Vista v2 Programming Guides - 3 - Fixture Chooser Layouts

Vista v2 Programming Guides - 3 - Fixture Chooser Layouts

Welcome to the third article in the Vista v2 Programming Guides series. Now that you have patched your fixtures you will notice that they have been populated into the fixture chooser window on the default layout. In this article we will look at creating and modifying the fixture chooser layouts to create the most efficient interface for you to program your show. Getting the fixture chooser "right" for your show will greatly increase the speed at which you can program, so it is an important step in show setup. Donít just think about where the lights are located, think about what theyíre used for, which are used together, etc.

In order to change to the fixture chooser window we click on the fixture chooser window navigation button (highlighted below). Once in the fixture chooser you are presented with a default layout of all of the fixtures you have patched into your show. Each of the green icons you see represents a fixture in your show, this yellow number is its fixture number and this is its fixture name. The yellow pentagons are the group icons, by selecting these we select a group of fixtures. Future articles will discuss groups and how to record them. Even before doing anything with the layouts you have full control over every fixture in your show. However, to streamline programming it is better to create personalised layouts and arrange the fixtures in a more meaningful way.

Vista v2 Fixture Chooser Layouts 1 

Firstly start by creating a new layout, I usually use my default layout as my "All Fixtures" layout as this layout gets populated automatically when new fixtures are patched. To create a new layout right click anywhere in the fixture chooser, from the context menu that opens, scroll to the layout option then select new layout. Type a label for the layout I will call this one Mover Positions and click ok or press enter. By default Vista includes all of the fixtures patched in your show on each new layout. However on this layout I want to see all of the Vari*Lite fixtures. There are two options to do this, firstly select all the fixtures not required on the layout, right click and click hide items (under the item option), this will hide the selected fixtures from the layout. This method can get very tiresome, depending on the layout you are trying to setup. The secondary way is to right click in the fixture chooser and use the manage layouts option (under the layouts option). This throws up the manage layouts dialog box, using this window to create your layouts allows you quick access to more options and more control over your layouts. The column on the left hand side lists all of the layouts and the column on the right hand side is used to hide and show elements from the layouts.

Vista v2 Fixture Chooser Layouts 2

To remove all of the dimmers from this layout we need to deselect them from the right hand column so only the Vari*Lite fixtures are left shown on the layout.

Now that this layout is finished, a new layout can be created by clicking the + button in the bottom left hand corner of this window. For this show I will need this layout to show only the dimmers. Repeat the process from the other layout except this time deselect all the types of VL fixtures, fixtures can be hidden or shown by fixture type or by individual fixtures.

VISTA TIP: If you always want to create a certain layout when you hit the new layout option from the fixture chooser, just create that layout in the manage layouts window and hit the save as default button. Alternatively if you have a layout you like but want to vary slightly, just right click and click on duplicate layouts, to make a copy of that layout.

There are now three layouts in this show, Layout 1 which is our default layout, a movers layout and a dimmer layout. For now let's work with the mover positions layout. To move between layouts just click between the tabs on the bottom of the screen.

In order to effectively work with the layouts we need to zoom in and out quite frequently. The buttons in the bottom left corner of the layout allow you to zoom in and out on the layout plus the third option is zoom to fit. Holding shift and clicking this third zoom button you will allow you zoom to fit the selected fixtures and if you hold ctrl and click this button you will zoom out of selected.

The next step is to start to customise this movers layout. Firstly change the icon colour for each group of fixtures to better delineate between them, select the VL3500 fixtures then right click and click on the icon colour option, then select a colour for the icons we will make these blue. Letís do the same to the VL2000 but make them green. You can now clearly see a difference between the different fixture types without having to read the fixture name, this will greatly speed up programming.

Vista v2 Fixture Chooser Layouts 3 

As this layout will represent the real world rigged positions of the fixtures, the icons need to be repositioned in order to better represent the real world. We will create three positions, Back truss, Mid Truss and Front truss. Label these bars using the notes function, right click in the fixture chooser move to notes and the add note option. Type the desired label and click anywhere on the fixture chooser to confirm. Then create the other two notes.

The next step is to move the fixtures into position, to move a fixture just select it by clicking on it then drag it into desired position. There are a few tricks for distributing fixtures while moving them around. Right click in the fixture chooser with a group of fixtures selected then you can either align distribute flip or arrange in grid, to clean up your positioning work.

Now clean up this bar and move the position label in place. Then create the other two bars using the same method.

Vista v2 Fixture Chooser Layouts 4 

We have now created three bars on this layout, while this may be easy to work with when trying to identify fixtures in the real world it can now make it hard to select fixtures of the same type using the selection tools. A good trick is to offset slightly your different fixture types. That way you can easily grab fixtures of the same type quickly.

Another great option to better customise your layouts is the background image or background colour, by right clicking in the layout we can choose a background image or colour. The background image can be from anywhere on your computer or if you are on a console on any USB drive.

Remember though keep the images a small file size to maximise processing power.

So what makes a good layout and what is good practice?

Always remember to offset your fixtures when creating a real world layout, this will make your fixtures much easier to select. Also, splitting your rig up over multiple layouts makes it easier to work quickly, it means your layouts don't get too cluttered and you don't have to continually scroll back and forth and zoom in and out to find fixtures.

The best tip I can give you though is when you are finished creating your layouts, remember to lock them before you start programming. It's easy to do just by clicking the unlocked button below the layouts. Locking your layouts means that you will never accidently move your fixtures around while you are furiously programming your show.

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