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Old 07-21-2012, 03:53 AM   #1
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Default Reaper MIDI zoom issues and why these are such a problem

This is a list of issues relating to zooming in the midi editor. These issues cause workflow disruptions for potentially everyone who uses Reaper for composition or any function related to midi.

The screenshots and functions described are done so running Reaper 64 bit on Windows 7, 64 bit. My machine is custom built for composition (I77, SSD drives for samples, 8gig ram etc) so it hopefully isn't a client issue, I know many other users have mentioned these things before. If I am incorrect in any of these points please state so and I will amend this post. My Reaper install is completely new, I have cleared all data and reinstalled this from scratch without importing anything to ensure configurations are not causing issues.


1) Initial zoom level of a clip is dependent on the size of the clip

So if a clip is 8 bars long the initial zoom when opening the clip is zoomed out too far to far to accurately view the contents, and the first thing a user has to do is zoom in. Regardless of the size of a clip, a user needs to be able to edit it at an appropriate level.

[IMG]http://img7.**************/img7/2344/1initialzoomfar.jpg[/IMG]


Put this in retrospective, imagine if Excel had this behavior and decided it wanted to show you all the data in a sheet when you first opened it - meaning every single time you would need to zoom in to actually read the data. For example:


[IMG]http://img690.**************/img690/5872/2spreadsheetzoom1.jpg[/IMG]


[IMG]http://img194.**************/img194/7715/3spreadsheetzoomfar.jpg[/IMG]


Can you begin to imagine how many complaints Microsoft would get if Excel behaved in that way? If Word behaved in that way? That is the way Reaper behaves and something midi users have to deal with, every time they open a new clip.



2) Zoom level is not remembered

The midi editor does not remember the last used zoom level. This, tied with the previous point, means a user has to constantly battle the view ability of the midi clip they are trying to work on.



3) Space before bar 0

Reaper constantly adds space before bar 0 when zooming, which does not achieve anything. For example:


[IMG]http://img820.**************/img820/4104/4spacebeforebar0small.jpg[/IMG]


That is a small amount of space that constantly shows before bar 0. However combined with point 1, large clips can show excessive amount of space when opening a large clip and zooming:


[IMG]http://img687.**************/img687/5203/5spacebeforebar0large.jpg[/IMG]


Seriously, why do we need to view bar negative 40? What is a negative bar in terms of midi composition? Why does the clip take up a tiny amount of space while the majority of the editor is given to negative space or space that a clip does not exist in?



4) Zoom buttons focus changes erratically

The plus and minus buttons in the lower left hand corner zoom off-screen, they do not keep focus with the play cursor. For example, insert a 16 bar clip on a new track (not a strange thing to do) and move the edit cursor to half way through the clip. Now zoom in only using those buttons. As Reaper zooms in the focus moves off-screen so once it is zoomed in it is outside the clip range and you cannot tell where you are.



Not exactly zooming, but points that are relevant to these issues:


1) The ruler in the midi editor only shows position where clips exists in positive space:


[IMG]http://img546.**************/img546/6187/6ruler1.jpg[/IMG]


You can see the bar stops at bar 9 (which isn't even shown). As there are so many issues with zooming, you constantly zoom into a point and don't know the position as there is no ruler there. Requesting this be changed so the ruler constantly shows position, even if no clip exists at the point.

The irony of this request, is the position is always show for negative space, which again, means nothing to the end user. The useful part - the actual arrangement does not show.

[IMG]http://img846.**************/img846/8462/7rulerbeforeandafter.jpg[/IMG]

See the negative space? So you can tell where negative bar 2 begins... but where does bar 12 begin?


2) The ruler has additional dividends beyond beat and bar. In terms of composition, this does not make a lot of sense to the average user - it is just confusing. Requesting the option to lock this to just show bar and beat, not ticks or the other subdivisions that are not relevant to 80% of users.


[IMG]http://img51.**************/img51/3788/8rulervalues1.jpg[/IMG]


I have written this to put together a list of issues with this function within Reaper. This are not feature requests (ignoring the last two which are somewhat relevant), they are issues with the behavior, that cause issues for the end user. This is not a once off to a couple of extreme midi composers - there are threads created about these issues in the forum every couple of days.

If there are any issues or inaccuracies in what I have written please let me know, I will change it immediately. It was a lot of work to put together a list of these issues from what people are constantly mentioning, so please do not derail this thread or start trolling if you don't use midi; many of us do and like Reaper, but these small things are workflow killers. They really do slow down the end user, please consider resolving these.


Feedback/suggestions/changes/additional issues welcome, will update first post as appropriate. Thank you for reading.

Last edited by Eyes; 07-21-2012 at 04:18 AM. Reason: Grammer.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:09 AM   #2
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo3uxqwTxk0
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:06 AM   #3
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@ Eyes:

I think you are sooo right!
This is really buggin' me too!
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:26 AM   #4
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Haha thanks.

I really don't want to come off as negative. Reaper is great, but there are issues with things like this. I presumed it would be more helpful for the dev's if there was a clear list of issues and why they are issues instead of new threads complaining about it every couple of days.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:50 AM   #5
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when i open my midi editor on a piano part i get this ridiculous view. Freaking ZOOM IN when I open it to a dozen bars or so and THEN remember my zoom levels when I come back. This initial view is nasty.

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Old 07-21-2012, 08:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Eyes View Post
Haha thanks.

I really don't want to come off as negative.
Negative bars or space has had its toll on me too. Surrounded by it, and stuck between the erratic zoom and the oddly and unnecessarily graduated ruler, I never felt at ease.

Thank you so much for bringing that issue concisely! I do hope it is dealt with soon. At least before the Euro crashes because I'll only feel concerned about survival then.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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A convincing demonstration. Until now I always thought of it as proof of my lacking Reaper mastery, when I stumbled on these issues.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:30 PM   #8
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I concur with everything in the OP. The midi editor is sloppy and confusing. Even though it is "usable", I certainly wouldn't say it was an enjoyable experience to compose with.

In my opinion midi editing is the weakest link in Reaper at the moment.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:06 AM   #9
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+1 on everything. MIDI editing in REAPER is an exercise in face palming, and an excellent example of very bad UX design.

PS: @Eyes, in my book you come across as positive and constructive (unlike some fanbois who do not want to hear about REAPER not being absolutely freaking awesome genius). Keep up the excellent criticism.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banned View Post
+1 on everything. MIDI editing in REAPER is an exercise in face palming, and an excellent example of very bad UX design.
Very painfully true. FIX IT ALREADY DEVS, if you even bother to read this forum section at all...
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:43 AM   #11
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Bumping this. I again worked on some MIDI and became pissed off on Reaper in seconds.


Justin, if you think that this way of working with MIDI is "usable", I hate to break it to you, but you are not correct. MIDI editor needs these fixes, yesterday. Hell, not even yesterday, Reaper needed these fixes TEN YEARS AGO.

There's not a single DAW out there that displays negative bars. BECAUSE THEY MAKE ZERO FUCKING SENSE!
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:44 AM   #12
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:46 AM   #13
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One of the reasons behind my Studio One 2 versus Reaper MIDI editing post.

Every time I open up a "normal" MIDI editor I am reminded of this sort of silliness.

BPP is twenty years old and IT never had any of this nonsense.

I had hoped that Justin's asking about MIDI keyboards meant he might be getting into MIDI editing himself a little more, but apparently the devs focus is still far more on the non-MIDI stuff.

Whining about it is an excercise in futility, so I guess I will just leave it at that and stop moaning.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:17 AM   #14
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Anyone know if this has been tweaked or fixed? I've been unable to figure out a way to handle this zoom issue. Thank you.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:51 AM   #15
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FWIW.

I did some quick and dirty MIDI editing on an old project last night.
The first track came up all squished up as usual, so I stretched it out to a usable zoom, did my edits and saved the project.
Just for grins, I closed reaper, reopened it with a different project & then loaded the original one in. The MIDI edit window was still at the same zoom level as when I saved it!

What am I doing wrong?
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowellben View Post
Anyone know if this has been tweaked or fixed? I've been unable to figure out a way to handle this zoom issue. Thank you.
Nope, it's quite erratic. People have tried to work around the default zoom issue with scripts, but the "zoom to content" action is bugged so the scripts fail as well.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:13 PM   #17
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Nope, it's quite erratic. People have tried to work around the default zoom issue with scripts, but the "zoom to content" action is bugged so the scripts fail as well.
Damn. Thanks though. I was just trying to find some way to consistently get a standard MIDI editor experience whenever I need to edit a MIDI item. It's frustrating to always need to resize, redock, refloat, re-zoom, and so forth. It all just depends and seems to be random I can't predict when and how I'll need to refocus whenever opening a MIDI editor window.

Hopefully it'll be looked at in future updates. Thanks.
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Old 02-12-2016, 02:08 AM   #18
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lowellben: There is more than one way to skin a cat. Just because the "action" appears to have a problem doesnt mean you cant do it another way, as I have.
Hope I am not shooting myself in the foot but I have since tried this on several other projects and setting & re-saving has worked every time so far.
So the worst case right now is that you may have to do an adjust ONCE AND THEN RE-SAVE. I can live with that for the time being.
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Old 02-12-2016, 04:51 AM   #19
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as ivansc already wrote, there is absolute no need to
"It's frustrating to always need to resize, redock, refloat, re-zoom, and so forth. It all just depends and seems to be random I can't predict when and how I'll need to refocus whenever opening a MIDI editor window"

REAPERS default for every single MIDI Item is to view all events within this item..
-after first open within EDIT...
And that is of course, for me, the only option which make really sense...

but REAPER stores -for every single MIDI item- all your edit zoom levels, edit positions, k-Roll position and so on and so on...

This look like for example:
"
GUID {9F1087F7-4926-4627-A30F-9A9D8B28BEAF}
..
..
CFGEDITVIEW -115.880692 0.047784 97 12 0 0 0 0 0
"

So after you store your project, all your zoom bla bla and so on and so on MIDI EDIT
view/zoom levels bla bla´s are stored within the project...
and not only as global--
for every single MIDI item within your project.

So this is another:
"It's frustrating to always need to resize, redock, refloat, re-zoom, and so forth. "

"Heulsusen" post, just like these ui grafic or whatever.... thread.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:44 AM   #20
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ELP I'm sorry but I have no idea what you're talking about.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:45 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
lowellben: There is more than one way to skin a cat. Just because the "action" appears to have a problem doesnt mean you cant do it another way, as I have.
Hope I am not shooting myself in the foot but I have since tried this on several other projects and setting & re-saving has worked every time so far.
So the worst case right now is that you may have to do an adjust ONCE AND THEN RE-SAVE. I can live with that for the time being.
Can you please give me a step by step on how you "fixed" this please? What did you do to get it working "every time" so far? Thank you.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:43 AM   #22
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Default Midi issues

OMG you hit the nail on the head. Thank you for posting these issues so clearly and concisely. I really, really hope Dev's might see your post...
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:05 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowellben View Post
Can you please give me a step by step on how you "fixed" this please? What did you do to get it working "every time" so far? Thank you.
Hi,
Hope I'm not intruding, but I think he means...
Get the editor window as you like it, then save the project. When you open it again, the settings you set previously...zoom, note shape, etc..will be recalled.
I use a blank midi editor docked in a screen set with an "auto load" blank song that comes up every time I open reaper.
Hth,
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Old 03-14-2016, 05:49 PM   #24
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I only need one zoom level in the MIDI editor, and there really should be an option to set it default.
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Old 03-14-2016, 06:05 PM   #25
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Agree 100%. Unfortunately I have 0 programming skills so I have no idea how hard this would be to tackle. Working with 60% midi at this point in my projects. This needs to be dealt with. I understand the developers have a lot on their plate already but Jesus. I mean, people are using cubase for midi. Somethings not right about that. Right? Just leaves a bad taste.

Love you, reaper! Now really step it up in this department already. Please!
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Old 03-14-2016, 06:07 PM   #26
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Quote:
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Can you please give me a step by step on how you "fixed" this please? What did you do to get it working "every time" so far? Thank you.
Curious also. .
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Old 09-13-2016, 03:28 AM   #27
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*bump* (tick tock tick tock (5.25...? ))
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Old 09-13-2016, 04:37 AM   #28
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Somehow missed this thread in among all the other stuff.
Lowelbein: ALL I do is set the zoom where I want it and then save the project. Comes up the same whenever I re-open it.
Mind you it would still be better if Reaper thought of this stuff and applied it intelligently without the folderol, but in the meantime it WILL save you a lot of angst doing it my way.
And now I have to go check that it still works like this in case the Devs "fixed " something else that broke it!

EDIT: Yes still working as before.
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Old 09-13-2016, 04:38 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LugNut View Post
Hi,
Hope I'm not intruding, but I think he means...
Get the editor window as you like it, then save the project. When you open it again, the settings you set previously...zoom, note shape, etc..will be recalled.
I use a blank midi editor docked in a screen set with an "auto load" blank song that comes up every time I open reaper.
Hth,
Guido
Lowelbein please note it aint just me.
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Old 09-13-2016, 04:43 AM   #30
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Lowelbein: ALL I do is set the zoom where I want it and then save the project. Comes up the same whenever I re-open it.
You cannot be using a per project MIDI editor and cannot be switching tracks with the Track List either. Either that or do I remember correctly that you are one of the intrepid explorers who uses MIDI items the length of the tune?
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Old 09-13-2016, 04:55 AM   #31
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Nope - This works without using full project length midi items, but I dont use the track list. I point and click mostly. Just as quick for me.

If by a "per project MIDI editor" you mean "use the same MIDI editor for all track edits" yes I do.

Frankly I have no idea what I and the other chap having success with this method may be doing or not doing, but since it doesnt appear to be broke for me I am not really going to worry about fixing it till I encounter the same problem again.
You have my sympathy fwiw.
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Old 09-13-2016, 05:21 AM   #32
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Ah okay, the main issue for me is when using the Track List. If you are looking at an item and have it zoomed in, when you switch tracks and the item it scrolls to is not within the current view, the item is zoomed to fit. Then when you switch back to the original item, it too is zoomed to fit. You constantly and consistently lose whatever zoom level you are happy with.

It doesn't happen when you close the MIDI editor and reopen it by double clicking on the second item. It also doesn't happen when using the Track List if any bit of the two items can be seen simultaneously at the current zoom level.

It's a colossal PITA. The Track List shouldn't be doing this in the first place, especially not in the notation view where I have no idea who would want to view a single measure (or less) the size of their screen ever.
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Old 09-13-2016, 06:37 AM   #33
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I must have some obscure setting set differently. As I said I dont use the tracklist and have just deliberately opened a track in MIDI edit and scrolled the view till the notes are so small and squashed they are barely visible. Then opened a second track and zoomed that out to entirely fill the edit window with one bar.
Close and save project, re-open and all is as I left it.
Reset the zoom levels to something normal and easily viewable, close and ave - re-open all is normal.
One of us is missing something here - probably me!

Oh also just did the same with a 14 track all MIDI project with exactly the same results.

For me at least it seems like saving & re-opening the project is what makes it all "stick"
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Old 09-13-2016, 06:46 AM   #34
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Yup, I mentioned in my previous post that you need to use the Track List to see the behaviour that at least I am describing. Give it a bash, you won't be able to control it.
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:02 AM   #35
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If it aint broke I dont fix it! I might better suggest that since my way works, why insist on using the Track List?
No point in going looking for grief, imo.

And you, no make that WE because I agree a proper solution would be a very esirable outcome, can still hack away at the devs.
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:23 AM   #36
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The more detailed the proposal, the easier it would be for the devs to implement, so perhaps we should consider the following questions:

1) *Where* inside the newly active take should the MIDI editor zoom to? The leftmost measures? Rightmost? Somewhere in the middle? Closest to the current viewpoint? I am afraid that many users will complain that having to scroll from whatever default starting position to find their desired notes is more of a hassle than zooming in from a "zoom to content" starting zoom level.

2) This is a less crucial question, but what exactly is "zoom level"? Is it the number of ticks on the screen, the time span, or the number of measures and beats? (There will probably not be much of a difference between these options, unless there are drastic tempo changes.)
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:32 AM   #37
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Good points. My preference would be:

Scrolling
  • If clicking on a track in the track list, don't scroll.
  • If clicking on an item in the track list, scroll to item. Left of item at left of window.
Zooming
  • No change no matter what's clicked in the track list.
  • Doesn't matter how it's defined because nothing is happening.
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:51 PM   #38
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But I can see where automatically scrolling to the left (or to the right for that matter) is going to piss off another bunch of folks.
This is like nailing jelly/o to a wall.
And of course once you decide to spread your track window across two monitors horizontally you are going to find a whole new bunch of Fun Stuff.

It all seemed somehow much easier on my Amiga`s 12" crt with bars n pipes pro years ago.
Never had zooming issues back then.
Mostly because fixed feature sets were deemed acceptable. Unlike today.

And of course we have now redefined the original FR in at least one area - Snooks`s Zooming header above now reads like an FR for something relating to the Track List behaviour, rather than auto zoom behaviour, which actually (to me) seems like a better way of approaching what is needed.
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Old 09-13-2016, 01:36 PM   #39
snooks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
But I can see where automatically scrolling to the left (or to the right for that matter) is going to piss off another bunch of folks.
That's what it does just now, that's what Cubase does too. With Cubase you just have a part/item dropdown selector though, but with Reaper there is the option to select/click a tack as well. I think clicking the track shouldn't automatically jump anywhere.

I don't think this is an FR, auto zooming to whatever the size of whatever item happens to be on a clicked track, losing the zoom setting of the MIDI editor is bug-like behaviour. It only works when all items are the same or similar size.
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Old 09-13-2016, 01:59 PM   #40
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We are trying to get the user experience as smooth as possible: Helping the user find and zoom in to the appropriate MIDI data in a newly active item that was previously out of view *with as few clicks as possible*.

"Auto zoom to content" gives the user a nice overview of the entire item, so the user can easily see where to zoom in to. Perhaps if we can merely get new actions "Zoom to 1/2/3 measure(s) under mouse" (which can be linked to either keyboard shortcuts or mouse modifiers), the user would be able to zoom in from the "Zoom to content" position to the appropriate content with a single click, without having to change the time, loop or note selection. This may be more efficient than having to scroll to the appropriate MIDI data.

EDIT: Or, even better, an action "Zoom in to mouse position using previous zoom level", which will remember the last zoom level that was used before the most recent switching of the active take.

EDIT 2: This action can be refined to only use the last *user-defined* zoom level before the most recent switching of the active take. Any automatic "Zoom to content" should not change the action's memory. That way, the user can click through multiple items, each jumping to its own "Zoom to content" level, and once the user finds what he/she is looking for, he/she can zoom in - with a single click - to the zoom level that was used for the previous edits.

Last edited by juliansader; 09-13-2016 at 11:49 PM.
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