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Old 12-16-2014, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default Reatraction - a Reaper skin/menu/preference set put together for beginners

So, it's that time of year - christmas time, to be exact, and here's my present for reaper noobs, something I've been gradually molding over the past year:
it is a config/theme set designed specifically for newbies to Reaper and for people coming from Tracktion.
Because that's what I am, and that's what I needed when I made it.


* Simplified skin
* Simplified menus
* Better default options
* Better mouse behaviour

Firstly, the UI Skin is a modification of the brilliant and inimitable Reaction skin.
I edited it and removed the double-up's in the interface and simplified it. ie. there is only one volume knob. There is only one pan knob. There is not duplicated functionality all over the place. It's less complex. Also did a bunch of color-editing so it was clearer and more pretty. There is also per-track clip-colouration by default courtesy of SWS extensions.

Secondly I modded the menu set from a combination of the original set and Reamenu's. It's less complex, I stroked out a lot of the more 'advanced' behaviour and options. So, right-click menus are greatly simplified and hopefully more intuitive for first-timers. I haven't really altered the top-bar menus (File, Edit, etc) at all, so all the advanced behaviour should be there if you need it, it's just the context-click behaviour that's modified.

Thirdly I option-tweaked, and option-tweaked. Hopefully everything is a bit easier/simpler now.
Fourthly I edited the shortcut keys and mouse-click modifiers so they're all quite similar to tracktion, and a bit less braindead than the standard defaults.

The overall effect is something that's a bit easier to use, a bit dumbed-down for n00bs like me, and simplified. Also looks good.


Reaper, installed.
SWS extensions, installed.

0. If you are already a reaper user, you need to backup your configuration files, because you are going to lose your settings. You probably already know how to do this. An easy way is to go to the options menu->preferences->general and click on "export configuration".

1. Open Reaper. Download the Reatraction ConfigZip.

2. Drag Reatraction.ReaperConfigZip onto the reaper window. Reaper will restart. Import all settings (do not tick "Remove local data that is not in imported file"). Don't worry if it says it couldn't import some settings. Close the import window.

3. Go to the Options Menu->Themes and select "Reatraction v1.00". Done.

4. This is personal preference but integral to my approach: right-click the master mixer panel->Controls->Untick "Show Sends when size permits". This appears to be a per-project setting. This just stops Reaper from inexplicably filling up half of the mixer panel's effect slots with 'send' slots, which makes no frikkin' sense as sends are no-way near utilised as much as effects, in any project. Sends are still very easily accessible (and more usable) via the sends button. I also recommend hitting alt-L and changing the minimum grid to 16 pixels (also a per-project setting) for clarity.


The main difference from default Reaper UI, along with the simplification of settings and options, and prettifying of the interface, is the reduction of buttons. No longer are there two or three places to access things.
Volume, pan and FX are now only on the mixer panel.
All recording options are on the track panel.
The exceptions to this are mute/solo.

The second main difference is the mouse modifiers. I've tried to make these make sense a little less confusing for noobs but honestly just more straight-forward in general. For example, left-click-and-drag on the main edit window no longer does a time selection - it only does this if you click-and-drag on the timing panel at the top of the edit window. So changing position in the edit window can now be done simply by left-clicking without the danger of changing the time selection if you slip up. This is one of many mouse-access modifications I've done, I don't have time for them all but here's an overview of the basics (some of these are the same as regular reaper, this is an outline for n00bs):
* Left-click edit window: change mouse position
* Right-click anywhere: context menu
* Alt+left-click-and-drag edit window (or just right-click-and-drag): select clips
* Left double-click edit window: Start playing from this position
* Middle-mouse-button click edit window: Start playing from this position (position is affected by snap settings)
* Middle-mouse-button click-and-drag edit window: Equivalent to 'hand tool' in Adobe Reader, drag/scroll the edit window around.

Some basic shortcut keys:
* Alt-G - Toggle snap grid display on/off
* L - Toggle looping (repeat) on/off
* / or S - Slice a clip/selection of clips. Unlike the default settings, with this setup reaper only slices selected clips.
* Alt-S - Solo
* Alt-M - Mute

Here's how to do some very basic things in Reaper (for n00bs like me):

* Quickly add an effect from your VST folder tree: right-click the Fx button in the track's mixer panel. Go to VST-folders.

* Quickly add a frequently-used effect: right-click the effect button in the track's mixer panel. Go to Favourites.

* Turn on track input pass-through: Click on the little speaker icon in the track panel.

* Mute an effect: shift-click on it in the mixer panel.

* Remove an effect: alt-click on it in the mixer panel.

* Copy an effect to another track: click and drag it in the mixer panel.

* Copy a bunch of effects to another track: left-click the Fx button in the mixer panel, select the relevant effects, right-click and copy. Do the same and paste for the destination track.

* Select your recording input device: left-click the track panel item highlighted.

* Insert an edit marker: right-click the marker area as shown in topmost image, or press Shift-M

* Quickly select a send: right-click the outputs button (the left-click window is a bit more useful in this regard).
My alternative-metal tunes
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Last edited by metamorphosis; 11-27-2016 at 02:40 PM. Reason: Updated SWS website URL
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:07 PM   #2
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fantastically great piece of work! There have been more than a few people who teach asking for something like this... saw one request just last week for 8-11 year olds...

while most of us love the detail and complexity, your direction to the other end of the scale is just great.
...should be fixed for the next build... http://tinyurl.com/cr7o7yl
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:42 AM   #3
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:42 AM   #4
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Thanks for all the effort .

One remark:
Reaction theme has a serious downfall which you should fix before giving it to noobs (or anyone, imo):

In Reaction (and some themes that copied the same "hack"), when you fully collapse folder children they get invisible in main (arrange) view. That is done by setting the collapsed tracks to a height of zero pixels, so that you can't see them and their items anymore. Nice idea, but those tracks and their items are still available for selection and editing!
EG say you have 5 tracks, where track 2 is a folder with tracks 3 and 4 as children and you collapse the folder, so tracks 3 and 4 are invisible. Now drag a marquee across some items on track 1 and 5. Uncollapse tracks 3 and 4. The items on these tracks are now selected and if you had done any edit they would have been edited too.

Items on invisible (collapsed) child tracks are still subject to edits and you can seriously hose your project without seeing what you do.

IMO, themes using this hack should be taken from the stash or at least come with a serious warning in big bold letters. They are for sure not good for noobs.

My recommendation: Change rtconfig.txt of the theme in the line
tcp_heights 0 22 49 73 ;supercollapsed, collapsed, small(norecarm), recarm size

Do not use 0 for supercollapsed to avoid the issue. Make it at least big enough so that selected items can be clearly distinguished from unselected ones.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:18 AM   #5
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Excellent! And as & when the reaction bug is sorted out, this should become the very first sticky in the Newbie area.

we have been taking about doing something like this for at least a couple of years - finally someone DID something constructive.

Gold star & ten house points!

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Old 12-17-2014, 09:35 PM   #6
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Wow guys, thanks for the support! Gofer, have now fixed the zero-size bug (replaced with 1 - I tested a variety of different heights, but 1 is the least intrusive visually, and also still shows selection clearly), thank you, wasn't aware.

Also fixed a couple of minor skin bugs and edited it slightly - ever so slightly brighter in the edit window, plus a few other things like grid z-layering.

I would be highly delighted if this became a sticky!
My alternative-metal tunes
Win XP/Vista/7/8 Optimisation, DAW Tips, Etc

Last edited by metamorphosis; 12-18-2014 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:30 AM   #7
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Give the man a sticky!

Hang on - that sounds a bit pervy.....

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Old 11-03-2019, 12:43 PM   #8
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How do I uninstall it? I've found that I don't like it very much as I'm used to the reaper defaults, and also because I can't figure out how to export MIDI which is very important to my job as a composer and orchestrator.

edit: I am using OTR, not regular reaper, and I can't see the restore to factory defaults option in the windows menu

Last edited by Tago; 11-03-2019 at 12:51 PM. Reason: clearing things up
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