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Old 11-17-2019, 11:13 AM   #1
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Default Reaper V6 Default Theme - TESTING THE MIDI EDITOR

The Reaper V6 Default Theme's MIDI editor is now ready for testing. Please have at it and report back!

GET THE LATEST VERSION HERE

The MID editor is a tricky situation, because more than any other area of Reaper's themble UI it grows and alters a great deal between major versions, with a great deal of testing that I am not intimately involved with. I am also, relative to many of you, a light MIDI user, and many of you also use the ME in ways that are very different to the majority of casual Reaper users. Because of this, in previous default theme development cycles we have always (always!) reverted to the existing ME theming by the time the theme is final. There is a pretty good chance I'll be doing that again this time, as well. To reiterate:

It is likely I will be reverting the V5 MIDI Editor theming into the V6 theme

However, every time I do this it feels like an opportunity missed. I find it highly unlikely that the first midinotecolormap I ever made just so happened to be the best one I could possibly make, yet here we are still using it so many years later. So if we can get enough testing done on the new ME, I would be very eager.

As you will notice, I'm trying to do a dark background for the first time. This is not mere fashion; hardware manufacturers are driving computer screens to levels of full-white brightness that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago, and users aren't turning them down, because ...y'know... its awesome So it is of real-world value for us to try to make this work.

There have been some ME theming enhancements in recent Pre-Releases to help in this work, it is my expectation that there are unlikely to be any more, so my work now is to make the most of what we have (NO feature requests please!), and I would welcome your help with that.

Thanks!
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:38 AM   #2
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I find this v6 ME coloring very pleasing to work with for longer periods. Even though ive created a few themes myself I personally always used the default ones for my work.
Ive been intenionally working with the alpha theme since its conception and its grown on me.(specially the darker arrange and ME bgs). I can say that the v5 midi editor colors werent so great to work with- as you said newer monitors are quite bright.

The latest Midi colormap is much more usable than the previous one (it clashed with the new selected velocity lollipops. The only thing i find a bit distracting is the violet color of cc automation in this latest. previous green (like the piano roll chosen note) or second red colors were better.

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Old 11-17-2019, 01:04 PM   #3
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Dark themed ME is absolutely necessary, IMHO. You'll find many working composers who just can't work with all the brightness from a light themed ME for longer hours.


But yes - purple as CC color for channel 1 is a no go. Please change that to something that is more visible against the background color of CC lane (which is great actually!).


I would also suggest to change the background color of the left-side piano keyboard and right-side track list area (the greenish hue) because it is clashing way too much with the rest of piano roll. Ideally it should have the same color (or close to) as the MIDI editor ruler.


Compare this:

https://i.imgur.com/V8qctrV.png

with:

https://i.imgur.com/Tk97ez6.png


Which one seems less tiring for you to look at - and, more importantly, easier to discern what is what? These are all random notes and CCs, but it is a VERY realistic scenario for the working composer dealing with many MIDI tracks/channels. This has to look good/flattering/easy to discern. Right now the colormap could use some improvements in making that happen.


CCs for MIDI channel 1 are extremely hard to see, the dark purple has to go. But overall color scheme is MUCH MUCH BETTER than the drab bright theme that was in v5 theme.

Last edited by White Tie; 11-18-2019 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:35 AM   #4
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Definitely like a "dark mode" version better than a white background for sure.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:39 AM   #5
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I prefer a little darker look of the Midi Editor, and I'm putting a link here so you can see my thoughts on it. It's easier for me to show instead of writing in my bad English))

Really don’t want to take away focus from WT’s fine creation, which I honestly think is very useful, only with some minor color-tweaks as already mentioned. I would vote for the gray’ish (upper) version. Perhaps the lower one with dark background will create problems on other UI windows that include tab text(?)


My suggestion here uses tweaked V6, the Midi Colormap is a brighter version of V5 default.

Only thing I would swap or re-arrange, is the first red (CC 1) that I believe should be a green-like V6 ‘identity-color’ – perhaps also the purple a touch brighter.

– use it for inspiration, or ignore it!

https://i.ibb.co/MMgBgGq/V6-Midi-Editor-dark-alt.png

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Old 11-18-2019, 10:58 AM   #6
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I would like to know if you plan on leaving a light background MIDI editor as an option for those of us who struggle to see these dark themes.
As your eyes get older, many of us experience difficulties with light fonts on dark backgrounds.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
I would like to know if you plan on leaving a light background MIDI editor as an option for those of us who struggle to see these dark themes.
As your eyes get older, many of us experience difficulties with light fonts on dark backgrounds.
i agree. this coming from someone who still uses the default version 1.0 reaper theme. (not kidding)
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhelixK View Post
I prefer a little darker look of the Midi Editor,
The problem with darker look is persistence of vision due to the greater contrast with other elements.
Read a text on a web page that has white text against a pure black background. Then, look around. The image is burnt on your retina longer. It's not user friendly in the long run.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Dark themed ME is absolutely necessary, IMHO. You'll find many working composers who just can't work with all the brightness from a light themed ME for longer hours.


But yes - purple as CC color for channel 1 is a no go. Please change that to something that is more visible against the background color of CC lane (which is great actually!).


I would also suggest to change the background color of the left-side piano keyboard and right-side track list area (the greenish hue) because it is clashing way too much with the rest of piano roll. Ideally it should have the same color (or close to) as the MIDI editor ruler.


Compare this:

with:


Which one seems less tiring for you to look at - and, more importantly, easier to discern what is what? These are all random notes and CCs, but it is a VERY realistic scenario for the working composer dealing with many MIDI tracks/channels. This has to look good/flattering/easy to discern. Right now the colormap could use some improvements in making that happen.


CCs for MIDI channel 1 are extremely hard to see, the dark purple has to go. But overall color scheme is MUCH MUCH BETTER than the drab bright theme that was in v5 theme.
I agree with a dark theme and no dark purple for channel 1. The second picture with the slightly lighter grey and less saturated notes and CCs stand out much better and easier on the eye.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:59 AM   #10
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Evil Dragon's mock-up (or example) has a good use of color and looks a big improvement to me too.
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Old 11-18-2019, 12:07 PM   #11
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I love the piano roll.

Of course the dark option works well (or even better) for me ... I don't have any preference between WT's and ED's option. But plz ... my eyes are getting old, make clear the selected note plz, both in the piano roll and the ME, as easy to identify as possible.
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Old 11-18-2019, 12:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janne83 View Post
The only thing i find a bit distracting is the violet color of cc automation in this latest. previous green (like the piano roll chosen note) or second red colors were better.
Yes, good call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
I would also suggest to change the background color of the left-side piano keyboard and right-side track list area (the greenish hue) because it is clashing way too much with the rest of piano roll. Ideally it should have the same color (or close to) as the MIDI editor ruler.
I disagree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Compare this:
I've removed the embedding on your screenshots, because it was encouraging people to comment on screenshots rather than direct experience, which isn't, we have learned, very helpful unless all their projects look like that screenshot What's needed is for people to actually load the theme and use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhelixK View Post
Only thing I would swap or re-arrange, is the first red (CC 1) that I believe should be a green-like V6 ‘identity-color’ –
Yes, very nice. I'll try that right away, thanks!

EDIT : tried it, its great

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
I would like to know if you plan on leaving a light background MIDI editor as an option for those of us who struggle to see these dark themes.
No, unless I revert the V5 ME, in which case yes. Either way, you'll still have the V5 theme, yeah?

Quote:
Originally Posted by krahosk View Post
The problem with darker look is persistence of vision due to the greater contrast with other elements.
Read a text on a web page that has white text against a pure black background. Then, look around. The image is burnt on your retina longer.
Don't worry, I won't be doing white on black. This is mid-tone colours (depending on custom colour selection) on mid-dark grey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagalume View Post
I love the piano roll.
my eyes are getting old, make clear the selected note plz, both in the piano roll and the ME, as easy to identify as possible.
This is indeed the trade off. The ladder goes:

1) dark enough to show differentiation of base colour
2) light enough to show selected state
3) not so bright that you can't differentiate the base colour amongst selected notes.

How are you getting on with the selected note/key when you use the theme as it is?
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Tie View Post
I disagree.
Your reasoning, please? It is seriously distracting. And yes I spent some time with it. It just goes against the grain for no good reason, and does not fit well visually, at all. Care to show any other host that has dark themed ME that has blindingly brighter frame in a completely unrelated hue around it?

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/QTeBCGiUY7I/maxresdefault.jpg
https://macprovid.vo.llnwd.net/o43/h...Piano_Roll.jpg
http://s3.amazonaws.com/factmag-imag...0-7-021117.jpg
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/S4ljfQVQxFY/maxresdefault.jpg
https://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.freshde...gif?1522780327

Should I go on or can you see a pattern here? I am really interested in your reasoning. If it's just to be different from everybody else for difference's sake... I cannot believe you don't see this as a huge detriment to smooth workflow for longer hours. But then again you said you're a light MIDI user, so you're never spending those longer hours in the MIDI editor...




Quote:
Originally Posted by Funkybot View Post
Evil Dragon's mock-up (or example) has a good use of color and looks a big improvement to me too.
It's not a mockup, it's my tweak of RADO v4, theme I actually use.

Last edited by EvilDragon; 11-18-2019 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Your reasoning, please?
If you have a suggestion, please do make it. I am asking for it, and I welcome it. However, If I do not find your suggestion persuasive, please try to accept that with good grace. I do not have the time nor the inclination to explain everything, sorry.
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:56 PM   #15
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In the time it took you to write that you could have also written a succint explanation that is more informative than "I disagree".

If screenshots from other hosts that I just posted aren't persuasive enough, I am absolutely flabbergasted.
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:58 PM   #16
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That is not correct.
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Old 11-18-2019, 02:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Tie View Post
How are you getting on with the selected note/key when you use the theme as it is?
Right know it is ok for me, no problems, better than Reaper 5.

I have to admit that dark is good for my eyes.
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Old 11-18-2019, 02:20 PM   #18
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I'm going to bring the unselected colour up in brightness a little for the next version, which will bring it closer to the selected state, so please keep an eye one that once I've posted it and let me know if its becoming a problem.
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Old 11-18-2019, 02:23 PM   #19
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Unselected notes don't need more brightness. If anything, they need a bit less saturation so you can work with them for longer hours on end. Currently I find the selected state too bright, and unselected state too dark (coloring by MIDI channel).
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:02 PM   #20
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@White Tie, I agree with ED here. A uniform look of the ME would make a lot of sense in terms of consistency. Why not take the arrange as a good example? The "borders" (toolbar space, empty space, etc..) are here dark as well:

(pardon my real bad drawing and the huge screenshots, but I wanted them "side by side")

https://i.imgur.com/IdFzN1q.png

So, wouldn't it make sense (as mentioned, in terms of consistency) to have a smiliar pattern with the ME?

https://i.imgur.com/BIm3RNU.png
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:26 PM   #21
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Installed and tested, I too feel like the bright side panels are rather distracting, especially since it's a lot of unimportant dead space that should not be attracting my attention.
Additionally, I don't think it gives off a cohesive impression, it rather looks like only parts of the ME was themed. Sorry :S

Love the background on the editing area for notes and CC however, that is spot on.

Commenting on the note color map, as it was mentioned in the OP, I'm personally no fan of the use of brown and blue, my perfect note color map goes from green through yellow to red only.
But that's a personal preference, and non-issue as we can replace the color map easily ourselves.
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:58 PM   #22
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If we can’t have full blown ‘Darth Vader' -mode, then at least darker or damped sides on the editor, pleeease;-) Just joking, honestly I think it will match the theme better, more homogeneous.

But,
a dark Window bg has a consequence also for modal windows. Tab text and knobs will have to be inverted, which is possible of cause, except for the damned knobs backgrounds…

Finally I would consider the window scroll sliders using the dark v5 template.


On a note, CC color 3 and 8 is too close, and CC 10 is almost invisible, se notes,

Other than that, I really like the feel of it:

https://ibb.co/ft3FsZ6
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:19 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhelixK View Post
a dark Window bg has a consequence also for modal windows.
Indeed

But if its more fun for anyone to pretend its just me being obtuse, be my guest. But don't bother doing it here, because it won't be changing.
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:32 PM   #24
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I'm with ED and Stevie. As someone who spends almost the entire day in the midi editor 24/7, the greenish highlight is a no go for me. Not only is it very visually distracting but it can mistakenly convey false information.

The midi editor is a little bit of a different animal as it is conveying a lot of information in a condensed space. Much of the time, you are trying to sort that information with a glance and when there is something like a green highlight amongst the notes, it is very hard to distinguish, especially with all of the other color information. So it can easily get confused with other notes and the like and makes it hard to differentiate information.
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:42 PM   #25
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I think you're talking about something different? But if you mean the cyan-grey surround, that's not going to change.

Do you mean the active note indicator? Because I think that's nuts as well, but a very accomplished user made a very compelling case for it, I would love to hear counter argument.
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:52 PM   #26
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Thanks for the example links ED. Some of them didn't show the whole DAW GUI for the reference, just the MIDI editor. But from what I saw, they followed a bigger overall color scheme (theme), no surprise there. Not counting the things we cannot control with themes, I don't think we are that far away here.

Logic Pro was actually a good example of what we already almost have in Reaper. Track and mixer panels and the piano roll panel are all lighter, while the arrange and editor areas are darker. Just a tad darker piano roll panel and track list would make Reaper have a similar design.
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:55 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Tie View Post
I think you're talking about something different? But if you mean the cyan-grey surround, that's not going to change.

Do you mean the active note indicator? Because I think that's nuts as well, but a very accomplished user made a very compelling case for it, I would love to hear counter argument.
I don't mind the note indicator so much. There's really only one set of information there so it's pretty clear to me. More the cyan-grey. Having a distinct color for that as opposed to something like just grey or more neutral is going to always clash with the velocity color map and make it hard to distinguish and visually distract (e.g. a red note with a cyan highlight).

That's the kind of thing that is hard to deal with when you are in the midi editor constantly. The eyes basically just lose it after a while (again because the information is so dense and there is so much to pick out). Anyway, just feedback from someone stuck in the music editor all day.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:00 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhelixK View Post
But,
a dark Window bg has a consequence also for modal windows. Tab text and knobs will have to be inverted, which is possible
The solution is to accept that and darken the background color for everything, then, and tweak other colors to fit that. It will make things look a lot more consistent and, well, usable. And you won't go dizzy after trying to squint to see things because something is grating on your eyes so much.

https://stash.reaper.fm/36713/tR7dLlB.png
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:45 AM   #29
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I find it difficult to see the MIDI notes in your last example without squinting. Plus the arrange view looks like a nightmare since the items are so bright and saturated.

I think you need to consider the possibility there isn't one perfect solution for this.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:47 AM   #30
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The case I was trying to show is about the background color around windows etc. being in one consistent color. Disregard the track and item colors as they are, that wasn't what I was trying to showcase (plus this is adjustable as well, I have it less saturated these days).

The notes are semitransparent because some belong to overlaid secondary tracks. This is how it actually looks when MIDI item is editable:

https://i.imgur.com/Tk97ez6.png

But that is, again, beside the point I was trying to make.

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Old 11-19-2019, 01:03 AM   #31
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I find some of that difficult to track with my eyes too.

You'd probably hate the way my MIDI editor looks with the changes I've made. Then again I like having a "mid-grey" on the right side, because that's the sort of color (slightly different shades) I use for the background of the MIDI editor. I use mid-grey shades for the arrange view background too. That way I can either choose to go light or dark with items, notes, etc. and I have lots of room to adjust colors/hues/saturation. The only things I don't see well are notes/items which are mid-grey shades without much saturation, but I'd never consciously make notes or items those colors.
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:07 AM   #32
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Do post a screenshot (ME and arrange)!
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:57 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
The solution is to accept that and darken the background color for everything, then, and tweak other colors to fit that. It will make things look a lot more consistent and, well, usable. And you won't go dizzy after trying to squint to see things because something is grating on your eyes so much.

https://stash.reaper.fm/36713/tR7dLlB.png
Yes I does require a little tweaking, but themes and windows can work using darker or mid-toned backgrounds. Some general objects needs adjustment or corrected implementation in regard to transparency and appearance. Here some examples:
https://ibb.co/mJmvtzr

For production I/we use our own theme here, it’s mostly built on Rado as well. I've made three different intensities of it, equally tempered in daylight as well as in night time.

Hey, I just got an idea for the dev team, how about a ‘dynamic’ theme asset that follows time of day?!
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:08 AM   #34
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The Midi Editor is looking a lot more usable now thank you.
Having the bits of piano roll outside the item limits looking dark keeps the eye pretty much focused on the content
My eyes are so used to Imperial in the arrange but the midi editor for this theme is much better and I'll probably move the colours over when I get some time, albeit with darker selected notes and brighter unselected
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:36 AM   #35
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I will not be changing the cyan-grey backround. I 100% guarantee it. It will either be unchanged as it is now, or it will be reverted to the V5 MIDI Editor. My part in that discussion is over, though please feel free to have it elsewhere without me.

I do not have the luxury of pretending that there aren't serious problems with the way Reaper draws all-dark themes. I've made several of them. I'm either going to make a mixed-tone ME work, or its going to be light becaue of a V5 revert. If anyone thinks I haven't thought it through, or that the ability to notice 'things that look the same look more nice' makes you an expert on design, please take this as my unchanging answer : pffft. And that's me being polite.

If you want to now move the diuscssion on to 'actually, the way Reaper draws all-dark themes is OK, better than this' or to start making Feature Requests for Reaper about it, let me stop you there. Do not. Just no. I will start, regrettably, deleting posts. Which would be a real shame.

If you think everything about the current V6 ME is perfect except the cyan-grey backgrounds, excellent. We are done. If not, I invite and welcome your input on other matters, there is very important work to be done here.
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:24 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Dark themed ME is absolutely necessary, IMHO. You'll find many working composers who just can't work with all the brightness from a light themed ME for longer hours.

Which one seems less tiring for you to look at - and, more importantly, easier to discern what is what? These are all random notes and CCs, but it is a VERY realistic scenario for the working composer dealing with many MIDI tracks/channels. This has to look good/flattering/easy to discern. Right now the colormap could use some improvements in making that happen.


CCs for MIDI channel 1 are extremely hard to see, the dark purple has to go. But overall color scheme is MUCH MUCH BETTER than the drab bright theme that was in v5 theme.
I am one of those working folks who cannot

But I'm optimistic about V6 because I have faith. ReaFaith
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:30 AM   #37
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If you think everything about the current V6 ME is perfect except the cyan-grey backgrounds, excellent. We are done. If not, I invite and welcome your input on other matters, there is very important work to be done here.
I can't say it is perfect.
for some reason when I'm looking at ME in reaper it looks a bit drafty compare to FLstudio's piano roll, but I can't say exactly what is the reason.

maybe it's just me, but I really see a big difference. fl's ME looks more "complete".

maybe with your knowledge in graphics and theming you will notice the differences better than me.


https://www.image-line.com/support/f.../pianoroll.htm

https://www.image-line.com/support/f...ll_general.png
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Thanks devs for adding the abillity to use single click to change a single velocity And single right click to remove a single note without dragging.
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Last edited by Reflected; 11-19-2019 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 11-19-2019, 05:38 AM   #38
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The solution is to accept that and darken the background color for everything, then, and tweak other colors to fit that. It will make things look a lot more consistent and, well, usable. And you won't go dizzy after trying to squint to see things because something is grating on your eyes so much.

https://stash.reaper.fm/36713/tR7dLlB.png
I agree that this is the best solution.
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Old 11-19-2019, 05:56 AM   #39
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Velocity color display looks great and very informative. One nitpicking - low levels of velocity (approximately below 15) are poorly visible and almost merge with a dark background.

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Old 11-19-2019, 05:58 AM   #40
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Channel colors need more differentiation, preferably in hue.

pic - up/down channels 1,2,3,4; left-right unselected/selected

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