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Thread: Mapping snowflakes in Vixen

  1. #1
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    Default Mapping snowflakes in Vixen

    I have been using several snowflake elements in my display for the past few years but, in order to get the effects to work right, have been treating them as starbursts. The problem is, the physics of the snowflake are more complicated than the starburst.

    (Figures attached as PDF)

    My small snowflakes are simple and each arm is shaped like a chicken foot. (Figure 1)

    The Vixen starburst model expects simple strings for each arm. (Figure 2)

    But since the physical element has more pixels than the starburst, I end up manually patching pixels such that one pixel for the starburst model may end up mapping to multiple controller pixels. (Figure 3)

    Notice that when I patch pixel 5 in the model, it actually patches to pixels 5,7,9 in the physical element So pixels 5,7,9 in the physical element always light together as if they were a single pixel.

    Doing it this way, I can create great string based effects from bars, fans, spinners because everything is relative to the center of the snowflake. Of course, when I do location based wipes or effects across the entire field of elements, it doesn't quite work right.

    This worked ok with my 9 small snowflakes that had 48 pixels each but got really complicated with my 5 large flakes (based on the large LivingLights model) which have double rows of everything and a total of 222 pixels. Patching manually is tedious and you can bet that every large flake has at least one pixel that doesn't show the right colors because I skipped or overlayed a channel while manually patching.

    When the custom props came out, I got really excited, it not only gave me the ability to create a beautiful model that is the exact layout that matches my physical element but also gives me the ability to change the sequence of how things get patched. However, the custom prop starts as one large string and I have tried using groups within the custom prop to create sub branches within branches and it all patches great but then the effects end up running down each sub branch in sequence instead of running them in parallel like I want. If tell the effects to use location instead of string, it ends up treating the snowflake more like an odd shaped matrix.

    I kind of wish I could create a model that looks like a starburst and then teach the custom prop how to patch a single pixel to multiple controller pixels.

    How have others addressed this issue?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mapping snowflakes in Vixen

    Not sure which effect you are referring to when you say star burst but many of the effects have a depth parameter. Changing that will change how groups and subgroups are displayed.
    Ed
    Happily retired

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    Default Re: Mapping snowflakes in Vixen

    Thank you Ezellner! You made me look at it a different way and it resolved my problem.

    While not all Vixen effects have the Depth parameter, four of them (alternating, chase, disolve, twinkle) do. But using any of those with a depth of 1, still didn't quite give me what I was looking for but that was because I had structured them wrong in my custom prop. (see attachment VixenPatchIssueResolved).

    Looking again at my physical prop (figure one) I had defined my custom prop such that each physical sub branch of the physical prop was a subgroup in the branch (figure 2). This just resulted in the sub branches being fired one at a time like a clockwise fan. Not the effect I was hoping for.

    Thanking more about how depth works, I reorganized the custom prop (figure three) so that pixels that were the same distance from the origin were grouped together. Now when I use depth of 1, my pixels fire in the following sequence:
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5+6+7
    8+9+10

    This results in a nice clean "explosion" of the prop.

    So thank you again for forcing me to reexamine how effects were interacting with my custom prop.

    In the process of evaluating each effect, I find that everything does something with my custom props with the exception of wipe. Wipe has no effect on custom props at all. Wipe is a location based effect and, at first, I thought perhaps the complex structure of the custom prop might be confusing it so I created a custom prop with three lights in a flat, single string structure and wipe doesn't like that either. Other effects work on the same custom props if I run them in location mode so they seem to navigate the custom prop structure. Is this a bug in the Vixen version I am running? (V3.6u4 build #937)
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    Default Re: Mapping snowflakes in Vixen

    Something may still need tweaking in your set up. I have snowflakes with 174 pixels each and they wipe as expected. I am using 3.7u4 at the moment although wipes worked properly through all the latest versions to my knowledge. I have a number of sub groups: one that includes only the radials, one that is just the center core and another that is just the branches at the ends. And, of course, the master snowflake group that contains all. Applying a wipe to the "all" group does what it's supposed to.
    Ed
    Happily retired

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    Default Re: Mapping snowflakes in Vixen

    Why not create a custom model. I did that for my Boscoyo snowflake. Mapped and modeled to match the wiring.

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    Default Re: Mapping snowflakes in Vixen

    Ok, I went ahead and upgraded to 3.7U4 build 1031 but no change in behavior. Wipe still has no effect.

    I have to believe it is something screwy with my custom props.

    If you wouldn't mind trying these to see if they work for you. I have attached a zip file with two custom props that I created for this test.
    1) is my smallflake with 100 pixels
    2) is my complex largeflake with 222 pixels (built on the Boscoyo layout)

    On each, try chase effect with Behavior: Chase = Each Element Group and Depth: Levels Deep = 1 and Extend Pulse to end and you will see the nice explosion effect I was going for.

    But then see if the wipe effect has any effect for you.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by PixelElf; 01-27-2021 at 11:22 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mapping snowflakes in Vixen

    Another way to make them explode is to use the Shockwave effect with locations or the circle wipe. Both can be configured to start in the middle and create an outward wave. While groups can be used to manage this as well, using locations can be used no matter how the groups are organized.

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