Old 07-12-2019, 09:56 AM   #1
Phazma
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Default Will Reaper ever scroll and zoom smoothly

So I guess most Mac users, like me, are using a Magic Mouse and are used to super smooth, pixel by pixel scrolling and zooming in most apps with a nice inertia effect, so when you give your mouse a swipe it will scroll for a longer distance until you put your finger back on. Until little ago I was working with Logic (and a little bit of S1) and both also worked like this.
Now that I switched to Reaper, when using the mouse to scroll and zoom, it seems to do so at a very low resolution, basically the UI elements jump in chunks of pixels.
Also the inertia fades out in a sluggish way doing some pretty large and slow jumps towards the end. Scrolling works a bit better than zooming.

Funnily enough I noticed when scrolling by dragging the top part of the ruler or the scrollbar at the side Reaper moves the UI elements in a much smoother way. The bottom scroll bar for some reason works smoothly like the ruler when zoomed far out but when zoomed far in it seems even more jumpy than the mouse.

Ultimately I noticed even when doing things where the UI elements actually move pixel by pixel (like dragging an item without snap, or as described before, dragging the ruler to scroll) it looks more flickery than in other apps, like all the grid lines, ruler numbers, items etc are flashing. In Logic and S1 it looks like the UI elements manage to somehow smoothly change position without being refreshed at each movement.

So could someone who knows more about graphics and programming than me explain why scrolling and zooming with the mouse isn't as smooth as for example by dragging the ruler? Is that difficult to program and not a priority or is there actually some reason to not do that (like drawbacks for people that use mice with stepped scroll-wheels)?
If it is possible to make scrolling/zooming smooth, will it be easily possible also to make inertia for magic mouse users work like in other apps or is that difficult to do?
And what does it take to make UI elements move smoothly like in other apps as if they weren't redrawn?

Hope someone can shed some light on these issues, are more important to me than I'd like to admit

EDIT:
Link to the video I posted few posts later - here you can see the issue I am talking about:
https://vimeo.com/347874868?utm_sour...campaign=28749

Last edited by Phazma; 07-13-2019 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:18 AM   #2
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Justin is working on a fix for the next version...
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:46 AM   #3
Phazma
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Seriously?? �� Will he enable zooming/scrolling by pixel, as well as support for mouse inertia as well as seemless UI redrawing? This would be beyond amazing!
Btw you intend for Reaper 6 or even one of the next updates already? Because I know he just fixed mixer opening time and some UI sluggishness with large projects but thought that the changes I wrote about are bigger and not requested enough to be addressed soon.

In my experience a UI as smooth and accurate as Logic's for example would not only look/feel nicer but actually enhance workflow as you can more reliably navigate the project and move things around quickly without getting lost because of UI jumping.

Last edited by Phazma; 07-12-2019 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:17 PM   #4
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I'm not sure what a "big project" is for you, but I never have any trouble navigating projects of around 70 tracks.

I use navigator for big moves (all my tracks are color coded, so it's easy to see where tracks are in the navigator). Right drag scrolls the arrangement for smaller moves.

Even if none of that appeals to you, you should definitely assign a key to the action "restore previous zoom/scroll position." No matter where I end up (by accident or on purpose), I just hit backspace to go back to where I was. It's like a separate undo history just for the view. It saves multiple steps (no idea how many, but more than I've every needed) and you can step through views in both directions.

I'm not on Mac, but all of these are very smooth behaviors for me and I haven't needed to change my workflow there in years. Try it out, in lieu of the "fix" which may or may not ever arrive. The devs don't make promises and we can only hope that WIP stuff in pre-release versions will actually make it into the release versions.
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Old 07-13-2019, 12:29 AM   #5
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That suggested action might indeed come in handy but otherwise your workflow is not immediate enough for me. Tried the navigator but I prefer having the immediacy of just going up/down and left/right by swiping my mouse and zooming with scroll+modifiers while having to live with the jumpy UI until they hopefully do something about it.

If you are on a Windows machine and use a standard mouse with stepped scroll wheel you might not notice Reaper feeling not smooth because all of your other apps also react to stepped scrolling, line by line. But I am pretty sure most Mac users love the smooth pixel by pixel navigation inside all apps and when you are used to that and then have an app like Reaper, which scrolls "the windows way" it just somehow feels clunky, at least to me - and while of course the audio editing capabilities still are what matters most and speaks for Reaper this bothers me more than I could have imagined.

Here a video comparing scrolling, zooming and UI redrawing when dragging an item - Reaper (left) and Logic (right). While scrolling and zooming are pretty obvious, also pay attention at the end when I am dragging the item. In Reaper it looks like if snap was enabled (even though it isn't) and in Logic it is very smooth:

https://vimeo.com/347874868?utm_sour...campaign=28749

Generally all these navigation operations make it look as if Reaper's GUI was flickering a bit at each movement while Logic's GUI remains "constant", making it easier and more intuitive to follow the scrolling/zooming/dragging you are doing.

I'd like to know what do apps like Logic (or Studio One for that matter) do to make this graphical performance possible and if that is something that may be possible also for Reaper's developers to integreate or there are reasons why it is improbable that Reaper will ever graphically behave this way.
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Old 07-13-2019, 03:05 AM   #6
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Reaper is still using Apple's old graphics engine. The transition to Metal, Apple's new graphics engine, is being worked upon. There's a test version in the beta section of this forum somewhere. I think this is the latest one:

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=222967

And the previous version being tested:

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=222605

I think you can count on Reaper 6 having Metal onboard, which should fix most GUI performance problems on recent Macs (>2012). I expect the new graphics engine to deliver at least twice the speed of the old one for graphics rendering.

Some info about Metal:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_(API)
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Old 07-13-2019, 03:48 AM   #7
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Thanks for the useful links Cyrano.

I downloaded the latest dev-version which had some Metal preferences enabled in advanced UI and noticed some improvements when it comes to font sharpness on my Macbook Pro Retina display (not on my non-hi-dpi monitor which I use together with the MBP display). Some elements of some themes I am using however are broken in this Reaper version with the Metal settings (specially in the mixer) .

Anyway I can not detect any additional smoothness in redrawing the display when moving UI elements. But I guess this will still be worked on and happen in Reaper 6, if you are saying it will have around twice the graphic rendering speed, I guess that means all UI elements will redraw with double smoothness/half flickering.. wondering if that might be around the same speed as Logic/S1 or in my layman perception "fast enough to not notice the GUI is being redrawn".

Remains to be seen if along those improvements also the scrolling/zooming steps will be eliminated/reduced. I have the feeling that those are not directly related to UI redrawing but some kind of Reaper coding decision (with some reason behind) as they are much bigger steps than for example when dragging the ruler. Seems Reaper can do pixel-by-pixel movements (though not yet as smooth as other apps - probably until Reaper 6) but for some reason opted to not have the same resolution for mouse-scrolling/zooming.
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Old 07-13-2019, 04:25 AM   #8
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Reaper is so flexible there will always be something that doesn't work as we expect it...

I've been using audio editors for almost 35 years. There's always something. I really liked BIAS' Peak, for instance. But I remember an era when it crashed if you just looked at it. For the same reason, I abandoned Logic years later. I've maybe seen three or four crashes on Reaper in the decade or so I've been using it.

That said, I'm still on a non-Retina Mac. The lack of graphics performance you experience is one of the reasons. I get to work on recent Macs sometimes and they always strike me as not really being faster than my old crappy 2009 Macs. The speed is there, but there always seems to be some Cloud thingy interrupting when I don't need it. And sometimes, they bog down without any apparent reason.

I even use one of the latest PPC Macs to watch DVD's. Boots in 20 secs, DVD is loaded in under a minute. And that drive never fails. My 2009 MB Pro is on it's third optical drive and it failed yet again. This time, it damages DVD's beyond repair when it ejects them. The 20 year old PPC Mac is still on it's original optical drive...

Can't stop progress, I'm afraid
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:21 AM   #9
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Yeah, I liked the Logic workflow pretty much and feature-wise one of the few big buggers was the clumsy automation workflow but what ultimately led me to definitely switch DAW was its myriad of bugs (including occasional very loud noise bursts and clicks which made me fear using it). Many years ago I used FL Studio on PC and while I have ditched it for some good reasons I still miss things from it. I have also tried Studio 1 for some time on Mac and while I generally preferred Logic I still missed a few things about it too and so I was dreaming of somehow creating my own DAW combining aspects I liked about the workflow of other DAWs into one workflow - and found out Reaper comes pretty close to that. Yet when it seems to be possible to set it up almost exactly like I imagine the perfect DAW, the few things that I can't change get even more "itching".

To come back on topic however, I don't think the graphics issue I am experiencing is to blame on recent Macbooks with retina display. With most apps I am perfectly happy with how the graphics behave. Sure, if you have a non-retina display you won't notice some apps being sharper than others but as I could see Cockos are already working on that. But I highly doubt that, contrary to other applications, Reaper's GUI movements actually look more fluid on older Macs. And if that should be the case I'd sell my 2015MBP today and get an old one.
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:15 AM   #10
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Oh, I never said graphics are more fluid on older Macs. Just they don't have the problem, because the GPU doesn't need to shift that many pixels around.

I suspect there's also a different GPU driver involved (no CUDA on nvidia, fi) that's lighter. It also means some video editors don't work, or very slow, because they can't offload processing to the GPU.

It's just some nostalgia, I'm afraid. That said, offloading to the GPU has been a promise for far too long. Not specifically in Reaper, but in general. It's high time that mountain of power gets unlocked, so we users can do something with it, besides Bitcoin mining...

I think it has lasted so long in Reaper because you can't offload VST processing to the GPU. At least, that's what I reckon, I'm not a coder...
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:23 AM   #11
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No, I think no and...
It is in mac section but the same is on windows. I think it is just the thing that Reaper do not do anything to make things fluid graphically, almost everything is flickering not flowing.
The example vs logic show this, same in FL studio, there is no lags and flicking on GUI. I think we should be honest on that.
I am not computers, programming and graphic expert so maybe I am missing something.
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strachupl View Post
No, I think no and...
It is in mac section but the same is on windows. I think it is just the thing that Reaper do not do anything to make things fluid graphically, almost everything is flickering not flowing.
The example vs logic show this, same in FL studio, there is no lags and flicking on GUI. I think we should be honest on that.
I am not computers, programming and graphic expert so maybe I am missing something.
Hmm in that case maybe it is better if I post this into the General Discussion forum? So that more people see it and can share their knowledge, opinion and predictions? I have noticed that the developers lately are actually working on some GUI related issues, but as I am ignorant about that whole GPU and HiDPI stuff I have no clue whether that means that I can expect a non-flickering Reaper soon that reacts to mouse scrolling and dragging like most other software and DAWs.

Maybe it would make sense to do a feature request for my specific issues, so that if enough people agree with me they might consider to include my issues on the list of graphical reworking for Reaper 6?. I have the feeling however that only few users care about those things so probably it would just get buried..

Btw I found out that I can improve the scrolling resolution by creating a custom action that includes a few 'Action: Modify MIDI CC/mousewheel: 0.5x', however after that scrolling is painfully slow and it still flickers a lot so it is also no solution.
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phazma View Post
Hmm in that case maybe it is better if I post this into the General Discussion forum? So that more people see it and can share their knowledge, opinion and predictions? I have noticed that the developers lately are actually working on some GUI related issues, but as I am ignorant about that whole GPU and HiDPI stuff I have no clue whether that means that I can expect a non-flickering Reaper soon that reacts to mouse scrolling and dragging like most other software and DAWs.

Maybe it would make sense to do a feature request for my specific issues, so that if enough people agree with me they might consider to include my issues on the list of graphical reworking for Reaper 6?. I have the feeling however that only few users care about those things so probably it would just get buried..

Btw I found out that I can improve the scrolling resolution by creating a custom action that includes a few 'Action: Modify MIDI CC/mousewheel: 0.5x', however after that scrolling is painfully slow and it still flickers a lot so it is also no solution.

Actually you helped me a lot, I didn't knew about those actions. Indeed they made zooming more fluid but I got a fill zoom need some acceleration like if you zoom rapid or try to fine slowly zoom.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:11 AM   #14
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Yes exactly, that's what I meant with scrolling getting painfully slow this way. Seems like Reaper does not distinguish between fast swipes on the mousewheel and slow ones, which makes this little trick also no actual solution.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:18 PM   #15
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Funny. I just bumped this one:

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....71#post2157971

My 5cent: for we are now in the retina/metal-age, it's time for a pixel-perfect scrolling on mac via touchpads.
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Old 07-14-2019, 03:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rstockm View Post
Funny. I just bumped this one:

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....71#post2157971

My 5cent: for we are now in the retina/metal-age, it's time for a pixel-perfect scrolling on mac via touchpads.
100% agree. Funny enough, I tried Cubase out of curiosity and it seems to suffer from the same issue as Reaper when it comes to scrolling (though the GUI refreshing is much better, dragging items doesn't look choppy there). Most other DAWs however seem to have got this right so Reaper and Cubase should definitely catch up in that regard.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:03 AM   #17
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A huge +1 on the horizontal scrolling fix!!!
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Old 07-24-2019, 11:08 PM   #18
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I don’t think I have met with another DAW developer that fixes/updates as often as Cockos. Coming from PT, Digital Performer here. I also have Logic Pro X and all these DAWs get used. Reaper is the latest and for the moment getting serious use with a lot of fun!
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:54 PM   #19
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As a Windows user I would love to see this implemented as well. It is a small tweak that greatly enhances the overall feel of software. Not to mention the reduced eye strain as your eyes do less work everytime you zoom and scroll.

For people with stepped mouse wheels the Reaper way to handle this would be to have a "transition time" in the preferences that the user can tweak for zooming and scrolling animations i think.
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