numbers displayed