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Light-O-Rama allows you to make your lights behave in a variety of ways. In addition to simply turning them on and off, you can turn them on to varying levels of brightness, have them fade up or down, shimmer, or twinkle.
You can assign these effects to channels in a sequence using the Sequence Editor. There are various ways to apply the effects to a sequence; see Editing Sequences Using the Keyboard and Editing Sequences Using the Mouse for details. One simple way is to select the effect's tool from the Tools toolbar, and click on a cell or range of cells that you want to apply the effect to.
Most of these effects require that you use Light-O-Rama controllers. Although Light-O-Rama can control other types of devices (such as X10 controllers or digital IO cards), only "on" and "off" are supported in these non-LOR controllers.
Related to effects are the effect editing modes: background effects, foreground effects, and regular effects. These are not themselves effects, but are ways to use the Sequence Editor to turn effects on based upon the existing effects. For example, with background effects mode on, if some cells are selected and the "twinkle" tool is used, only the selected cells that are currently off will be changed to twinkles. The other cells - those that are on or at some intensity, have fades, shimmers, or twinkles, will remain unchanged.
The "On" and "Off" effects will turn a string of your lights to their full brightness or completely off, respectively. Additionally, the "Set Intensity" effect allows you to specify a percentage of full brightness - for example, 50% bright.
In the Sequence Editor, an "on" effect is displayed as a cell having the color that you chose for the channel, and an "off" effect is displayed as a light grey cell. "Set intensity" is displayed as a color somewhere in between the two (depending upon the intensity chosen). For example, the following picture shows a sequence with two channels (one red and one green), each being on for the first half second, off for the next, then 50% on, then off again, then 20% on, and then off again:
Different levels of intensity
Alternatively, you can choose to have varying intensities displayed not by varying colors, but by filling in the cells to varying degrees. This is done by selecting "View Fades as Ramps" from the View menu (or, to make this your default, by setting it in the Display Preferences dialog of the Edit menu). For example, here is the exact same sequence, but this time with "View Fades as Ramps" turned on:
The same sequence, with "View Fades as Ramps" turned on
The brightness used by the "Set Intensity" tool can be controlled by the Intensity Tool Settings dialog:
The Intensity Tool Settings dialog, with 70% intensity selected
Any of the ten values listed on the Intensity Tool Settings dialog can be changed, by clicking its "Edit" button to open the Intensity Tool Options dialog.
In the Tools toolbar, the "On" tool's button shows a green square, the "Off" tool's shows a red square, and the "Set Intensity" tool's shows three green columns of varying heights. Additionally, there is a "Toggle" tool, which can be used to turn any cell that is off to on, and any other cell to off. The "Toggle" tool's button shows two blue squares, one in front of the other. Finally, the Intensity Tool Settings dialog's button looks like the Set Intensity button, but with a question mark in front of it:
Intensity-related toolbar buttons
"Set Intensity" is only supported on Light-O-Rama controllers. If it is used on a different device type, any intensity greater than 10% is considered "on", and lesser percentages are considered "off".
The "Twinkle" effect causes your lights to quickly vary between on and off.
The difference between "Twinkle" and "Shimmer" is that twinkle is more random: Two different strings of lights that are both told to shimmer at the same time will quickly turn off and on in sync with each other; if they are instead told to twinkle, they will still quickly turn off and on, but not in sync with each other.
In the Sequence Editor, twinkle is represented with crossed diagonal hatching:
Two channels, each with twinkle between 1 and 2 seconds
On the Tools toolbar, the Twinkle tool is represented by a button with stars on it:
The twinkle toolbar button
Twinkle is only supported on Light-O-Rama controllers. If it is used on a different device type, it will simply turn the lights on to their full brightness.
The Twinkle tool itself twinkles the lights at full intensity. You can also twinkle the lights while fading up or fading down, or at some intensity other than full intensity, by using a custom tool instead of the Twinkle tool.
The "Shimmer" effect causes your lights to quickly vary between on and off.
The difference between "Shimmer" and "Twinkle" is that twinkle is more random: Two different strings of lights that are both told to shimmer at the same time will quickly turn off and on in sync with each other; if they are instead told to twinkle, they will still quickly turn off and on, but not in sync with each other.
In the Sequence Editor, shimmer is represented with diagonal lines:
Two channels, each with shimmer between 1 second and 2 seconds
On the Tools toolbar, the Shimmer tool is represented by a button with wavy lines:
The shimmer toolbar button
Shimmer is only supported on Light-O-Rama controllers. If it is used on a different device type, it will simply turn the lights on to their full brightness.
The Shimmer tool itself shimmers the lights at full intensity. You can also shimmer the lights while fading up or fading down, or at some intensity other than full intensity, by using a custom tool instead of the Shimmer tool.
The fade tools will make the brightness of your lights gradually change, either brighter or less bright. Both the starting brightness and the ending brightness can be specified, anywhere from 0% to 100%, as can the length of time that it takes to fade from one to the other.
In the Sequence Editor, fades are represented by gradually varying colors, between light grey (representing 0%) and the color that you assigned to the channel (representing 100%). For example, the following picture shows a sequence with four channels (two red and two green), all fading over the course of the first second of the sequence. The first channel fades up from 0% to 100%; the second from 25% to 100%; the third fades down from 100% to 0%; the fourth from 100% to 25%:
Four different fades
Alternatively, you can choose to have fades displayed not by varying colors, but by filling in the cells to varying degrees. This is done by selecting "View Fades as Ramps" from the View menu (or, to make this your default, by setting it in the Display Preferences dialog of the Edit menu). For example, here is the exact same sequence, but this time with "View Fades as Ramps" turned on:
The same sequence, with "View Fades as Ramps" turned on
The starting and ending brightnesses used by the Fade Up and Fade Down tools can be controlled via the Fade Tool Settings dialog:
The Fade Tool Settings dialog, with fade up 50%-75% and fade down 100%-0% selected
Any of the ten values on the Fade Tool Settings dialog can be changed, by clicking its "Edit" button to open up the Fade Tool Options dialog.
On the Tools toolbar, the Fade Up and Fade Down tools are represented as blue up and down arrows in front of green triangles. The Fade Tool Settings dialog's button looks like that of the Fade Up tool, but with a question mark in front of it:
Fade-related toolbar buttons
Fades are only supported on Light-O-Rama controllers. If one is used on a different device type, it will simply immediately turn the lights completely on or completely off, based on the ending brightness of the fade (fades ending at greater than 10% brightness are considered "on", and others are considered "off").
Only one of the Twinkle, Shimmer, Fade Up, Fade Down, and Set Intensity tools can be selected at any given time. They can therefore be used, for example, to twinkle the lights, or to fade the lights up, but not both. However, you can still twinkle the lights while fading them up, in another way: By using the Custom tool.
On the Tools toolbar, the Custom tool is shown as a large yellow star. To the right of it are five buttons, which are enabled when the Custom tool is selected (and disabled if any other tool is selected). These five buttons allow you to select "twinkle" or "shimmer", and "set intensity", "fade up", or "fade down". Each of these five looks like the corresponding button for the base effect (such as "twinkle"), with a smaller yellow star in its lower right corner.
For example, to select a tool that will let you twinkle the lights while fading them up, select the yellow star "Custom" button. The five custom option buttons will then become enabled; select the "Custom Twinkle" button and the "Custom Fade Up" button.
The regular fade tool settings apply to faded twinkles and shimmers, and the regular set intensity tool settings apply to set intensity twinkles and shimmers.
If you have an older Light-O-Rama controller, it may need a firmware upgrade before it will be able to twinkle or shimmer while fading, or at any intensity other than full intensity. If a custom twinkle or shimmer is sent to such a controller that does not have the appropriate firmware upgrade, it will react as it would to a "standard" twinkle or shimmer - i.e. it will twinkle or shimmer at full intensity.
A twinkling fade up followed by a shimmering fade down
Toolbar icons for custom twinkles and shimmers
This is useful for sending DMX commands to DMX devices via a Light-O-Rama controller; the DMX protocol supports intensities from zero to 255, and so this effect allows Light-O-Rama to send any of the 256 possible DMX intensities to a device, instead of only 101 of them. However, please note that not all Light-O-Rama controllers support this functionality; DMX intensity events sent to a controller that does not support them will simply be ignored. To check whether any particular controller supports it, please refer to that controller's documentation.
The DMX intensity tool is not enabled in the Sequence Editor by default - that is, by default, the Sequence Editor will not show a toolbar button for the DMX intensity tool, nor a menu item in the Tools menu, nor allow a keyboard shortcut for it. To enable these things, make sure that "Allow DMX Editing" is checked in your DMX Preferences.
The DMX Intensity toolbar button
When DMX editing is enabled and the DMX intensity tool is selected, a dialog will appear allowing you to set the exact DMX intensity that will be used whenever the tool is used on a cell or group of cells:
The DMX Intensity dialog
The intensity can be set in this dialog in several ways: by moving the slider, by typing in the text box, by using the up/down buttons next to the text box, or by selecting any of the preset intensity buttons. Additionally, the values of the preset buttons can be changed by clicking the "Edit" button:
Editing the DMX Intensity dialog's preset intensities
After modifying the preset intensities using these text boxes, click "Save" to go back to showing the buttons instead of the text boxes. Note: When you click "Edit", Light-O-Rama will automatically sort the values that you entered so that they are displayed from lowest to highest, regardless of the order that you entered them in. Also, if you enter any particular value more than once, Light-O-Rama will automatically filter out the duplicates, and replace them with values that are in between those that you have entered.
The Sequence Editor displays DMX intensity effects using a checkerboard pattern:
Several channels, each with a DMX intensity of 128 followed by a DMX intensity of 255
Background and foreground effects are not themselves effects, but are rather modes of editing effects in the Sequence Editor. These modes affect the behavior of tools (such as "Twinkle" and "Fade Up") in the following manner:
If background effects have been turned on, the tool only applies to those selected cells that are completely off (that is, at intensity zero for their entire duration).
If foreground effects have been turned on, the tool only applies to those selected cells that are not completely off.
If neither background effects nor foreground effects have been turned on, the tool will apply to all selected cells. This is referred to as "regular effects".
Before a background fade up
After a background fade up
Before a foreground fade up
After a foreground fade up
Background and foreground effects can be turned on and off in several ways:
•Via the Tools toolbar;
•Via the keyboard:
•The "A" key ("bAckground") will cause the next keystroke (and only the next keystroke) to use background effects mode rather than whatever mode is currently selected;
•"Shift-A" will cause background effects to be turned on until it is explicitly turned off;
•Similarly, "O" and "Shift-O" ("fOreground") for foreground effects, and "E" and "Shift-E" ("rEgular") for regular effects (i.e. for turning off both background and foreground effects).
These tools are also available via the effect grid's right-click popup menu, for single-shot use, like the other tools (for example "on", "twinkle", and "fade up").
The background and foreground effects toolbar buttons