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Lighting Visualiser for Sketchup


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I am looking for a lighting visualiser software that can


1. Import Sketchup Models

2. Visualise my lighting rig

3. Export CAD plan

4. Control lighting Desk


Not sure if anything out there can do all this? However I have not been keeping up with the technology for awhile


MAC or PC is fine


Really appreciate any help on this





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My WYSIWYG DESIGN does all of these except control the desk, that's in the next size up from mine.


It imports SketchUp models (not most recent currently, but you can save as in SketchUp no problem) easily which perfectly scale into the WYSIWYG model. I usually edit the model the set designer has made to just import only what I want in as close to a usable form as possible. There is often some more work needed to render things properly in WYSIWYG which just depends on how close you want to get to the original versus how fast the visualiser runs. Obviously this would not be a cheap option...

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None of the visualisers that I've come across "control the desk" but some allow you to input control from your desk for live visualisation of what you are programming; is that what you meant?


The appropriate versions of Wysiwyg, Capture Polar(or whatever it's called these days) or Light Converse will do what you ask although Wysiwyg is the only one that I know definitely supports sketchup import. The others may do as well but you would have to check.


All of these work out as quite a hefty investment, often more than many prospective users are prepared/able to stretch to.


Another route; though not as feature rich, is to pick a lighting console that has built in visualisation. Avolites Titan, Chamsys MagicQ and Grand-Ma among others support free visualisers of varying sophistication but obviously this ties you to a particular control solution.

Of these; Grand-Ma is the most sophisticated but the consoles are about as high end and expensive as it gets.


There are a few other software based controllers which include Vis but I am not familiar with them.


The MagicQ vis is barely past Beta but is free to use, as is the PC version of the console. Lighting vis is pretty good but the cad side is limited to basic objects and truss.


Starting with your available budget will help with which options are most viable for you?

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To correct myself a bit, I have encountered some attempts of vis software to have a degree of control over the desk. Wysiwyg can talk to "compatible" controllers allowing patching and positioning of fixtures. I have never really bothered investigating that feature myself so can't comment too much.


Also as mentioned by Tim, Capture Argo appears to have similar features when used with Avolite consoles and possibly others.





In terms of the features that you listed, my personal choices would be Capture Argo or Wysiwyg Perform although both are quite costly for the full versions. (If looking at Wysiwyg I would strongly recommend considering the leasing option)


One thing to factor in when costing these things is the annual subscription fees. I'm not sure how it works with Capture but Wysiwyg can either be purchased or leased annually. If purchased it normally includes 1 years subscription. I have found the customer support to be excellent.


Personally I have had Wysiwyg Perform for some time; starting with version R16. Currently I have ceased renewing my subscription since R28. (current version was R34 last time I looked) I stopped renewing my membership as while it is a fantastic tool I was struggling to generate enough extra income through it to cover the annual fees. (If I needed a current version now I would keep my bought version at R28 and lease the current version as refreshing your subscription has to cover the full period of fees between versions)


To be honest I mainly use the package to generate plans and visuals and to test angles/throws etc. R28 still does the job great for me in most respects. (The main drawback is I can only access the fixture library up to R28 so it is now much less useful as a real-time vis)





Another thing to be wary of, especially in the case of Wysiwyg is that it's CAD capabilities are quite limited compared to Sketchup or AutoCAD. While it is possible to work with sketchup/dwg/dxf you ideally need to simplify and streamline certain aspects to get them to port successfully which can sometimes be fairly time consuming. (I have a few nightmares getting some models to import but I believe the compatibility has improved in later versions. Also if your subscription is current, the Wysiwyg support team can assist with importing difficult models)





Anyway, enough of my rambling. I hope you manage to find a solution which meets your needs. :rolleyes:




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We've got current versions of Wysiwyg design. It's compatible with the latest versions of sketch up models for importing, but you need to be careful with your modelling or you'll have a nightmare with your wig model. It's also worth splitting up your sketch up model into "layers" that you import into wyg one at a time, gives you the option to group the newly imported objects and put them on a useful layer in wysiwyg.
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One thing to factor in when costing these things is the annual subscription fees. I'm not sure how it works with Capture but Wysiwyg can either be purchased or leased annually. If purchased it normally includes 1 years subscription. I have found the customer support to be excellent.

It's fair to say they are both not cheap packages but Capture is SIGNIFICANTLY lower cost than WYSWIYG, in most part down to their being no annual subsccription. You buy it you get updates for life. Granted there was a small upgrade cost to make the upgrade to the new Capture Argo from the previous Capture Polar but from memory it was less than £200 and the increased feature set they we're offering was more than worth the money, and it's the only paid upgrade in several years of being a user.


Yes WYSIWYG is a more capable product which just proves you get what you pay for, but Capture Argo is more than capable and fits all of our needs. In terms of actual visualisation the output from Capture is I would say on a par with WYSIWYG, I will agree that the paperwork side of Capture could be better but they're working on it and their customer support I'd say is first class.


Bottom line I think it's difficult to justify the cost of WYSIWYG versus gains compared to more competitively priced packages, certainly for a single user. I can't help but feel there's a bit of 'we are the industry standard' kind of approach to pricing but that's entirely personal opinion!


As stated above Capture will fulfil point 1-3, point 4 I'm a little unsure about what exactly what you mean but Capture (as well as WYSIWYG and proprietary products) can do console talk back but not sure that's what you mean.

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Don't get me wrong, I love Wysiwyg and find it to be a fantastic tool, but I wish that they could come up with a much cheaper way to keep membership current. If I was to bring my copy up-to date it would cost more than buying a separate new copy? I can cope with the high initial cost but I find the renewal fees are just too much for me.





With that in mind, if buying a vis package from scratch now; both Light converse and Capture would be serious contenders for my hard earned.




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