SoftPlot is a graphical design application specifically for create lighting plots, manage paperwork for all levels of entertainment from theatre to film to TV and is great for students and professionals. SoftPlot makes it easy to drag-and-drop lighting fixtures, trusses, and other elements on the design surface. You can take a bird-eye’s view and see your design in Plan, Cross Section, and Elevation views to make sure all your sightlines and focuses are correct. Working with SoftPlot will greatly increase productivity during design time. SoftPlot will also manage paperwork from gel lists to instrument schedules. Printing is easy with SoftPlot as it can output to any printer or plotter supported by Windows. Many options are available from color to page sizes. You can also create and print reports of inventory, pattern listings, channel schedules, and others. Price: from €245 to €1622.50 (Depend of license).
Backstage Cowboys – Listen to interviews with industry veterns, with a general theme on lighting as a career. Even if you don’t intend to do lighting as a job, you can still learn a lot from these folks as they discuss what matters in this business.
Realizzer 3D is one of best realistic real-time lighting simulator. It allows you to create photo realistic designs and instantly view your light show on your PC. The software has a comprehensive library with many 3D models included such as Truss and more. With the Pro, Ultimate and Studio versions you have also the possibility to simulate complete laser and video installations. Also, custom created 3D models can be imported in over 20 formats (OBJ, 3DS, DAE, etc.). Starting with Realizzer Studio you can create highly realistic videos rendered in full HD to present your show designs. Price: €300 (Basic) – €800 (Professional) – €1400 (Ultimate) – €2100 (Studio).
Hi, David here! I wanted to create a page for the readers of LearnStageLighting.com to have all of my recommended resources in one place.
Lighting Trainer – Probably the very best compilation of lighting videos and tutorials on the web. It’s all right here!
The Light Side – On the concert side, Jam Band lighting designer Luke Stratton interviews designers and they go deep together in the “how and why” behind great lighting.
DIY Uplighting – DIY uplighting is the easiest place to rent LED uplights from for your next event. They are super-competitive on pricing, and offer free shipping both ways! Check out their lights!
Martin ShowDesigner 6 has a newly designed 3D engine which provides photorealistic rendering in real-time using the latest DirectX technology. On MSD 6’s user-friendly timeline control you can create complex presentations including lighting, video, animated scenery, camera motion and animated smoke effects. The user interface has been completely redesigned with a modern look, offering a rapid workflow to quickly drag and drop fixtures, objects and textures as well as instant access to any object’s properties. MSD 6 is Vectorworks-friendly and through a Windows-based plug-in, Vectorworks files can be exported and imported into MSD 6. MSD 6 also comes with its own 3D modeling app to quickly build objects and materials or import DXF, DWG and native SketchUp formats along with all textures and UV maps. MSD 6 is available in two versions: MSD 6 Pro™ and MSD 6 Lite™.
Many of these resources are free, but some are paid and some are affiliate links(I receive a small commission if you buy). However, there is no pressure and no need to buy anything, it’s just an avenue I offer to you to find the resources you need and help this site out.
PLSN – A great industry mag with good pictures, and covers stage lighting in all types of venues including churches.
On Stage Lighting Online Stage Lighting Online Tutorials, Information and How To
AutoSTAGE is an efficient tool for the cost-effective and easy creation of professional CAD plans, engineering designs and visual images for fair, exhibition, theatre and live entertainment.AutoSTAGE provides the technical simulation of reality. This is based on an extensive library of over 20,000 2D and 3D symbols in areas such as lighting, audio, video, stage, trusses, rigging, studio and theatre and also banquet and catering.An integral component of AutoSTAGE is the large collection of tools. This allows for designs of great accuracy in the shortest time, even complex trussing or lighting plans. Apart from the actual design, the clever combination of information allows a variety of other data planning functions, like stock lists for example, to be created. These can be viewed, changed and displayed at any time.Despite the complexity of the CAD Software, AutoSTAGE is suitable for CAD beginners as well. After a short training period, due to the intuitive design of AutoSTAGE, the user can create professional CAD plans without extensive prior knowledge of CAD.
Draftsight – Free 2D CAD Program from the Dassault Systems. I use this and it is great for churches. *NOTE – When they update the software, they require you to download the new version. However, this is the very best free CAD program out there for lighting.
iSquint – A good blog to keep up with the latest technology as they publish press releases from the major companies as new lights come out. Also a good library of information
GrandMa 3D allows a straight forward design and set up of any custom stage or scenery layout with its 2D drawing facilities and a library of basic graphical elements. Multiple windows both in 2D or 3D view with any camera angle can be opened at the same time and will be updated in real-time. All the stage elements can be positioned in x/y/z directions and can also be rotated around the various axes. Textures to design these elements’ surfaces can be chosen from the huge built-in library, or you may import your own graphic files and even video clips and use them as textures. Position and rotation parameters of objects and cameras on the virtual stage can be controlled via DMX. The equipment can be moved freely in the 3D space via the connected grandMA2 console. GrandMA 3D is free.
LX Free is an application for drawing light plots and generating paperwork. It combines drawing a light plot with editing information associated with graphic objects in the drawing, and it is able to produces reports by linking the graphics, attached data, and additional databases related to the properties of these objects. The software is totally free and available as a native application on Mac OS X. LXFree for Java runs on Windows and Linux computers that have a Java runtime installed. LX is a Free CAD Software.
ChromaKinetics – This page has some really great reference material for cable sizes, beam calculations and gel color conversions. A good one to keep bookmarked.
Stage Lighting Design Cad Software is a collection reguarding useful softwares for the planning of lighting shows. You can find both free softwares or free libraries for Autocad and paid softwares that allow you to design, simulate, plot, draft projects on paper.
VectorWorks Spotlight is one of the most complete software packages for Building Information Modeling (BIM) and planning. The package is a complete and well designed product, including sophisticated 2D design and 3D modelling environments, enabling professionals to realise projects ranging from architectural to landscape, to 3D modelling and Lighting Design. A complete suite that, thanks to the different workspaces, enables its users to implement design in great detail through the many tools and features that simplify and speed up the designer’s workflow. Vectorworks is able to interface with many other software packages such as ArchiCAD, SketchUp, Autocad, Cinema 4D and Revit. It allows users to generate plans, prospects, sections, reports, and material lists based on the information contained in the project, in addition to realising the graphical aspects of a presentation in a completely customisable fashion. Price: €2945,00 (New License Spotlight Version)
By Walter Lutzu 8 January 2018 – 8:00 14 January 2018 Review
LightConverse software offers real-time, photo-realistic 3D visualization of any type of show. Features include realistic-looking fixtures, photometric rays and gobo visualization, fixture constructor, video inputs, animated objects, animated fog, customizable 3D libraries. Software updates are free of charge for life. The realism and speed are the best in the industry. First up in v56 are new functions for fixtures, including precise 3D volume Focus calculations for beams and beam footprints, accurate Frost calculation covering the complete range of depth for LED modules, Gobo Edge abilities, Objective Mapping for Shapes (RGB rings, segments, etc.) and added Pixel Shift functions for High End’s ShapeShifter instrument. The latest version additionally adds further enhancements to its integration with 3D Multimedia Glasses and Head Tracker support, which allows users and their clients to be completely immersed in a 360° Virtual World of their show or event – a definite way to bring clients onboard quickly. Price: €1071.00 (NET) – €1666.00 (Media) – €3332 (Trace) – €8925 (Unlimited).
The Learn Stage Lighting Podcast – Join me (David), as I discuss a variety of topics related to stage lighting, beginning with lighting, and answer your questions!
Prolyte Black Book – This FREE download from a major European truss builder is a fantastic guide to building truss and truss safety. A must-read for anyone interested in lighting as a career!
Control Booth – A theatre-centered forum on all things stagecraft. Lighting, audio, video, and set are all covered here!
Control Geek – John Huntington authors this intense blog on topics such as automation, safety, control standards and cool time-lapse photography! He has also written an amazing book if you’re a geek like me!
Jim On Light – JOL takes a wide approach to light and lighting, covering everything from architectural lighting to stage lighting and everything in between!
Capture Nexum is a native macOS and Windows application that lets you work with the lighting, video, laser, moving scenery and water elements of a show. Focus points are ease of use and ability to seamlessly allow switching between design, documentation and visualization oriented tasks. This provides an unprecedented level of flexibility and ability to support any type of design process and also encourages trying out new workflows. The new version is able to connect to other technologies and systems, ranging from screen technology and LED as well as filter colour accuracy to physical media input and streaming technologies, 3D model and fixture data / patch file format interchange to 3D motion tracking. Prices: Solo € 395, Duet € 795, Quartet € 1295, Symphony € 2195.
Cast Wysiwyg Is the most famous software known by many lighting designer. Cast Wysiwyg allow to design, simulate, make render and pre-visualize the show. Wysiwyg is an all-in-one lighting design software with fully integrated CAD, plots, data, visualization and virtual show control. Wysiwyg features the largest CAD library with thousands of 3D objects you can choose from to design your entire show. Price: $899 (Report Version) – 2999 (Design Version) – $5749 (Perform Version). Also available the lease mode (3,6,12,24 mounth).
Virtual Light Lab software allows lighting designers, teachers, or students to experiment with light, shadow, color composition, and cue timing in a simulated lighting studio. Virtual Light Lab is fast and easy to use: highly realistic images are displayed immediately and there is no complicated 3D drawing system to learn. Models are placed on a stage and lighted, a backdrop image is added, stage looks are composed. Moving a light or changing a color is as simple as clicking and dragging a light icon or a color swatch. Recorded scenes can be assigned fade times, then played back at full screen size and recorded as QuickTime movies. Images can be printed, or exported for use in other graphic applications. Price: $239 (Individual) – $149 (Student) – $195 (Faculty)
Light Talk – Join the “Lumen Brothers” in this really informative and funny look at lighting. These guys do a really great job, and while the focus is primarily on the theatre, you can learn something no matter what kind of lighting you do!
I gladly wait for your suggestions to raise the bar of this collection. If you please, comment at the end of the post.
While there have been many lighting podcasts in the past, I will keep this updated with Podcasts that currently are still creating great, new shows.
LightNetwork – A professional lighting forum that covers advanced topics. A really great place to learn.
Stage Lighting Primer – A great site to learn technical skills within lighting and CAD drawing. Though it is aimed at college students studying theatre, the usefulness of the information carries much further than that!
MagicVis is a powerful visualisation system fully integrated with ChamSys free MagicQ software to enable lighting designers to pre-visualise their shows, to program blind and to automatically generate rigging paperwork including plots and patch lists. MagicQ for Windows/Mac/Linux includes the visualiser and as you patch fixtures they will appear in the Visualiser window and you can easily move them to the appropriate position using the on screen encoder wheels. MagicVis is also available as a stand alone MagicVis application which can be run on a laptop or desktop computer connected via network to a MagicQ console. Just start the MagicVis app and it will find the MagicQ console and synchronise with the show file.
Lighting and Sound America – Leaning towards theatre lighting, this magazine covers all types of stage lighting.
Vision puts the power to previsualize and cue your show at your fingertips. Cross-platform, intuitive software that works with your console, Vision equips you to design creatively and efficiently. Entertainment design and production professionals save time and money when they use Vision because you can previz without needing the venue or having a crew standing by. Experiment with looks and cues, review options with your clients and artists, and get buy in – all before you load in. Made for PC and Mac platforms, Vision is built for accuracy with moving light fixtures. It communicates with a wide array of DMX consoles, including the MA2, Hog, ETC EOS, and many more that can send ArtNET or sACN NET protocols over an Ethernet connection. Don’t worry, you can also work offline with onPC support for hog3 MA1&2, and many other consoles. Price: $395,00 (New Licence) – $198,00 (Education).
Sketchup – A really simple 3D CAD program with a good FREE version. Many churches use this for set design, and it looks great and does a ton of carpentry math for you.
Church Production – Aimed solely at churches, this magazine contains a lot of useful articles.
Lightwright 6 help designers and electricians record and keep track of the vast amount of data needed to install and maintain a lighting installation. As the lighting world has increased in complexity due to the proliferation of moving lights and LEDs, the organizational demands on lighting designers, design assistants, and electricians has continued to grow. Lightwright 6, for the first time, fulfills a longtime industry dream of controlling the flow of lighting data from design to console without needing to enter data multiple times by hand, while documenting up to 45,000 universes of data. Inside dozens of other new features for lighting users, including a built in label maker. To organize their shows and to provide easy identification of gear, production electricians carefully label everything, including lights, cables, breakouts, power supplies, dimmer racks, and data distribution gear.