Old 05-08-2012, 05:51 AM   #1
visa tapani
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Default Selecting envelope points across multiple lanes

Vote on ticket at issue tracker here: http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=4137
Some previous discussion: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=73435

Reaper seems to employ an unusual and IMO a very convoluted automation paradigm where you need to have an envelope lane selected in order to select or modify its envelope points - and you can only have one lane selected at a time. I see no advantages in this workflow, only severe disadvantages.

This means, for example, that you cannot select points on several lanes in order to do some common operation to all of them - most commonly delete or move. In Reaper you're in big trouble If you have, say, 20 synchronized automation lanes and you need to move all of the points while keeping them in sync - a very common need. If you want to move points on all of the lanes, you can use "envelope points move with media items" (and add empty media items if there are none, which is another unnecessary workaround). But obviously this doesn't work if 1.) you want to do something else to them than move or 2.) if you want to move points on several, but not all lanes.

When you have to do a common operation on envelope segments on several lines, you have to go through all of them one by one, which is obviously a ridiculous proposition in a project with tens of automation envelopes. You can't even do "reduce number of points" on all the lanes simultaneously, but have to do it one by one.

Strangely I didn't find exactly this feature request being done before, even though it seems absolutely elementary to me. All the other hosts I know allow for lassoing envelope points on any number of lanes and then moving/deleting/readjusting/copying these. For some inexplicable reason Reaper seems to lack this basic feature. This relates to a previous feature request of selecting more than one envelope track, although that ticket didn't touch on what I think are the biggest issues here.

Here's a gif-animation of operating on points across multiple envelopes in Cubase 5:

This is from an older version of Cubase before the automation improvements in v6; also I forgot to do some basic operations in the video like move and copy. However, it still illustrates the point, I think.

Last edited by visa tapani; 11-16-2012 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:54 PM   #2
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I agree 100% this needs to be fixed.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:08 AM   #3
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You da man/woman.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:29 PM   #4
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And for anyone interested, here is why it has to be fixed:

Extremely Common Scenario: Complex feature film project with 100s of tracks. Dozens of envelope lanes. Envelope automation everywhere. Some envelopes nowhere near an item (in parent folders or other routed tracks). Some envelope points nowhere near an item, even when the envelope is attached to a track with items (the envelope points occur before and after items such that item #a gets value #1 and item #b gets value #2). They are relevant to the track, not the item).

As we all know, the "final cut" of a film is never the "final" cut. So now the director has lopped off 10 seconds here, 106 frames there, and the audio project needs to be adjusted to match the new picture cut.

So what do we want to do? An EXTREMELY common and conceptually simple edit called a "cut". We've lopped out the little bit of audio we're no longer interested in. Now we want to:

1. Select EVERYTHING after time x (including items and ALL automation points) and
2. Nudge it left a specific amount (10 seconds or 106 frames or what have you) to close the gap.

When we are making this extremely common edit in our audio program, whether it is film audio, music or anything else, this simple two step process is what we want to do almost every time without fail. Sure, if we're just shuffling things around in time on some tracks, but not others, we might want to choose more carefully which items and automation points move. But clipping a little snippet of time out of an entire audio program is so common I can't believe we missed it. In this case, it's hard to imagine NOT wanting to select and shift EVERYTHING to the right of our cut.

What we don't want to do is select each of our dozens of envelope lanes one-by-one, run "Envelope: Select points in time selection", open it up wide enough to grab a point, guess at how far we are moving the selected points since we don't have a proper nudge dialog for envelope points, and then, to add insult to injury, still take a couple more moves, separate from this envelope moving process, to shift all the items.

Did I somehow miss an easier way to do this or am I describing the process accurately?
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:12 AM   #5
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Yes this is very important and all arguments above make perfect sense

I would suggest though that the FR is perhaps a little wordy and also argumentative, which I don't think is helpful.

How about:

" ability to select automation points on multiple lanes "

Currently REAPER requires a lane to be selected to select points on it.

in addition to the ability to select points on multiple lanes, actions and mouse modifiers to select points are needed:

1 a mouse modifier which would permit marquee selection of visible points.

2 An action to select all points on all lanes of selected track (in time selection)

3 an action to select first lane (next lane / all lanes / all visible lanes) of selected track.

does that make sense? have I forgotten anything?
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:40 AM   #6
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That marquee method is exceptionally error-prone when selecting across multiple lanes. This is one of the big reasons I favor something that works and looks like area selection.

This is actually already in place for one lane, just not for multiple. It depends on the "Track" left-drag context being at its default.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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yes agreed.

It would be good if this could also work also when envelopes are in media lane..
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:55 PM   #8
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a vote from me. not being able to select multiple automation points is a pain in the bum bum.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:18 AM   #9
visa tapani
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdog View Post
Did I somehow miss an easier way to do this or am I describing the process accurately?
Actually yes - in that particular scenario I believe you could just use "ripple editing all tracks" and move an event (create a dummy even if there isn't one in the right place) to move everything. Although it might not work exactly as wanted, not sure...
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semiquaver View Post
I would suggest though that the FR is perhaps a little wordy and also argumentative, which I don't think is helpful.
Ok true, I agree, I've now edited the FR to be shorter, more to the point and less snarky. I didn't put the actions and mouse modifiers in there, though, in order to not complicate the issue further. I think these actions would be useful, but they aren't possible at all before the whole behaviour is changed, which needs to be the main feature request first.

I also added an example GIF-animation about editing points on multiple lanes in Cubase 5 to the FR. Cubase 5's automation wasn't great either (it was improved in 6), and I forgot to do some basic things in the video like move and copy. However, maybe it still illustrates something about the limitations of Reaper's method.

Last edited by visa tapani; 11-16-2012 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon View Post
That marquee method is exceptionally error-prone when selecting across multiple lanes. This is one of the big reasons I favor something that works and looks like area selection.
What do you mean by area selection? In any case I cannot agree at all about the marquee method being error-prone, let alone exceptionally so. My workflow is heavily automation-centric and I've edited thousands of automation envelopes with the marquee-method in huge projects often zoomed quite far in Cubase for years now, and have never had issues with it being error-prone. Ironically I get much more errors like that in Reaper (accidentally deleting media items or moving them around etc) than any other host I've used, although I haven't really analysed why's that.

The only situation where the marqueeing across lanes is even theoretically error-prone is when you have points with the highest values on one track and at the same time points with the lowest values on the lane above it, making these points to be quite close to each other. Even this, however, I've never found an issue (as long as there's sufficient visual feedback of what's selected, like the clear colours in Cubase). In fact I actually tried out exactly that in the gif animation included in the FR, just to see how it works (lowest track has highest values while the middle track has lowest values, and I select the points with the lowest values on the middle track) - no problem.

Last edited by visa tapani; 11-16-2012 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:02 AM   #12
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If I understand correctly what Airon wants to see is the whole height of the lane highlighted and selected in the region swiped through. To make it visually clear which lanes are included and also I expect to avoid stray points just above or below the marquee. Not a huge difference but this would be a better method.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon View Post
This is actually already in place for one lane, just not for multiple. It depends on the "Track" left-drag context being at its default.
There is some intersection in this feature request and Airon's Area Feature Request (http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=122). I'd prefer Area Selection over marquee selection because marquee needs you to watch out selecting the highest automation value pixel while area selection simply selects the entire range of values. But how does area selection work if you want to quickly select multiple envelopes from several tracks without its media items?
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reaktor:[Dave] View Post
But how does area selection work if you want to quickly select multiple envelopes from several tracks without its media items?
I could imagine that being dependent on where you start selecting. If you click in an envelope lane, only envelope points will be selected, if you select from an media item lane, only media items will be selected. Maybe shift or something to toggle/overide.

Also: Would be nice if the nudge dialog would work with envelope points.

Last edited by ilr; 11-20-2012 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reaktor:[Dave] View Post
There is some intersection in this feature request and Airon's Area Feature Request (http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=122). I'd prefer Area Selection over marquee selection because marquee needs you to watch out selecting the highest automation value pixel while area selection simply selects the entire range of values.

Ah right right, I read through Airon's feature request now. It looks pretty useful, I agree. However, it is not suitable for a few common automation editing situations, most notably when you DON'T want to select all the points on the selected area, but just e.g. the high/middle/low points. For example for me it is a very common situation that I marquee, say, only the lowest points on an envelope lane (say, start drawing the marquee selection from the middle of the lane) and then delete or amplify etc there. In this case all the other (higher) points are supposed to be left unselected and unmodified, so an "area selection" would not do the trick.

Of course there's nothing mutually exclusive in these feature requests - you could easily use one in one case and another in another, so I fully support Airon's request. But the area selection cannot supersede marquee selection simply because it doesn't fulfill all its functions.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:03 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visa tapani View Post
However, it is not suitable for a few common automation editing situations, most notably when you DON'T want to select all the points on the selected area, but just e.g. the high/middle/low points.
That's true. We need both.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:09 PM   #17
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Precisely !

I wouldn't want one to supplant the other either.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon View Post
Precisely !I wouldn't want one to supplant the other either.
Airon has (I do think, anyway) covered this from just about every conceivable angle in his various write-ups.

Bottom line, editing should always allow editing everything visibly selected as a group edit, in just about any case I can personally imagine. Any "exclusion" for that would be to just not select what you don't want to edit.

That should apply to (imo, mmv as usual) automation envelopes and anything else that's directly selectable for editing, imo.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:14 PM   #19
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so we need:

1
a new method: area selection

and then

2
we need both the current marquee selection and the new area selection

to work on *multiple* envelope lanes
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:16 PM   #20
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more votes to this please
vote vote vote
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:31 PM   #21
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U have my vote too.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:02 AM   #22
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an idea for devs...
you must be able to multiple select different lanes in the same way you can select multiple tracks... then if you start right click dragging a window to select multiple automation points in one of the selected lanes should select all points from the selected lanes inside the selected area. If you start dragging from a track item and not from a lane.. it should select items normally.

Is it so hard to do this? I don't really understand why you can work only in one lane.
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