(written by Sarah Clausen)
In this short tutorial, I'll walk you through the creation of an Image Effect Playback and how to use it to create image, text and animation effects on stage. This tutorial is based on the Demo Play "Demo Tour" and its associated Training Project (Browser>Media>Training Projects). I highly recommend that you open the Demo Tour play and then save it to a different name of your choosing.
Image Effect Playbacks are used to combine layouts of channels with a static image, text string or animation file to create an effect. Please note, these effects do not use video sources, nor are they meant to serve media to external displays or LED walls.
There are three types of Image Effects - Image, which uses a static JPG or BMP file as the source of channel data; Text, which uses a piece of text as the source of the channel data; or Animation, which uses an short animated image as the source of the channel data.
Each of these effects requires an Effect Layout, where the channels that will perform the effect are mapped out to create a graphic relationship of those channels. That layout may match the physical layout of the actual fixtures in space, or it can be in any order or layout that you wish. Basically, your assigning channel numbers to pixel locations so that the console can sort out which pixel in the image/text/animation file will be controlling that channel at any given moment. While one typically thinks of this as an effect to be run on fixtures that are placed on a grid or array, it doesn't have to be. Channels can be laid out in any order - respecting reality or not - to create interesting effects using images, texts or animations as the source. One also typically thinks of these as LED effects, however you can run them on any fixture with intensity, color mixing, zoom or iris control - and that includes simple conventional dimmers!
Image effects have parameters for choosing the layout, which type of image effect you will run and which source item will be used, and a parameter to apply the effect to intensity (treating the source as grayscale information for any fixture with intensity control), color mix (CMY and RGB fixtures work), zoom or iris for channels within the layout. Additional parameters control the position of the source image (including text) on the layout, the scale and aspect and rotational position of the image, and a speed parameter governing the animation files. Lastly, you can adjust color, and apply scrolling, rotation, scale, aspect or shake effects on top of all that.
There is one object you need to create in order to use Image Effects - the Effect Layout. This uses a similar editor to the Channel Layout Editor and can be accessed in the Browser: Browser>Effects>Image Effects> Effect Layouts.
Create a simple Effect Layout:
The demo play Demo Tour has an effect layout already completed, but we'll make a new one so you can see how the same channels can be rearranged to create more options.
1) Navigate to the Effect Layout list in the Browser: Browser>Effects>Image Effects> Effect Layouts and press [MODIFY] to open the list.
2) Press [INSERT] to insert a new layout. A dialog opens asking you to enter the maximum pixel space for the layout. For this example, enter 20 wide by 5 high. This will create a grid that will help when laying out the channels in the editor.
3) Arrow down to the layout you've just inserted (layout "2"). Arrow over to the text cell and press [MODIFY], then type the name for this layout "20x5". Press [MODIFY] again to close the text cell.
4) Arrow back to the layout number and press [MODIFY] to enter the layout editor tab. This editor works just like the channel layout editor, so if you're already familiar with that tab you won't have any trouble working here. This type of layout only contains channels.
5) Select channels 101 thru 200 and press [WIZARD]. Press [LEFT ARROW] to select the Array tab and then enter 20 for the number of columns, 5 for the number of rows, and then select the check box to use the current selection and press [MODIFY] to place a check mark there. Arrow down to the Execute button and press [MODIFY]. Congo will insert the 100 selected channels into the array already placed in a 20x5 array.
6) Use a trackball or mouse to click-and-hold one of the channel symbols and drag the array onto the grid. Place the channel symbols within the squares of the grid. This will ensure that the channel array and the image/text/animation share a center point.
7) Press [ESC] to close the editor tab. Press [ESC] again to close the Effect Layout List.
Enter Texts to be used with Image Effects:
1) Navigate to the Effect Texts list in the Browser: Browser>Effects>Image Effects> Effect Layouts and press [MODIFY] to open the list.
2) Press [INSERT] to insert a new text item.
3) Arrow down to the text item you've just inserted ("2"). Arrow over to the text cell and press [MODIFY], then type the text "Congo". Press [MODIFY] again to close the text cell.
4) Repeat for as many texts as you would like available in your effects.
5) Press [ESC] to close the Texts list.
Create a simple Image Effect using Text:
1) Type [INSERT]&[EFFECT] (press and hold the [INSERT] key then press the [EFFECT] key, then release both keys) - this will open a dialog box that you can use to set the Effect Playback type.
2) Use the [TAB] key to move to the fourth tab, Image Effect, and press [MODIFY] to insert the Content Effect Playback. The new effect playback is selected after you insert it so all you have to do to get the effect running is determine the settings you want to use and then bring the level wheel up above 0%.
3) If the Effects Dock is not already open, press [SETUP]&[BROWSER] to open the Dock setup dialog. Docks are special display areas you can add to any screen connected to the Congo, the Browser is a Dock area that we open by default. In the "Bottom Area", open the drop-down menu and select "Effects", then select the MODIFY button and press [MODIFY] to close the dialog and open the new Effects Dock. In this dock you can see the inserted Effect Playbacks. (The Demo Tour play already has this dock open and some effect playbacks inserted, so inserting a new playback should create Effect Playback #5.)
4) In order to see what's going on in our effect, press the [LIVE] key and then press  [FORMAT] to view a channel layout for channels 101-200 that's already been built for you.
5) If Effect # 5 is still selected, use the level wheel to bring that effect playback up to full. If Effect #5 has become deselected, press  [EFFECT] [@ LEVEL] [@ LEVEL] (or [EFFECT]  [@ LEVEL]  in At Mode) to activate the playback. Now we'll set some parameters.
6) On the encoders you should see the first page of Image Effect parameters. If you don't, press the  key directly beneath the [FOCUS] key to access the U1 page of encoders. On Congo jr, the U1-U3 keys can be found in the EFFECTS softkeys, or you can use [C/ALT] & [FOCUS] to access U1, [C/ALT] & [COLOR] to access U2 and [C/ALT] & [BEAM] to access U3.
7) Press and hold the wheel key below the Layout parameter. You should see the two effect layouts appear on the direct selects and in the ML display (on Congo jr this display can be seen in the Console Mimic Dock, if opened). While holding the wheel key, you can use the direct selects to choose a layout, or you can use the Layout wheel to scroll in the list in the ML display. Simply release the wheel key when the desired layout is shown in the  brackets to select that layout. For now, select the first layout called "10 by 10".
8) Press and hold the wheel key below the Type parameter to select Image, Text or Animation. For now, select Text.
9) Press and hold the wheel key below the Index parameter to select which text you want to use. For now, select "Congo".
10) We will leave the MapTo parameter set to Intensity. The other options here are Color Mix, Zoom and Iris. You should see some lights come on in the channel layout in the Live tab. Now we will adjust the placement and size of the text.
11) Press the  key under the [COLOR] key to access the U2 page of encoders.
12) Type  and press the wheel key under the Scale parameter. You should see an "n" in the middle of the channel layout.
13) Press the  key beneath the [BEAM] key to access the U3 page of encoders. Press this key again to get to the second page (the first page contains RGB adjustments we won't play with right now).
14) Set the Effect parameter to ScrollX, the Eff Size parameter to 20 and the Eff Speed parameter to 10. You should see the word Congo scroll across the channel layout pretty quickly. Now you can play with the parameters of this effect to see how they change the display of the text. Try out some other effects, sizes and speeds and see what happens. Please note that the speed of scroll effects also controls the direction of the scroll - in this case, speeds below 50% will scroll the text to the left and speeds above 50% will scroll the text to the right.
Create a simple Image Effect using an Image:
(Note: the demo play Demo Tour contains some images to use with this tutorial. You can create or edit images using the onboard Effect Image editor by inserting new empty images in the Effect Images List, then pressing [MODIFY] on the image number. You can also import images directly from your USB stick using the Import Effect Images... tool at the bottom of the Image Effects portion of the Browser.)
1) We're going to use the same effect playback inserted in the previous section of the tutorial. If you haven't done that part yet, please look at steps 1-7 of the "Text Effect" section to get started, then skip to step 3 of this section.
2) With effect playback #5 selected, press [HOME ATTRIB] [HOME ATTRIB] to return it to its home position.
3) Press the  key directly beneath the [FOCUS] key to access the U1 page of encoders. Set the Layout parameter to "10 by 10". Set the Type parameter to "Image" (this is the default type). And set the Index parameter to "diagonal". You should see a single line of channels at full appear on the channel layout in the Live tab. If you look closely, you'll notice that the other channels in the layout also have intensity levels from the image. Look in the Info area beneath the Browser to see a preview of the image we're using - the image is actually in color, but since we have the effect mapped to intensity, those colors are being interpreted as grayscale values.
4) Let's see this effect in color! Select channels 101-200 and set them to full intensity (and to white, if needed). Reselect effect playback 5. Change the MapTo parameter to "ColorMix". Watch what happens in the Live tab. Now, the brightness of the channels is coming from the manual level you entered. The colors are coming from the effect playback. If the image you use has black in it, those areas will allow the color settings from the channels (not from the effect) to bleed through, giving you more options for how an image or animation gets used.
5) Press the  key under the [COLOR] key to access the U2 page of encoders. Enter a Scale of 130 so that the image is larger than the array of channels.
6) Press the  key beneath the [BEAM] key to access the U3 page of encoders. Press this key again to get to the second page (the first page contains RGB adjustments we won't play with right now). Set the Effect parameter to Rotation, the Eff Size parameter to 20 and the Eff Speed parameter to 25. You should see the image start to spin to the left. Try out some other effects, sizes and speeds and see what happens. Please note that the speed of effects also controls the direction of the effect - in this case, speeds below 50% will rotate the image to the left and speeds above 50% will rotate the image to the right.
Create a simple Image Effect using an Animation:
(Note: Congo has 60 animation files included that can be used for these effects. It is not possible for users to import or create their own or edit them on the desk.)
3) Select channels 101-200 and set them to full intensity and color black (RG&B all at zero). Reselect effect playback 5.
4) Press the  key directly beneath the [FOCUS] key to access the U1 page of encoders. Set the Layout parameter to "10 by 10". Set the Type parameter to "Animation". Set the Index parameter to "Hypno Pink". And set the MapTo parameter to "Color Mix". You should see something moving on the channel layout in the Live tab.
5) Press the  key under the [COLOR] key to access the U2 page of encoders. Enter a Scale of 25 so that the image is reduced to fit better on the array of channels. Now you should see a spinning spiral image.
6) Press the  key directly beneath the [FOCUS] key again to return to the U1 page of encoders. Press and hold the wheel key for Index, then check out the offering on the direct selects. Try out different animations to see how they look. Play for a bit and get comfortable using the animation effects.
Now you've made a simple version of each of the styles of Image Effect. We used a single effect playback to illustrate the flexibility of the effect playback concept. You can use multiple Image effect playbacks to layer effects on top of each other - the intensity level of the playback determines how "present" the effect will be while running. Try combining image effects and texts, varying the intensity levels between the effects to bring different effects to the forefront. Try playing with changing the color of the channels you're running the effects on.
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