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RKS: Getting into GDTF

Petr Vanek - Robe

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First steps of getting into GDTF... let's get right into it.


Create and account in https://gdtf-share.com/ so you can access the Share, Builder and the Forum. Sign into the forum at least once, so your account is activated here.

If you are an industry related vendor (for example a manufacturer) drop an email to info@gdtf-share.com , together with brief introduction about who you represent and your Share username. This will provide you with the possibility to enable manufacturer account in the Share and invite to the monthly GDTF manufacturer's interfacing meeting and discussion.

If you are after the formal GDTF Specification, get the DIN SPEC 15800:2020-07 . As this is an official DIN document, distribution is possible only through the DIN publishing body, Beuth in this case. https://www.beuth.de/en/technical-rule/din-spec-15800/324748671

GDTF Authoring

To create the GDTF files, best way is to use the Builder. There is a quick manual here, so make sure to check it out. But there is nothing like just doing it, over an over again. As with any tool, it is very simple to make a simple basic file, but it takes time to learn the tiny details. Get some inspiration from existing files, the Share offers a lot, we at Robe have also been creating files for all new (and even older) fixtures, so this can serve as a lot of inspiration. Here are few examples to get you started:

Very simple tungsten device even without dimmer (but the file provides a single channel control for visualizing purposes), Patt 2013.

A typical discharge spot , a moving head fixture, the BMFL, with gobos, prisms, iris... using Mode Dependencies and other features required for a moving head device.

A multipixel but single RGBW controlled small LED beam, the LEDBeam 150.

For a linear LED unit, check out the VC-Strip 25 8x1.

Going up with complexity, a multiring LED wash fixture, the LEDWash 800.

For a fixture with many DMX modes and Mode Dependencies, look at the Orbiter.

If you need an example of quite complex pixel controlled LED fixture, Tarrantula can be an example. This is also showcasing custom 3D model for the beam pixel lens.

Start with visualizing right away

Several manufacturers are working on their GDTF implementation. Check out what they are offering and maybe ask for support if not announced yet. You can also use GDTF files right away with either MA3 or VW Vision and although there is always room to implement more niche details, most features needed for the real day to day operation already work very well. Start with a basic device and see what it looks in the visualizer. This allows you to work without a physical fixture and you can explore and test even complex depths of GDTF possibilities.

DMX controlling versus general device description

For basic DMX controlling, very simple GDTF file is all that is needed, so i would suggest to start with that, but GDTF offers much more, from the 3D models through connectors to real world physical parameters. For that, you will need real measurements of real devices, but again, you can try any values for the start, to get a feel how to enter them into the builder and what the visualizing looks like.

Consuming GDTF data

If you are more into utilizing and using the GDTF data, definitively check out the DIN Spec as per above. Also, look at the GDTF XSD file and PR for a Schematron validation file (kindly provided by @Janng ). There is also the libMVRgdtf parsing library (ask for access through the info@gdtf-share.com email as per above), or if you like to use GDTF fixtures in a 3D game engine, you might also like to check out the Unreal Engine GDTF implementation, described for example here. As the GDTF format is completely open and there are already some well performing devices files in the Share, is it simple to start with implementation and do some experiments of what the GDTF can provide you with.

Hope this helps


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