Lightform’s wireless control capabilities allow you to create and publish content over Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
The project creation workflow in Lightform Creator has three phases -- Design, Publish, and Control.
All of the design work is performed on the Design page of Lightform Creator. Saving or archiving your project to your laptop/desktop will generate a folder with a .lit project file, along with the project's scan images. This enables you to design freely across multiple sessions or days with or without being connected to your Lightform Device. However, the most important thing to remember, is that the changes made to a saved project file are not the changes that are displayed by your Lightform Device until you've published your project to the Lightform Device.
Publishing is the process of:
- Preparing your project by converting it into an optimal format for your device.
- This requires rendering your project's content to intermediate video files. This is comparable to rendering out videos in video editing software.
- Note: If your project only contains live effects, then rendering is trivial and won't take long.
- Uploading it to your device.
- This requires a network connection between your laptop/desktop and the Lightform device.
Prior to our latest update (Lightform Creator 2.1.4, released on March 31, 2021) both of these steps were performed in a single action by pressing the "Publish" button on the Design page of Lightform Creator. This required you to be connected to the same network as the Lightform Device on your computer.
With Lightform Creator 2.1.4 you can now choose to perform each of these steps separately. What does this do and why would you choose to do it? We explain further below.
How to Publish your Project
The Publish button can be found in the toolbar area of the Design page. When pressed, your project will be prepared and uploaded to the project's selected device all at once. This is the main process for publishing your project.
The Publish button is disabled if your project does not have a device selected, or if the device is offline.
As of the new release, there are now two additional ways you can publish. You'll see that now the Publish button has a small arrow button to the right which displays the following dropdown menu. If you choose, you can still publish your project without a device -- in two steps rather than one.
- Change Device: Allows you to choose a different device for the project.
- Publish To Local Folder: Allows you to publish your project to a local laptop/computer folder rather than your device. In other words, the publish does NOT get uploaded to your Lightform device and you do NOT need to be connected to the device. When selecting this option, you will be prompted to choose a folder into which the project will be published. A subfolder will be created in this location with the name of your current project. That subfolder will also contain a .zip file of the final published content named "<project name>-Published.zip". You will later specify that .zip file when using the "Publish From Local Folder" option.
- Publish From Local Folder: This allows you to publish content generated by the "Publish To Local Folder" option. To Publish From Local Folder, you will be prompted to specify the .zip file that was previously generated. This content will be validated, and then uploaded to to the selected Lightform device.
Why publish in two steps instead of one? This can be helpful in a few ways.
- You no longer need to be connected to your Lightform Device to render your project's content to intermediate video files. This means you can preview each of your slides as a video on your computer rather than waiting for the project to upload to the device to see it projected.
- You no longer have to re-render your project if you hit a publish error. Now, if you have Published to a Local Folder, and you run into a publish error, the rendering has already been done and can be picked up at the upload step.
- You can have multiple versions of the same project published to your computer, whereas, you can only have one project published to the device at a time. This means you can create radically different projects for the same physical scene set up and then choose which option you like the most to publish to the device.
Controlling your Published Project
A published project is controlled from the Control page in Lightform Creator. When making changes on the Control page, these changes do NOT affect your project on the Design page. In fact, you don't even need a project to be present on the Design page. This is useful if you wish to have Lightform Creator installed on a computer that only controls devices, and is never used for content creation. You can control live effects, audio reactivity, and manual alignment settings post publish.
You can also go beyond Lightform Creator to control your Lightform devices. Lightform devices can be controlled via mobile, sound synthesizers, and other multimedia devices through OSC. This allows you to interact with and modify live effects in real-time.
Other Publish Specifications
You can publish as many projects as you'd like to your Local Folder, however, only one project can be uploaded to the device at a time and each time you publish a new project to the device, you will overwrite the previous project on your device.
Each time you turn on your device, the last project you published will come up - the device inherits the state that you last left the project in. For instance, if you turned off your device while it was playing content, when you turn it on, it will be playing content. If you turned off your device while your project was stopped, you will not see the project playing the next time it turns on.
Long Render Times
The size of your project affects publishing time. Projects with more and/or longer slides increase render and upload times. Projects with more assets (effects, generators, videos, images) effects per slide increase render time (should not affect upload time).
Render times can be improved if you have a fast GPU. The upload speed can be improved with a faster network which can typically be achieved by Lightform device over ethernet instead of Wi-Fi.
Recommended Project Length
We recommend that projects are a maximum length of 60 minutes on the LFC Kit and 20 minutes on the LF2 and LF1.