The MAGICFX Flamaniac unit is a flame projector with 5 angled nozzles that can fire directional flame bursts under programmable control by any of the DMX-capable firing systems, such as Piroshow, Pyromac, PyroSure, FireTek, Cobra, and Mongoose.
Figure 1 – MAGICFX Flamaniac
The Flamaniac system has two configuration modes, Mode 1, in which the five different angles are controlled by five DMX channels, and Mode 2, in which the five angles are controlled by a single DMX channel with different values corresponding to different angles, or off. Finale 3D includes pre-defined Flamaniac effects for the five angles in various durations in the Generic Effects collection for both Mode 1 and Mode 2. You can copy and modify these effects or make your own with other durations or simulations. Finale 3D also includes rotatable Flamaniac effects in various durations (Mode 2 only).
To script a show for the Flamaniac system, you click on an Flamaniac effect icons in the effect palette or effect window to add effects to the show. You can use the effects with built in angles, and leave them at those angles, or you can use the rotatable effects, and optionally rotate them to the angles supported by the Flamaniac unit, or thereabouts (-45, -22, 0, 22, 45). After inserting effects, you export the show as a firing script for one of the DMX-capable firing systems. The export function in Finale 3D takes into consideration the angles of the chosen effects in the show, the rotated angles for the rotatable effects, and the durations of the effects, and compiles the proper sequence of DMX events in the exported script.
For further information about the MAGICFX Flamaniac units, see the MAGICFX website (www.magicfx.eu) and the manual_flamaniac_eng-2017.
Instructions for designing in Finale 3D
To design a show for MAGICFX Flamaniac units, please follow these steps:
- Set up. (A) Follow the flame set up instructions in the Flame systems basic instructions and Exporting a firing system script for flame systems. (B) After deciding what DMX channel range you want each flame unit to use (Mode 1 or Mode 2), configure each physical unit’s “Start Address” in the real world to be exactly the first channel in the DMX channel range (older versions of Finale 3D required subtracting 1 on the DMX Channel Base, but that is no longer correct; the DMX Channel Base should match the Start Address exactly). (C) Flamaniac flame units in the same DMX universe can share a safety channel, which can be configured separately from the DMX channel range that controls the firing angles. In the real world, please configure each physical Flamaniac unit’s “Safety Channel Address” to be the shared safety channel number for the universe. (D) In the real world, please configure the physical Flamaniac units to be in Mode 1 or Mode 2, matching whatever types of effects you insert from Finale 3D.
- Add flame effects to the show. (A) Right-click on DMX Fixture positions to add compatible effects from the context menu or to filter the effects window to compatible effects. All told for Mode 1 and Mode 2 together there are about 50, beginning with part number GFX9701. These pre-defined effects include the five angles in several durations for both Mode 1 and Mode 2 options. Toward the end of the list, beginning with part number GFX9761, are three rotatable effects. You will also need the “MAGICFX DMX Safety Channel” effect at GFX9799. The “MAGICFX DMX Safety Channel” has a DMX value in its DMX Patch that will arm the flame unit (value = 128, though any number from 102 to 153 would work). The DMX value is different from the generic safety channel effect (GFX9900), which does not work with the Flamaniac.
- Design the show. After inserting effects in the show, you can select groups of any of them and do functions like “Script > Sequences > Make into sequence…” to make interesting timing patterns. With the pre-defined effects with built in angles (GFX9701 to GFX9756) you should not use the scripting functions that change the angles of the effects or rotate the dotted line representations of the effects in the 3D view, since those exported angles are built into the effect definitions. With the rotatable effects (GFX9761 to GFX9763), you can rotate the dotted line representations of the effects interactively in the 3D view. Since the Flamaniac unit only supports certain angles, Finale 3D will round the rotated angle to the nearest supported angle. So, for example, rotating an effect to 25 degrees is just fine, and will be rounded to trigger the 22 degree angle shot in the DMX script for the Flamaniac.
- Make your own, or modify existing flame effects. The MAGICFX effects come in a few example durations in the Generic Effects collection, but you can also create your own variations that have various other durations. (A) First copy the original effect by selecting the effect row in Generic Effects, then right-click copy (or control-C). (B) Then paste into your My Effects or any of your other effects collections. (C) After copying it to your own inventory, you can modify its parameters. Simply edit the duration field to change its duration. The 3D simulation and the DMX Patch will automatically incorporate your change. It is also possible to make your own custom effects by editing the VDL field or changing the height field, but these changes will not affect the exported DMX script.
- Add safety channel effects. Following the instructions Exporting a firing system script for flame systems add “MAGICFX DMX Safety Channel” effects to your safety channel position, and adjust their durations to cover the spans of time for which you want to arm the flame unit.
Technical details of flame simulations
The visual simulations for the MAGICFX flame effects are defined in the VDL field, like all other effect visual simulations. The pre-defined angles are incorporated into the VDL descriptions with the terms L45, L25, R25, and R45 for left leaning and right leaning angles of 25 and 45 degrees. The Flamaniac angles are actually 22 and 45 degrees, but VDL only supports 5 degree increments in its terminology so R25 is used for right 22 degrees as the closest match. An example of the VDL is,
Flame Projector R45
The visual simulations do also take into account the duration and height fields of the effect definitions, in addition to the VDL.
Technical details of DMX scripts
How do the effects inserted into the show get compiled into a DMX script that takes into account the angles and/or durations? For each effect, the DMX export process is defined by the “DMX Patch” field of the effect. This field contains a little program that specifies what DMX events need to be inserted into the DMX script to achieve the desired effect. The DMX Patch program can take the trajectory angle and effect duration as inputs, as well as, obviously, the time of the shot and the position’s DMX Base Channel. To understand the mechanics, let’s first look at the Flamaniac’s specifications for DMX and then examine an actual DMX script.
The Flamaniac needs to be configured for three choices, as explained in (1), above:
- Configure the “Start Address” from 1 to 512.
- Configure the unit to be in Mode 1 or Mode 2, matching the types of effects you insert from Finale 3D.
- Configure the “Safety Channel Address” from 1 to 512.
Based on the choice of Mode 1 or Mode 2, the DMX script will contain a different scheme of events to control the Flamaniac unit. In Mode 1, the five channels beginning at Start Address control the flames at the corresponding five angles, from left to right. The DMX script contains a 255 value to turn the nozzle at the specified angle on, or 0 to turn it off. In Mode 2, a single channel at the Start Address will control the flames of all five angles based on the value of the channel. The value 0 is off, no flames. The other values are shown in Table 1. Some types of DMX controllers represent the values in the script in the range 0-255; others convert the numbers to percentages in the range 0-100. The example script shown in Figure 2 is for the Piroshow firing system, which uses percentages in the range 0-100.
Table 1 – Flamaniac Mode 2 DMX values and corresponding percentages and angles
|DMX value 0-255||Percentage 0-100||Angle|
|26-64||10-25||45 degrees left|
|65-115||25-45||22 degrees left|
|167-217||65-85||22 degrees right|
|218-255||85-100||45 degrees right|
Depending on the DMX controller, the DMX script will either contain a single event with a duration to represent the flame shot, or a pair of events, one to turn it on and the other to turn it off. The Piroshow firing system represents DMX flame shots in a pair of events. Figure 2 shows an example script with six flame shots, and two safety channel spans. With a pair of events for each, the script requires 8 * 2 = 16 events:
C:\Users\wharvey\Documents\finale_3d_website_media\magicfx_piroshow_rotatable_flames.wav 00:04.569,1,50,@DMX512 MAGICFX DMX Safety Channel 00:05.000,11,11,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Medium DMX Mode2 00:05.500,11,0,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Medium DMX Mode2 00:05.600,11,50,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Medium DMX Mode2 00:06.100,11,0,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Medium DMX Mode2 00:06.200,11,89,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Medium DMX Mode2 00:06.700,11,0,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Medium DMX Mode2 00:07.569,1,0,@DMX512 MAGICFX DMX Safety Channel 00:08.745,1,50,@DMX512 MAGICFX DMX Safety Channel 00:08.970,11,31,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Short DMX Mode2 00:09.220,11,0,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Short DMX Mode2 00:09.470,11,50,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Short DMX Mode2 00:09.720,11,0,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Short DMX Mode2 00:09.970,11,70,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Short DMX Mode2 00:10.220,11,0,@DMX512 MAGICFX Rotatable Short DMX Mode2 00:10.745,1,0,@DMX512 MAGICFX DMX Safety Channel
Figure 2 – Piroshow DMX script for example show of six flame shots, plus two safety channel spans
The format of the Piroshow script DMX rows (details here) is time, channel, value percentage, description beginning with @DMX512. You can see in rows 1 and 8 the pair of events that sets the safety channel at channel address 1 to ON at 50 percent (DMX value = 128) and then back to off at zero. Rows 9 and 16 similarly represent another safety channel ON span. The other pairs of rows represent the six individual shots, beginning with rows 2 and 3, turning on the Flamaniac configured for Start Address 11 to percentage value 11 (value = 28), which you can see in Table 1 represents a 45 degree left flame shot. The duration of the effect is the difference in times between the two rows, or 0.5 seconds. This effect happens to be the :MAGICFX Rotatable Medium DMX Mode2″, GFX9762.
Finale 3D compiles the GFX9762 effect into the proper DMX script for the firing system by evaluating the DMX Patch field of the effect, which is a small program. The DMX Patch for GFX9762 is:
[simpleBeginEndPatch 0 :tilt90x200 0]
This program describes an event that has a beginning and an end; that begins at channel offset 0 from the DMX Channel Base of the position; that sets the value of the channel to the function :tilt90x200 at the beginning; and that sets the value of the channel to zero at the end. The function :tilt90x200 computes a value based on the effect’s dotted line trajectory angle: 127.5 + rightLeaningTiltInDegreesWithZeroBeingUp * 200.0 / 90.0, clamping to the range 0-255, which basically means it converts an angle range -45 to 45 into a range of 200 values centered around 127.5. This function calculates DMX values that match the dotted line trajectory angles to the value ranges of the Flamaniac defined in Table 1.
The evaluation of this simpleBeginEndPatch function depends on the firing system. In the case of Piroshow, the begin and end of the flame shot are separate events, and the DMX value in the script is in percentage. With a calculator by your side, you can confirm that the example is a sequence of two left-center-right fans, the first fan with 45 degree angles and the second fan with 22 degree angles.
Although the example script does not contain any Mode 1 effects, it is illustrative to look at their DMX Patches. The DMX Patch for “MAGICFX L22.5 Medium DMX Mode1” (GFX9702) is:
[simpleBeginEndPatch 1 255 0]
This DMX Patch writes the value 255 at the beginning of the flame shot to the channel at offset 1 from the position’s DMX Channel Base; and zero at the end of the shot. Offset 1 selects the 22 degree left nozzle. As you can probably guess, the 45 degree left Mode 1 effect writes to channel offset 0; and the aiming-up effect writes to channel offset 2.
Table 2 – Example files
|magicfx_firetek_standard.fin||FireTek pyro + Flamaniac example show|
|magicfx_firetek_standard.csv||FireTek pyro + Flamaniac example exported script|
|magicfx_piroshow_standard.fin||Piroshow pyro + Flamaniac example show|
|magicfx_piroshow_standard.txt||Piroshow pyro + Flamaniac example exported script|
|magicfx_pyromac_standard.fin||Pyromac pyro + Flamaniac example show|
|magicfx_pyromac_standard.txt||Pyromac pyro + Flamaniac example exported script|
|magicfx_pyrosure_standard.fin||PyroSure pyro + Flamaniac example show|
|magicfx_pyrosure_standard.wyh||PyroSure pyro + Flamaniac example exported script|
|magicfx_cobra_standard.fin||Cobra pyro + Flamaniac example show|
|magicfx_cobra_standard.csv||Cobra pyro + Flamaniac example exported script|
|magicfx_piroshow_rotatable_flames.fin||Rotatable flames example show|
|magicfx_piroshow_rotatable_flames.txt||Rotatable flames example exported script|