Define Launch Position Order
The edit operations like Fan and Stagger all apply to the selected effects in a specified sort order. Usually the default sort order is exactly what you want, so you may not have noticed that the dialog boxes for fan and stagger include a "Sort by" selector in the lower right with some additional options. One of those options is "Launch position order, then angle, then time", which is based primarily on the launch position order.
The "Show > Define launch position order" command allows you to define the order of the launch positions, which you can then use in the fan and stagger operations to produce interesting arrangements that wind through a field of launch positions in any order or path that you define.
To create a stagger pattern over a defined sequence of launch positions, do the following steps:
- Select the launch position that will be the first in the sort order for the stagger pattern.
- Holding the shift key, successively select the remaining launch positions that will be involved. It may be easier to switch to the bird's eye view (control-B) to see the launch positions from top view.
Do "Show > Define launch position order". This function defines the order of the selected launch positions to be the order in which you selected them. This sort order will remain defined for the show until do the operation again to define a different order. Thus you can unselect the launch positions, and the order remains defined. The order is saved with the show.
- Select the effects that you want to stagger. Presumably these effects launch from the launch positions of step (2).
Do "Edit > Stagger. Change the "sort by" selector in the lower right of the dialog to "Launch position order, then angle, then time". Then click okay.
- Notice that the effects were staggered according to their launch position order that you defined in step (2).
If you have a row of launch positions, the command that defines the launch position order makes it easy to define orders that go from the outside launch positions toward the center, alternating from side to side. If you have a field or matrix of launch positions, you can define orders that circle around the perimeter of the field, or spiral toward the center, or cross diagonally from one side the other.
The only sorting option that involves the defined launch position order is "Launch position order, then angle, then time". This options defines three sort criteria starting with launch position order. Effects having the same launch position will be sorted by angle; if their angles are the same then they are sorted by time as the final tie breaker.
If you apply the "Launch position order, then angle, then time" sort order to effects in launch positions that weren't involved in your last "Show > Define launch position order" operation, then those effects are taken to be last in the launch position order.