How To Edit Effects
You can create a new effect simulation with “Effects > Create new simulation” and then edit it with “Effects > Edit selected simulation.” When you edit the simulation, a number of editing panels appear at the top of the screen for adjusting properties of the simulation. Even though the initial simulations can look very different from each other, when you edit them you have full control of all their simulation properties so you can change any simulation into any other simulation by adjusting its properties. There are a lot of properties to adjust, though, so the easiest way to create simulations in Finale is to begin with the best simulation you can generate with “Effects > Create new simulation” and then edit it to adjust its appearance with the editing panels.
There are about 50 edit panels, arranged left-to-right. The panels are color-coded to group related properties. The first green panel (“Firework”) controls general properties, like the “Name” and “Caliber.” The second set of blue panels (“Launch”) control the animation of the projectiles that get launched into the sky. For an aerial effect you would adjust the launch properties for a single launched projectile (the shell). For a mine effect, you would adjust the properties to launch a group of projectiles (the mine stars). For a fountain or gerb effect, you would adjust the properties to emit a stream of projectiles (fountain particles). Thus the term “projectile” can mean a shell or a star or a particle.
The editable properties specify a simulation by defining four types of projectiles, Proj-L (the launched projectile), and Proj-A, Proj-B, and Proj-C, and controlling how they relate to each other. For example, a Red Peony effect can be defined using only two types of projectiles, Proj-L (the launched shell), and Proj-A (the stars that the shell breaks into). A three-colored variegated peony can be created with Proj-L (the launched shell), and all three other projectiles Proj-A, B, and C to represent the three colors of stars. It is not possible to make a four-colored variegated peony because there aren’t enough projectile types to represent the colors.
Even though the word “projectile” generally refers to objects like shells or stars in uncontrolled flight, in simulation terms the word “projectile” has a more general meaning. A projectile can simulate a shell or star, but it can also simulate things like a rising Girandola effect, or a spinning tourbillion insert in a Farfalla shell, or a tiny spark emitted from a Popcorn Crackle effect. A projectile is just an object in the simulation that has (1) a visual appearance, (2) a motion path that may include some form of propulsion, and possibly (3) a mechanism of spawning other projectiles such as when a shell projectile breaks into star projectiles, or when a gerb emits a shower of spark “projectiles.”
The “Type” property in blue “Launch” panel specifies whether a single Proj-L projectile is launched, such as for an aerial shell or rocket or comet; or whether multiple Proj-L projectiles are “launched” (lifted), such as for the stars of a mine; or whether a continuous stream of Proj-L projectiles are “launched” (ejected), such as for the ejected particles of a fountain. In each of these cases, the Proj-L itself would be defined to model a different type of physical object--a shell, rocket, star, particle, etc.
If the type of launch is Single, as for an aerial shell, rocket, or comet, then the “No. Of Particles (If Mine),” “Emissions/Sec (If Gerb),” and “Duration (If Gerb)” parameters have no effect. If the type of launch is Multiple, then the “No. Of Particles (If Mine)” parameter controls the number of stars lifted in the mine. If the type is “Continuous” then the “Emissions/Sec (If Gerb)” parameter controls the rate at which the stream of projectiles (particles) are ejected. The “Duration (If Gerb)” parameter controls the duration the stream.
Independent of what launched projectiles are meant to represent (shells, stars, particles, etc.), the initial conditions of their trajectory are defined by the launch’s “Cone Width,” “Cone Height,” and “Height Randomness” parameters in the “Launch” panel. The initial speed of the projectile is based on a standard velocity for the effect’s Caliber, and adjusted by the “Cone Height” and “Height Randomness” parameters. The “Cone Height” scales the initial velocity up or down, raising or lowering the trajectory height. The “Height Randomness” introduces randomness into the heights of launched projectiles so they all don’t rise to exactly the same height, which looks unrealistic. If the “Height Randomness” is set to 0.0 the projectiles will all have the same initial speed, but if the value is 1.0, the projectiles will have speeds varying from full lift to no lift at all, which might be realistic for launched fountain particles but would be bad news for shells. The “Cone Width” controls the random variation of the direction of the trajectory. If the “Cone Width” is 0.0, the trajectories will always be perfectly straight up; if the value is 45 degrees the trajectories will be spread out into a very wide shower. Aerial shell simulations typically have a very small or zero “Cone Width” since shells in mortars shoot relatively straight; fountain simulations typically have large “Cone Width” values since their particles spray out in a wide cone; mine simulations are more similar to fountains, lifting their stars in a plume-like cone.
The “Break Time Adjustment” parameter adjusts when the break detonation occurs on the projectile’s trajectory, the adjustment based off a standard lift duration indexed off the shell’s caliber. If the adjustment is 1.0, the break will occur at the end of the shell projectile’s lift duration. If the adjustment is 2.0, the break will occur long after the standard lift duration, well into the downward side of the trajectory and possibly after the shell has hit the ground. If the adjustment is less than 1.0, the break will occur on the way up.
The “Launch Sound” panel has parameters for selecting a launch sound effect and adjusting its volume (the “Volume” parameter) and pitch (the “Pitch Shift” parameter). The “Random Pitch Shift” introduces a random pitch adjustment so that all launches don’t sound exactly the same.
Projectiles Creating Other Projectiles
A simple aerial effect like a Red Peony is simulated by the Proj-L projectile (the shell), breaking into a petal of Proj-A projectiles (the stars). “Breaking” is one of the ways a projectile can create other projectiles. The second way a projectile can create other projectiles is by emitting them. “Emissions” are used to simulate a tourbillion, for example. You can create an aerial shell with a payload of tourbillions with three projectiles: Proj-L (the shell), Proj-A (the tourbillion inserts in the payload of the shell), and Proj-B (the spark-like particles emitted from the apertures of the tourbillion). “Breaks” and “Emissions” are the two ways a projectile can create other projectiles. Thus you can determine the role of each type of projectile in a simulation by starting with Proj-L and examining what types of projectile or projectiles it either breaks into or emits. Then for each of those projectile types, examine what types of projectiles they break into or emit, and so on. Any projectile not involved in this tree of relationships beginning with Proj-L has no effect on the simulation.
Projectiles have a Tip and a Trail. The Tip is bright star of light illuminating the projectile itself. The Trail is a stream of Sparks left behind in the path of the projectile. The edit panel controlling the properties of a projectile’s Tip (e.g., “Proj-L tip”) enable you to set the color and size of the star of light. A projectile used to simulate a meteor or bright stars in an aerial shell might have a large star of light. Projectiles used to simulate spark particles emitted from a rising effect or a tourbillion might have a tiny star of light. The panel also controls when the light begins and ends along the lifetime of the projectile. By default, the light begins at the beginning of the projectile’s life (0.0) and ends at the end of the projectile’s life (1.0), but if you set the beginning to 0.5 the projectile will be dark for the first half of its life; same for the ending. The properties also allow you to specify how the light strobes or fluctuates. By default the light is constant, but you can set it to “Shimmer” or “Twinkle” or “Pulse” or “Flash” to give it varying degrees and frequency of fluctuations. The projectile’s basic editing panel (e.g., “Proj-L basics”) has a “Has tip” property, which turns on or off the Tip.
The Trail of a projectile is a stream of Sparks left behind in the path of the projectile. A projectile’s Trail editing panel controls properties that define what kind of Sparks are used, and when then stream begins and ends along the path, similar to the begin and end parameters for the Tip. A simulation has four different types of Sparks: Spark-W, X, Y, and Z. You can define each type of Spark separately in its own editing panel which is near the far right end of the panels. For example, the editing panel “Spark-W” defines Spark-W. If one of your projectiles leaves Spark-W Sparks in its Trail, then you need to edit the “Spark-W” panel to control what those Trails look like. (You can also make a projectile leave a visible trail by making it emit other projectiles. Since you only have four types of projectiles to work with, though, you are usually better using Sparks so your Trail does not use one of your projectile types.)
Sparks are the tiny dots of light left behind in the path of a projectile (its Trail). The four types of sparks, Spark-W, X, Y, Z each have their own edit panels on the far right, which define their properties. The “Type” property controls whether the Trail is Thick or Thin, Scattered or Discrete, Smooth, or Glittery. You can try these options to observe the differences. The Sparks fall toward the ground according to their Weight property. Their “Longevity” property determines their lifetime--the longer the Longevity, the longer the lifetime and therefore the longer the Trail. The “Color” parameter adjusts the color of the Sparks, and the “Glitteriness” adjusts their fluctuations in intensity, but only applies if their “Type” is set to Glittery.
Projectile Basics and Body
If a projectile has no propulsion, its motion path is determined by its initial velocity and the other forces acting upon it--gravity and wind resistance. The “Weight” parameter determines the force of gravity on the projectile. The “Random Weight” controls a random amount of additional weight added to the projectile, which may be different for different projectiles of the same type. For example, if Proj-L breaks into Proj-A stars, the Proj-A stars might be well defined to have a non-zero “Random Weight” so the individual stars in the payload all have slightly different trajectories, which may make them look more realistic. “Wind Resistance” and “Random Wind Resistance” are similar. The higher the “Wind Resistance” the quicker the projectile decelerates to a stop. The “Momentum” parameter adjusts the motion path to compensate for the change in mass and surface area if the projectile is burning as it flies. A “Momentum” of 1.0 means the projectile will retain its full mass throughout its lifetime. A “Momentum” of 0.0 means the projectile burns away to nothing, such that at the end of its life it blows lightly in the wind.
The parameters in the “Basics” panel control the lifetime of the projectile (its “Longevity”), a random shortening of its lifetime (its “Abridgment”) and whether it has a Report or Tip. The “Abridgment” is the parameter to use to control whether the stars in an aerial shell expire at the same time or at randomly different times. If the “Abridgment” is 0.0 the stars will expire at exactly the same time; if the “Abridgment” is 1.0 the stars will expire randomly at any moment from immediately to the full duration. The “Longevity” itself is a scale factor applied to a standard duration based on the “Caliber” field in the “Firework” editing panel. All the other parameters in the “Basics” and “Body” panels are not affected by the “Caliber.”
The propulsion parameters control additional forces that affect the motion path of the projectile. Once you get the hang of them, these parameters make it possible to simulate tourbillions, rockets, serpents, bees, fish, even girandolas. The “Force” parameter is the intensity of the force. The “Delay,” measured in seconds, is the period of time from the birth of the projectile before the propulsion force kicks in. The “Duration” is the duration in seconds over which the force is applied. The “Delay Abridgment” is a random shortening of the delay, similar to the “Abridgment” parameter in the “Body” panel, discussed above. The “Tortuosity” parameter determines the angle of the propulsion from the axis of the projectile. A “Tortuosity” of 0.0 degrees is perfectly straight, like the force from a perfect rocket engine propelling a rocket forward; a value of 180 degrees is at right angles to the projectile’s axis, causing it to spin wildly.
You can think of the “Tortuosity” as the angle of the engine’s aperture to the projectile axis. The “Spin (Rotations/Min)” parameter controls the rate the projectile spins around its axis. “Spin” by itself doesn’t have any visual effect in the simulation, but “Spin” in combination with “Tortuosity” has a very useful effect for rockets and serpents: The “Tortuosity” causes the projectile’s trajectory to curl, but the spin causes the curling to rotate around the axis. The combined effect is a helical trajectory, like a subtle corkscrew, which can be used to make very realistic rocket-like trajectories.
You can visualize the “Tortuosity” and “Spin” parameters by holding up your hand and pointing you index finger to the sky. Then if you curl your finger, that is the “Tortuosity”; if you then rotate your arm while keeping it pointing up, that is the “Spin.” The direction pointed by the tip of your finger while you spin your arm is like the direction of the projectile based on its “Tortuosity” and “Spin.” The “Random Spin” is a random amount of additional “Spin” which varies from projectile to projectile. Finally, the “Uprightness” is a force that compels the axis to aim up, acting like the keel of a boat or the tail on a kite.
The “Emissions” panels control how a projectile, such as a gerb or a tourbillion, emits other projectiles, such as spark particles. You can set the “Emitted Projectiles” parameter to any projectile type, Proj-L, A, B, or C, and you can define each projectile type independently, so it is obviously possible to make simulations that don’t even make sense physically, such as a shell projectile that “emits” thousands of sub-shell projectiles as it is rising, which all break into stars. While this description sounds nonsensical, it actually is one way to make a good “Time Rain” effect. Just imagine that the sub-shells are not actually shells, but tiny globs of molten pyrotechnic material that burst into tiny petals of sparks, like a shell break but on a microscopic level. The “Emissions” panels are thus useful for many types of crackle effects, in addition to rising effects and propulsion effects.
The “Emissions/Sec” parameter controls the rate at which projectiles are emitted. The “Cone Height” and “Cone Width” parameters control the shape of the emission code. A width of 0.0 degrees causes all emissions to be in a straight line; a width of 90.0 degrees causes the emissions to spray out, cone-like. The height of the cone represents the velocity with which the projectiles are emitted. The total velocity of the emitted projectiles is velocity of emission plus some fraction (the “Carried Velocity”) of the projectile that is emitting them. If you think of the emitted projectiles physical objects like billiard balls, their “Carried Velocity” would be 1.0 because their velocity would include the full velocity of the projectile that emitted them. However, showers of sparks are not billiard balls, and their high wind resistance makes a “Carried Velocity” near zero produce more realistic simulations.
In the physical world, a projectile emits through a tiny hole, or “Aperture.” You have four choices for the “Apertures” parameter, which controls the direction of the emission cone axis relative to the projectile axis. The choices are, Bottom End, Side, Both Sides, and Radial (Ignoring Cone Width). In the simulation, the emissions do not affect the motion. Whereas in the physical world, the aperture of emissions would obviously be related to the propulsion, in the simulation they are disconnected. Like the Tip and Trail parameters, the Emissions have “Begin” and “End,” which control when the emissions turn on and off in the course of the projectile’s lifetime.
On a large scale, aerial shells break into stars. On a small scale, crackle particles break into tinier sparks. You can use the “Break” editing panels for all kinds of breaks, large and small. Like the emissions, a break creates new projectiles of a type you specify with the “Type Of Projectiles” parameter, picking one or a combination of the other types of projectiles, Proj-A, B, or C. The “Number Of Projectiles” parameter controls the number of spawned projectiles in the break. The “Break Force” controls the size of the petal. Whereas the “Number Of Particles” parameter is an absolute count, the “Break Force” is a scale factor applied to a default force based on the caliber set in the “Firework” panel.
The “Time To Break” parameter specifies the fraction of the lifetime of the projectile at which the break is to occur. You can simulate a peanut shell by using the “Proj-L First Break” panel and the “Proj-L Second Break” panel, and specifying the “Time To Break” of the first break to be slightly less than the full lifetime. For example, setting the “Time To Break” to 0.8 will cause the first break of the peanut shell to occur at 80% of the launched projectile’s lifetime (i.e., the 80% of the trajectory); the second break would be at 100% of the projectile’s lifetime, when it expires. The second break’s “Type Of Projectiles” parameter includes the option: Pattern With Proj-A and Proj-B. If you choose this option, the “Proj-L Pattern” panel will control the shape of the second break and the number of projectiles it contains, ignoring the “No. Of Projectiles” value.
The “Break Sound” panel allows you to choose a pre-defined sound effect for the break, and to adjust the volume (“Volume” parameter), and frequency (“Pitch Shift”) of the sound. The “Random Pitch Shift” parameter controls the degree of random pitch adjustment applied to the projectile breaks. It sounds more realistic to have some variation so all breaks don’t sound exactly the same. Proj-L has its own “Proj-L Break Sound” panel, whereas Proj-A and B both share a “Break Sound For Proj-A, B” panel near the far right of the list of panels.
The break "Shape" options (Sphere, Ring, Half And Half, Double Ring, etc.) control the shape of the break. Both breaks of the Proj-L projectile will have the same orientation, so you can combine them. For example, if you set the first break shape to "Double Half Ring" and the second break shape to "Half Ring", the combination will have three half rings, whose colors you can set independently to make a rainbow shape. The shape will use the types of projectiles you specify in the "Type Of Projectiles" option. For example, if you set "Type Of Projectiles" to "Proj-A and B" then one of the half-rings will be Proj-A and the other will be Proj-B.
The “Randomness" parameter of the breaks controls the uniformity of the break shape. If you set the randomness to zero and the shape to "Ring" then the stars will be spawned in a perfectly uniform ring with the number of stars you specify. The stars themselves may have different random properties that also affect the apparent shape of the break as it expands. For example, if the stars have a non-zero "Random Wind Resistance" then their difference in wind resistance will make the shape look somewhat randomized. Though usually small randomness values look most realistic for ball shells, you can use large randomness to more accurately model the shape of cylinder shells, or very large randomness to turn a ring shape essentially into a doughnut--useful for modelling Maltese Beraq shells.
The “Ghost Duration" parameter subtracts a time delta from the lifetime of the stars in the break, that time delta being calculated based on the star's angle around the shape. If you think of the shape as a clock, the time delta is zero for 12 o' clock, and increases clockwise to the full duration as the hand reaches 12 o' clock again. The ghost duration can be used to make ghost shells and timed report shells. To make a ghost shell, for example, begin with a color changing shell like "Red To Blue Peony" and then set the ghost duration to 3 seconds. The time delta will be subtracted from the duration of the Proj-A projectiles representing the red phase, causing them to transition to the Proj-B blue phase progressively around the shape clockwise.
The “Tilt Range” and “Spin Range” parameters control the randomness of the orientation of the pattern break in the sky. In the physical world, shells have a completely random orientation when they break in the sky, but for making promotional videos you may want your pattern simulations to break with a less random orientation, so that your smileys are for the most part right side up. If you set the “Tilt Range” and “Spin Range” to 0.0, your smileys will always be face perfectly forward. If you have more than one such pattern in the show, they tend to look unrealistic. Intermediate values for the “Tilt Range” and “Spin Range” usually provide the best balance between realism and desired effect.
The “Proj-L Pattern” panel allows you to draw a picture of the pattern of projectiles (stars) that a projectile breaks into. Instead of drawing the picture using colors, you draw the picture using projectile types. Each dot in the picture represents one projectile, either of type Proj-A or Proj-B. To make a smiley pattern, for example, draw a circle with Proj-A, and then add two dots of Proj-B for eyes, and also draw the smile itself.
The pattern picture itself is just 2-D, but in spite of that you can make very realistic looking 3-D patterns like cubes or bowties or stained glass by drawing in the 2-D picture what the pattern looks like in 3-D from a certain point of view, and then setting the “Tilt Range” and “Spin Range” to add some randomness to the orientation, but not too much. You can make remarkably realistic 3-D pattern simulations using this trompe l’oeil technique.
The Report at the end of a projectile’s life can simulate a large salute, or small report. It can also be used in combination with a Break to simulate a Titanium salute, or in combination with invisible projectiles to produce a fusillade of detonation sounds. The projectile panels have a checkbox in the “Basics” panel to turn on or off the Report that will occur when it expires or breaks. If the projectile’s Report is turned on, the “Report” panels near the far right of the list of panels will apply (all projectile types use the same “Report” panel parameters).
The Report is a combination of three effects: a bright light, a brightening of the sky, and a sound. The bright light is similar to a Tip’s light, except larger. It’s size is based on the Caliber in the “Firework” panel and adjusted with the “Size” parameter in the “Report” panel. The “Color” parameter in the “Report” panel is just the same as the “Color” parameters in the other panels. The “Sky Brightening” parameter is unique to Reports. If this parameter is non-zero, the report brightens the whole background picture at the instant the Report occurs, creating a strong visual impact that would be realistic for large salutes. The sound parameters for the Report are the same as for the break.
The first panel, “Firework,” has general parameters like “Name,” “Category,” and “Caliber.” The name is whatever you want; it has no affect on anything else. The “Category” parameter is one of six standard values: Shells, Comets, Mines, Candles, Cakes, and Other. The category has no effect on the simulation, but it does determine whether the device requires a mortar in the rack layout. The “Caliber” parameter does affect some aspects of the simulation and also (obviously) affects the size of the mortar if required. Some parameters described above are indexed based on standard values for the caliber of the effect, such as “Cone Height,” “Longevity,” and “Break Force.” Thus adjustments to these parameters carry through proportionally if you change the caliber of the effect. Other parameters, like the “No. Of Projectiles” of a break are absolute numbers that are not indexed off a standard caliber-based value. Thus if you change the caliber of an effect from 3” to 8”, the shell’s trajectory and petal size will adjust automatically, but the number of stars in the petal will not. Thus, to make simulations for multiple calibers, some customization is usually required beyond just changing the caliber parameter.
The “Firework” panel also has “Fuse Delay” and “Prefire (0 = auto)” parameters. The fuse delay is a delay inserted between the ignition of the device and the beginning of the visual simulation. The “Prefire (0 = auto)” parameter determines the difference between the “Ignition Time” and the “Effect Time.” If the “Prefire (0 = auto)” parameter is set to any non-zero value, it alone will define the prefire time for the effect, which is shown visually on the effect’s timeline bar as the position of the prefire blip from the left end of the bar. If the “Prefire (0 = auto)” parameter is set to 0, then the “0 = auto” kicks in and the prefire is determined automatically by the simulation.
If the prefire is determined by the simulation (i.e., when its value is set 0.0 for “auto”), then the determined value will automatically be 0.3 seconds for ground effects, representing a short time required for the effect to develop to its visual impact (the “Effect Time”). For aerial shells it will automatically be the time of the first break. Thus for aerial shells, the fuse delay does affect the automatic value of the prefire, since the fuse delay delays the simulation and the simulation’s first break determines the prefire. As a reminder, though, if the “Prefire (0 = auto)” is non-zero, then the prefire becomes entirely decoupled from the simulation. Setting the prefire does not affect the simulation in any way (in particular, setting the prefire time does not affect the break’s lift duration in the simulation).
Single Effect Cakes
The edit panels support creating cakes, but only cakes with a single effect since supporting multiple effects would require an unwieldy number of panels. To make cakes with multiple effects, you can make the effects individually, insert and lay them in a show with the correct timing and firing pattern, select them, and do “Effects > Make cake” to construct a cake from the collection of individual effects. If your cake has only a single effect, though, you can make the simulation more quickly using the “Single Effect Cake” editing panels. Currently the “Effect > Make cake” command is limited to about 50 individual effect simulations, so if you want to make a 100 shot cake you may have to use the single effect cakes capability to make multi-shot component simulations that you combine into the 100 shot cake with the “Effect > Make cake” command.
By default, the “Single Effect Cake” parameters are set to a single “No. Of Rows” and single “Tubes Per Row,” which yields a single shot. Each shot is a complete effect as defined in the other panels, be it a shell, mine, fountain, etc. If you set the “No. Of Rows” and “Tubes Per Row” to other values, the simulation will have multiple shots, the product of those two terms. The “Cake Duration” parameter defines the duration from first to last shot ignitions, ignoring the lift time or dissipation times of the effects. The “Pattern” parameter defines the order and angle pattern of the tubes in a single row. Setting the pattern to “Fan Open (Repeating),” for example, will result in a firing pattern of center-to-outside for each row, whereas “Fan Open Then Close (Repeating)” will result in a firing pattern that goes center-to-outside-to-center, back and forth. “Zipper” zigzags left and right. “Straight Up” obviously goes straight up. The “Fan angle” parameter determines the angle from the left-most angling tube to the right-most angling tube.
The timing between the rows is set by the “Delay Between Rows” parameter. Once you’ve specified the overall “Cake Duration” and the “Delay Between Rows” and the “No. Of Rows,” then whatever time remains from the overall cake duration after subtracting the delay between rows times the number rows minus one is divided among the delays between the individual tubes in the rows. For example, if the cake is 9 seconds long, and has 10 rows with 1 second delay between rows, then each row will be a flight of simultaneous effects, an instantaneous fan (there are nine 1-second delays between the ten rows, encompassing the full cake duration). However if the cake duration were 14.5 seconds long, then each row would have a half second to fan out incrementally.