Drafting Made ‘Easier than Pencil and Paper’

by Stage Directions

Company 411 - Drafty from Lumax Software 

Why should drafting a light or sound plot be cumbersome and take a long time? Why try to tame a big, general drawing program to do very specific work for entertainment design? These were some of the questions that lighting designer—and now—software developer Lucas Krech, Co-founder of Lumax Software, LLC. set out to answer. “Drafty is a cloud-based CAD program specifically built for the realities of the live entertainment industry,” Krech describes the program. “That means everything from the ease of use to how quickly it can turn out a plot and generate all of the paperwork. You can generate all the necessary paperwork right down to pricing out the show.” 

Drafty was specifically created for designers, assistants, and technicians to solve their challenges. One of the big selling points of Drafty Krech has found is the subscription pricing plan. You can pay when you need it and drop out when you don’t, which is perfect for designers who experience busy and slow periods in their work. “Having the monthly subscription basis that lets people drop off and come back on is really, really popular with people. It’s great for designers, letting them come on board and drop out when convenient. As designers, our work can be sporadic, and every dollar counts, especially those off months.” 

By designing Drafty to be cloud-based, users never have to worry about patches, updates, and bug-fixes. “When you log in you are automatically upgraded,” comments Krech. “You have the latest version. We also have predictive tech support; if there’s an issue, I get a buzz on my phone from the server and we can go in and fix it right away. We work in Google Drive, this couldn’t have been done 10 years ago but technology has come to a point where it can support this kind of collaboration. You can collaborate, but we don’t yet offer simultaneous editing.” Drafty works best in Chrome, but is supported in Safari. They are working towards Firefox next.

Drafty has been available just over a year and version 2 was recently released. In this version, they’ve added Smart Section to create sections; Auto-Worksheeting to create focus points or auto letter. “I like to refer to Drafty as a 3D program with a 2D interface,” says Krech. “3D is just complex trigonometry. We employ some very clever algorithms to accomplish sophisticated 3D calculations. Drafty doesn’t have a 3D GUI; we believe that the drafting experience is improved by focusing on the output drafting plates rather that spending time spinning around 3D views.”

Krech still has a lot planned to expand what the program does for designers. “We are working to expand tools for sound designers like signal flow, rack took, and expanded audio database. In 2018, we plan to add general purpose automation and scenic elements for scenic designers.”