View Full Version : My Afternoon playing with HLS

06-06-2012, 09:39 AM
I had the day off work today due to the fact business is kinda slow considering most of my customers properties are under water so I decided to really familiarize myself with HLS and have a real shot at creating a complete 2012 sequence including my pixel tree.
Well that was a great thought in theory. In reality I had to unlearn a lot(spacebar does not fill selected fields) and HLS has so many features I ended up spending a lot of time watching Joes tutorials(make sure you watch them).

Think I will start at the end then throw what I learned (may be posted elsewhere) and maybe a few suggestions in (Joe will hate me soon).

I set myself a challenge tonight just to prove how powerful HLS really is. From a blank sequence to output I had 30 minutes to create pixel plane effects using Joe's new feature set, load it to a sequence and have it ready for output to my Pixel Tree (channel groups,outputs etc were pre saved). Just a reminder my Pixel Tree is 1008 pixels or 3024 channels. Heres the video of the end result (At about 40 seconds I did throw in a few Nutcracker Effects as I had 2 minutes to spare).


Before I say any more I have to say WOW. If you have not played with HLS do yourself a favor and have a play.

Things I learned or tips if you prefer

Watch the Tutorials
This is a must I originally thought I'll wing it and lost an hour or so bumbling my way through and then looking for answers in Joe's tutorials
Spreadsheets are your friend
Mainly when dealing with big channel counts. HLS allows copy pasting direct to your channel management screen. To make creating pixel plane effects easier I labeled all my channels as String 1 Pixel 1 etc. Using a calc sheet made it bearable renaming 1008 channels. I had to look this up so will post here to use text and calculations in a spreadsheet the formula is ="String 1 Pixel"&d1+1
Forget Vixen controls
Spacebar does not work , spacebar does not work , spacebar does not work . Not a bad thing just so used to hitting spacebar to fill selection
Escape is your friend in HLS
I kept finding myself trying to select something and it not working. Always because I had an active selection somewhere else in the sequence. ESC key is now my first response if something is not resizing or moving as it should.
Create libraries
Make sure you create Layout/Channel libraries once you have everything set up. Makes life easier later.

Pixel Plane Editor

Make sure your Pixel Plane Creation sequence timing matches your display sequence
If you use 25msec in your display sequence make sure you set your Pixel Plane creation sequence the same. Otherwise when you import to your display it will be longer or shorter than you intended.
Only 1 build sequence required per Pixel Plane
Once you load your Wav file you have 2 - 3 minutes of usable space. If only creating basic effects you can create multiple pixel plane effects in one sequence. The way Joe has implemented it you can just set your time tics to start anf finish anywhere within an effect IE: A left to right fill and back to off effect (as in the video) can be made then using the time tics you can save it as left off right on left off, left off to right on, full on right to left off .
Use set levels over fades
I found I get more value using a set level on then fades. Why? Over ramp controls.
Over ramp controls
These are a huge gun in your effects arsenal. Once you create your effects using set level you can apply over ramp controls to fade, ramp up , in any color including color spectrum fades.

I'm sure there is more but its getting late and I'm tired. So before I fall asleep at my computer , I present the Joe will hate me soon list. These are really mostly applicable to large channel count displays.

Color selection - To change RGB colors atm you need to right click select "change RGB color" on each channel. Very time consuming on 1008 channels or even my planned 500+ RGB channels that are not in a plane. Would it be maybe possible to add a color palette similar to paint or most graphics programs where you could select a color and until you select a new one you are always applying that color to your RGB channels ?

Line Markers - When working on a pixel plane effect it is easy to get lost as to where your cursor is. Would it be possible to have a X Y marker along the time line and channels .

Undo - There is the Undo last effect button but that does not undo an accidental delete or paste.

Well that about covers it for today. Again Thank you Joe for an awesome piece of software. I am looking forward to playing some more tomorrow night.

06-06-2012, 07:07 PM

... business is kinda slow considering most of my customers properties are under water ...

Is that the American business "under water" (i.e.: worth less than they owe) or the real "under water" (i.e.: floods)?

Your work with HLS (and of course Joe's coding, support and tutorials) is going to make it difficult to decide whether to stick with V 2.5 (with xLights as a backend) or hope for V 3.x or go with HLS, a decision many of us are going to have to make soon.



06-06-2012, 07:41 PM
Luckily for me, I only Started in this hobby in feb. I have no learning curve invested in any of the sequencers. I have native nutcracker outputs for lor,vixen and Hls. Joe is so prolific, releasing code daily, he took an interest in the nutcracker last feb right after I started it. He has implemented the nutcracker sequences seamlessly into his HLS. I look forward to see where he takes it.

Joe, probably feels like I do that it is pretty cool to actually see our work on an actual tree. As i mentioned before the hlsq export file I create for HLS is the most efficient of an of the sequencers (as far as size is concerned).
I would also say that it is very easy for any of you to make some code or spreadsheets to make a file of space delimited rgb values. The file is not XML, just simple ascii

06-06-2012, 07:46 PM
Haven't really played with HLS yet, but from everything I read it seems to be pretty darn good.
My wish of course would be Vixen 3 with Madrix, but one may not be ready and the other one way too expensive. :(

Options ? Haven't warmed up to LSP or LF yet and Vixen 2.5 is almost impossible to handle with RGB :unsure:
Already getting behind when I read some finished their 20th or so sequence
Guess it may be HLS and Nutcracker this year (which I really like).

06-06-2012, 09:58 PM
Joe was talking wih the xlights guy, I think I red that someware anyways

06-07-2012, 12:13 AM
Is that the American business "under water" (i.e.: worth less than they owe) or the real "under water" (i.e.: floods)?

Its the "under water" option. Not as bad as initially forecast but still enough water to keep people on their toes or stilts in some areas . 150 - 200mm of rain in 24 hours and 100 - 150 kmh winds made for a tense night Monday. One good thing my Pixel tree never even shuddered , I expected to get up Tuesday morning and find it scattered across my yard, all I found were 5 pixels that popped from their holes.


06-07-2012, 02:35 AM
I'm glad they saved the beer

06-08-2012, 06:09 PM
Over the last 2 nights I put together a bit of a tutorial on the pixel plane editor.


06-08-2012, 06:12 PM
Its the "under water" option.

And they say California has weird weather ;-) ...


06-09-2012, 01:01 AM
Thanks for this informative video .

06-09-2012, 09:23 AM
Henedce - Nice video.

As I was watching it - multiple things came to mind that (thanks to your video) that are now changes/capabilities in version 4K.

1. Change in current behavior - I had used the GREEN (End Time Tic Marker) as an EXCLUSIVE marker. You presented it as INCLUSIVE - so 4K now make it inclusive is deciding the right hand boundary of Pixel Plane operations.

2. You laid out 800+ RGB channels and dropped down Level effects down - all White. If you wanted to drop another set but with a different color - you would have to change the color associated with the RGB channel - one-by-one. That would be a royal pain in the A... Version 4K - use the selection box to identify a group of channels - and change the color associated with those channels all at once. This does NOT change the color associated with any effect already established - only the color of effect yet to be created.

3. I took#2 a bit further - you drop a bunch of effects down and there all white (you forgot to change the CHANNEL RGB color or it is the result of a copy/paste operation) - you want to change the color. You can use the Over Effect as you did ----- or now in 4K --- you can select a group of RGB effects and change the color of them all at the same time. This would reduce the work you did and would also cover the situation where a group of effects were copied and pasted and the new set needed a different color.

Again - all new capabilities in version 4K or later.



06-09-2012, 11:44 AM
Hi Joe, I suggest you and a link to your download site to your signature. So when your comments anywhere on the forum tickle someones
interest they can check out your software.


06-09-2012, 01:25 PM
+1 I thought you use to have the link in your sig .

Hi Joe, I suggest you and a link to your download site to your signature. So when your comments anywhere on the forum tickle someones
interest they can check out your software.


06-09-2012, 01:31 PM
Test to see if my signature now contains the link - thanks for the suggestion.


06-09-2012, 05:05 PM
Signature link works just fine ... went to the site and downloaded the manual ...


06-09-2012, 10:47 PM
Yet another feather in your HLS cap.
Just had a quick play and with the couple of improvements to color management, you have made sequencing even easier.

Time to get serious about 2012 sequencing.