IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Triumphant Musical Lighting Design from Diego García
CAST Software July 24, 2015

Extremely stunning, continuously changing lighting design made possible. The process uncovered by one of Spain’s top lighting designers.


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CAST: Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to use wysiwyg?

Diego Garcia:  I am proudly Andalusian and have found in wysiwyg a perfect tool to enable me to express our creativity sensibility and delight in music that is natural to my people.

I heard about wysiwyg from my good friend and Teammate, Dani, one of the first people in Spain to have a wysiwyg license. I am self taught and have used wyiwyg since version R12 right up to R34!

wysiwyg is a fundamental tool to present the setup team with all drawings, plans, images and necessary data for the lighting rig to be built as it was conceived and designed. I rarely have the opportunity to be present and supervise the assembly, myself so the information I send to the setup team is as detailed as possible. Also, in my case, the materials used and the characteristics of the scenic areas are different for each show, so I need a tool like wysiwyg that enables me to quickly update and implement previous designs.

Working with different design teams creates the demand to adapt the programming for each show. This would be impossible for complex programming, if I didn’t have the opportunity to do this work previously in my studio with wysiwyg connected to my console.


What inspires you to create your lighting concepts?

My specialty is lighting for music; music is my main inspiration. Music decides the fade time, speed of pan and tilt, the rate of a chase, the choice of a gobo, even colour. In short, I try to translate abstract concepts into light transmitting the song, using all possibilities offered by controllable, flexible properties of lighting.


Describe your creative process?

First I need two good speakers. I develop the design track by track. I listen to it several times and I build images mentally of what is transmitted aurally to me. I am kind of synesthetic for this: “Do not ask me why, but this song is red …”

I believe that the interaction of music and lighting should be based on balance. There must be harmony between what you hear and what you see. And I do not mean only subjective emotions that can transmit a song (sadness or happiness) but specific concepts such as the type of pace set for the percussion instruments.

Following the idea of harmony, I usually base my designs on symmetry. All my designs are symmetrical; in that aspect I’m a classic, maybe influenced by the beautiful Renaissance buildings abound in Ubeda, the city where I live. But I think what inspires me most are the large assemblies from Queen in the 80s (goodbye, PAR 64, miss you).

Regarding the colour, I do not usually mix more than two in the same scene. The colour is definitely the best property that transmits sensations, especially in slow songs. For balance this remains fundamental.

I also serve much of the potential of the movement (pan and tilt, rotation of gobos and prisms, shapes, truss lift). Fast or slow movement is what allows a song to transmit calm or violence.

I like dark backgrounds and smoke-filled spaces. Let me be a little corny and define the smoke as the “three-dimensional canvas” for the “strokes” which are the beams. You cannot paint without canvas.


Can you walk us through the steps of  how do you turn your ideas into reality?

1. When finally the ideas arise, nothing like having a pencil and paper. So I make a first sketch, very basic but to define the general concept.

2. Then I put everything together on Wysiwyg. I create all the elements in the following order: Layers – Venue – Truss – Fixtures – Library – Tools – Appearance – Axis – Camera Path. In the last demo, I used 64 Super Sharpy, 64 Sharpy Wash, 128 m. truss, 9 Camera Path and 202 Axis.

3. I connect my console into Wysiwyg Live, in this case a Pearl Titan Mobile. I make the patch for all projectors, for objects with emission of light, and Axis Camera Path.

4. Assuming that the artist’s office have serious people who will send me the .wav file on time with the songs of the show, I usually work that file into a music program (Music Maker), which divides the song into parts (verse, chorus, solo, etc.).

5. For each of these parts corresponds to a cue, Axis movement and camera movement (path).

6. With all this, a cue list is setup that runs on the same order and with the same tempo (BPM) as the parts of the music file, either done by MIDI or by timecode. Just press “go” and see the result of the work while once again the coffee was cooling.

7. The only thing left is to capture a video with a screen capture program and add the audio. By the way, the music of my demos I create them myself, so there is no playback copyright problems on YouTube.


For you, what for you are the benefits of using wysiwyg?

At the risk of appearing to exaggerate (for which the Andalusians have a reputation), I would say that the history of stage lighting is divided into two eras: before and after wysiwyg. There is a before and after wysiwyg in the manner in which we are empowered to work.

The main advantage is what its name suggests. What I see is what I get. I can see it, plain and simple. And if I like what I see, I can make others see as well, also faithfully transmitting my design concept so the team that will build it, see every detail, even at a distance. If we add that I can program the console at home, having time and without pressure, and with unparalleled opportunities of angles to the programming with the actual copy of the rig structure, one wonders how on earth people did this before Wysiwyg existed?

Unlike other visualizers, which makes Wysiwyg a particularly useful program for me, among many other advantages, is its huge library, a must for anyone who, like me, working with many models of projectors, having a different one in each show.


What kind of computer and OS do you use to run wysiwyg?

Windows 7 Professional,

Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5Ghz Box Socket 1150,


Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 OC 2GB GDDR5



What’s next for you, new ideas, jobs or wishes?

The future of Spanish lighting professionals is quite uncertain due to the global financial crisis that particularly affects Spain, and especially to the show sector, which has its own crises for quite some time. In recent years I have had to significantly reduce the number of performances, as conditions have become more precarious in every way. There’s not much work available in the Lighting design field, an activity that is so important but sadly not many are aware of its importance yet.

But we know there will always be music and concerts and I hope that the phone will be ringing and gradually will fill the agenda and return to the road.

I would also like to develop my teaching career, and pass on my experience and knowledge. I’ve had the opportunity to teach some friends and I like the idea.

Meanwhile I will continue with my virtual shows and my demos, (wysiwyg is also my hobby). I hope that someday I will see some of these designs become reality.


BRIEF BIO – Diego Luces, Lighting Designer

Diego Luces is part of the technical team established in 2006 supporting touring Spanish musical artists. He has worked with Los Planetas, Dover, Amaral, Leiva and Fangoria. Duties are mainly focused on set design, lighting design implementation, console programming and execution of the show.