— GB Stephens   Associate Professor of Design at the University of South Florida, School of Theatre and Dance

— GB Stephens

Associate Professor of Design at the University of South Florida, School of Theatre and Dance

I have been a long time advocate for using CAD applications for theatre and began experimenting with various CAD programs in the early 90’s. I became a serious AutoCAD user when AutoCAD released its Windows® version. I was thrilled to find LD Assistant, a CAD application which works on the AutoCAD platform which could be used for multiple theatre purposes.

At the University of South Florida School of Theatre and Dance, LD Assistant is used as a foundation for our technical theatre drafting, lighting and design classes. It not only provides our students with an understanding of the industry standard of CAD applications but LD Assistant provides tools and applications specifically for theatre scenic designers, lighting designers and technical directors. Its extensive CAD Content provides an extensive library of lighting symbols, gobos, color media and LD Report which exports the  lighting plot symbol data to MS Excel at the click of the mouse.

Its visualization tools are enhanced with a huge library of materials for  3D object mapping and texturing. Once mapped, lighting your 3D objects can be done quickly with LD Assistants instruments enhanced with photometric lighting tools, gobos, atmospheric effects and even video. LD Assistant provides realistically rendered visualizations effortlessly to a number of exportable formats. As a Scenic and Lighting Designer, it is a program that meets all of my needs.

— DJ Seibert

— DJ Seibert

DJ Seibert has been using LD Assistant software to aid in his projects since 2003.

LD Assistant gives me the ability to show the client what they can expect to see when the job is completed. The visualization with renderings really helps them understand what it is they are getting with the design.” says DJ.

DJ Seibert designs theatrical lighting, audio, and video for auditoriums, sanctuaries, theaters, TV studios, black box theaters, cafeterias, and gymnasiums in education and religious facilities. DJ has been with Snyder Hoffman for the past 11 years as a designer. He also has 25 years experience as an owner of his own production company.

— Ben Marquardt & Ruben Kuster

— Ben Marquardt & Ruben Kuster

At QConcepts, designers Ben Marquardt & Ruben Kuster create and design stage settings, projections and lighting looks. They develop material and equipment lists using LD Assistant. The German duo each handle the technical administration and programming on hybrid consoles. With LD Assistant, Ben and Ruben create photo realistic visualizations of their projects.

Marquardt explains, " Due to consistent deepening of our knowledge and a continuously evolving partner network, we create realistic pre-visualizations within a very short period of time using LD Assistant. These renderings, scribbles or collages are not only nice to look at but show a visual mood which in fact can be translated into reality. We provide images that will convince clients without raising expectations neither of us could fulfill."

— Kevin Denzel

— Kevin Denzel

The rendering and pre-visualization capabilities of the LD Assistant software package was demonstrated recently in Washington, D.C. at the New Bay Media/ InfoComm Rental & Staging Roadshow. Kevin Denzel’s first appearance at the roadshow was a few months ago in Orlando, FL at Full Sail University. If you’re near an upcoming Roadshow, please take the time to check out this presentation to learn about the full power and capabilities of LD Assistant.

In his presentation Kevin shows how an idea can be virtually 'brought to life' in a 3D rendering - from the creation of the event through to its final outcome. With stunning resemblance to the 'real thing' in the rendering, it’s no wonder why LD Assistant is his choice of pre-visualization and rendering software. Denzel has worked prolifically within the realm of corporate, hotel, and convention/exhibit A/V setups. In a recent meeting with Kevin, we documented some of the reasons why he prefers the LD Assistant software package.

Here are some of Kevin's comments about LD Assistant (LDA) software.  

Safety is always the first concern with any function or event.  With LDA I am able to make everything 100% to scale.  2D top-down diagrams are the most basic and typical thing someone will ask for.  If all the attendees can’t manage to safely fit in a room (with or without Audio Visuals) it’s an indicator something must change.  Putting a diagram into a 3D or Isometric view can help bring depth and understanding to a setup with the ability to view a setup/diagram from different angles.

Connecting to safety is functionality. The audience's ability to see the stage and screens, and being able to hear the event is crucial.  If the attendees have a hard time with any of these elements, the event quality is in jeopardy; by using the LDA software I can identify “challenge points” and identify an area where a solution needs to be addressed.  Being able to create 3D to-scale renderings with LDA allows me to function as an intermediary between the sales and technical staff alongside the client.  If there is a line-of-sight obstruction with screens or if the screens are not sized correctly, it is seen clearly in a rendering from any angle.

Connecting to functionality is creativity. I am able to create accurate looking renderings that visually describe in one picture what might take a thousand words.  I am able to have accurately and safely placed seating, accurate heights to objects and quantity of items, just to list a few things.  The lighting in LDA is fantastic as it comes with 2D & 3D-model representations of thousands of light fixtures with accurate attributes to each light (like color mixing, pan/tilt, weight, etc.). Quantity counts or weights can be done in a few clicks.  LDA allows me to see the beam disbursement path so I can tell if a projector location may cast a shadow on a chandelier, or is positioned at the correct distance for the projector lens that will be used.  Using LDA allows me to also use .dwg files from a manufacturer and insert their product in a rendering.  I can get accurate builds and counts on scenic elements easily.  With the accurate lighting in LDA I can represent what it will look like to have something illuminated from just ground-lighting or from multiple locations.

The connection to file cross-compatibility.  LDA is able to create authentic DWG files which will translate seamlessly to other programs and across the board with Autodesk software products.  There is never a question if the files I create with LDA will be able to be opened by other software as I am creating an authentic DWG file.  If I ever experience problems opening a DWG file sent to me, I will give it a test in Autodesk’s DWG TrueView program.  When you try to open a file in DWG TrueView you will immediately know if it is an authentic DWG file or not.  LDA creates authentic DWG files; while other software programs may be able to Export to DWG their files may have issues when attempting to open in an authorized Autodesk product.

— Stephen Ellison

— Stephen Ellison

Lighting & Sound America

LD Assistant Review

LD Assistant latest lighting design and event planning software by Design and Drafting, and it’s a package that raises the bar for lighting designers who want to create drawings, schedules, and rendered movies of their designs. Combining lighting, sound, video, set design, and event planning into one program, the Windows-compatible software’s 2-D drafting and 3-D modeling tools are designed to save time and streamline work flow, get the client to interact with the design process, and ultimately win more jobs.


 ... it’s difficult to embrace all of LD Assistant’s features; therein lies the beauty of the program. Power users will never exhaust all the potential of the software, but they are consistently able to push the envelope of their own designs. Novices can intuitively use advanced tools to create beautiful drawings, renderings, and videos that will sell jobs; for most working LDs, that’s what matters. 

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