HeavyM comes with an integrated library of ready-to-use visual effects that you can easily add to your mapping. These effects can be combined and you can set their numerous parameters to your liking.

This tutorial will help you discover the effects and how to manage them. You can check out the video tutorial below, it is not up-to-date with the latest version of HeavyM but it’ll give you a good idea of the categories of effects and their operation. Or follow the written instructions (for HeavyM 1.11) afterwards.




The library of effects

The library of effects is located on the right of the interface.

effects categories

The red and purple icons in the toolbar represent the different categories of effects you can find in HeavyM. There are two main types of effects: Group effects (red icons) and Output effects (purple icons). Their respective panels allow you to activate effects and adjust all their parameters.


Group effects

Outline, Filling and Transformation are group effects categories. It means that they apply to all the faces in a specific group.


Activating group effects

The group effects categories contain 2 or 3 different types of effects, organized in tabs. Above each tab, you’ll find a switch to activate the corresponding effect and all its parameters listed below.

activating group effects

By default, a white border effect is on in every new group, so that you can see your shapes in the projection when you draw.

Note: you can also double-click on a tab to switch the corresponding effect ON/OFF.


Creating groups

Faces are contained in groups, so there always has to be at least one group. By default, when you create a new project, you’ll notice a white “Group 1” in the layers panel. If you activate a group effect then, it will apply to all faces, as seen in the previous GIF. 

To create a new group, simply click on the + button at the top of the Layers panel. You can have 1 to 30 groups in a sequence, without counting the Masks group.

Note: the Masks group is an exception, it can’t contain effects, be moved, selected, or even deleted.


Moving faces to a group

By default, faces are added to the active group when you create them (the one with the light gray background in the list). There are different methods to change this group assignment and move faces to other groups.

Once a face is moved to a different group, its color in the work area switches to that of its new group. To move faces to a group you can either:

  • In the layers list, simply drag & drop a selection of shapes to the desired group;

  • Select shapes and use the Add to group  button on the desired group in the layers list;

  • Or use the “Move to” item in the right-click context menu of a selection of shapes. This way, you can send the shapes to an existing group or to a new group. (In this last case, it is the same as clicking on the Add Group + button with a selection.)

move shapes to a group

Note: players can also be added to groups, but it doesn’t serve the same function. Read the display settings tutorial for more info.


Selecting a group and making it active

When you activate a group effect or play with its settings, all changes are applied to the currently active group. You can see which group is active in the layer list because of its lighter color and colored border. It is also indicated by a label at the top of the effects panel.

active group label
Here, the blue group named “Door” is active in the layers panel so it is editable in the group effects panels.

To make a group active, you can either:

  • Select it in the layer list (all its shapes will also be selected then);

  • Or select a shape it contains, either in the layer list or the work area.

Note: when you deselect all shapes, the active group stays the same until you select another one. Also, when you make a selection of shapes from different groups, or if you select a mask or a player that is outside of any group, the editable group stays the same.

Now, you can apply different effects in different parts of your mapping by changing the active group:

different group effects

Note: there has to be one active group at all times. There also cannot be multiple active groups at the same time, so you can’t select multiple groups at once. Furthermore, the Masks group can’t be active, as it can’t contain effects.


Arranging groups

The order of the groups in the layer list has an importance, as the top group is the one rendered at the front in the projection. To arrange groups you can either:

  • Drag & drop them in the list;

  • Use the Move Group Forward move group forward button and Move Group Backward move group backward button buttons at the top of the panel;

  • Or use the “Arrange” actions in the options menu of a group.

arranging groups

Learn more about the rendering order in the dedicated tutorial.


Other group options

Group effect parameters
As you can see in the panels, groups effects have a lot of parameters. The best advice we can give you is to try and play with them: it’s easy to get entirely new visuals by combining effects and tinkering with their settings. You can even make them tempo or audio-reactive!

To get an index of all settings, please refer to the HeavyM manual (Help → PDF User Manual).

Copying effects to another group
There’s an option that allows you to copy the effects of the selected group and paste them into another group in the same sequence. This copy takes into account all settings values and if the effect is on/off.

This option (“Copy effects to”) is accessible from the options menu of a group.       group options button

Note: this action will replace all effects settings in the destination group.

Resetting effects
You can reset a group back to its default settings. It means that the faces in the group will go back to their default state, with only a white border effect on and all parameters reset to their default values.

This option (“Reset effects”) is also accessible from the options menu of a group. You can also use the “Reset all groups” option, in the global options menu of the panel, to reset all groups in the sequence at once. Be careful, these actions are irreversible.

Renaming a group
You can rename a group by double-clicking on its name in the layer list. (This also works for shapes.)

Changing the color of a group
You have noticed that the shapes of a group bear its color in the work area. You can change this color by clicking on the color icon of a group in the list. This will unfold a palette of 30 colors to choose from. (This doesn’t affect anything in the output.)


Output effects

Post Shaders and Transitions are output effects. It means that they apply to the whole output of a sequence.

When you activate an output effect, it is applied on the projection rendering of the selected sequence. (Be careful if playback is on, the selected sequence in the interface can be different than the one playing in the projection.)


Post Shaders

The Post Shaders panel is organized a bit differently. They are organized in a list, which you can unfold by clicking on the + icon. When you select one, it is added to the panel and you can manage its settings. Their order in the panel can influence the visual result.



The Transitions panel works the same way as the group effects panel. There are two tabs: Start and End animation, because you can add one transition effect at the beginning and one at the end of each sequence.

Don’t forget to launch the playback of sequences to see the transitions.


That’s it for the basics of the built-in library of visual effects! Don’t hesitate to check out our other tutorials on the subject.