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Old 05-25-2019, 12:14 PM   #1
Mosaic Music
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Join Date: May 2019
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Default Much needed customization options for crossfade behavior- Is it currently doable?

I've been hopping around to various DAWs, and have recently landed on Reaper after trying nearly all others at this point. The customization and stability in Reaper have been great, but my previous DAW (Samplitude) spoiled me in one big way, being the editing and crossfade behavior, which is one of the things it is praised for. Thankfully, most of that workflow I've been able to replicate in Reaper with some careful customization, and some use of the SWS extensions, but the behavior of crossfades and autocrossfades in Reaper is still a weak spot, and bars my potential commitment to using this DAW, and in my opinion, would be improved with a few changes or additional options. Before posting a feature request, I wanted to get some feedback on if such a thing is possible with the current customization options in Reaper, or perhaps with scripting.
At the moment, I have "Overlap and crossfade items when splitting", "Auto-crossfade media items when editing" and "Trim contents behind media items when editing" enabled.


1---Disabling Crossfade Resizing While Dragging:
Is it possible to make crossfades stay the same size and move with the item as items are moved and overlapped? Currently, crossfades resize as items are dragged into one another, however, this is inconvenient for a few reasons: It adds an extra step of having to resize the crossfade after moving and adjusting the placement of an item, the longer fade can often intrude on the transient of the dragged item which is non-ideal, and while doing manual slicing/time editing, the constant need to resize all of the crossfades after dragging items adds a lot of extra editing time.
Interestingly, when an item is moved so that it is dragged entirely inside of another item, the crossfades 'snap' back to their original size, and simply move with the item retaining that original size. (See attachments for pictures) This behavior is great, as most of the time, when I want to move an item, I just want to move it, and I want to keep the crossfade in the same place and at the same size relative to that moved item's audio contents. Is it possible to retain this 'crossfade stays the same size and moves with the item' behavior at all times, not just when one item is entirely inside of another item?

I've looked everywhere in the settings, but have not found a way to do this. Turning off "Auto-crossfade media items while editing" allows me to drag media items on top of one another without resizing the crossfade auto-created from the split, however, when this option is off, after dragging one item on top of another, the crossfade created from the split disappears and is turned into a v-shaped fade-out/fade-in, which is not any better.

I know splitting and slip editing is a slightly more efficient workaround, but it is still less ideal, because when doing slip editing, the item contents move without the crossfade moving, and on some edits, the stationary crossfade ends up cutting off the transient of the slipped item's contents.


2---Allowing Auto-Crossfades to Default to Appear to the Left or Centered:
Is it possible to make crossfades not always appear to the right of a split, but instead, to the left, or centered around the split point? This, again, has everything to do with transients. When splitting an item, if one splits too close to the beginning of a transient, the crossfade lands on top of that transient, which is of course not ideal. This makes hand-editing a little less fast, and a little less convenient, because instead of splitting right at the beginning of a transient and having it appear to the left of the split, avoiding 'intruding' on that transient, it always appears to the right. With larger auto-crossfade lengths, and with the current 'resizing crossfade while dragging an item' behavior, the chances of potentially having a crossfade intrude on a transient are made higher.

This is a MUCH bigger issue when doing Beat Detective-style editing and time slicing/quantizing. I noticed this while watching Kenny's excellent Reaper Mania tutorials on Youtube, with this video in particular: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bCnk5kPkKA (Quantize items/fill in gaps starts at 9:25).

As you can see, in many cases, the crossfades that result from the filling of the gaps end up intruding on the transient of the next note. (See attachments for picture) If Reaper had a global "all crossfades appear to the left of the edit/split point" it could avoid many of these issues. Alternatively, a sort of 'crossfade location offset' (Pro Tools calls it Trigger Pad, I believe) could avoid this crossfade-on-the-transient problem.

I know that SWS has some custom scripts that allow for a split with crossfade to the left, but they only work for single splits, and do not for things like item quantize (as noted above), or for more advanced actions like "Split items at time selection (if exists), else at edit cursor (also during playback)" which is my de-facto item split action, which defaults to the less ideal crossfade-to-the-right behavior.


3---Possible solutions:
I've thought of a few possible solutions, although I'm not sure how to implement them.

A. Stop resizing crossfades while moving items, instead move crossfades with item: I'm not sure if this could be implemented by a third-party modification or script, or would have to be implemented by Cockos, but since the functionality already does exist (seen when dragging an item entirely inside of another item), I imagine it'd not be very difficult to implement. Perhaps it could be a menu option along the lines of "Resize crossfades when dragging overlapping items" which could be toggled on or off, or perhaps a new mouse modifier checkmark option could be added to the Mouse Modifiers->Move Item menu, something like "Move crossfades with item".

B. Allowing auto-crossfades-on-split to appear to the left or centered: This seems like something that'd be a bit easier to implement, since the SWS extensions already have something similar. However, having a DAW-wide option to choose the default direction a crossfade appears relative to a split would be a wonderful option to have in the stock version of Reaper, since it'd help both manual splitting/editing workflows and beat-detective audio quantization workflows as well.

The SWS extensions already have a "Split with crossfade to the left" action, although again, this only works for single splits. The "Split items at time selection (if exists), else at edit cursor (also during playback)" action is an absolute necessity for me, so I'm sure it's possible to combine the two actions together into a sort of "Split items at time selection (if exists) with crossfades to the left, else at edit cursor with crossfades to the left (also during playback)". I don't have the coding chops to pull this off, and can't find the SWS contact info to ask them about the possibility of this feature, although if one of you coding gurus is capable of creating an action like that, I'd be enormously grateful.

As for the item quantization/beat-detective style editing, while having an added option to 'always auto-crossfade to the left' would improve things immensely here as well, a simple crossfade offset option in the quantization menu (like Pro Tools' trigger pad) would be a fairly big help.


So far, I'm really loving the technical finesse, versatility, and stability of this DAW, with the crossfade behavior being my only one big sticking point. Since some of my projects end up having hundreds or thousands of crossfade edits, crossfade and editing behavior is a big factor for me. I'm not so familiar with the coding and scripting in Reaper, so I'm not sure if these changes are currently possible, or if I should submit a feature request, but if anyone has any insight as to how one or more of these could be implemented, I'd be eternally grateful for the help!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Step 1.jpg (63.6 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Step 2.jpg (63.4 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg Step 3.jpg (57.5 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Overlap Problem.jpg (61.8 KB, 10 views)
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