■ FIGURE 5. Empty Sequence.
present it in a row-column format as
shown in Figure 5. Each row is an
output channel; each column is an
event period. Each cell in the table
holds a value for the channel at that
time that is expressed from 0% to
100%. Move your mouse around in the
field of cells. You should see little block
markers to the left of the channels and
just above the column time-line.
These markers assist in finding a
specific row/column (channel/time)
cell when sequences are long and this
display is set to view a lot of cells
(you’ll find row and column magnification levels on the sequence toolbar).
Note that the rows are given very
bland names: Channel 1, Channel 2,
etc. You can change any of these
names by right-clicking, and then
selecting Change Channel Name from
the context menu. To me, this process
is okay for a small number of channels,
but I find importing a list of names
from a text file to be easier. Here’s how
I do it: From the Sequence menu in the
main window, select Export channel
names list. Vixen will export a text file
containing the current channel names
to its Imports and Exports folder.
Using Windows Explorer, navigate
to this folder and you should find a file
called Training Sequence_channels.txt.
Open this file with your favorite text
editor, change the names, and then save
the updated file. As you can see in
Figure 6, I changed the names to match
Santa’s reindeer. Now go back into
Vixen and select Import channel
names list from the Sequence
menu. From the dialog, select the
file you just edited and click Open.
Two things are going to happen: 1)
Vixen will count the number of
lines in the file you selected and
set the channel count to that and,
2) Each line in the file will be used
to rename the channels.
You can see that the import
■ FIGURE 6. New Channel Names.
process can actually be used to
modify the number of channels, as
well as rename them in one fell
swoop; I find this quite handy.
Okay, let’s do some sequence
editing. Just as you have to select a cell
in a spreadsheet to change it, the same
applies to Vixen. You can select a
single cell by clicking on it, or a group
of cells by doing a click-and-drag with
the left mouse button — and, of
course, you can select cells from
multiple rows and columns. As with
other Windows programs, you can
select one cell and then shift-click a
second cell to create a range selection.
Once a selection is made, the easiest
edit is to toggle the cells on (100%) or
off (0%) by pressing the space bar.
You can actually create a quick
sequence by keeping one hand on the
mouse and the other on your space bar,
clicking and tapping as you go. Want to
make a quick chaser? Hold down the
Ctrl key and then click-and-drag with the
left mouse button. You’ll see a line
drawn between the first cell and the cursor; when you release the mouse button, the cells that fall under the line will
be set to 100% — boom, instant chase!
Let me show you another cool
trick that will save time as you develop
complex sequences. You can, of
course, select, copy, and paste a group
of cells within a sequence. If you come
up with something especially intricate,
you may want to drag-select a group of
cells, then right-click and select Save as
a Routine. Enter an appropriate name
in the dialog and then click OK. Now
click on another cell to select, right-click, and then select Load a Routine
from the context menu.
Cha-ching, the group of cells that
you saved earlier is loaded into your
sequence at the selected cell — kind of
like a rubber stamp. You can use that
routine in this sequence or any other
sequence; it’s saved on your hard
drive for whenever you need it.
So far, we’ve played with pure digital values (on and off), but as I stated
at the beginning Vixen cells actually
contain an analog level of 0% to