Re: Help getting started...
Welcome Mommy1210. Let the madness begin!
There are quite a few threads dealing with this subject, but in a nutshell:
1. Start with what you want it to look like. Take a picture of your "canvas" (house) and then draw where you want lights, props, etc. Dream big, then keep in mind your budget. (This means prioritize what you "need" right now, and what can be added "later".)
2. The picture developed in #1 will help you gather information as to how many/much you need. It will also lead you to what type of control you want/need. You will find the tide here these days is to do everything in pixels. Though this is a great thing, it is not necessarily the only way. Traditionalist, here and elsewhere, will argue that the look and feel of older style (LED and Incandescent) lighting suites them better. (It is also easier on your pocketbook.) You will have to decide. Don't discount combining the old with the new. You may be surprised how nice it can be.
3. Knowing what you need to control will lead you to the places to purchase that type of controller.
4. The design you have will also provide you with a general layout that you can use to work with sequencers. There are several free ones, including (but not limited to) xLights, Vixen, HLS and others. Download and try as many of them as you want. You can then settle on one that works best for you. There are paid sequencers as well. (If you want to start a lively discussion, ask about these.)
*** Note that this is one of the "Do It Yourself" websites. There are other products that are more "plug and play". Here again, you can get help with them as well. (Don't be surprised if you get the hard sell to not use them, but they have their place among those that want to go that route. You make the decision.)
ASK QUESTIONS. You will find this community one of the greatest assets you have. I've been putting up a Christmas Display every year since 1986. 8 years ago I decided to move to a more "energetic" endeavor. Jumped in with both feet and purchased a complete show. Little did I know what I was getting myself into. It was the folks in this community that saved my bacon, for sure.
Once again - Welcome!
"Never Give Up. Never Surrender!"
Capt Tagert - Galaxy Quest.
Al Gerdes - Christmas Lighting Nut!