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Best design software?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by RiffRaff54, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. RiffRaff54

    RiffRaff54 Member

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    What the best/easiest Lighting Design software to use? i need to start making plots of what im doing.

    thanks
    Josh
     
  2. SketchyCroftPpl

    SketchyCroftPpl Active Member

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    I dunno if its the BEST, in fact I know its not. But a while ago I did some posts and I got a bunch of visio stencils for making plots and all that. I'm not sure if they were just deleted from my comp actually but they can work pretty well if you basically know what your doing. Hope that helps!

    ~Nick
     
  3. LDSFX

    LDSFX Member

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    If you are looking for a PLOT program, go with Vectorworks Suite 11.5 (With Spotlight included), for PAPERWORK, go with Lightwright 4, distributed by City Theatrical. Rosco's new LPS (lighting paperwork system) also is an option, but it is not as comprehensive as Lightwright.

    -Hope this helps!
    Nick
     
  4. dwt1

    dwt1 Member

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    Although not the best, Soft Plot is one of the easiest programs to use.

    It is available at http://www.stageresearch.com/

    Vectorworks Spotlight is an excellent program and does not have a terribly steep learning curve.

    Best wishes,

    DWT
     
  5. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Ditto Vectorworks Spotlight and Lightwright, both arguably the most widely used programs for plot and paperwork. WYSiwyg is a better rendering for program PreVis, though VW now is well linked to ESP.

    Note also the VW is now at version 12, not sure they still sell 11.5. Haven't seen any reason to upgrade though...

    SB
     
  6. thorin81

    thorin81 Active Member

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    Is there a free option anywhere?

    I am looking for a freeware/shareware light plot program. Pretty much all the demos are not any good for an extended period of time , so I need a cheap/free option to use.
    If anyone knows of an option let me know!!!

    Thanks
    -Nick
    thorin81
     
  7. RiffRaff54

    RiffRaff54 Member

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    what makes VW better than WYS or Soft Plot? i know nothing about plotting software.
     
  8. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Riffraff54 wrote:

    "what makes VW better than WYS or Soft Plot? i know nothing about plotting software."

    Well, better is very subjective. WYSIWYG is a terrific Previs program, probably the most widely used for this functionality. Others are catching up though, the MA program for GrandMA is pretty cool as is ESP Vision for Vectorworks. WYG paperwork sucks though, if that’s important too you (IMHO).

    Can’t say much about Softplot. Tried it years ago when it was in it’s infancy. It was easy to learn but had major issues with getting all kinds of bugs fixed. At that time, Softplot could not figure out that a strip light was one fixture with 3 potential channels, colors, dimmers, etc… Thus the hookup was useless. In fact I remember the general paperwork section as useless in general (Note that the current version of VW has a poor paperwork section as well), and finally gave up when big fixes were not forthcoming.

    VW when combined with LW is quickly becoming the standard among LD's though, especially for pure drafting and terrific paperwork.

    There's a thread along these lines on the LightNetwork as well as the Stagecraft list. Scott Parker (Pace University, NY) recently did a quickie survey on this list about software used by theater folks, and overwhelmingly, Vectorworks and Lightwright were mentioned. I think I saw 1 user with A-Cad, possibly 1 who used Softplot and 1 or 2 who used plug-ins for A-Cad. I cannot remember anyone mentioning WYG. I also see VW/LW used almost exclusively by folks on tour who play our road house, as example.

    Thus I'm comfortable saying that if you want a drafting program, VW is the way to go, and if you're not an Emphasis user, I'd go with ESP Vision for rendering.

    SB
     
  9. futurecm21

    futurecm21 Member

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    Software

    I've been a pretty old school designer for a long time now, and am trying to expand my horizons.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for the best design software? and if so where I can find it? (is it downloadable or does it need to be purchased?)

    Thanks!







    futurecm21
     
  10. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Re: Software

    Vectorworks.

    Mike
     
  11. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Without a doubt, Vectorworks for drafting plots, and Lightwright for creating paperwork. Neither is very hard to learn, and you can even exchange data between the two programs. You can download a free demo of Lightwright, which is fully functional for an unlimited time, the only restriction is that you can only have up to 75 units. I don't believe there's any similar demo for Vectorworks, besides the student version.
     
  12. iLightTheStage

    iLightTheStage Active Member

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    Re: Software

    For doing plots, I would recommend VectorWorks with Spotlight (the lighting side of it). They now have version 2009 out, I believe. After version 12.5 they changed the way the program is organized a bit, so I would get the 2008 version or 2009. There are a bunch of tutorials out for it, one of which is at: VectorWorks 2008 Tutorials for Theatre

    You can download an "Evaluation Copy", or order the CD for Vectorworks at Vectorworks by Nemetschek North America - 2D/3D AEC CAD Design Software for Windows and Macintosh

    For paperwork, I would recommend Lightwright, which I believe is still in version 4, but I've heard they might be working on a new version that integrates with Vectorworks better.

    You can download a demo, or find out how to order at:
    John McKernon Software

    Hope that helps you. Btw, next time you may want to post this as an original post instead of replying to one that is 4 years old.
    [edit by DL: Actually, futurecm21, did post this as a new thread, but I moved it here. Since the topic has been covered so many times already, I felt we didn't need another new thread.]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2009
  13. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Re: Software

    VectorWorks and Lightwright without a doubt. They are the international standard for design for a reason.
     
  14. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Re: Software

    "US National" standard would be a better term. AutoCAD is probably more popular in the Euro market.

    SB
     
  15. nelakluwos

    nelakluwos Member

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    I use both WYSIWYG and Vectorworks regularly. I find that WYSIWYG lets me do exactly what I want with my plots, no questions asked. Also it's extremely customizable to fit how I design, and easily allows me to see what I want to see.

    Vectorwors IMO is a bit harder to use it seems to be geared more towards engineers, even in Spotlight mode. I don't like the way you have to place your fixtures on the plot, then rotate, and hope your rotation does what you want it to. It's much more streamlined in WYG (unless they have updated that in VW 2009 or there's something I don't know about).

    Shaded view in WYG is much better than VW.

    There are some of the little things in VW I really wish they would add to WYG that would make me 100% say that WYG is superior. Right now though, they are evenly matched in my book.

    Someone who uses both please respond, I'd love to hear what your thoughts are as well. :)
     
  16. tcahall

    tcahall Member

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    All of the replies are right on. However, if you are on the ultimate budget (ie need it free), you can download lighting .dxf s for free and use Sketchup or Inkscape and put together some very professional looking plots for free.

    Or course, you will only get some plots from this. If you are looking for complete paperwork solutions, read above.

    Tim.
     
  17. futurecm21

    futurecm21 Member

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    If its not to much trouble can anyone provide me to links of websites where I can download software for free?

    Thanks!
     
  18. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    If you are looking for free full versions of the software mentioned in this thread, you will have to figure that one out yourself. There are links provided for trial copies of Vectorworks and Lightwright in the thread. If you are a student you can get the Educational version of VW for free from their site by filling out a form.
     
  19. KeeperoftheKeys

    KeeperoftheKeys Member

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    Inkscape. Draw Freely.
    Google SketchUp

    As mentioned above VW and Lightwright are US standards... Internationally the landscape is more varied, though the programs I see most are AutoCAD and WYSIWYG.
     
  20. gordonmcleod

    gordonmcleod Active Member

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    Is vectorworks capable of importing ACAD DWG files?
     

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