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Software Documentation

Inventory management and importing effectsDocumentation

Intermediate Last updated: April 21, 2020

3 Importing effects from Finale Business

Converting effect inventories from Finale Business to Finale 3D requires 3 or 4 steps (depending how your effects are stored).  The first couple steps can be done in one sitting.  The third step is usually something you do incrementally over time. The fourth step is simply connect your inventory (if applicable). Regardless of how your effects are stored in Finale Business the best way to convert them Finale 3D is using the “Noah’s Ark Strategy” as detailed below.

Figure 1 – Video overview of “Noah’s Ark Strategy for migrating effects from Finale Business to Finale 3D

 

  1. Create a “Noah’s Ark” file in Finale Business.  This step involves creating a show (HBS file) in Finale Business with one of each of your effects. Instructions for this step are exactly the same regardless of whether your effects are stored in “My Fireworks” or in a Master Inventory / Finale Inventory. Finale Business doesn’t have an export function for “My Fireworks”, so some manual work is required to transfer the effects to Finale 3D.  A Master Inventory / Finale Inventory account can be connected to Finale 3D, but a “Noah’s Ark” file is still required to retain custom simulations created in Finale Business. Creating a “Noah’s Ark” file is the only way to retain custom simulations created in Finale Business.

    Figure 2 – Video tutorial: create “Noah’s Ark” file

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  3. Import “Noah’s Ark” file in Finale 3D.  After creating your “Noah’s Ark” HBS file in Finale Business, the next step is to import the file into Finale 3D. If your effects were created using VDL in Finale Business, the VDL will be imported into Finale 3D. If you created custom simulations using the colorful graphics editing panels at the top of the Finale Business screen, the import process will reverse engineer your effects and automatically generate the best possible VDL representation for each effect.

    Figure 3 – Video tutorial: import “Noah’s Ark” file into Finale 3D

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  5. Improve the quality of the simulations.  Having imported your “Noah’s Ark” file into Finale 3D, the next step is to tune the simulations. Finale 3D uses an entirely new, upgraded rendering engine. The import process does the best possible job transferring VDL and reverse engineering custom simulations, however, some adjustments to imported effects are usually necessary. Tuning of effects can be accomplished by updating the various fields in the Finale 3D effects window, and especially by editing the effect VDL. Precision fine tuning of effects is also possible using the Finale 3D effect editor (not yet available, anticipated May 2020).

    Figure 4 – Video tutorial: tune simulations

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  7. Connecting Master Inventory / Finale Inventory and merge “Noah’s Ark”.  If your effects are in a Master Inventory / Finale Inventory, you will need establish the connection to Finale 3D by going to “finale3d.com > My Account > Connect To Finale Inventory” page, as described in Account setup. Once the connection is successful, the inventory will then appear in your effects window in Finale 3D and still appear in your Finale Business inventory view. Please note that there are some tricky backwards compatibility issues for making effect simulations look good in both Finale Business and Finale 3D. We do not recommend making changes to your Master Inventory / Finale Inventory until you are 100% ready to make the transition to Finale 3D. For more information, please see Inventory compatibility with Finale Business (and how to fix cakes). After connecting your inventory to Finale 3D, the final action is to merge your “Noah’s Ark” and inventory by doing “Effects > Paste clipboard into effects window, add or update”.

    Figure 5 – Video tutorial: connect to Finale Inventory

 

Get the effects to show up in 3D

If your effects are in “My Fireworks” in Finale Business, then you’ll need to copy them out of Finale Business in an HBS file and import them into Finale 3D. Once imported into Finale 3D, these effects will no longer have any connection to the “My Fireworks” of Finale Business, so you can improve the simulations in Finale 3D without worrying about backward compatibility. To copy the effects out of “My Fireworks”, you need to create a show in Finale Business with one each of each of your effects, one after another. Then save the show as an HBS file and import it into Finale 3D with “File > Import > Import Effects from HBS file…”.

Once your effects show up in Finale 3D as rows in the effects window, you will probably need to edit some of the simulations or the effect parameters to make them look good. The editing process depends on how the simulations were created in Finale Business originally, as described in Table 1. For most effects, the process begins with right-clicking on the effect row in the effects window in Finale 3D, and selecting “Edit this effect simulation or rack…” from the context menu. That command brings up a dialog that incorporates the original VDL description and any other parameters that affect the simulation, such as the prefire, duration, height, and number of shells if it is chain. The dialog displays the combined information in the “Input description” field, which you can edit. As you edit the description, you can see the interpretation of what you are typing, and resulting specifications of the simulation below, in the green read-only boxes.

Table 1 – Editing process to adapt Finale Business effect simulations to Finale 3D

Simulation in Finale Business What to expect in Finale 3D How to fix it in Finale 3D
Imported or created with the control-G “Create simulation” dialog. Simulation should look pretty good. No editing required. Optionally you can add adjectives like “Big” or “Dense” to the VDL as described in VDL effect adjustment terms.
Created on the timeline using “Combine into cake…” (cakes only) . Simulation will be reverse engineered upon import and should contain the correct number of shots, timing and firing pattern. If the cake simulation has the correct number of effects and timing but the effects themselves look bad, insert the cake into a test show in Finale 3D and do “Effects > Break apart cake” to break it apart into its constituents arranged on the timeline.  Then right click on the constituents to edit them, and/or change the timing by rearranging them on the timeline.  When they look right do “Effects > Create cake from selected items…” to re-create the cake.   Alternatively, if you just want to create a quick placeholder simulations, follow the instructions in Creating or importing a simple “placeholder” cake simulation.
Customized using the colorful graphics editing panels. Simulation will be reverse engineered upon import and should look decent subject to several factors. Some editing may be required. Right click and do “Edit this effect simulation or rack…” from the context menu. You can add adjectives like “Big” or “Dense” to the VDL as described in VDL effect adjustment terms. Precise fine tuning of the effect simulation will be possible when the Finale 3D effect editor is released (not yet available, anticipated May 2020).

 

Improve the quality of the simulations

To fine tune effect parameters in Finale 3D you can use the Finale 3D effect editor (not yet available, anticipated May 2020), and you can create cake simulations from individual effects using the Effects > Create cake from selected items…” function. You can also create complex effects including multi-effect cakes by typing in the VDL directly, but the syntax of VDL for cakes is a little complicated.

You can do some degree of customization by adding adjectives like “Big” and “Dense” to the VDL, as described in VDL effect adjustment terms. You can also edit the prefire, duration, height, and chain number of shells (devices) directly in the columns of the effect table. These parameters will apply to the simulation directly. For example, if you change the duration of a comet from 1 second to 10 seconds without changing its height, the comet will shoot up into the air to an apex at its original height but then it will come crashing back down to the ground.

Changing the prefire of a shell to anything >= 0.5 affects the lift delay for the shell to break without affecting the height of the apex of the full trajectory, so a prefire of 0.5 seconds would cause a shell to break on the way up, looking like a flower pot. Changing the prefire of a shell to anything < 0.5 introduces a delay before the simulation begins, and results in the default lift delay based on the caliber of shell.

Changing the duration of a shell affects the lifetime of the stars; whereas changing the duration of a cake affects the timing of the shots within the cake. The full explanations are shown in Table 2.

Table 2 – Editing specifications fields directly in the effect table

Field (column) For shells For comets and mines For cakes and candles
Prefire If prefire >= 0.5, it represents the time to break, and adjusts whether the break is before or after the apex. Does not affect exit velocity and thus does not affect the apex of the trajectory.

If prefire < 0.5, it introduces a delay before the simulation to represent the time between firing system ignition and the effect actually getting started.

If prefire >= 0.5, it does not affect simulation but does affect the scripting delay between ignition and effect time on the timeline.

If prefire < 0.5, it introduces a delay before the simulation to represent the time between firing system ignition and the effect actually getting started.

Affects the lift time of shells in the cake as described in detail in Cake and candle duration (and prefire)
Duration Lifetime of stars, adjusts whether stars expire quickly or linger all the way to the ground. Lifetime of stars, adjusts whether stars expire quickly or linger all the way to the ground. Affects the timing of the cake shots (first launch to last break) as described in detail in Cake and candle duration (and prefire)
Height Height of the apex of the trajectory in meters. Height of the apex of the trajectory in meters. To make “Ultra-fast” or “Laser” comets, set the height high and the duration small. Affects the height of all effects in the cake.
Devices Affects number of shells in the chain, if the item is a chain. No effect. No effect.