This tutorial covers just the basic procedure of creating a fixture, a scene and a button and how to make them work. The point is to give the user a quick yet complete here-hold-my-hand-experience on how the Q Light Controller Plus is planned to work as a software for DMX lighting automation.
Before you start reading this tutorial, please familiarise yourself with the Main window and its parts.
Now we can really start!
Open the fixture manager panel now by clicking its icon.
The fixture manager is the heart of QLC+ fixture-oriented architecture. As its name implies, you can manage (add, remove and edit) your lighting fixtures from the fixture manager. On the left hand side of the manager there is a list that contains all of the fixtures in the current workspace (at the moment it will be empty). On the right hand side you can see some information related to the currently selected fixture. On the top of the fixture manager there is again another toolbar, containing the following buttons (from left to right):
Add new fixtures
Remove selected fixtures
Configure the selected fixture
Group a fixture selection
Ungroup a fixture from a group
Import a previously saved list of fixtures
Export a list of fixtures
Add a fixture to the workspace by clicking the add button.
On the left side of the dialog you can see a list of available fixture manufacturers. Each manufacturer's name is actually a folder containing a number of different fixture models produced by that manufacturer. You can find, for example, a "DJScan250" under the "Futurelight" folder. As you click a fixture from the list, you can see the Channels field on the right hand side change to display the number of DMX channels required by the selected fixture. There's also a list of the fixture's channels just under the Channels box.
Go ahead and select Futurelight DJScan250 but don't click OK just yet.
You can edit the new fixture's name in the Name field or you can stick to the default that the application suggests. If the fixture has different operational modes (different sets of channels), you can select one from the Mode box. The DJScan250 doesn't have more than one, so there's just "Mode 1" there. The fixture's DMX address can be set in the Address field and should be the same as the actual physical fixture's DMX address. The Universe field is used to assign the fixture to a physical DMX output universe. Usually each universe has its own cable coming from the PC.
If you wish to add multiple fixtures of the same type, you can increase the value in the Amount box. If you wish to leave some gaps between each fixture's address space, you can change the value in the Address gap box. Let's leave these be for now.
If you don't understand the DMX addressing principles, please consult your lighting equipment manuals for more information. In short, a DMX address is the first DMX channel of a particular fixture. In the case of a DJScan250 (which uses 6 channels), assigning for example 1 as its DMX address, reserves channels 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 for the fixture. The next fixture must then be assigned to DMX address 7 to prevent channel overlapping. Let's use address 1 now.
Click OK to close the dialog and add one Futurelight DJScan250 to the workspace.
On the left side of the fixture manager you can now see the fixture that we just added. On the right side, you can see the information about the fixture. You can edit the fixture's name, address and universe by clicking the Configure button. You can also change the fixture definition through the configuration dialog, but since we're quite happy with the fixture's information, we are not going go there.
Open the function manager by clicking its button on the main toolbar
If the fixture manager was the heart, function manager must be the brain of QLC+. With it, you can add, remove and edit various functions that perform the actual light automation for you. Let's look at the view first. There is, once again, a toolbar containing the following icons (from left to right):
Add a scene
Add a chaser
Add a sequence
Add an EFX
Add a collection
Add a RGB matrix
Add a script
Open the Functions wizard
Copy the selected functions
Destroy the selected functions
Below the toolbar, there is a list of functions within the current workspace. Since we haven't yet created any, it's still empty.
Add a new scene to the workspace by clicking the scene button
With the scene editor, you can create scene functions that basically contain
values for a number of channels that relate to certain fixtures. On the left hand
side of the editor there is a list of fixtures used in the scene, which is
empty (but not for much longer). There are also some buttons to add/remove fixtures
and enable/disable all the selected fixtures channels.
On the right hand side of the editor there is a list of channel groups used in the scene. Channel groups will not be used in this tutorial.
Add a fixture to the scene by clicking the add button. Select our one and only fixture, the DJScan250 from the list that pops up and click the OK button.
Now the scene has one fixture to control. Notice also that now there is new tab just beside the General tab with our fixture name. Click the tab that says DJScan250.
Now you can see a panel with 6 sliders & buttons, each of them representing a channel within the fixture, but all of the channels are disabled. Above each of the buttons (the ones with icons) there is yet another box which, when checked, enables the corresponding channel in the scene. If a box is not checked, that channel will not be touched by the scene at all. This is very useful when you wish to create for example a function that just sets the color of a scanner, without touching the gobo, intensity, pan, tilt and other features that you might wish to stay the way they are.
Set channels 3, 4 and 6 enabled by clicking on their check boxes.
You'll see that channels 3 and 4 changed their appearance and are no longer grayed out. You can also move their sliders and click their buttons. When you click on a button, you get a list of available capabilities that the fixture can do when a certain value is set to the channel. In the case of a DJScan250, channel 3 controls the color wheel, channel 4 controls gobo selection and channel 6 controls the fixture's shutter.
If you click the button on channel 3, you get a list of available colors that the fixture supports. Since many of these capabilities are specified by the manufacturer as a value range rather than a single value, many of these capabilities contain yet another sub-menu. Let's try setting a color.
Click the color button on channel 3, then move your cursor to "Orange" and select "80" from the sub-menu by clicking on that value.
Notice that the slider on channel 3 also moved up and the value above it now shows 80. If you have already patched an output plugin to the first universe, you may already see some action going on with your DMX equipment, since the scene editor also sends real DMX data to your fixtures as you edit the values. If you haven't done any mappings, don't feel bad, we'll get to it.
Next, click the gobo button and choose "Gobo 7", value 126 and then click the intensity button and choose "Shutter open", value 255.
Now we have a scene function that sets the value of DJScan250's channel 3 to 80, channel 4 to 126 and channel 6 to 255. Now all we need is a nice descriptive name for the scene. Click the General tab to go to the general page where we started with the scene editor.
You can set a nice name to the scene by writing it to the Scene name edit box. Type: "DJScan250 Orange Gobo 7" there.
Now we're going to set a Fade In time to the Scene, so that when we play it
it will fade to the values we set in a given amount of time.
Click on the icon from the Scene Editor toolbar. A tool will be displayed, allowing you to choose the Fade In and Fade Out times of the Scene. Let's change Fade In to 5 seconds. Either use the speed dial widget or manually write '5' on the second last text field where 0s is written.
Close the Fade tool by clicking again on .
You can now see that the function manager displays a function called "DJScan250
Orange Gobo 7".
If you click the right mouse button over a function item, you get the same menu functionalities that are available in the upper part of the function manager. You can add new functions or edit existing ones. But let's not edit this function anymore.
Create another function just like the one you just made, but set the values for channels 3, 4 and 6 to 0 and name the function "DJScan250 Zero".
Speaking of vital organs, we have already covered the heart and brain of QLC+, and we're only missing the body with its limbs to make the whole pack work. Well, so much for ridiculous analogies, let's move on and make our "DJScan250" fixture and its "DJScan Orange Gobo 7" function do some actual work for us.
You can close the function manager and the fixture manager now, if you want to make some room but it's not necessary.
Click the virtual console button on the main window to show the virtual console tab.
At first, the virtual console is just an empty window without much to look at. There's a toolbar at the top of the panel, with icons to Add new widgets, Edit for editing widget properties and Tools for various tools to control the virtual console behaviour. You can also click the right mouse button on any virtual console widget to access a menu that contains most (but not all) of the options that are accessible through the menu bar.
Click the icon to add a new Button widget.
An empty button appears to the virtual console.
Double click on the button or on the icon to bring up the button's configuration dialog.
From this dialog you can edit the button's properties:
* Set the Button label that is displayed on the button
* Attach a Function to the button
* Bind a Key combination to act as button presses * Bind the button to an External Input source
* Set the Button press behaviour
Click the attach button to open a function selection dialog. Double-click on the "DJScan250 Orange Gobo 7" function to attach it to this button.
We don't necessarily need a name for the button, but if you feel like giving it one, please do.
Click OK to accept these changes and close the dialog.
If you gave the button some name, you'll notice that it doesn't quite fit and gets trimmed to a rather short version of the original (unless you gave it a two-letter name). You can resize the button to any size you like by grabbing it from the box on the button's lower-right-hand corner and dragging the button a little bigger. But hey, let's change the button's color now.
Click on the button again, and then click on the icon. Select an orange-tinted color from this dialog and click OK.
Now the button should have an orange background color. Move the button a bit to the side so that the next button won't appear on top of it. Well, there's no harm in that, it's just an inconvenience - you want to be able to see both buttons, do you not?
Create another button just like the first one, but attach the function "DJScan250 Zero" to the second button and set the button background color to black and foreground (text) color to white.
Since we haven't covered DMX output patching at all, you probably have a dummy output plugin assigned to all output universes and you can't get any real DMX output from your computer. This is OK for now. If you're interested in output mapping details, refer to the Output mapping howto.
Click the monitor button on the main application toolbar to bring up the DMX monitor window.
You should see a bunch of numbers, and the name of our fixture "DJScan250" inside a bar over numbers 001 - 006. These numbers represent DMX channels and the values below them represent those channels' values. Since we're operating on with a dummy output plugin, the monitor is all that we see for now.Click the mode switch button on the right-hand corner of the main toolbar to switch to operate mode.
Hold your breath...
Pay close attention to the monitor while you click the buttons on the virtual console (you know, the one we just created). Do you see some running numbers that gradually go towards 80 on channel 3, 126 on channel 4 and 255 on channel 6? Nice.
Note that if you click both buttons simultaneously, the result is usually far from what is wanted. You need to stop the previous function by clicking its button once more (so that the button flashes and stays up) to stop the function and then start the other function.