Using theatrical lights from Vectorworks with Enscape

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  • Creating light output with theatrical fixtures from Vectorworks

    This tip assumes the user has a basic understanding of the Vectorworks spotlight toolsets. If not please see the online tutorials provided by Vectorworks.

    ***Before starting this exercise make sure to have a stage or extruded surface for the lighting instrument to focus at.***

    Step 1.)

    Import a theatrical light using the Lighting device tool. For our example we will use a Martin MAC Quantum profile.

    Place the fixture into the desired design layer and class. Change the Z height to the correct elevation, rotate the 2D symbol so it has the correct orientation for the drawing. Do not worry about 3D orientation currently.

    Step 2.)

    Using the focus point tool create a focus position in the drawing at the desired location the beam should focus at. In this example our focus point is named SR for stage right.

    Step 3.)

    Select the inserted lighting device. In the object info palette scroll down to the “Focus” line and insert “SR”.

    Step 4.)

    In the Resource Manager locate the Lighting fixture Martin Mac Quantum Profile and right click the resource, select Edit 3D Component.

    Step 5.)


    Rotate the view to a front view and zoom into the fixture, double click the head of the fixture to open the head group. In the Vectorworks preferences menu under the Display tab make sure the “Display 3D Loci:” drop down is set to Always click okay. The Loci point should now be visible between the yoke arms in the center of the head of the fixture.


    Switch to a bottom view and change the view to Rendering / Open GL. Draw a circle at the center of the fixture approximately the size of the front lens.


    Extrude the circle to 6” and return the view to a front view. Align the bottom of the newly created cylinder to bottom of the fixture where the lens is.


    Change the view back to a wireframe view, select the center top point of the cylinder and stretch it above the 3D Loci point.


    Select both the head of the fixture and the cylinder and select model / Subtract solids. Make sure that the Head of the fixture is the object highlighted to be subtracted from.


    Some fixtures will have more geometry in the group at the lens of the unit. For instance, our example symbol has a small cylinder at the front of the head, this needs to be deleted or light will not pass through it.


    Exit the head group. Before exiting the symbol select the head of the fixture group. Make sure in the data tab of the object info palette the head of the fixture has a record attached to it. The record format should be the “parts record” and “Body” needs to be check marked. Once you have checked the items exit the symbol.

    Step 6.)

    In the design layer change to a 3D Iso view and make sure that the fixture focuses to the focus point. The subtracted cylinder should show in the wireframe part of the head of the symbol aiming at the focus point. Select the unit; in the object info palette under the shape tab go to field Angle and set the desired degree of output from the light.(Example 36 degrees) Field angle is the only parameter that Enscape currently uses to determine beam size.

    Step 7.)

    Open the Visualization – Lights palette click on the lights tab and select the light in the drawing. Right click the light and select edit. The properties widow will open, this is where the brightness is adjusted for the light output. Recommend starting with a brightness of 125%. Color for the light is adjusted in the Object info palette under the shapes tab in the color field.

    Step 8.)

    SAVE THE FILE. Start Enscape, change the time of day to nighttime. The beam will appear where it is focused in the rendering. Use the exposure settings in Enscape along with the brightness settings in Vectorworks to achieve the desired look. Note that if the file has a large number of lighting fixtures pausing Enscape before making adjustments in Vectorworks will reduce the potential for a crash.