Lightact can directly control lighting through one of Ethernet-based lighting control protocols. We refer to them as eDMX, among which Art-Net is the most common. There are several eDMX features in Lightact that make the process of setting up your projects easier, such as eDMX fixture sequences and Custom fixture placements. The starting point of all of them though is an eDMX fixture.
What is an eDMX fixture?
An eDMX fixture is any physical lighting fixture that can be controlled with a DMX signal. Technically, it doesn’t actually have to be a lighting fixture, it can be any DMX controllable device. You can manage your fixtures in Fixture editor window, which can be opened in Window top menu.
The window has 3 main sections:
- Fixture layout on the left
- Fixture library on the top right
- Fixture properties on the bottom right
In the Fixture layout, you’ll see a bird’s eye view of the fixture and its pixels. Unconnected pixels are shown in grey and connected pixels are shown in green. You can connect them automatically or manually by right-clicking on the fixture and selecting either Manual connect or Auto connect.
In the Fixture library, you see all your saved fixtures. All fixtures are saved as XML files in \Users\[yourUserName]\AppData\Roaming\Lightact3\fixtures\ and if you right-click on any of the fixture names, you can open the folder by clicking on Open in Explorer.
Double-clicking the name will open that fixture.
In the Fixture properties section, you can set Fixture model and Manufacturer. You can also include some arbitrary notes for your reference.
In the Pixel properties, you can choose Pixel type. Available options are:
- W stands for white which means each pixel takes 1 DMX channel only.
- RGB is the default option and it means Red, Green, Blue. Such pixel type takes 3 DMX channels.
- RGBW stands for Red, Green, Blue, White. This type of pixel takes 4 DMX channels.
Below Pixel type, you can choose how many rows and columns the fixture has and what is the pixel pitch (width and height). Overall fixture dimensions are calculated from these 4 properties.
Adding a fixture to the Visualizer
Once you are happy with your fixture, you can insert it in the Visualizer by right-clicking in the empty area selecting Add eDMX fixture.
If you select the fixture and open its View tab you’ll see a few options.
- Draw normal draws normal vector.
- Edit color is not used at the moment.
- Render in Visualizer shows or hides the fixture in the Visualizer.
- Draw pixel vectors draws a vector for each pixel in the fixture so it’s easier for you to understand from where exactly a pixel grabs the content. Please note: this is an expensive operation, so use it lightly.
- 1st pixel red colors the first pixel in the fixture (the one with the lowest channel address of all pixels in the fixture) in red. This is useful for determining how the fixture is rotated.
eDMX fixtures can grab content from either a Thrower or from a Video screen and this is what we are going to explain in the following chapters.
Grabbing content from a Video screen
An eDMX fixture can grab content from a video screen. In order to do that you have to select a fixture and in its Source tab select the video screen you want it to grab the content from.
The way a fixture grabs the content from a video screen is that it projects its surface onto the surface of the video screen and pulls whatever content is displayed in that part of the video screen. The screenshot below shows an example:
In the above image you can see that if the source of the fixture is a video screen, that fixture will pull the content from the video screen.
Grabbing content from a Thrower
A thrower ‘throws’ or projects its content perpendicularly to its surface and if an eDMX fixture, that has this thrower set as the source of its content, is in the path of this projected content it will display whichever part of the content is projected on its surface. The screenshot below shows an example.
In the above screenshot you can see that if the source of a fixture is a thrower, that thrower will throw the content on the fixture.