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Notch Block

 7 Minutes



Notch Block Setup



  1. How to prepare and expose parameters in a Notch Block for Pixera.
    1. Create your own Notch Block with Notch VFX - “IMAG_Pixera_SHOWCASE”.
    2. Expose Parameters (Parameters, Limit Range Values, Grouping).
    3. Export Notch Blocks for Pixera.
  2. How to use Notch Blocks in Pixera.
    1. Methods to import Notch Blocks to Pixera.
    2. Control “IMAG_Pixera_SHOWCASE” via Composite Layer.
    3. Control 3D scene “COMP_LAYER_PIXERA_SHOWCASE” via Composite Layer.
    4. UV Notch Block to Pixera Setup.
    5. Control UV Notch Block in Pixera.
    6. Pixera Controls (Fader, Browser, ArtNet, DMX).


1. How to prepare and expose parameters in a Notch Block for Pixera


This overview focuses on working with Notch Blocks inside Pixera.




You will need:

  • Pixera Director or Creator (watermarked).
  • Notch VFX Player License / or Trail (watermarked) to play Notch Blocks.

You can download all the Notch Blocks used in this manual here.

We will start using Blocks inside Pixera at Section 2.

You can follow along by creating the “IMAG_PIXERA_SHOWCASE” Block in the next section but you'll need a Notch VFX Builder License to do so.

visit for more information.


In this intro we use Notch VFX Version and Pixera 1.8.201


1.1 Create your own Notch Block with Notch VFX - “IMAG_PIXERA_SHOWCASE”


See also

We start with a blank project. This will not be a Notch VFX workshop so we will just tackle the necessary steps to get a simple IMAG FX with exposed parameters working in Pixera.

Let's add a “Video Loader” to use later as a Texture Slot inside Pixera. Let's add some FX, in this case “Edge Detect” and “Glow”. Finally, to see it on our screen we add a “Image 2D" Node. All settings are at default.


1.2 Expose Parameters


(Parameters, Limit Range Values, Grouping)

See also

Now let’s expose some parameters to get Pixera to work with them.

First we expose the “Video Loader” Video so we can pipe in some sources (livecam, video) inside Pixera either as a composite source or as an custom effect to use it on layers.

Select the “Video Loader” node. In the parameters panel there is a question mark at the left side of “Video”. If you click it a dialog box will open. Now select “Expose Property” and Pixera will now see the “Video Loader” as a Texture Slot in the timeline.


Next we expose “Blend Amount” parameters from “Edge Detect” and “Glow” to control those effects in PIXERA's Timeline. To make things easier for the operator, we add an “Exposed Name”, an “Exposed Group Name” and a "Value Range" for the exposed parameters.



To see what parameters are exposed and how they appear in Pixera, go to the very right and click exposed. As you can see the two effects are put in one group while the loader is placed into another.




1.3 Expose IMAG Notch Block


To export the block: Click “Project” - “Compile Block for Media Servers” - enter a name and your desired path, and then you’re ready to import it into Pixera.



2. How to use Notch Blocks in Pixera


2.1 Import a Notch Block as Custom effect (deprecated)

This will create a FX similar to other Shader Based FX and can be stacked with other FX inside Pixera.

To Import a Notch Block unfold the “Effects tree” and right-click on “Custom”. Under Add Resources add the desired Notch Block File. This will add the file under the “custom” tree. In order to apply the block, just drag and drop the FX onto your existing layer, which contains either a video or a live cam.


Using the Notch Block as a custom effect is not recommended due to its limitations. It is highly recommended to work with Notch Block as Compositing Layers as described in the next section.




2.2 Import a Notch Block as Compositing Layer


This will create a dedicated layer for your block to run.

To do so head to the Compositing Tab and hit the “VR” button in the resource panel. Now lets import the “COMP_LAYER_Pixera_SHOWCASE” Block by selecting it and hit “open” to add it to our resources. It is now inside our Media Tree and we can drag and drop it onto our timeline.


If we have multiple Notch Layers in a block, Pixera 1.8 and 2.0 handle this differently. In 1.8 we will have to choose which Notch Layer to load. In 2.0 we have the option to choose one Notch Layer to load or we can load all of the Notch Layers at once.


Adding all Notch Layers allows us to select which should currently be loaded by selecting the Notch Layer in the dropdown. We will also see all parameters for each Notch Layer and can change these values no matter what Notch Layer is selected.


With the layer unfolded we can see our exposed Parameters in our predefined groups. For the "IMAG_PIXERA_SHOWCASE " it was “FX” and the “Video Loader” group.


2.2.1 Control “IMAG_PIXERA_SHOWCASE” via Compositing Layer


Now let’s have a look at how to control the "IMAG_PIXERA_SHOWCASE" Block via Composite Layer instead of a Custom Effect.

Since the block has it’s own timeline and is therefore independent of Pixera's timeline you can choose whether you want to play it in "Free loop" or lock it to Pixera's Timeline. In our case let’s choose "Free Loop" so the simulation runs regardless of Pixera's Timeline state.


Since there is no content inside the Block we do not see anything. In order to add content we need to drag a source onto the container in our timeline. This can be a Live Cam or a Video. In this instance let’s choose a Live Input from the Resource Tab and drag it onto the “Video” Slot of the “IMAG_PIXERA_SHOWCASE” Layer.


To keep the Notch block loaded at all times you can select “Preload Effects Permanently”. You can find this option by selecting the layer - on the right-hand side select “Setup” and scroll down to “Preload Effects Permanently”. Be aware - depending on your machine and the size of your Block this can slow down your machine.


There will also be a lock symbol on the Notch Block layer which we can toggle on and off to change this settings.


If we take a look at “FX” tab on the right hand side of the screen, we also have the parameters there hooked up to some sliders. If your name is cut off due to it’s length you can hover over it to see a tooltip of its full name.


2.2.2 Control 3D Scene “COMP_LAYER_PIXERA_SHOWCASE” via Composite Layer


You’ll find the block and the dxv in the download package.

For this example I prepared a scene called “COMP_LAYER_PIXERA_SHOWCASE” which contains: a 3D Scene with a Camera where “posxyz” and “rotxyz” are exposed and which contains 3 predefined positions, 2 exposed “Video Loader ' for Wall and Floor Video content, some Image adjustments for the wall, and an effect called FX1.

The two Video Loaders for the floor and the wall are now available for us to pipe content in.


Pro tip: for the Parameter CAMERA:Select POS - the predefined positions - you can expose a tweening null index (0-2) that is attached to a camera and has nulls as coordinates. This serves as predefined camera positions which we can now transition to via the tweening null properties. more info at:



3. UV Notch Block to Pixera Setup


You’ll find the block and the dfx file in the download package

To export a scene for UV mapping we first need a 3d model with correct UVs. In this example I use the Dodekaeder provided by Pixera.

For this 3d File we need to flip the Y Axis of our texture in Notch but you might not need to depending on how your 3d model is prepared.

Now in our case the UV Camera Node displays our UV content correctly.


In order to output the scene we need to select “UV Camera” as our current Camera in the Root node.


3.1 Control UV Notch Block in Pixera


In Pixera add your Model via the "Screens" Tab. At the very bottom left hit the “+” Symbol and select the Dodekaeder. Now in your Screens "Custom Tab" drag and drop the imported Object into the scene.


Select the Object and make it projectable - the option is on the right panel.


Next we add a projector to the scene via the "Mapping Live Tab". Select an output of your graphics card and drag and drop it to your scene.

By default the Feed Areas are set to “None” that’s what we want so the projector only projects what it sees. 

Now we can advance to the "Compositing" tab where you can now drag and drop the “UV_Pixera_SHOWCASE” Notch Block onto the Dodekaeder. This will add our Notch UV Camera Feed back onto the Dodekaeder with the correct perspective.



4. Multiple Screens and Inner Compositing


By default the Notch Block will be created as a “Compositing Layer Screen Aligned”. This means the Notch Block texture will only be visible on a single screen. If you jump into Inner Compositing then the Notch Block texture will take over the entire visual.  


If you want the texture to show up on more than one screen, you must click the Notch Block in your library, and in the inspector you will see a checkbox for "Create Compositing Layer Screen Aligned”. If you uncheck this option and drag the Notch Block onto a screen, in Inner Compositing the texture can now be resized like any other media loaded into Pixera.



5. Controlling the Notch Block


5.1 Effects on Notch Block Layers


Notch Block layers can use any Pixera effect. In this example the Perspective Layer Mapping effect is being used. All Layer Mapping effects will cause two changes 

How does changing the Playmode of a Notch Block work? Well Notch Blocks have a separated clock and thus can run independent to the main timeline


5.2 Change Notch Parameters with Control


In the Control tab you are able to change the exposed parameters of a Notch Block using whatever control setup you see fit. Whether it be manually inputing values, using a built UI, or using an outside control system such as a Loupedeck.

To change a Notch Block's exposed parameters you must navigate in the Pixera module to Pixera.Timelines.getTimelines().[The timeline the block is on].getLayers().[The layer the block is on].getNodes.[Name of the Layer in Notch].getParameters().

Opening this section will show all of the exposed parameters in the Notch Block, opening any of these parameters will allow you to get info about the parameter or set the values of the parameter.

Keep in mind that the Parameters are not organized by the node they control, so if you want to know what node a certain parameter changes you will need to look on the timeline.

5.3 DMX/Artnet Control Via Lighting Desk

You can patch the Notch Block parameters to DMX Artnet and sACN for control from a lighting desk. The article "Timeline Output Patching Artnet / sACN DMX" goes into how to accomplish this with timeline parameters.



6. Known Issues and Limitations


There are a variety of known issues which are being worked on. These fixes are to be released after Pixera 2.0 is officially released.


6.1 Changing the Notch Block on a Layer


You are unable to change the Notch Block being used on a Notch Block Layer. To use a new Notch Block, you must create a new Notch Block Layer and delete or Mute the other layer.


6.2 Performance


The best practice for Notch Blocks in Pixera is to include as much in a single block as possible. This is due to a combination of the Opacity limitation as well as the performance needed to run multiple Notch Blocks at a time. It is especially recommended if the design can handle using nodes which will switch between visuals in the Notch Block itself.  

An example of this would be exposing the the Type parameter on the Fractal Noise node. This would allow you to change the type of noise created using the node. A less performant way to accomplish this would be to load a Notch Block for each noise type and attempt to switch between these Blocks.

If multiple Notch Blocks are unavoidable, then making sure only one is running on a Timeline at the same time will help performance and avoid opacity/loading complications.  

See Also


Pixera 1.9.139 | 25. September 2023

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