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Thread: Xlights Tips, Q&A

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Xlights Tips, Q&A

    Eric posted this under the TASL Tour Topic and I thought it might be better to have it's own. We can ask more questions here too. I'm sure the Xlights users can give us their answers.


    Quote Originally Posted by EricR View Post
    I also had a great time last night and can't wait until tonight. I have some answers for some people that I was asked last night.

    Q: Can you do simple sweeps across AC lights using Xlights?
    A: Yes. I just did it with a couple different effects.

    Q: How do you make pixel lights in my tree look like AC multicolor lights for stagnant display?
    A: Use the “Twinkle” effect on a model with multiple colors selected (I use red, gree, blue, yellow, teal, purple). Change the effect settings so “Number of lights” is 100 and “Twinkle Steps” is 200. You can change these numbers to your liking.

    Q: Do you need to have a model to represent all the empty LOR channels when you import.
    A: No. I tested this with empty LOR channels in my sequence, created a few models and had those import successfully. You don’t even need to worry about the channel numbers in xlights for your models. If you have 20 models sequenced in LOR just make 20 models using the first 20 Xlights channels. When you import you will tell it to assign each individual LOR model to the corresponding Xlights model.
    Note: Many of you may remember at Pi day last year that @smeighan told us that you had to have all LOR channels accounted for prior to import even if unsequenced. I am using Xlights Ver 2016.50 and I didn’t need to have all the channels represented in LOR before importing. I deleted channel 01-16 and 02-01 imported successfully. This may have been an update in the newer Xlights versions.
    Regarding the import channels, I think what Sean meant was for any controller you have in LOR, you need to make sure all 16 channels are represented. I'd like to see a test where you delete some random channels such as 02-07, 03-15, 04-05 .. or something like that. Then see if everything comes in normally .. It's more typical that people will have many random channels undefined, mixed throughout their lineup .. Let us know what happens.

    I think one of they key functions to learn is how to add timing marks. Is that still done in audacity or are the timing marks now part of Xlights.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

  2. #2
    Official Lurker EricR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xlights Tips, Q&A

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    Eric posted this under the TASL Tour Topic and I thought it might be better to have it's own. We can ask more questions here too. I'm sure the Xlights users can give us their answers.




    Regarding the import channels, I think what Sean meant was for any controller you have in LOR, you need to make sure all 16 channels are represented. I'd like to see a test where you delete some random channels such as 02-07, 03-15, 04-05 .. or something like that. Then see if everything comes in normally .. It's more typical that people will have many random channels undefined, mixed throughout their lineup .. Let us know what happens.

    I think one of they key functions to learn is how to add timing marks. Is that still done in audacity or are the timing marks now part of Xlights.
    There is an audacity plugin within Xlights so you no longer need the actual Audacity program. You can do it manually if you like as well by tapping T.

    Denny what I tested was a new empty 32 channel sequence in LOR. I had the lights turn on for a second once for channel 1 twice for channel 2 etc. I then deleted channel 16 on controller 1 by right clicking. All done in LOR. Then saved that file and imported into Xlights. Channel 1 on controller 2 was the same as it appeared in LOR.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xlights Tips, Q&A

    Quote Originally Posted by EricR View Post
    There is an audacity plugin within Xlights so you no longer need the actual Audacity program. You can do it manually if you like as well by tapping T.

    Denny what I tested was a new empty 32 channel sequence in LOR. I had the lights turn on for a second once for channel 1 twice for channel 2 etc. I then deleted channel 16 on controller 1 by right clicking. All done in LOR. Then saved that file and imported into Xlights. Channel 1 on controller 2 was the same as it appeared in LOR.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Good test. What about the controller Unit numbers. Do those all have to be there sequentially ? Or could you have, say Unit 1, Unit4 and Unit 5 ? Should result in Xlights getting DMX 1 through 16, plus DMX 49 through 80.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Xlights Tips, Q&amp;A

    There are two ways to import LOR data into XLights and that's probably where the confusion around this comes from. One way it comes in as an un-editable layer and the other way it comes in as editable and is put in each effect properly. Sean (and I for that matter) obviously recommend the second way.

    The first way I believe is the older way. In this import it would cause problems if there were missing channels because there was no way to tell XLights about it.

    The second newer way relies on a mapping file that you have to create - just once and then maintain it. It's like a spreadsheet with the XLights channels on one side and what LOR channel it maps to on the other side. Because of this it can still do the import if for instance your mini trees use 1-14 of controller 5 and those other two channels are "lost".

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    Official Lurker EricR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xlights Tips, Q&amp;A

    @Tripplett is correct. If you import as a data layer then you need everything accounted for. This is the screen when you create a new sequence in Xlights that asks if you want to bring in a sequence from LOR, Vixen, HLS, etc. You would do this type of import if you did not want to ever change that sequence after import. I understand why some people do this, but I would not recommend it. If you only want to use Xlights to generate the .fseq so that you can use the Falcon Pi Player, there is a separate file conversion within Xlights. I have never used that, so I have no idea if you need all channels accounted for.

    I had never really thought about this before because I always planned to use Xlights as my sequencer and thus I used the other way to import my sequence. Now that I am thinking about it, of course you don't need to have every channel or controller accounted for because you only import what you assign to an Xlights model. For example you could import the LOR sequence for 1 single tree and nothing else if you wanted.

    Does anyone plan on just using Xlights to generate the .fseq file so you can use FPP?

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xlights Tips, Q&amp;A

    Quote Originally Posted by EricR View Post
    @Tripplett is correct. If you import as a data layer then you need everything accounted for. This is the screen when you create a new sequence in Xlights that asks if you want to bring in a sequence from LOR, Vixen, HLS, etc. You would do this type of import if you did not want to ever change that sequence after import. I understand why some people do this, but I would not recommend it. If you only want to use Xlights to generate the .fseq so that you can use the Falcon Pi Player, there is a separate file conversion within Xlights. I have never used that, so I have no idea if you need all channels accounted for.

    I had never really thought about this before because I always planned to use Xlights as my sequencer and thus I used the other way to import my sequence. Now that I am thinking about it, of course you don't need to have every channel or controller accounted for because you only import what you assign to an Xlights model. For example you could import the LOR sequence for 1 single tree and nothing else if you wanted.

    Does anyone plan on just using Xlights to generate the .fseq file so you can use FPP?
    This is great info. I am a LOR user and I plan to move to Xlights for my sequencer and FPP for my player.

    I would like to know a bit more about importing a sequence that we would not want to change. I am 99% sure this is what I don't want. I always view my sequences as constantly changing, mostly as I get new ideas and pop them in the next day. Or adding new effects for the next year. So I would always want to be able to edit and change my sequences in Xlights. But I do want my first import to be exactly the same as the LOR sequence starting out. I will map every LOR channel to a DMX channel.

    I also plan to have quite a few DMX channels with sequencing in them, but there will never be a controller hooked up. These will be mostly my sequencing from single light strings that were turned into RGB in Xlights. I would like to be able to leave these in there as "dummy" channels. Or if I can't, then what techniques to others use to store "dummy" sequencing ?
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Xlights Tips, Q&amp;A

    OK I think I understand what you're doing a little bit better now. I have my 16 channel LOR controller stuck up in universe 51 in XLights. My controllers only go up to universe 23 so essentially this is a dummy channel and I've never sequenced anything against it.

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    Official Lurker EricR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xlights Tips, Q&amp;A

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplett View Post
    OK I think I understand what you're doing a little bit better now. I have my 16 channel LOR controller stuck up in universe 51 in XLights. My controllers only go up to universe 23 so essentially this is a dummy channel and I've never sequenced anything against it.
    To add to this.
    Importing as a data layer is only for when you never want to sequence with Xlights. Otherwise, it is better to just take the time to set up the mapping profile. You can just edit the XML file once or do it in the program once and then apply that to all your sequences. They even changed the default so it asks if you want to save this profile before you close it within Xlights. It will not take that long to set up your mapping profile, especially if your names are the same or similar in all your sequences.

    Denny, your question is I think related to your question you asked Joe in the TASL meeting post. To add to what Joe just posted, you can always have stuff sequenced and not send it out to controllers. The worst it will do is make your file bigger if you had thousands of channels sequenced but not used. And all that does is slow down the wireless transfer of that sequence to the Pi's. Functionally, it changes nothing. Regarding Dummy channels, thats a good question for the Xlights forum but I will give you 2 ways you can do it, the first method is much better.
    1) you just create a model and call it Dummy1, Dummy2, etc with model type that fits what you are doing based on RGB or single color. I have done this with single channel AC lights and set the model for only 1 node, changed the appearance so it was a big spot and just put them in the corner of my layout screen. All this does is make a bigger sequence file as I mentioned above but the difference is not that big. If you prefer to not even see those files you can unclick a box and not have them be displayed on the sequence screen. There may be a better way but, I have my lights set up so I have a group for all the RGB and group for all the AC channels and they are part of every sequence. This is convenient if you want to so something to all of them at once. I then make visible what I want to sequence at that time so I only have a handful of rows on the screen. So you could do this and hide your dummy sequences and never see them unless you expanded your ALL RGB or AC group.

    2) you can create a single sequence for your DUMMY stuff or sequences you like but don't want to use in a specific sequence. If you want to go back to them you can then just import those sequences for that specific item back into your show sequence. I think you would need a dummy sequence file for every song if you did it this way to keep the timing. Remember you can always import effects from other sequences into your sequence.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Xlights Tips, Q&amp;A

    Quote Originally Posted by EricR View Post
    To add to this.
    Importing as a data layer is only for when you never want to sequence with Xlights. Otherwise, it is better to just take the time to set up the mapping profile. You can just edit the XML file once or do it in the program once and then apply that to all your sequences. They even changed the default so it asks if you want to save this profile before you close it within Xlights. It will not take that long to set up your mapping profile, especially if your names are the same or similar in all your sequences.

    Denny, your question is I think related to your question you asked Joe in the TASL meeting post. To add to what Joe just posted, you can always have stuff sequenced and not send it out to controllers. The worst it will do is make your file bigger if you had thousands of channels sequenced but not used. And all that does is slow down the wireless transfer of that sequence to the Pi's. Functionally, it changes nothing. Regarding Dummy channels, thats a good question for the Xlights forum but I will give you 2 ways you can do it, the first method is much better.
    1) you just create a model and call it Dummy1, Dummy2, etc with model type that fits what you are doing based on RGB or single color. I have done this with single channel AC lights and set the model for only 1 node, changed the appearance so it was a big spot and just put them in the corner of my layout screen. All this does is make a bigger sequence file as I mentioned above but the difference is not that big. If you prefer to not even see those files you can unclick a box and not have them be displayed on the sequence screen. There may be a better way but, I have my lights set up so I have a group for all the RGB and group for all the AC channels and they are part of every sequence. This is convenient if you want to so something to all of them at once. I then make visible what I want to sequence at that time so I only have a handful of rows on the screen. So you could do this and hide your dummy sequences and never see them unless you expanded your ALL RGB or AC group.

    2) you can create a single sequence for your DUMMY stuff or sequences you like but don't want to use in a specific sequence. If you want to go back to them you can then just import those sequences for that specific item back into your show sequence. I think you would need a dummy sequence file for every song if you did it this way to keep the timing. Remember you can always import effects from other sequences into your sequence.
    I like this discussion. The grouping is a good tip. I also thought of a 3rd group which would be AC with NO DIMMING. This would help assure that if you are doing a full group effect on AC lights, the ones that cannot allow dimming such as the AC drip tubes would not be damaged. Having them in their own group would let you turn them on an off separately. In the past I have avoided lighting effects that had their own built in controllers. But in my new setup I will allow those (sparingly). I used to think of my sequencing as painting a picture for the song .. so everything was tightly coupled with the music signature. But now I'll go more for the overall look and not make everything pound out the song. The main reason I wanted some dummy channels starting out was because there is a lot of potentially useful sequencing from my old house, but many old light locations don't exist at the new house. So I am moving those channels into whole controllers in LOR before I export them. Then they can be automatically mapped as dummies and I won't have to pluck them out separately inside Xlights. On the Xlights side, I'll also put those controllers into a different universe.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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