3 Entertainment Design Challenges Solved with Design Software

Posted by Alex Altieri on 9/16/21 3:13 PM  |  5 min read time
Alex Altieri
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Designers in the realm of entertainment have their own unique challenges to overcome. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing Delta variant, keep your skills polished by considering these challenges and how they impact your work.

This article explores how Vectorworks Spotlight design software capitalizes on common challenges in entertainment design, such as:

  • Producing paperwork.
  • Selling your project.
  • Creating custom elements for a live show.
Challenge #1 – Producing paperwork can feel time-consuming and tedious

The ability to create clear, legible paperwork should be on any event designer’s mind. After all, it’s what the local crew will use to enact your plans.

Vectorworks Spotlight is all about tracking and organizing data. Keeping track of how fixtures are patched, what cables go where, plan drawings, schematics, worksheets, and more helps you keep everything organized so that when it’s time to produce paperwork, it’s done with ease.

Data can be synced with Lightwright, the industry standard for lighting design and electrician paperwork. Changes in Lightwright automatically reflect in Vectorworks and vice versa, making it the perfect paperwork solution.

Untitled design

Morrissey UK Arena Tour | Designed by Naked Eye Lighting Ltd.

Imagine your show is being installed and the crew tells you that a rigging structure needs to be moved. With a software focused on producing quick and accurate documentation, it’s easy to make updates onsite and have them reflect across all your drawing sets and reports so the team can make the change then and there.

Challenge #2 – The age-old tendering process

It’s clear that you’re looking to sell projects to clients. But what can your design software do to help with that process?

Renderings and previz can show clients what the project will look like before it’s installed. This helps identify areas that need attention so that, when it’s time for setup, you and the team can rest easy knowing you’ve eliminated the possibility of costly errors.

2020 - Stage Concept - Color Render with projections Gloss Black Floor

Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience Tour | Courtesy of Nick Whitehouse, Illuminate Entertainment, Inc.

For rendering options, you can:

These options allow you to easily create photorealistic renderings that show clients why they should commit to your proposal: because it looks awesome.

→Learn more about the new Redshift render mode available with Vectorworks 2022.

Additionally, the Vision add-on allows you to pre-program your entire show so stakeholders can see how lighting systems will perform.


Challenge #3 – Creating unique, personalized elements for a live show

Creating custom objects and layouts for a live show is, at the end of the day, what entertainment design is all about!

There are a variety of ways to include objects into your design file. In Vectorworks Spotlight, the three main methods for this are:

  • Symbols and parametric objects saved in the Resource Manager.
  • Elements imported from other software.
  • Geometry created by drawing in 2D or modeling in 3D.
Content Libraries

Vectorworks Spotlight comes with expansive content libraries that contain name-brand symbols for popular lighting devices. These symbols also come with associated data, so it’s easy to include verified elements right from the start of the project.

Imported Files

Of course, it’s also easy to import a base file of the venue to give yourself a starting point. Vectorworks can import files like PDF, DWG, RVT, MVR, and much more.

Modeling Geometry

But when it comes time to create something on your own, you’ll want to look to the 3D modeling in Vectorworks. Here are some of the modeling methods available in Vectorworks:

  • Solid modeling (like push/pull modeling in SketchUp).
  • NURBS modeling (like complex surfaces and curvature in Rhino).
  • Subdivision modeling (like sculpting and deforming in Maya).

With all these methods at your disposal, you’re able to create any shape imaginable. NURBS, for example, means you could create a sinuous-looking set piece like the one shown in Korins’ 91st Academy Awards design.


The 91st Academy Awards | Courtesy of Korins and Drew Dockser

Check out this article on the 3D modeling capabilities in Vectorworks. The article focuses on architectural modeling, but Vectorworks Spotlight uses the same modeling engine so the same principles apply.


Topics: Production & Lighting Design

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