Vision FAQ

How many lights can I run in ESP Vision?
The number of lights that you can run is directly impacted by the speed of your video card. ESP currently recommends the ATI Radeon HD 7970 or the nVidia geForce 780 GTX, both with 1GB of RAM. This provides you with the fastest performance and the most lights available. If you are running a slower video card and are experiencing sub-optimal framerates, you should consider upgrading to a faster video card.

Do I need to own some other CAD program to use ESP Vision
Instead of creating our own CAD program for exclusive use with ESP Vision, we decided to let you choose the programs that you are already comfortable with and already own. Currently, our plugins work with the latest 2 releases of Vectorworks SPOTLIGHT & 3D Studio Max. Of course, for simple scenes, you can create your model directly in Vision using our library of scenic, trussing and set pieces. We also support merging of 3ds files from any of a number of programs, such as Sketchup.

What is a dongle? Do I need one to run Vision?
A dongle is a USB key that contains your license information, including number of universes that you own and subscription data. Yes, you need one to run your Vision license. This device allows you to install Vision on as many machines as you choose, but will only allow Vision to launch on the machine currently with the dongle attached.

How many universes can I buy?
You can purchase anywhere between one and ten universes. Once you purchase 10 universes, the system is deemed unlimited, allowing you to use as many universes as your hardware will support (to a maximum of 256). Your dongle will determine how many universes you have purchased and may use.

How do I upgrade my dongle for more universes?
Contact ESP Support and we can update you dongle over the web. It will NOT be necessary for you to return the dongle for a new one.

How do I control ESP Vision?
ESP Vision is listening for DMX-512. If you do not have a console, you can use a number of protocols, including Artnet, Hog-net, MA-net, and others. MAC product integration is limited to Artnet, at this time.

How does the subscription work?
ESP Vision provides a subscription service for all Vision users. The first 12 month’s subscription is included in the purchase price. The subscription provides you with unlimited access to the update server. The update server allows you to get the latest version of the library files, gobo files, and the latest builds of ESP Vision software, while your subscription is active. Your subscription also gives you access to support via our online chat, email, and telephone support. After the first 12 months you can renew your subscription for the next 12 months at $150 per universe.

If I let my subscription expire, what then?
Once your subscription expires, you have 30 days to reinstate your subscription without penalty. Beyond that, you may reinstate, with a $100 penalty. All back subscriptions will be due in order to reinstate. Check with support if you have any questions.

Will I ever have to buy the new version of Vision?
If you maintain your subscription, you will always have access to the latest and greatest version of ESP Vision. You will never be asked to purchase new functionality as we improve the ESP Vision software. Should your subscription expire, there are certain rules and fees associated with reinstating your subscription. Please contact support for details.

How many lights are in the ESP Vision fixture library?
While the numbers are constantly changing, you can be assured that the fixtures from the major manufacturers are included. These include High End, Martin, Coemar, Vari*lite, ETC, and many others. If you need a fixture that isn’t listed, submit it using the fixture request link on the home page, and we will respond within 72 hours.

What if I need a fixture that isn’t included in the library?
If you need a fixture that is not included, simply submit a request to ESP Vision Support via the fixture request link on the homepage, and we will make every effort to provide that to you within 72 hours, often sooner. Additionally, we will make that fixture available to all our users via the update server.

What exactly is the “Update server”?
The Update server is a cloud-based internet server that all of our customers can access. When you access the Update server, it compares the latest library files and ESP Vision files against what you have on your computer and updates any files that have been added or changed. This ensures that you always have the latest files available. We recommend that you access the Update server before you begin any major project. You must have an active subscription in order to access the Update server.

Do you have a demo version?
Yes. ESP Vision has a downloadable demo which will allow you to run ESP Vision on a demo file that we will provide. This will allow you to play with ESP Vision’s capabilities and see the superior quality of ESP Vision. Find detailed information regarding demo patch, etc in the “Demo Documents” folder within your Vision Demo installation.

What if I don’t own ESP software, can I create an ESP file?
ESP Vision makes its library files and plugins available to anyone at no charge. This will allow anyone to create an ESP Vision model file. Of course, you wont be able to run Vision without the dongle.


Do I need any other programs to install Vision?
All necessary support files are included in the Vision installer package.

Should I plug my dongle in before I start the install?
No. Since you haven’t loaded the required USB drivers, your computer will not be able to recognize the dongle until after the installation has completed. The installation process will advise you when to plug in your dongle.

Already installed plugins, anything special for full install?
No. The installation will complete without incident, even if you have already installed the plugins.

Can I change the installation directory?
Yes, you can. However, once installed, ESP Vision will always look in the installation directory for the files it needs. If you need to relocate ESP Vision, you will need to reinstall and connect to the patch server to update the new installation. Always backup any important files before attempting this, though.


How do I navigate in ESP Vision?
All navigation within ESP Vision is accomplished using the middle mouse button. To pan up, down, or around, hold down the middle mouse button and move the mouse. To zoom in or out, hold Ctl+Alt and the middle mouse button and move the mouse in and out. To rotate the scene, hold Alt and the middle mouse button and move the mouse. You can also use the tools that are provided in the tool window to zoom, rotate, pan, and tilt. Find a complete list in manual.

How do I focus conventional fixtures in my rig?
Select the lights that you wish to adjust in the scene and click OK. All the lights are turned on in blue. Another way to select the fixtures you want is to use the mouse and arrow in the scene. You can select individual lights , or draw a box around the lights that you want to select. You can add to your selection by holding down the Ctl key while you are selecting lights. Once the lights are selected, you can move them all in sync by using the 4 arrow keys. These keys correspond to the pan and tilt of each fixture. If you wish to focus all selected lights to the same position, move your mouse to that position, right-click and select “Focus selected lights here”. If you wish to focus each light individually, be sure to have the main window selected and hit the page down button which will hightlight a single fixture. Focus that fixture using the arrow keys. When you complete, hit page down again and the next light is highlighted. Continue the process until all fixtures are focused.

How do I adjust the atmospheric level in the scene?
There are fields in the Properties Window which can adjust the density of the atmosphere. The variability and movement of the atmosphere is referred to as HAZE. By setting this to 0, the atmosphere will be constant without any movement. To set the density, find “Volumetric Amount”, and adjust up or down, to suite your needs. A setting of 0 will assume no atmosphere (such as in a theater setting).

Can I invert pan or tilt in ESP Vision?
While usually done on the console, you can do this directly in Vision. Select the lights in question, and in the properties window, check the Invert Pan or Invert Tilt boxes as required.

If I am running a complex scene, how can I increase speed?
Yes. There are two things that you can do that may assist you when running an extremely complex scene. The first is to eliminate the geometry associated with the fixtures themselves. You can do this by turning Light Geometry off in the Properties window. You will notice that the fixture will disappear from the Vision, even though the light is still emitting from where the fixture used to be. This can add some speed by eliminating a certain number of polygons from the scene. Secondly, you can turn particle density all the way down to zero in the Properties window. Atmospheric painting on certain video cards is very hardware intensive and eliminating the beams in the air can speed the render engine significantly. We recommend that if you are doing this on a regular basis, you should consider upgrading your video hardware to the ESP Vision recommended video card.

How do I connect my console to Vision?
To begin, check out the forums on DMX Connectivity, which contains detailed instructions on connecting Vision to a number of the most popular consoles. In Vision, you only need to select the DMX Provider under the DMX menu. On the MAC, this currently defaults to Artnet, so no need to worry about the selection.

What is the optimal resolution for running ESP Vision?
Once again, this is somewhat determined by your video card. However, as a general rule, you should run ESP Vision at 1280x720x32. This will give you the optimum speed for your real time visualization. If you wish to view this in more of a full screen view, simply change the resolution on your monitor to match that of ESP Vision output.

Are there any special requirements for configuring my display?
Yes. You must always select 32 bit color. Choosing any other color quality will result in ESP Vision failing to launch.


What are the plugins and how do they work?
This discussion relates to the 3d Studio Max plugins. (See Vectorworks below for additional information on Vectorworks). There are several plugins and we will discuss each individually. The primary plugin is the Light Primitive plugin. You can access this by selecting ESP Primitives in 3D Studio Max. ESP Light button will be displayed. The Light Plugin allows you to select the type of fixture that you want to place in the scene. You can choose the light based upon its type, manufacturer, or by looking at a complete list of all fixtures. Any selection that has a + next to it indicates that there are sublevels to the selection. These sublevels may reveal different modes or different types of the main fixture type that are available. Select the light that you wish to include in the scene and click in the scene to add it. Depending upon the light, you may be able to modify the defaults, such as color wheels, gobos, lamps, lenses, scrollers/animation wheels, etc. Each fixture also has informational notes that may be of interest that you can view by clicking on the “View Notes” button. Finally, you can set the DMX universe and channel individually now or you can use the Patch plugin, as described later. NOTE: Once you make any changes to a fixture, you must click on the “Apply” button to save your changes in the fixtures. The Patch plugin is available under the Utilities tab. Once you activate the Patch plugin, each time you click on an ESP Light, it will assign the value in the Patch Plugin window to that fixture and automatically increment the patch plugin based upon the number of channels used. If there aren’t enough channels to increment within the same universe, it will automatically move to the next universe. You can assign the same DMX value to multiple fixtures by selecting all the fixtures you want by name. Additionally, we provide the “Replace” and “Mass Modify” plugins. These are somewhat self-explanatory, and are found under the Utilities tab, as well.

Do the plugins have to be in a certain place?
Yes, the plugins will be placed in the appropriate directory by the installation program or by AddPlugins program. This is usually the underlying plugins directory of the modeling software that you are using. These should not be moved.

If I copy/paste a fixture, will it remember my custom settings?

Can I add custom gobos to my selection list?
Yes, simply add the image to the gobos directory.

If I upgrade Max or VW, can I get new plugins?
Yes. In fact all you need to do is rerun the Vision installation or Add Plugins and select only the plugins that you need. Once they are properly installed, make sure that you run the Update server to ensure that you have the latest version of the plugins.

Can I copy plugins over when I upgrade Max or Vectorworks?
No. Each version of the plugins requires certain configuration and may take advantage of new features of the latest upgrade. It is important that you run the AddPlugins application to properly configure your new plugins after installing new releases of Max or Vectorworks.


What is the Update Server?
The Update Server is a cloud-based repository of the latest versions of ESP Vision and the necessary libraries. It is available 24/7 and can be accessed to update your copy of ESP Vision or your libraries at any time.

Can anyone access the Update Server?
Yes. However, based upon your current status, you may not have full access to all the files on the Patch Server. If you don’t have a dongle, you can access the Patch Server to access the latest versions of the plugins and library files so that you may create ESP Vision models. However, unless you have the dongle and an active subscription, you will not be able to get the latest version of ESP Vision. If your subscription is active, you can download the latest version of ESP Vision as well.

How does the Update Server work?
The Update Server looks at the files on your machine and compares those to the ones on the Server. Any files on the Server that have not been updated are downloaded to your machine. This allows you to maintain the latest version of ESP Vision at all times.

I have an expired subscription, how do I get the latest build?
Contact ESP support and renew your subscription. ESP Support will be able to reactivate your dongle remotely so that you can access the Update Server once again.

My subscription has expired. Can I still run ESP Vision?
Yes. Your dongle will still be active. However, you will no longer have access to the latest versions of ESP Vision. Make sure that you keep your subscription active to ensure that you have the latest and greatest versions of ESP Vision at your fingertips. Please be aware that any fixtures released following your subscription date will not be visible in your Vision model.


What version of Vectorworks Spotlight do you support?
We support the 2 most recent releases of Vectorworks Spotlight.

Are the Vectorworks plugins free?
Absolutely. In fact you can download the plugins on our Download page for the latest version. Just follow the instructions in the readme, and you will be creating an ESP Vision model in no time.

Can I use the Apple Version of Vectorworks to model?
Yes. ESP offers a Mac version of the plugin for supported versions of Vectorworks for Mac. You can access this in our downloads section.

I own Vectorworks but I don’t have Spotlight.. Do I need it?
Yes, you need to have the SPOTLIGHT component of Vectorworks for the ESP Vision plugins to work properly. We also highly recommend Renderworks.

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