Aurora Light Controller User's Guide

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Here is a quick tutorial on using Aurora Light Controller.  Later on, this will be updated with more pictures and details, but this should at least get you started.

1. Running Aurora Control

    Download the jar file of the program from sourceforge.

    You need to have the java runtime environment installed on your computer to run java programs.  If you do not have this, you can download it for free from Sun.

    Once you have downloaded Aurora Control and have Java installed, you should be able to run the program by just double clicking on AuroraLightController-0.1.1.jar.  Additionally, you can run it at the command line by typing java -jar AuroraLightController-0.1.1.jar

2. The User Interface

    There are three main parts to the interface: the channel view, the cue list, and the tool bar.

    Channel List:

        This portion of the screen lists all the channels and their current values.  Additionally, it will show where that channel is getting its value from through color coding.  Red is for manually set values, and blue is for cue values.  If a channel has both a cue value and a manually set value on it at the same time, it will show both colors, with the red on the outside, since manually set values always take priority over cue values.

        You can change the value on a channel by just typing a number into the channel's text box, and hitting enter, or by using the text boxes at the bottom on the screen.  The Channels text box allows you to change the value on multiple channels at a time.  You enter channels in the following format: 20+46+100/120+35+10/15.  This means channels 20, 46, 100 through 120, 35, and 10 through 15 will get the value in the Value text field when you hit enter or click the execute button.

    Note: If you set a value on a channel manually, there are two ways to get rid of that value.  Just setting the channel to 0 won't clear the manually set value, that channel will stay at 0 like you told it to!  You need to set it to a value of blank (just leave the value field empty and hit enter), or to a negative value.  This will cause the manually set value to go away.

    Cue List:

        The left side of the user interface displays all cues in this show.  The Cue Bank List at the top of the left side is not implemented yet, and so it does not have any functionality.  

        You can select cues by clicking on the cue you want, and the program will fade from your current cue to the next one.  It does not matter if the cues are not in order, the program will simply fade between whatever the current cue is (or from 0 if no cue is selected) to the cue you have clicked on.  There is not a keyboard button to advance to the next cue yet, but don't worry, I will add one soon enough!

        Additionally, you cannot preview cues currently.  If you select a cue, that cue is going to be displayed to the audience.  Again, this feature will come in due time.  There is currently no way to edit a cue, but if you need to make a change, there is an easy way.  Simply load the cue you want to change, make your change, and then hit the new cue button.  Make sure and type in the number of the cue you want to replace.  When you hit "Save Cue", the old cue will be replaced with the new one.

    Tool Bar:

        This part of the interface is very simple so far.  There are four buttons: "New Cue", "Save Show", "Load Show", and "Connect to Device".  These buttons are pretty simple.  "New Cue" will create a new cue with the current live values.  "Save Show" will bring up the save file dialog so that you can save the current show.  "Load Show" will bring up the load file dialog so that you can open a previous show.  "Connect to Device" will attempt to connect to the device.  If it cannot connect, it will return an error, but the program will not crash.

3. Using the Program

    How Channel Values Work

            When I started out with this program, I wanted to change a few things from light control programs I had used in the past.  When you manually set a value in Aurora (through the channel view section or the Channels/value text boxes), that value will hold no matter what cue you transition to.  This way, if you realize mid show that an additional light needs to be turned on (or even more importantly, turned off) you can just set it that way, and it will stay how you set it.  I selected this instead of the 'highest value wins' system some light boards use to increase flexibility.  What if a light is too bright?  This way, you can turn it down a little with a manually set value. 

            If you manually set a channel value to 0, it will stay at 0.  If you want to release a channel from manual control, and let cue values affect it, you need to set that channel to a blank (just leave the value text box empty) value, or a negative value and hit enter.  This will release the channel from manual control.  While talking about 0, there is one more important difference.  If you create a cue, and you don't set a value for channels 10 through 30, these channels are assuming to have the value of 0.  Therefore, if you fade from a cue with values in those spots to this cue, channels 10 through 30 will fade to 0.  The capability to have a cue only affect certain channels partially exists, but it is not fully functional yet.

    Creating a Cue

        The first step to creating a cue is setting the values you want.  You can either load an existing cue as your baseline, and modify it, or start from scratch.  After you are happy with the look, hit the "New Cue" button.  There are a few options you can fill in, and then just hit "Save Cue".  The cue you just created will have all the values of the live view when you hit save.  You will notice all the manually set values changed from red to blue.  This is because those values are not longer manually set, but are instead cue values.

        The fade up and fade down times control the transitions between cues.  The fade down time controls how long it will take to fade down the old cue values, while the fade up time controls how long it will take to fade in the new cue values.  Normally you would want these the same, but you are allowed separate control just incase.  The times saved with a given cue affect both cues in the transition to that cue.  For example, if I am going from cue 0 to cue 1, and cue 1 has a fade up of 3 and a fade down of 2, the cue 1 values will be faded in over 3 seconds, while the cue 0 values will be faded out over 2 seconds.

4. Support

   If you have questions, would like to help with development, found an error in my documentation, or would just like to make a comment, send me an email: sinorm [at] gmail com.

    Thanks, and hope you enjoy the program! Logo