Sequencers and Software Tools > Nutcracker Tutorials

Tutorial: Creating organic shockwaves in xLights/Nutcracker


Waxing My Knee:
As you may know already, xLights has a built in shockwave effect, but to put it short, it is just an expanding circle.
I am currently programing some heavy electronic music for my show next year and wanted an effect that would provide enough "umph" for the drop so I figured out how to do this. Keep in mind that this won't look the best on displays that don't have an excess of pixels. As a graphic design artist I took up the challenge, and found it to be very simple.

All links to helpful things can be found at the bottom.
What you will need:
1. Free/paid shockwave assets (both look fine, just depends how dedicated you are)
2. ffmpeg software
3. xLights V.4 or newer
4. (Optional) Adobe After Effects

(Please note, I am expecting you have some basic experience using the command line.)
Replace things in brackets with what they say to replace them with ;)
1. Create a new folder and call it something you will remember like "Shockwave1"
2. Open your CMD by pressing the windows key then typing "CMD" then press enter.
3. Browse to where you created the file in step 1 by typing in the CMD: cd {insert file path here}
4. Next type this command in the CMD: ffmpeg -i {insert path to downloaded shockwave video here} -s 150x150 shockwave-%d.png
5. Once it says it completed, you can exit CMD and open up xLights.
6. Go to the part of your sequence where you want the shockwave and insert the picture effect.
7. Next click browse and find where you made that new folder in step one, open it, and click the first file, which should be something like "shockwave-1.png"
8. Set the movement option to none.
9. Finnally, if your shockwave looks a little slow, you can speed it up using the "Frame Rate Adj." slider.

If you have experience using Adobe After Effects, you can open the shockwave you downloaded in it, then use the Hue/Saturation effect or the Glow effect to change the color.
You can also use Adobe After Effects to convert the shockwave files to PNG sequences, if using the command line isn't your thing.

PNG sequences take up a lot of space, please be careful not to fill up your hard drive.
Also, in the tutorial, the command I put makes the PNG sequence have a resolution of 150x150, you can change this by changing that parameter in the command.
Sorry if my tutorial is a little unclear, I'm not the best at explaining things.

Converting video to PNG sequence for xLights:
Basic shockwave effects (free): (I take no credit for this)
Advanced shockwave effects (paid):

Hope I didn't confuse you to much, best of luck!

Thanks for the great idea. I found some free pre-rendered ones and tried a few out on my display - panel and then on my entire display. Very cool! If you are interested in trying them out, the link below takes you to a OneDrive directory - you may need to be on OneDrive to access. Download the Shockwave_Pack which has a dozen of them in different colors in .mov format.

BTW, you may find a larger audience for this by reposting this to the Xlights/Nutcracker forum under the Effects thread.



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