New Magic Sheet program for Mac and PC

zac850

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
Hi guys,
I just found a new piece of software offered by West Side Systems. This is a billed as a virtual magic sheet. I just download it (a free download for the demo) and decided to try it out. My review: (please keep in mind that I downloaded this piece of software about an hour ago, so this is a very quick look at it)

It seems to be a very good program. When you load it up you are greeted with a big, black screen with a menu running across the top of it. The menu has a channel button, row button, scroll button, lines and arrows, and yoke, scanners, RGB, CMY and Scroller options. I did not try any of the last 5 since my school does not have any.

It is easy to create a new channel where ever you want it. You can either drag and drop a new channel from the menu bar, or you can right click (or control click) and select a new channel or anything else you would want. The ovals, arrows, and labels are accessible the same way. When you create a new channel, it asks for a channel number, you fill it in and there it is. What took me a few minutes to figure out was how to select the color of the fixture. A few minutes looking at the PDF instruction booklet led me to realize (though didn't quite explain) that you need to right click and select inspect (or apple-I on a mac), then click on the space next to where it says 'Filter' and put in the color of your choice in the form of R02 or G870 or whatever it may be. The system then checks against its database for what to make the box-channel number.

I accidently put 270 instead of G270, and the system was smart enough to say "i don't know what that color is, what color is it similar to".

One thing I don't like is how you re-angle the arrows. Instead of being able to rotate it with the mouse, you need to 'inspect' and then enter either N, S, E, W, SW, NE, etc, or numbers like a clock (1,2,3,4 up to 12) or degrees (120d, 140d). While it is nice to have the 3 options, I personally like to rotate arrows with my mouse. However, after a minuet it was not an issue.

Some things:
I have not yet printed out this magic sheet, so I don't know how it prints. I turned it into a PDF (ALL mac's can do this, in the printer window its easy to turn ANYTHING into a PDF, I don't think it is part of the program though [just 1 more reason to get a mac]).

I shall assume the PDF is what would print. In the viewer on the computer the color you choose for a channel becomes the color of the circle behind the channel number as well as the box around the circle/channel number/ color number (and additional info that can be put in that window). For some reason, the PDF only has colored the box, nothing else. I have not looked to see if there is a setting to change this, I would hope there is though.

This program also has the ability to serve as a viewer if hooked up to a DMX out of the light-board. It is supposedly smart enough to see what level all channels are at, and display them on the screen. I believe it will do the same for scrollers and such, but I am not sure. I did not read that part of the manual in depth.

You can also use image files and make them the background of the magic sheet. So, if you have a plot of the theater or the set, you could use that as the background of your plot.

So, without further adu, here is my first magic sheet. This is the very basic rep plot in my main space (the gym).



EDIT: Whoops, you can get to the company's webpage for this software at http://www.westsidesystems.com/vms/vms.html
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2004
Location
Boston, MA
Nope, still not working.
 

zac850

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
Peter said:
http://www.robopeter.com/drop/MagicSheet3.JPG
try that.... I was able to access the file, although not through my browser... I have resaved and put the file up on my server so maybe this link will work for people.
Thank you!

I have no idea why the image isn't working. My computer gave me a pdf file, I used photoshop to open it and save it as a jpg and I uploaded that to my website, and it worked fine for me. For the future, any theories on why it didn't work?

And, past that, has anyone else tried this software and have any thoughts on it?

Personally, I think I would rather make magic sheets the old way I did, just in vectorworks. However, its a nice bit of software to have lying around.
 

Peter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Location
MA, USA
zac850 said:
For the future, any theories on why it didn't work?
It's a mac, enough said :) hehe (sorry)

Actually, just be super careful with the format and encoding settings. Sometimes macs use different encodings that arnt uiversally compatible. We had a similar problem with my school's website which was produced on Macs, yet the HTML files were encoded in a mac only encoding and were useless on a PC, the whole thing had to be redone (well almost) on a PC to fix it properly. [PM me if you want to know how I got the image]


About making sheets like this... I never really have done it or felt the need to do it. I have it in my head as does anyone else who is running lights or potentally may be running lights. Generally our setup never changed too too much so it was easy to keep it in our heads.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
This is a program developed by Eric Cornwell, a NYC based LD and ME, who has also developed other software/app's for Palm based platforms, as well as developing cue conversion software for ETC Expression and Obsession, Strand Light Pallette and Genius platforms and Colortran. Needless to say, he's a clever fellow.

The Virtual Magic Sheet seemingly is getting some use on Broadway, with favorable reviews by LD's such as Richard Pilbrow and Bev Emmons.

It's a well thought out piece of software, especially the DMX input link that allows the screen data to update as the console does it's thing and Yes, it does indeed update the screen color as a scroller or a mover changes color.

A cool designers tool !.

SB
 

zac850

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
Thank you Steve.

From what I can tell now, it seems to really be made as a virtual display using the DMX input. It really does not make a nice paper magic sheet, no better then Vectorworks would give you.

However, if you had the technology to hook it up to a DMX input, and you had a huge show, I could easily see how it would be a great help.