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Old 12-03-2010, 04:57 PM   #1
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Default >> V4 Theme : The Theme Team requests appearance discussion

Please don't post in this thread until you've read this post.

You now have an alpha of the Default V4 theme, which I have created with the Theme Team, and we will continue to develop it. The Theme Team is a collective of some of the most experienced and talented Reaper themers from around the world, gathered together online and motivated by a love of theming Reaper and of making the theme the best it could be for Reaper's many users. These people have my utmost respect and gratitude, and I believe deserve yours too. Designing in a team is always challenging, particularly across language gaps and time zones, but I am a strong believer that it can yield the best results and is a strong extension of REAPER's development ethos. For the benefit of our team workflow, the Theme Team will not communicate directly here in the forum, though I may pass on messages and may post to clarify and inform on my personal interpretation.

Invitations of members to the V4 theme team were freely decided by the members of the V3 theme team. To avoid anyone (quite possibly wrongly) feeling left out, this will not be discussed, so please don't even ask - no good could come of it.

New in V4 we are including the development of the theme into the prerelease cycle so that the wisdom and experience of you, the users, can be incorporated into the theme's development. This is an experiment that may or may not work out for the best, but is most certainly worth trying. Please note, however, that this is not an exercise in 'design by democracy' - that may sound appealing, but I assure you that the results would be execrable. I request that you all engage in this experiment with care, maturity, patience and intelligence. If the experiment fails please remember that the Theme Team is ultimately responsible to its own instincts and experience of what will best suit all users (not just those on this forum) and to the satisfaction of Cockos, but if the experiment succeeds then we will have a blueprint for how future themes can be better developed as a true and exciting reflection of Reaper's users. The determination of how well this experiment works out is in the hands of you, the community.

__________________________________________________ ______________________


** The Theme Team requests : APPEARANCE DISCUSSION **

Please use this thread to, by discussion amongst yourselves, feedback to the Theme Team on the appearance of the Default 4 theme as it is developed. These will often be be subjective qualities of personal taste; the styling of colour, tone, and shape. There is another thread for your objective interaction feedback, please understand the difference as we are applying it here (and help each other to understand the difference) and choose your thread appropriately.

Some of the appearance goals of the theme:
  • Eliminate, wherever possible, ambiguity. WALTER allows us to assign as much (or as little) space as is needed for an element to do its job well. A good example of this is the IO button; previously space issues restricted us to various schemes to indicate the master / send / receive status of the track. We can now take the space to make that message very clearly, on every track, with full words. Experienced Reaper users will likely find they don't need this level of clarity, they can effortlessly interpret (for example) an icon based representation, but we favour a solution that benefits all users including casual, occasional or new Reaper users. If this is ever in conflict with efforts to make the interface attractive, the lack of ambiguity is favoured.
  • We do not have a marketing department screaming at us to make a flashy interface to generate sales. This is a strength to be recognised. Wherever there may be conflict, favour long-term usability over superficial appeal.
  • Size : Walter opens the possibility of themers making themes that are ideally suited to very small screens, so to a certain degree we do not have to cater for 'all controls at very small sizes' situations that V3 themes may have been effective at. Avoid if possible, but if taking more space would get the job done much better, do it.
  • 'Buttons' in Reaper can be a button, or an indicator, or both a button and an indicator. Some buttons are state changing push buttons, while others summon a drop down or a window. If this might cause confusion or inaccurate expectation of the function of the button, style to avoid it.
  • Use styling to visually 'grade' controls by their importance, making them less or more easy to find at a glance. Group elements that will often be used in combination during common workflows. Grade and group using position, colour, styling and selective use of 3D.
  • Ensure that selected state is always clear. Always.
  • Have an overall brightness of around 50%

Please remember than in subjective matters there is no 'right answer' and simply expressing your personal preference is far less useful than you might think; this is not meant to be your perfect theme, nor mine or anyone else's. It has a job to do, we need to drill down to discover what that job is, how well it is doing it, and what can be done to improve it.

Please also remember that almost everything is a balancing act. If you consider something to be "Too XXXX" then it is probably because we decided to make it "Less YYYY", and most likely after some thought. Think of these things as a slider. An example:

[X ] --------------------------------V-------------------------------- [Y]

X : Positives: Each individual element is more easy to visually find, one element is rarely mistaken for another. Negatives : Overall appearance can seem busy and intimidating.
Y : Positives: Overall appearance is relaxed, approachable and 'easy on the eyes'. Negatives : Visually finding the individual element you are looking for can take longer, one element can be easy to mistake for another.

Choosing where to put that slider between X and Y is a difficult balancing act that requires thought. In this example, new or occasional users would benefit from the positives of more X, whereas experienced users would have less trouble with the negative values of more Y, and so would like the fact that it looks more appealing. We need to make these decisions, and if you put some careful thought to the matter, you will realise that these sliders are everywhere in the job at hand. I'm sure you can think of others.

We look forward to your discussions. Thanks!


************* v *************** READ THIS ************* v ***************

You are being asked how we can make the very best of the tools we currently have.
There is no practical value in making Feature Requests to the Theme Team.
Discussion of Feature Requests will only cloud or derail the clear communication of user feedback.
There are other threads for your Feature Requests. Please take them there.

************* ^ *************** READ THIS ************* ^ ***************
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:13 PM   #2
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The only things that I can offer are broad strokes:

1) Although the look is "seemingly" sleeker than previous themes, the whole thing is a bit "chunky." It now takes about twice as much height in the tcp to display the same elements, and many of them seem needlessly "ornate" or "chic" with plenty of simulated depth and light, and they're large.

2) It's a bit dark and lacking contrast. In the arrange, the whole thing except for the arrange background and the track panels seems to run together.

On the plus side, I like the flat approach to parts of the transport and would love it if this could be extended.

And also people are going to be wanting a vertical meter option.

Edit: Oh yeah, folder buttons are great, no need to waste anymore space with them.

Last edited by run, megalodon; 12-03-2010 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by run, megalodon View Post
And also people are going to be wanting a vertical meter option.
just in case you don't know, that's trivially added to the current r4 themes, search the prerelease forum.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dub3000 View Post
just in case you don't know, that's trivially added to the current r4 themes, search the prerelease forum.
Thanks, I know how to do it, but I think people will want that "out of the box."
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:39 PM   #5
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the midi editor is currently blinding bright next to the main window witch makes the midi editor toolbar buttons look very dark & unambitious, & the selected TCP/MCP is to bright compared to the rest of the GUI IMO


also more contrast between sharps & flats in the piano roll IMO

the folder buttons are a bit small/unambitious IMO

MCP default layout is great! so is the TCP layout but it needs to be rather big to show all controls, IMO


hope this post is in the right thread & dose not break any rules

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Old 12-03-2010, 06:06 PM   #6
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Default This is such a great idea

Maybe these are not the ideas you want but perhaps they are so will post them


-It would be great to have the default blend for time selection set in such a way that the items create a different tone for the white time selection than empty space does, at the moment not having a difference in time selection contrast when it's over items to when it's over empty space detracts greatly from the "marque" idea.

-For me at least The contrast between un-selected items and selected items is not that strong especially once the time selection gets involved too.

As soon as you start colouring items and tracks it gets hard to see what's selected and what's not, I have the white line for items enabled too which helps a bit.

Also I feel the same about track selection, I edited my theme so that when a tcp/mcp track was selected I would get a thin white line around the edge of both the tcp and mcp panel as well as brightening the selected panel too.

- should be able to have very long names and when you change track height or width (in the tcp) the name should be able to adapt to stand on it's own (although this might be better as an additional tcp layout)

Last edited by musicbynumbers; 12-03-2010 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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My nitpicks:

1. The FX button doesn't look like a button
2. Phase button doesn't look like a button (maybe it would also look better if the background graphic would merge with the fader background)
3. Non-readable Pan readout with certain pan/width settings
4. The "Record: time selection auto punch" transport button shows the "circle" graphic with different width than the "circle" on the other record mode buttons. I also think it would look better if the record buttons all would have a filled circle graphic (to make it more differnt looking to the Repeat button).
5. I/O button doesn't really look good in the Media Explorer and the Metronome settings
6. Selected tracks have a bad contrast (white + light grey).
7. The old program icon was better looking (silver like).


http://forum.cockos.com/showpost.php...7&postcount=83
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:16 PM   #8
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im not crazy on the metering. IMO mono tracks should have single meters, very distracting to look at when you're screen is full of meters.

also, i think its already mentioned but could there be a way of assigning a layout to a button on the channell so we could quickly flick between views. ie from standard to large meters and back again... without haing to go thru menus? (not sure if this is a feature request or something thats already possible?)

track name backgrounds are too dark and interfering with custom colours.

also, and this would make life a lot easier. is there a way to create a "blank strip" to use as a divider. it would be a very handy visual aid on larger mixes.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:22 PM   #9
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personally i'm a little hazy on the limitations and abilities of walter. so far, i only find that in tcp view i'd rather have the pan width slider beneath the regular pan slider, and also have some sort of visual cue as to which is which such as is found in mixer view. also i don't like how the toolbar buttons move and change size depending on width of track pane.

apart from that, my only request so far, without really knowing much about walter, is that i can continue to use my current theme with the new default theme. for instance it's great that the width pan slider uses the same images as the regular pan slider, because this will work well with my current theme.

one thing i find would be cool that i don't know if walter can do would be to have the swing control in the piano roll function by either typing in the percentage desired as it is right now, but also a click and drag up or down will slide the values up or down.

to be honest the current theme i have right now i love for the tools available right now. but if there can be better functionality integrated into the interface via walter, then that might be interesting, i only worry that doing so will bring me more kind of headaches because i'll have to get these new features working in the context of my current theme, which is not something i'm incredibly excited to do.

does walter allow for plugins to be skinned individually?
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicbynumbers View Post
The contrast between un-selected items and selected items is not that strong especially once the time selection gets involved too.
yep. agree. white and damn near white on my monitor.
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subz View Post
the midi editor is currently blinding bright next to the main window witch makes the midi editor toolbar buttons look very dark & unambitious, & the selected TCP/MCP is to bright compared to the rest of the GUI IMO


also more contrast between sharps & flats in the piano roll IMO

Subz
+1 more contract or making the colour scheme for the PVR would be good. Even just setting the natural notes to white, acidentals to a lighter grey and keeping the non-start of beat grid values the same color.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:19 PM   #12
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edit3: please just ignore this whole post and read this instead: http://forum.cockos.com/showpost.php...17&postcount=2

----

generally, think it looks great (or at least, a great start) - no issues with the color scheme/overall look.

i'm having big issues with folder tracks in the TCP though.

it's not immediately clear which are the folder children or how deep they are (which was clear in r3, mainly as a side effect of the meters not lining up). now that the meters look clean, we've lost that initial visual cue for that.

the current r4 layout is so clean that some of the important visual cues are lost.

thanks again for all your hard work and tolerance of robust discussion, it's appreciated.

edit2: looks like adamwathan has similar but much better ideas in here: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=69928 - i actually prefer his mockup, oops.
Attached Images
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:15 AM   #13
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I agree with dub3000.....folder tracks need a little help. V3 was more clear.

DB

Quote:
Originally Posted by dub3000 View Post
edit3: please just ignore this whole post and read this instead: http://forum.cockos.com/showpost.php...17&postcount=2

----

generally, think it looks great (or at least, a great start) - no issues with the color scheme/overall look.

i'm having big issues with folder tracks in the TCP though.

it's not immediately clear which are the folder children or how deep they are (which was clear in r3, mainly as a side effect of the meters not lining up). now that the meters look clean, we've lost that initial visual cue for that.

the current r4 layout is so clean that some of the important visual cues are lost.

thanks again for all your hard work and tolerance of robust discussion, it's appreciated.

edit2: looks like adamwathan has similar but much better ideas in here: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=69928 - i actually prefer his mockup, oops.
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:19 AM   #14
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I can get used to this, but I've done thisa few times, so for general usability I think it's worth a thought

basically when i go to select a track, i keep clicking on the VU meter and getting the I\O dialogue


</script><noscript>[IMG]http://img33.**************/img33/1028/screenshot20101204at208.png[/IMG]<
though if the track is playing it's quite clear

[IMG]http://img715.**************/img715/1028/screenshot20101204at208.png[/IMG]</noscript>

so i think if there was an outline or a change in shade where the VU's are, it would be clearer which is track selection and I\O selection when playback isn't runnin

I'm used to it now, though since i did it a bunch of times, it seemed worth mentioning
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:42 AM   #15
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Ok this is only my opinion and only meant as constructive criticism, I will no doubt use a custom theme that I mostly ripped from the excellent work of Mr Tie.

My criticism.

The labeled buttons use more space then necessary resulting in less space for faders and metering.

The whole theme feels to bulky ,Transport for example seems massive (I guess this all depends what resolution you are viewing at)

The mute and solo seem to sit on top wear as the rest is flat .

The nice round rec arm buttons look a bit blocky round the edges (I know theres not a lot that can be done about this but maybe less contrast?)

I Like the overall feel and clarity and all so like the name blending into the meters.

I'm really not keen on the toolbar buttons but these are easily swapped.

Overall I know this is going to be a great theme and loved by most.....
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:48 AM   #16
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in v4 when you arm one track for recording there is no input information on vumeter as in v3, well this form to show input information in vumeter area is not necesary to be here, but input information needs to be showed in some part of the track area
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Old 12-04-2010, 03:08 AM   #17
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the I wish was different:

this:

should have a pull down menu that matches it instead of a generic grey thing that swings out to the right:


especially when the little triangle down area is making me expect an input list that matches the parent's style. it kind of makes it fake looking. like "look at me, I'm going to be a pretty menu - FOOOLED YOOOU!"

maybe at least have

Input: Mono
Input: Sterep
Input: MIDI
Input: None

match the theme well, expand the same width as the themed input selector and then swing out to the right for the sub menus...

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Old 12-04-2010, 11:30 PM   #18
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edit: A message from Echo and The Bunnymen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1lEaxvSQpE&t=0m40s

I don't know exactly what is possible in WALTER so some of this might be irrelevant to this thread.

Overall: I like the cleanliness and colors of the current theme, but it does seem a bit blocky, and some things are too big for small screens.

TCP/MCP

edit: The preference 'Make obvious that input is clickable' no longer works in the current theme.

A bit busy overall with the labeling, button colors, blockiness.

edit: The master track in the tcp isn't very visually distinctive. I've found myself selecting it as a regular track to insert items, which gave me some unexpected behavior.

edit: I'd rather see only the indentations for folder tracks, rather than the strips/bars that are currently added.

Input FX: I don't like how the button only shows when a track is record armed. That confused me at first...where did it go?...and I can imagine that it might be worse for a n00b.

Labels: 'Master Send Rcv'. How about just 'Send Rcv'? Btw, as much as I love clicking on the VU for the input options, in no way is it immediately intuitive.

Monitor button is a bit confusing. Red signifying 'off', while nothing to signify 'on' is what I mean. Also, the red makes the button appear to be depressed, which is probably what confused me at first sight.

Send Receive Window

See this thread (particularly last page): http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=22155

The suggested layout is much cleaner, easier to navigate, and potentially space saving. I think that adding input options here, while leaving the vu meter clickable, would be a nice way to go.

Transport

It seems too big.

I don't like that the loop button is greyed out in the main transport, and actually, I think that the MIDI editor transport buttons are better in comparison.

Add labels to the selection time displays.

edit: I agree with Bullshark. The text is a little small, and the buttons are big.

Media Explorer

Too much wasted space taken by the waveform view and the space below it. Also, I preferred the window at the top, as it's less distance to drag files to the arrangement.

Tool Tips

Add them everywhere. The function of some things isn't immediately apparent, and a tool tip would help. Example: the tack on the fx window. The fx wet/dry knob should be moved to a more obvious location, somewhere on the right side of the fx window (with a tool tip).

Arrange Window/Timeline

Grid lines extending into empty space below the last media item has a busy look to it. Also, for those of us who have done our best at hacking a theme to cleanup the gridlines, we're still plagued by the mess odd looking gridlines in the empty space.

Beat/Time labels on the timeline: I want to see measure numbers, for every bar, always, without having to see beats or divisions of in the labeling. I promise, I can count to four. Seeing labels for odd measures aggravates me for reasons unknown. Major division lines in the timeline should be limited to measures, not beats. Currently, the longer division lines on every beat are pretty much useless.

edit: Something that has always bothered me a little are light, dark, light strips above the timeline, where markers and regions reside. I want a solid color there.....anything to make things look less busy.

Tool bar icons

The new theme doesn't offer much in variety of button icons. Don't leave me hanging. My own graphics skills are super lame, and I'll have to resort to using buttons from another theme.

Scroll Bars

When the scroll bars are darker than the surrounding area, they look to be sitting in the background rather than the foreground.

edit: Sorry, I haven't mentioned all the good stuff, and there is alot to like about the current theme.
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Old 12-05-2010, 01:07 AM   #19
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DEAR MR. WHITE TIE:

I love the GUI. I love the fact that you incorporated the Track name into the VU meter in the TCP.
I love the position of the Record button both in the TCP and MCP.
I love the tabs for the Track number both in the TCP and MCP.
I love the black area for the Track name in the MCP.
I love the "U" design for the MCP VU meters, where you incoporated the Record button, great thinking!
I love the MPC, for me everything is clear and not cluttered.
The only thing is that yeah, when the MPC is at its minimum size, the VU faders (space for animation) is a little to short. But really, the elements are very nice.
The pan size, design for me is just fine. I like it how it is. They are not big!
The "tabs" at the bottom (Mixer, Performance, Routing, etc, varies from user to user) look better indeed.
If you put both GUIS side by side you can tell the new one looks a lot better.
The folder indentations on the TCP look fine to me. If you get lost, I think you must be blind; On the MCP maybe, just maybe, a little tweak should do just fine.
I love the intro splash, how the animation makes the top of the "weapon"'s (a scyth?) silohuette, then the whole logo appears behind seamlessly.
I LOVE THE NEW TRANSPORT. Bigger buttons. I really wanted that.
Groups look as good as always. Even when the tracks are tinted (which TINT great by the way).
I ALSO LOVE THE SCROLLBARS. Round and all. I really like the design.

<b> I suggest STRONGLY that you create some images double the size (of course then, reduce them when you finish creating them ready for the theme) like the Record button, as it looks jagged, specially at its top.
In fact, this goes for ALL the buttons (except the Toolbar icons) (For example, the Record button on the Transport looks jagged, the Play button - the angled lines of the triangle that conforms it - looks jagged).
Also, I suggest STRONGLY that you use not only GRADIENT colors, coz you can tell that from the corner of your neighborhood (yes, that far! ) that you are using that only (All the Toolbar looks that way). Although you used only GRADIENT (maybe solid colors too) you did GREAT. Don't get me wrong. Just think PS3 or something (It's not just black or a gradient, it has light reflections, it looks VERY good.) </b>
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:34 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
Arrange Window/Timeline Grid lines extending into empty space below the last media item has a busy look to it. Also, for those of us who have done our best at hacking a theme to cleanup the gridlines, we're still plagued by the mess odd looking gridlines in the empty space
-1 from me: I don't agree - I think the current V4 theme gets this right. Having already discussed this a little in the GUI nitpicks thread, I've come to the conclusion that the alternatives are perhaps worse than how it is now, and I think it's more about how themers colour their themes. Two alternatives have already been presented:



^^ This is the worst of the suggestions I think - it completely cuts off the timeline from the top of the transport and/or mixer, potentially creating a large expanse of nothing right across the middle.



^^This is better I think, but can still leave a large looking block of nothing when few tracks are present on higher resolution screens.



^^And this is pretty much the current default, which I actually think is the best of the options - the grid lines reaching down to the transport/mixer unifies the top with the bottom of the layout I think, making the design look complete, even when there are no tracks present.

I think what is important is that the timeline/arrange "window" looks looks like it's own specific area, separate from the TCP area - and this is achieved by simply themeing the timeline background to be similar colour to the track lanes, rather than the being the same as the the TCP background.

I think the problem has been that so many of the darker themes (including the default 3 theme) have got this wrong - by having a dark timeline background with bright grid lines:




^^ And in these types of situations, I agree it is messy (and creates what I think looks like a pin-stripe suit effect!) - but that's a job for themers to get right IMO!

Just to bang on about it further - my favourite R3 theme is 2studio, which does a perfect job of what I'm talking about:



I couldn't image this theme working WITHOUT the grid lines reaching down to the transport, or being sliced through half-way down with nothing but black.

Anyway, I think the guide to WALTER states it has no influence over the timeline anyway, so any change to the way grid lines are presented is probably a feature request and beyond the scope of the theme team!

Edit: took me so long to compose this post that White Tie got in there and confirmed this for me. If you think my post is now a rather large complete waste of space that has no bearing on anything, please delete it by all means!

(Thanks to Plops for many of the images in his discussion - arguing for the opposite of me )
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:47 AM   #21
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i think this is the way to go




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Old 12-05-2010, 03:52 AM   #22
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Quote:
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i think this is the way to go




Subz
Yea, that's it. +1
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:36 AM   #23
ubergod
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This might sound silly but I'm serious:

Is the logo/icon suppose to look like a stethoscope?



Or are my eyes inverting the "3D" part of it and I'm really confused as to it's actual shape? Like, is it a silver moon? It hurts my brain and I'm scared...
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:43 AM   #24
White Tie
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Please move on to NEXT THREAD
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