Creating Effects Questions and Answers

Creating Effects

How do I set the prefire of an effect? When I change the "Prefire" field the simulation doesn't change.

Three different fields pertain to the prefire time of edited simulations: "Prefire (0 = auto)", "Fuse delay", and the Proj-L "Longevity". The "Prefire (0 = auto)" field changes the position of the blip on the effect's timeline bar, but does not affect the simulation itself. If this field is set to 0, then the prefire time is determined automatically from the simulation. The "Fuse delay" inserts a delay from the ignition point to the beginning of the simulation. The Proj-J "Longevity" lengthens or shortens the trajectory of the shell (if it is a shell).

Thus to change the prefire of an effect, you can set the "Prefire (0=auto)" to 0 and change the other parameters to control the simulation, which will in turn determine the prefire, or you can set the "Prefire (0=auto)" field to a non-zero value and change the simulation independently.

I am trying to make a strobe effect from ''Effect > Create new simulation'' and Finale says that it found a perfect match but the simulation isn't even close. What did I do wrong?

For some types of effects, Finale doesn't yet construct correct simulations even it if says it found a perfect match. Construction a simulation from a description is a two step process: first Finale has to interpret your description; second Finale has to construct the simulation based on its interpretation. If Finale's "Nearest Match Animation" is correct, that means it understood your description, but it is still possible that it doesn't yet know how to make a correct simulation for that type of effect.

We are continually improving Finale's simulation constructor, so the cases in which it doesn't know how to create the effect are becoming more rare, but for these cases you need to use a simulation from another inventory or make one. To make a flare or strobe effect, you can find a simulation from another library and save it to your inventory with "Effect > Master Inventory > Assign selected simulation to existing effect" or you can make one from scratch, probably starting with a fountain and reducing its height to zero.

I am from Malta. As you might know in Malta we have a lot of multi-break shells. Is it possible to create multi-break simulation with Finale?

You can create two-break shells with the editing panels (right click on a shell's trajectory to get the editing panels). To create shells with more than two breaks, you can create each break as a separate shell, then combine the shells as a cake ("Effects > Make cake"), then edit the cake (right click on trajectory) and change it's category back to shell. To make the separate shells appear like independent breaks of a single shell, you need to stagger their break times and turn off the rising tails on all but the first.

I am interested in commissioning someone to make simulations for me. Can we pay you to do it?

There are Finale users who would create simulations for you for a reasonable fee. You can post your request on the forums here:

Include your email and a Finale user will reply to you.

Saving Effects

How can I save effects in Finale PRO?

After creating a new effect with "Effects > Create new simulation" or modifying an existing effect, you can save it to your My Fireworks inventory with the command, "Effects > My Fireworks > Save selected simulation as new effect". You can see all your saved effects in the Inventory View (press control-i) by changing the inventory drop down to say "My Fireworks".

When I create a new simulation, where is that saved to use it again? If I choose an effect and change it, do I change the original or create a new one based on the above?

When you create a new simulation with "Effects > Create new simulation" you are inserting a new simulation into the show. It is not yet saved to any inventory of effects; it is only a custom simulation in the show.

Once an effect is added to a show, it is decoupled from the inventory of effects from which it came. You can edit the effect in the show by right clicking it or doing "Effects > Edit selected simulation", though editing it will not change the inventory of effects, nor will it change other effects in the show. Editing a simulation only changes that specific instance of the simulation in the show.

One you have edited an effect, you can save the effect to your My Fireworks inventory or to your Master Inventory. The My Fireworks inventory has an option to make your simulation public for other people to see. The Master Inventory is the inventory that works with Finale Inventory Management and that supports importing a list of effects from an Excel CSV file. You can save your simulation to either My Fireworks or Master Inventory, or both.

Saving your effect to inventory does not affect any existing shows. It only changes the definition of the simulation in the inventory for the next time you add that effect from inventory to a show. If you want to update all the simulations in an existing show, you can use the "Actions > Replace effect" function in the Firing View, as described in the Importing and Exporting Q and A section.

How can I make indoor/proximate effects?

From "Effects > Create new simulation" you can create proximate gerbs and mines by typing the height, duration, and number of shots specifications in the "Search Phrase" field, e.g.,




I want to use cakes that are not in the standard libraries. Where can I find simulations?

Some standard inventory effect libraries have cakes, and others don't. You can make single-effect cake simulations quickly using the command "Effect > Create new simulation" and typing a description of the cake in the "Search Phrase" field. You can include the duration, number of shots, height, firing pattern, number of rows, prefire, and effect type all in the description. For example, you can type,

20s 49 Shot 150' Variegated Peony Cake Zipper, 7 Rows, 2.1s PFT

and you will get a simulation that matches those parameters. You can make multi-effect cakes by adding the individual effects to the timeline laid out in the correct firing order, then selecting all of the effects, then doing the command "Effects > Make cake". Combining large numbers of individual effects slows down the simulation, so you are better off using the "Effect > Create new simulation" function when possible to reduce the number of individually created effects (each use of the "Create new simulation" function counts as one individual effect for some performance considerations, even if it represents many shots.)

Categories: Category_Creating_Effects, Category_Questions_and_Answers