Fixture templates are designed to fulfil a certain niche where you have a repeating cluster of fixtures that are shaped and patched in a similar way. These are usually created out of individual fixtures, or strings of fixtures, but to enable simple replication and retention, these can be added into a template to be used again.
To start, right-click on the fixture that the fixture template will use. This can be any non-mover single element fixture.
In our example, all the fixture we use will be a basic RGB 8 bit LED.
Once you select Create Fixture Template…, you will see the following window:
The red bar implies that information that is needed has not yet been entered. So, give the Template a Name. You can give the elements a name too, but this is optional. In the field below, you can change the fixture type, in case you picked the wrong fixture or, at a later date, need to change the fixture that the template uses.
Checking Save template to disk will allow the template to be reused in future projects.
Once a name has been entered, click Next.
Once that has been accomplished, we can start to alter the composition of the fixture template.
The width and height will determine the dimensions of the template. This can be up to 1000 x 1000. The count and stride to the right will automatically adjust to the total number and set width or height (depending on fixture flow, which will be explained below). Altering the stride and count can allow for the creation of less rigid square shapes and increasing or decreasing the count or stride will then affect the width or height.
Flow determines how your fixtures are laid out and how the elements are numbered. As you change the flow, there will be a blue line running through the fixtures that is designed to indicate to you how the fixtures will be laid out and patched, starting at the pink fixture, then following the blue line. The example to the left is the horizontal snake, but there are options to change to vertical or to change from snake to parallel (laying them out in a more zig-zag pattern).
The offset will add a number of spaces in from of the first fixture, allowing for irregular or more complex shape for your template. The following example uses the horizontal parallel flow with an offset of 2.
As this is altered, the count and stride will remain the same, but the width and height will alter to accommodate the new dimensions. For example, our demonstration here is still at stride 5, count 25, but the dimensions are now 5×6.
The start position determines where the first element is placed in your new template. As you alter this, you will note that the offset and flow will start from the new start position.
The final options on this view are purely for aesthetic purposes. The element width and height will automatically be set to the default width and height of the selected element that the template will be built from. A gap can also be added between each element via the horizontal and vertical gap spin boxes.
Once the template has been set, the next page will determine the patch information for the fixture template.
While the patch spacing will default to the patch footprint of the fixtures, it can be increased to add a patch gap between each fixture. This will then output a 0 value for the gap channel.
Patch points are used to split the template’s patch, allowing the patch of fixtures to be separated out or assigned to different universes. A patch point will be automatically created if the template has too big a footprint to fit on one universe. The number of patch points can also be adjusted manually. By default, changing this value will balance the total fixtures in each patch point as close to even as possible. If there is a more customised fixture that doesn’t split the patch evenly, then changing the elements per patch point is the option that would be used here.
When a new patch point is created, you will see the fixture that starts the new patch point also highlighted in pink, as seen here.
When you have set up your template, clicking Finish will create the template. The new fixture template will be created and added to a new folder in the fixture library called Templates.
After creation, if there are further tweaks or edits that need to be made, it is possible to right-click on the template and select Edit Fixture Template. This will reopen the Template Editor with all the values re-added, and any former settings can be tweaked again. Alternatively select Duplicate Fixture Template, to clone and adjust the original to make a similar template.