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Inventory management and importing effectsDocumentation

IntermediateLast updated: September 27, 2019

6 Inventory compatibility with Finale Business (and how to fix cakes)

If you are importing or modifying a Finale Inventory to use with Finale 3D while maintaining backward compatibility with Finale Business, you will need to give special consideration to three fields: Prefire, Type, and VDL.

  1. Prefire. Finale Business and Finale 3D interpret the term “prefire” for aerial cakes differently, and action is required on your part to change the prefires in your inventory to a value that works for both. The table below shows the options, but the best solution is: change the prefires of aerial cakes to blank. The default prefire for cakes in Business is 0.3 seconds. Unfortunately this value causes aerial cake shells in Finale 3D to break at 0.3 seconds on the way up, looking like a geyser or flowerpot. Please change the value to blank, or one of the other good values in the table below. Please see Cake and candle duration (and prefire)
  2. Type. Finale 3D and Finale Inventory support all the values of Finale Business, and a few more. Thus if the Type values in your inventory are from Business, they’ll work fine in 3D. But if you change them to values other than Cakes, Candles, Shells, Mines, Comets, Other, or Non-Choreographed, then they will no longer work in Business. (Type is called “Choreography Tab” in Inventory, and “Category” in Business.) Please see Why is ‘Type’ so important?.
  3. VDL. Finale 3D and Business both support VDL effect descriptions for simulations, but Business requires a strict form of VDL. If you type or import VDL into Finale Inventory directly, it most likely will not work for Business because it will not be in the strict form (e.g., case-sensitive). If you need backward compatible VDL then please copy/paste the VDL field from 3D after creating or editing the simulation via the dialog, which puts it into the strict form.

Table 1 shows four possible prefire values for a 3” aerial cake, and indicates whether the result is good or bad in Business and 3D. You can see that 0.3 is bad, but the three other possibilities — blank, 0.0, and the lift time of the first aerial shell in the cake — are all good. There are slight differences, but the blank value is the best choice because it works exactly the same way as 0.3 in Business, and it also works 3D, and it is simple.


Figure 1 – Aerial cakes from Finale Business with 0.3s prefire look terrible in 3D.


In Figure 1, the cake on the left has 0.3 seconds prefire and normal height, rocketing the shell to its break height in a fraction of the normal lift time of about 3 seconds. The stars from the break have so much upward velocity at that point, they shoot into the sky. Clearly, the 0.3 seconds prefire value is not the right value for 3D.

Table 1 – Finale 3D/Business compatibility matrix for prefires of aerial cakes like “10 Shot 5s Red Peony Cake”

PrefireFinale BusinessFinale 3D
0.3(GOOD) First launch at 0.0s; timeline blip at 0.3s; break at 2.8s(BAD) First launch at 0.0s; timeline blip at 0.3s; break at 0.3s (looks like a geyser)
(blank)(GOOD) Same as 0.3(GOOD) First launch at 0.0s; timeline blip at 3.02s; break at 3.02s
0.0(GOOD) Same as 2.8(GOOD) First launch at 0.0s; timeline blip at 3.02s; break at 3.02s
2.8 (the default lift time for 3” shell in Finale Business)(GOOD) First launch at 0.0s; timeline blip at 0.3s; break at 2.8s(GOOD) First launch at 0.0s; timeline blip at 2.8s; break at 2.8s (a little early)