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LD Assistant by Design & Drafting

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Please note that Design & Drafting is no longer in business to sell LD Assistant.
We'd like to thank you for all of the support over the past 30 years.

However we will continue to support LD Assistant users.

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Design & Drafting To Cease Development Of LD Assistant™ Software

May, 2017

Rufus Warren, Founder/CEO of Design & Drafting, announced today that the company is ceasing all further development of their LD Assistant™ lighting design software. Design & Drafting will continue to offer technical support to existing customers. The advanced design tools found in LD Assistant will remain viable for the next decade.

Incorporated in 1985, Chicago Stage Equipment Co. Inc. DBA Design & Drafting has been at the forefront of entertainment technology software for many years. LD Assistant is a powerful lighting design and event planning software that has been used by thousands worldwide to augment their creative work flow. Encompassing lighting, sound, video and scenery elements, the program’s product development has always been driven by one desire, to help designers win more jobs by showing realistic renderings to their clients.

Warren comments, “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with LD Assistant through the years, and truly grateful to our core user base. There are many LD Assistant power users that have achieved results I didn’t imagine possible. I look forward to supporting our existing customer base while spending more time with my wife and dog, and exploring 3D printing!”

Warren is the recipient of several integral patents that helped move the modern professional lighting industry forward during its first three decades. In 1986, Design & Drafting created 5,000 symbols for use in computer assisted design. After designing the entertainment lighting package for venues including Mike Ditka’s City Lights, Arlington Park, Whitey Herzog’s Power Station and Excalibur Chicago, the company’s focus shifted to product design. In 1990, Warren received US Patent 4,949,020 as the inventor of MOSFET Dimming technology. In 1992, Design & Drafting launched their LD Assistant Plug-in for VectorWorks. In 1993, Warren received US Patent 5,268,631, and the following year received International Patent 2,2241,393 as co-inventor of Dimmer Power Phase Control. Additionally, 3,000 Design & Drafting symbols were licensed to Diehl Graphsoft (now Nemetschek).

In 1995, Design & Drafting released their LD Assistant Pro Plug-in for VectorWorks, once again raising the bar for design finesse in the lighting field. Two years later, Warren received US Patent 5,600,233 as the inventor of the Dimmer Power Control Circuit. Another patent followed in 1999 with Warren receiving International Patent 2,010,313 for Lighting Control Systems. This turned out to be a pivotal year, as Design & Drafting became an Autodesk OEM and ADN Developer. In 2001 LD Assistant AC and PL 01 was launched, and in 2002 LD Assistant AC won Product of the Year at LDI.

In 2003, the company became an HP Developer, and the AutoCAD® ACAD plug-in was launched. From 2004 through the present, Warren and Design & Drafting continued to introduce new versions of the LD Assistant software, featuring quantum leap revisions such as effects rendering. IES support files, video and show simulation, connection to ETC consoles and dimming systems using sACN, 3D Audio, pyrotechnic effects, wire & cable, DMX patch editor and many more innovations.


LD Assistant

Lighting Design software used by professionals around the world in:
  • Lighting Design
  • Event Planning
  • Scenic Design
  • Stage Lighting
  • Pre Visualization
  • Event Visualization
  • 3D Visualization
  • 2D 3D Design
  • TV, Film & Exhibit
  • Design Software
  • Entertainment Lighting


As seen in Lighting & Sound America
LD Assistant Review

By: Stephen Ellison

Inside the popular design software
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.

Menus and 2-D/3-D tools
Design and Drafting is a licensed developer and OEM partner with Autodesk, from which it leverages licensed Technology. Building on this, LD Assistant 13 offers advanced menus, including Lighting, Visualization, and Production. If you need a generic virtual space to test out fixtures, the Lighting menu includes Create Room, where you can define a 3-D room with a stage inside and general downlighting. In the Lighting menu, Panel View is a button for LD Task, which brings up a list of nine tasks; each takes the user to another window populated with the choices associated with the task. These windows are designed for novices as they familiarize themselves with the program. It is organized in the order that you would design your plot; as you go from task to task, a plot and documentation are created.
     The Lighting menu is home to the tools that work with lighting fixtures: Create, Data, View, Focus, Display, Modify, Schedules, and Utilities. Create offers content fly-out windows with library folders of the blocks that you can add to your drawing. The content section contains blocks for light fixtures, truss, stage elements, chairs, and more. Create includes three tools to help automate the design process. The first is the Create Room tool, while the second allows truss and lights to be quickly added to a space. The third, Automatic Lighting, uses a popup window to add fixtures to light a target object using the standard McCandless 45° method or along a polyline you create.
     A lighting fixture or other object in a plot contains data that may need to be visible on the plot or only in a schedule. A button in the Data section accesses a pop-up indow based on the object you select. The attributes available to fill in are based on the type of object. The choice of visible attributes is in the Display section.
The View section provides a visual button for each type of 2-D and 3-D view available. The Focus section
  provides two ways to select and focus lighting fixtures along with buttons to focus a camera, speaker, and projector. The Display section allows fixtures to be turned on and off. One note about lighting fixtures: You must focus them with Quick Focus before using the On and Off functions. With a large enough plot of fixtures turned on with visible disbursements as cones, the drawing gets a bit confusing; you can change them to a line representing the center of the light. This choice is only visible in 3-D mode.
     The Modify section provides buttons to access popular attributes, including Intensity, Color, Gobo, Shutter, and Specific Data. The latter brings up a window that allows you to select the attribute and enter new data. The final two buttons provide a window to renumber five different attributes or help you find a fixture on the plot by position and unit number.
     In the next section, data from the plot can create schedules or paperwork documentation. Once you have fixtures on the plot, assign at least a position and unit number. To control the plot from a console, you must patch the fixtures, keeping track of that information. If the plot is going on tour, you can create the circuit numbers and cable connections. This information can be changed in the plot or schedule and updated to the other. The worksheet button allows the data to be manipulated outside the program in Excel, allowing for custom schedules.
     Utilities contains ten buttons for utilities. The first two allow the creation of lighting scenes within the drawing and saving the information as if creating cues. You can open a scene later, which behaves as if you are playing a cue so that you could render that scene. The next utility is for objects; it provides a window to choose utilities that affect the geometry, data, and plot of either the block as a whole or specific attributes. If you don’t want to create a legend or key yourself, a utility will do the work for you. One utility allows individual fixtures to be changed into a multi-light group. This becomes a special group, which acts as one fixture. To make a plot look neat, the Align and Nudge utility aligns all selected objects along any axis. Three available wizards create a new LD object, a complete project report with multiple drawings and schedules, or a script file to run every time you want to produce a report. The last of the ten buttons opens the LD Options box where options specific to LD Assistant may be changed.
  Production menu
The Production menu provides tools to automate the process of creating your show. The Production tab is broken down into six sections, the first being Lights. In it, you can create a theatrical lighting fixture. The options available in the pop-up window will design a basic can fixture by choosing the insert location, fixture length, and diameter; you also can choose the orientation. Clicking Okay creates a block with all the attributes associated with a lighting fixture, which can be used in schedules and renderings.
     For House Lights, you can only make a cone-shaped fixture. The next item is the Pipe/Tube-Rope Light. I haven’t had a chance to make use of the rope light function, but I use it to create pipe for hanging lights. It will create a pipe from a line quite nicely. I played with the Rope Light function for fun, and it creates a nice effect.
     The next section is Trussing. To create truss, start with a line from which to build it around. The pop-up box offers the basic choices for building box, triangle, and I-beam truss along with options for pipe and block truss. The pipe truss only has the choice of diameter. The block truss has no choices; simply pick the line and click Okay and it becomes a 12" box truss. The pipe tool creates a pipe just like the tool in Lights. With Stage/Access, you can build stairs up to your stage and add security posts and curtains. The Stair tools allow you to choose the staircase height, tread width, and number of treads, which sets the height of each step based on your stage height.
     The Curtain tool starts with a line that is used to build the curtain. It will be at the bottom of the curtain; as you build the stage, set this line at the height of the stage. The pop-up window allows you to set the height, fold width, and fold depth; there is also a check box for Straight on Top. When you click Okay, it creates a curtain in 3-D. You can change the color by setting the color in Properties.     Next, we find a section named Room, where a 2-D drawing can be turned into a 3-D structure by building walls. Trace over-the-wall lines with a polyline and then use the Wall Build tool to make them into walls. Choose the wall width, height, and where the line meets the wall. Finally, add doors and windows to your walls and use the Wall Build command to turn all the objects into a block. Seating allows an area to be filled with seating so that chairs don’t have to be individually inserted. The Fill
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Lighting Design Software and Event Planning Solution LD Assistant by Design & Drafting merges advanced lighting algorithms with CAD industry standard 2D drafting & 3D modeling tool set. Designed for the Entertainment Lighting, Event Planning and System Integration markets, LD Assistant’s user interface is familiar to more than 11,000,000 users in over 130 countries. The software successfully combines lighting and event planning into an ALL-IN-ONE product designed for users at any level of technical expertise.

Lighting Design Software LD Assistant is used by CAD professionals around the world.
• Lighting Design - Photometric Lights that include Halogen, Fluorescent, Mercury Vapor & others.
• Stage Lighting - Create lighting, sound and video plots, generate advanced paperwork.
• Scenic Design - Industry standard 3D modeling tools make set design quick and easy.
• Event Planning - Advanced seating tools allow quick place of tables and chairs.
• Event Visualization - Fully animated flythroughs, flyovers and walkthroughs in real-time.
• Pre Visualization - Connect to lighting consoles using SACN, Art-Net or Pathport.
• 3D Visualization - Play Video and 3D Audio as you Walk through your design.
• FX Rendering - Renderings look like photographs with Raytrace and Radiosity technology.
• Wire & Cable - Track Cable length, Name, ID, Price, To/From Location and more.
• 2D Drafting - Create a complete set of 2D working drawings to give your Architect.
• 3D Design - Easily turn a 2D room drawing in to a 3D model ready for texturing.
• Exhibit - Quickly add truss, light your design and make a walkthrough movie.

LD Assistant software used by professionals around the world for:
  • 2D Drafting
  • 3D Modeling 
  • FX Rendering
  • Auto Build Truss
  • Ribbon Interface
  • Pre Visualization
  • Built-in Schedules
  • Tx & Rx DMX ASCN
  • Drag & Drop PDF files
  • Motion Path Animation
  • Animation Walkthrough
  • Real-time Camera View
  • Audio Playback in Cues
  • Multi-processor operation
  • AutoCAD 2013 DWG Format
  • Photometric Lights w/IES Files
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Featured Rendering

         • Photometric Lights
         • Advanced paperwork.
         • 3D modeling tools
         • Advanced seating tools
         • Fully animated flythroughs
         • Connect using SACN
         • Play Video and 3D Audio
         • Photograph renderings
         • Track Cable
         • Create 2D working drawings
         • Easily create 3D model
         • Quickly add truss & lighting


LD Assistant Room Rendering
" 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.   READ MORE
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