Built in Effects
The following effects are ‘ready made’ effects that can be used to generate an effect straight away. For details of the attributes that can be used and the options available for each effect and for further information , please refer to the section in the manual describing the Effects.
Adding an Effect
Click on the effect from the effects toolbar and drag the effect to the grid and release it between two timing marks on the row of the model you wish the effect to play on. You can then select and drag each end to stretch the duration of the effect or reduce the duration of the effect. The effect that you are working with is reflected in the (associated and open) windows to the left of the grid.
For most effects, you can change the initial colors selected for the effect by selecting a different color or colors from the Color Window.
Double Clicking on the any of the color icons opens up a Palette window, where the standard colors can then be replaced with a new standard color or a custom color can be selected.
Once you tailor an effect, then use the effect again, the effect will have all the same settings as the previous effect did. However, if you were to highlight any other effect with different colors selected then the colors will change to the colors of the effect that you have selected.
Changing an Effect
1. From the Color window, you can change the Colors that apply to the effect, as well as the Sparkles, Brightness and Contrast values.
2. From the Effect Settings window, you can change various options/attributes that are applied to the effect.
3. An effect or group of effects can be moved, by highlighting the effect, or range and moving it along the same model row/rows on the grid forwards or backwards. Hold the Shift key to move multiple effects.
4.In order to copy and paste an effect, select the individual effect, right click and then select Copy. Move the cursor to where you want the effect to be copied to, right click and select Paste. You can also press Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy and paste the effect. In order to copy and paste a range of effects, use the cursor to highlight and select a range of cells. Then copy, followed by paste.
5. You can delete an effect, by selecting the effect in the grid and pressing delete on your keyboard.
Undo Effect Actions
Many, but not all effect actions can be ‘Undone’ by Right Clicking on the Grid and selecting the Undo action i.e. Undo effect move or Undo delete.. etc
At this point, Ctrl+Z to Undo is not supported.
The Undo actions can be daisy changed i.e. they can be repeated one after another.
Creating Random Effects
Select and highlight an area on the grid. Right click and select the option to Create Random effects. Effects will be randomly selected (along with different colors and options) and effects created in the area highlighted, each between consecutive timing marks. If there are no timing marks active, then a default time value will be used for each effect.
Click on Play to play the effects. You can also use the shortcut key ‘R’ to achieve the same result by highlighting one or more cells and pressing R.
Presets are a way to save an effect and easily recall it later to speed up sequencing.
To save an effect (which can span layers and models) as a preset, highlight the effects that you want to save, right click and select Effect Presets. You can first create a group that describes the type of effect that you are going to save (Spirals, Bars, etc). Click on Add group and give the group a name (‘Spirals’). Then select the group and click New Preset and give the Preset name (‘Red and White Spirals’) and press OK. To retrieve a preset that has been saved, go to a location on the grid where you wish the preset to be placed, right click on the sequencing grid, select Effects Preset, scroll to and locate the preset you want and double click on it to have it copied to your location, or select Apply Effect.
If you change something within an effect that you have selected, you can update it by clicking Update Effects. You can move an effect preset from one group to another group, delete or rename a preset. You can also import an effect (from someone else), by clicking on Import, selecting an xlights_rgbeffects.xml file and importing the effect from there.
Single Channel Colors
Single Channel colors react only to the color that they are defined as. If you define them as single color blue then it will only react to the blue channel. You can set any color and it will route the blue portion of that color to that model. If you send White (R=255, G=255 B=255), to a single color blue model then it will turn fully blue. If you send blue it will turn fully blue. If you send red or green it won't turn on at all. If you send pink which is R=255, G=0, B=128 you will get a half brightness blue. You can therefore include those single color models inside a group and they will react to the colors dropped on the group. Any of the "blue" components of the RGB values assigned to that model will cause it to fire at the associated brightness of the component. The strings will light up with the intensity of the color for each channel. So if you send Purple R=128, G=0, B=128) , that will light up all the Red and Blue strings but only about 50% intensity. If you just want a string to turn on full brightness without worrying about it then use White.
Playing a video file as an effect
You can play an mp4,avi,mov or (any of over 100 formats) movie on a model such as a matrix or a whole house using the picture effect. To get a list of the formats supported type ffmpeg formats at the command line for an output list.
To play a video as an effect, create a temporary directory, and copy the video file there. Then use the ffmpeg utility to break it up into frames.
ffmpeg is run from the DOS command line and is included with each release of xLights/Nutcracker. Example: ffmpeg i yourmovie.mp4 s 30x50 f%d.png
Notes: The mp4 file name should be enclosed in quotes if it has a space in the name or an unusual character e.g.
ffmpeg i “your movie.mp4” s 30x50 f%d.png
This will create a number of files 'f1' onwards i.e. frames f1.png, f2.png .etc.
The s 30x50 is the size output of the png files to be used for playback on your model where the format is s WxH pixels.
‘f’ refers to the output filename prefix. You could instead have specified outfile%d.
Place the the picture effect on your model and browse and point to the first file i.e. "f1.png". The picture effect will then play the individual files quickly in succession giving the appearance of the video file playing on your model.
Note: Only 'something1' will work i.e. the application looks for the '1' and then only picks the others. If you have an entire movie saved, you can export just portions of the video file as follows: ffmpeg i yourfile.avi s 30x50 ss 00:00:00 t 00:03:00 movie1%d.png
This will make a 3 minute capture starting at the beginning. The time is noted in hours:min:sec.
Tip: A quick way is to navigate to the directory with the video file using Windows Explorer. Then make sure no files are selected and hold down SHIFT and rightclick and you should get an option for "Open command window here". Now you have a DOS prompt already in the right directory without having to figure out how to type all the commands to get there. You won't get the right options if something is highlighted.