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iPad applications for lighting and design.


SketchbookPro IconSketchbookPro is a painting and drawing app is both the most interesting and the most complex of those I will describe here. Each new aspect I learn leads to exponentially more possibilities! While it cannot replace Photoshop, it is able to import files to and export files from Photoshop. I’m currently exploring several features, including layers (opacity, definitions, and ordering), brushes (by hand and by cursor, size, opacity), and importing images from the photo library to use as a source or in layers. There is a learning curve for the gesture language, however. It allows users to swipe up, down, left, right, two finger, three fingers, etc. to interact fluidly with the device. I’m getting better at it, but don’t feel like I’m completely there yet!

BeamCalc IconBeamCalc is a visualization tool to see the specific capabilities (in 2 dimensions) of various lighting fixtures made by a wide range of companies. The user can choose manufacturer, specific type of light, specific attributes, and then manipulate the instrument to see the size of beam spread for various combinations of height and distance from a subject. This can then be used to determine the placement of a light on a light plot, or between several different light fixtures to see which best solves the specific problem (high angle, tight beam, large pool of light, etc.)



iRFR IconiRFR is a very narrow application that speaks directly to the Electronic Theatre Controls EOS lighting console in Keck Theater (or any other ETC EOS/ION/ or CONGO board, but at Oxy, we only have the one…).  After setting up the local wi-fi network associated with the lightboard, this app allows the designer or technician to communicate from a remote position (on stage, my office, somewhere in the audience of the theater, up on the tension grid) to the board (in the booth at the back of the first gallery) – from the simplest commands to bring up a particular light fixture for the purpose of focusing it, actually writing lighting cues (selecting groups of instruments, assigning percentages of power, and timing), editing existing cues, or quietly sitting in the theater taking notes in real time while watching the playback of the light cues.  I have used the Theater Departments iPAD 1 for this and found the experience liberating. For future lighting classes, the ability to run the board from a remote position from the iPad (or iPhone!) will be very useful for student lighting designers and for me.

Lightwright Touch IconLightwright Touch is a combination database/spreadsheet program that organizes the information contained on a lightplot, this app allows the designer to create a plot in a program such as Vectorworks (my preference) or AutoCAD and import the data from the plot into the computer version of this app. There, data can be manipulated, cleaned up, organized (and sent back to the CAD program to update the lightplot) and then exported to a data file to be imported both by the EOS light board (see above) and imported into Lightwright Touch. Dimmer assignments, color changes, channel assignments, and work notes can be made into this APP saving printing of endless pages of paperwork. I have yet to use this in a real-time application but have played with it and see that it will be a great time-saver.

View product reviews and screenshots for SketchbookPro, BeamCalc, iRFR, and Lightwright Touch on iTunes.