Lighting Design Software

in Buyer's Guide

To download a PDF of the Aug. 2011 PLSN Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE.

Putting pencil to velum seems like something from the time of the ancient Egyptians.  Not many professionals practice the lost art of hand drafting with the advancements in Computer Aided Design, (CAD) and the digital lifestyle we are smack dab in the center of. Add on top of that the size of rigs going well beyond 300 moving fixtures and tight production schedules, and using a computer as an aid in the design process is a must.

This month we compare lighting software that helps us in the design process, from creating our plots to managing our War and Peace-sized paperwork burden to pre-visualization software.

Comparing the different software titles available is challenging task. This month’s Buyers Guide is a starting point.  We are comparing some of the important first choices when choosing a software title.

The first challenge is to figure out what we want our software to do. The tools out there can help, from simple 2D drafting all the way up to having pre-visualization built right in. From there, the next step is to consider which operating system you use and which software title runs natively on that platform. The final consideration is cost.

These are the starting-off points when looking for a software solution. From there, I encourage you to visit the manufacturers websites and learn more about the software. Most of the software titles listed offers a free trial version.

Another resource to use is to ask your peers and other professionals in the industry.  See what they are using and get their thoughts about the various options. You can always find opinions and answers on