Vectr 101 - Thresholds Tutorial

#1
Vectr is a Chrome based application designed to give users the ability to customise the features of their OSM2 and/or OSM2.1 microlights. One of the most prominent features of Vectr is its threshold system that allows users to program their lights to react to motion in many different ways and with varying results. While one of the most prominent features it’s also one of the most confusing, so I’m writing this up to hopefully clear up some of the confusion and give people enough info to be able to start taking full advantage of the software.

Vectr is a 3 step speed function editor that has two distinct features, the Color Threshold bar on the top and the Strobe Threshold bar on the bottom, both of which have similar purposes. Each threshold comes with 3 variables, Color Set 1 (red), Color Set 2 (blue) and Color Set 3 (green), and Strobe Set 1 (red), Strobe Set 2 (blue) and Strobe Set 3 (green). In the threshold system there are 64 different increments of motion you can use to create transitions or other dynamic animations for each threshold bar. I find it useful to think of it in frames similar to like you get in video games or visual displays. Just as you get 60 frames in a second, in Vectr you get 64 frames of animation in each full range of motion, the more frames you dedicate to one particular animation the bigger the gradient and the smoother it will look, likewise the fewer frames you use in an animation the choppier and more flickery the animation will look. Whichever way you choose to manage it you always have 64 frames total to program 3 or 2 step transitions.

Nodes Explained.png

^As you can see in the image I have separated each threshold bar into 3 sections, each of which that corresponds to the relative color and strobe sets allocated to it. Each step from one bar to the next represents where your lights will transition from one color and/or strobe-set to the next as you move your lights. You can make them sensitive by setting them to the left side, or have them stiff by setting them to the right side. You can even reduce the number of steps from 3, to 2 or even 1 by moving the sliders all the way along to the edge giving priority to which ever colored bar and its corresponding set is being used at the time.

Fades Explained.png

^As well as having solid transitions from one to the next you can also have fade or morph transitions that create animations which react when you move, and these are represented by the gradient bars found in between each solid bar. Fade/morph transitions aren’t quite as simple as solid transitions but there are some basic effects that you can do that really show the potential of this feature. As you can see in this image the sliders are set up differently, it starts on the left as step 1, moves through the centre as step 2 and finishes with step 3. Again this is not the only way you can do it, you can reduce it down to a 2 step animation or choose to have no animation at all. On top of that you can also have something I call an overlap, which partly blends 2 or 3 different solid steps, determining where they begin or end and how they interact with each other in the middle.

Overlap Explained.png

^As you can see in this image we have a solid set 1 (red) on the left, a solid set 2 (blue) on the right and an overlap of set 1 and set 2 in the middle. The way an overlap works is that the next set will start to come in before the first set ends, this creates a fade or morph period where both sets are blended together, the further along to the right it goes the more set 2 will blend in and the more set 1 will fade out, until eventually all you’re left with is the final set. If you look at the arrows I’ve drawn you can see where set 1 begins and ends, as well as where set 2 begins and ends, they are overlapping.

I have two basic exercises here that will teach you how to create two different dynamic modes, firstly I’ll show you how to make a 2 color velocity morph (AKA Flux), I’ll also show you how to make a 1 color strobe morph, and at the end you should be able to figure out how to put the two together.

2c Color Morph Explained.png

^So take a good look at this image. The first thing to note is that I’ve set the first bar on the color threshold to 0 and the second bar to 64, you can see red on the left side and blue on the right side meaning we’re using color set 1 and color set 2, by doing this we eliminate the other two bars making this strictly a 2 set mode. For the strobe threshold I simply set everything to 64, this gives us a solid red bar meaning we’ll only be programming one strobe pattern on set 1 for this mode. For visual aid I’ve highlighted the things we will be using and crossed out the things we won’t be using, so you can get an idea on what happens when you set up the bars in this or similar ways. From here we have two things to do, firstly we choose two colors (I chose red and blue), and then we program our strobe settings. Depending on the colors you choose effects will vary; primary colours will go through the spectrum, so red will fade to pink and then blue, whereas if you pick two complimentary colors such as yellow and cyan it will morph through the white zones. So for example let’s make a classic strobe pattern, for “strobe” enter 5 and for “blank” enter 8, we’ll leave “gap” alone for now. And there you go you’ve just created a 2 color velocity morph, all you have to do is name your mode, save it and upload it to your lights.

1c Strobe Morph Explained.png

^For the strobe morph we’re going to do almost exactly the same thing, first we program the first bar on the strobe threshold to 0 and the second bar to 64, again there is red on the left and blue on the right, meaning we’re only using strobe set 1 and strobe set 2. As before we’re going to set the colour threshold bars to 64 across the board, meaning we’ll only be using color set 1. So to start out choose yourself a colour, any colour you’d like, I chose red. What we’re going to do now is to program two separate strobe patterns, set 1 and set 2, and we’re going to make them animate from one to the other. Again let’s start off with a classic strobe pattern, enter 5 for the “strobe” and 8 for the “blank” for set 1, and on set 2 we’ll do something closer to a strobie, so for “strobe” enter 5 and for “blank” enter 25. And that’s it again, there we go, you’ve just made a 1 colour strobe morph, all you need to do is give it a name and upload it to your lights.

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The threshold bars seem really daunting at first, but as you’ve just seen you can actually create some really effective patterns with only a few clicks. Some things we’ve learned here, solid transitions, fade/morph transitions, overlaps, color morph and strobe morph. And of course, you can mix and match all of the above to create very unique and complicated modes to your heart’s desire. Anyway I hope this helped and was informative for people, I will be putting more tutorials up in the near future so keep your eyes out for them, but if people have any questions feel free to ask, I'll try my best to answer.
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