DMXIS auto preset and scene generator

Hi all, I’ve been using DMXIS for a month or so in C3 and while it is very good I wanted more. Specifically.

  1. Grouping multiple fixtures. For example a “Singer” group contains the front lamps on the left and right quad bars. Other groups might be Guitarist, Front-stage, Back-stage, All lamps.
  2. Defining colours - an Amber or Violet colour may need tweaking from R255, G190, B0, and I only want to have to do this once, not on every fader and preset.
  3. Creating presets by applying colours to my groups of fixtures. eg, one look might be dimBlue Front Stage, dimAmber Back Stage and full white on the singer.
  4. Overrides, For example for a guitar solo preset, I might want to set the “All lights” group as dimMagenta, with an overlay of a BRIGHT YELLOW for the guitar light group only.
  5. For a song with say, a Drum intro, followed by bass, followed by guitar, followed by full band, I’d like to just trigger override cues for “drum”, “bass”, “guitar” to bring up the lights one by one on each performer, rather than having to save a preset for each combination.

All of this is the domain of the pro software packages. I tried 4 of them, and they are mostly difficult to use and expensive, and lack features such as tempo sync that I wanted for playing live.

I’ve created a helper sheet in Excel. which does all of the above. It then displays xml content for DMXIS for each preset. There is then an excel macro to actually spit out all the preset files, the bank files and the directory structure ready to place in the DMXIS data folder.

This means that if I add another light, or we move lights around on a stage, or I want to tweak a look or a colour, I can do it once in the Excel, press a button and it will re-generate all the DMXIS presets.

If anyone is interested I can spend some time tidying it up and share it.

Here’s what it looks like.


1st Define the colours we want to use

Then define the fixtures, channels and groups

Then define the presets that apply colours to fixtures directly or groups.

Then export the results into DMXIS. This is what the auto generated “before set” preset looks like

Here is the resulting preset list.

I map each DMXIS preset to a C3 rack state in my Lighting Racks. Adding a new song is then just a matter of picking the look I want from the Rack states.


Hi Al,

Thank you for posting and sharing! You never know when it might help someone else. I enjoyed just reading through it even though I don’t currently use it. :+1:


Thanks for sharing. I may be programming some new light shows in the next few months, so I will take a look then to see if it helps! :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing Al. One of my band mates has been discussing automated lighting with me on C3. I will share this with him and I am quite sure he will be elated with your examples.

Hey, Corky

Just wanted to say, DMX control from within Cantabile works a treat. DMXIS is a very useful tool that lends itself nicely to being controlled within Cantabile. If you play to backing tracks, then tempo synced light shows are pretty easy.

Thanks Derek

I saw the discussions on this forum last year. One of my bands have been pressuring me to help them start the process (which, in reality means me). I keep putting it off, but saw Al’s detailed screen shots and since I am upgrading my rig and C3 during a little time off, I thought, what the heck…and go for it. We do not use backing tracks, I will probably use state changes or bind a foot switch. Nothing elaborate to begin with. It is nice having C3 control so much. Brad’s genius on display. :wink:

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As another example, this morning I decided I wanted to program a chase going from Front to Back and then Left to Right. The background colour to be a dimViolet and the chase colour to be Amber.

This meant individually controlling 20 lamps.

I don’t think this is possible using the oscillator or intelligent chase, so it had to be done using presets.

That means 11 presets, each preset needing 20 lamps setting, with RGB channels for each. That is 660 faders, and a lot of concentration. It would probably take the best part of a day to set up and test, as long as I didn’t change my mind along the way.

With the Excel it took around an hour to program and test it. I’ve not programmed a chase before, so some of that time was thinking through what I actually wanted! Now that I’ve done it once that means;

  1. Changing the background or chase colours across all 11 presets would take 30 seconds
  2. Duplicating the chase with a different chase sequence or colours, or fade times - 2 minutes
  3. Adding or subtracting a light from the chase - 2 minutes
  4. Realising during testing that one of the quad bars was not on the correct DMX start channel meaning all 11 presets needed to be redone - 30 seconds
  5. Deciding to change from LeftRight to RIghtLeft meaning 7 presets needed to be redone - 30 seconds.
  6. Making a more complicated chase perhaps with 2 chases running simultaneously in different directions - 10 minutes

Being able to use all the basic Excel features like copying formulae down, concatenating columns, and search and replace is the real power.

Actually the longest part of the process for me now is creating all the rack states in C3. An import/export facility for bindings initially then songs, racks and rack states would be very useful!

Here is what it looked like. This was taken before the fixture DMX channel mapping was corrected. You can see all faders activate briefly for the 1st preset and set the background colour. Then each subsequent preset just affects the 2 lamps that are changing.


Hi Al,
Very useful article, thanks.
Can you give some details how excel can generate xml content ready to use by DMXIS?

Hi Andrii, ok, here is my Excel file in a zip file with some instructions and examples. I have uploaded one version with no macro, and one with the macro. You can partially use it without the macro, it will display the XML for you to copy and paste into a DMXIS file.

The macro only runs if you press the button on the output tab, or if you run it manually from the macros menu. Nothing auto runs on open.

Caveats on the macro as follows

  1. I stopped using DMXIS a month ago, so I have not finished off the documentation or put in much (any) error checking, or tidied up the code.

  2. This Excel 2013 file has a macro in, that will create files on your system and will overwrite your DMXIS config if you configure it to do so. So treat it with the suspicion it deserves if you download it! I suggest changing the output directories to something safe, stepping through the code and inspecting what it creates. It also creates a Cantabile rack file in the directory of your choosing. I’m not sure if there is a safer way I can provide the file, but open to suggestions.

  3. My Windows regional settings are set to UK. I’ve not tested this with other regional settings.

That being said, the sheet does take in inputs for the Oscillator and Sound tracker so you can actually create full moving presets using all the functionality in DMXIS.

The other cool thing since I wrote the original post, is that the macro now also generates a new Cantabile Rack each time it runs which provides all the DMXIS presets it just created as Rack States. These rack states have the correct bindings on channel 15 and 16 to select the bank, preset, cross fade and auto run! It will colour code them in Cantabile based upon your entries in the sheet.

When I was using this properly, I had around 200 rack states and DMXIS presets all automatically generated. and working perfectly.

Here is the new example show in DMXIS and the new Cantabile rack the excel sheet just created.

Cheers. (374.3 KB)

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That’s amazing, thanks!

Holy Shit …what is this? …that’s to much for my brain :open_mouth: