View Full Version : Advice on animating pixel wire frames?

12-09-2018, 05:04 PM
We have a really nice 300 light wire frame Christmas train that's a family favorite. It was all incandescent with a built in animation sequence (chasing smoke, animated wheels, presents shimmering, etc), but the last few years we've really struggled finding replacement bulbs. Last year it finally gave up the ghost.

Since most of my tiny display is pixels I plan to use square nodes and tie wrap them so that they are aligned on the wire and facing the street.

I'd like to animate them so that they have the original look but then allow me to change color schemes depending on the song, do wipes or fades, etc.

I've been looking in the Vixen and wire frame forums but I can't see anyone talking about this.

Is there a suggested way I should layout and sequence the pixels to accomplish this? I've never sequenced a wire frame before and I'm getting thrown by how to set up the individual sections (wheels, smoke, etc) and I'm really thinking there is a smarter way to do this than sequencing each individual pixel.



12-09-2018, 05:30 PM
This is not that unusual. I use Vixen 3 and will describe things in terms used for V3

You have a train that is a hierarchy of elements (groups). Here is a possible way to break up your element into sub groups:

Group: Train
* One group for each car
** sub group for each window / door
*** sub groups for top / left / bottom / right etc
** sub group for each wheel
*** sub group for the wheel rim
*** sub group for each spoke in the wheel
*** sub group for the axel
** one sub group for the engine
** one sub group for the smoke stack
** sub group for the body
*** etc

Once you have the groups you create the leds in the lowest level sub group. Keep in mind that a pixel can be in more than one sub group. FYI: This is the same layout I would use for strings of regular lights.

You would sequence against each of the groups and you can create repeating effects for things like spinning wheels, smoke etc.

12-09-2018, 06:03 PM
Awesome, thanks! I'll try this out!

If there are any examples of this being done such as a video or a Vixen file I could download of a similar prop with animation that would be extremely helpful. Never done something like this before. [emoji6]

12-09-2018, 06:45 PM
You might Want to ask about things like Snowflakes or wagon wheels or spoked arches. I am pretty sure a "Train" is pretty rare.