Old 02-03-2016, 09:45 AM   #1
White Tie
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Default 2. Common tweaks to a REAPER theme

Have you found a theme you like, but feel there is something not quite to your preference? A little tweak that would get it just right? Understandably, you don't really want to learn everything there is to know about theming just to achieve what might be a simple goal.

The reality is that the tweak you seek might, indeed, be very simple to achieve. It might, however, be complex or even impossible. The objective of this thread is to present those tweaks that are both commonly requested and also most easily achieved.

Before we get to the tweaks, however, please consider this:

Ask someone else to do it

Without the theming community, there would be no themes. Many themes are tweaks of other themes. There are a lot of good people here who might find it a trivial amount of effort to do what you want; the person who made the theme you want to tweak might even show interest in doing it. If you can clearly state what you want, why you want it, post in an agreeable manner and say please, maybe you'll get lucky. Be Nice.


Required knowledge : Unpacking a theme

In all likelihood, your theme is packed as a '.ReaperThemeZip' file, which Reaper can use directly. This is just a '.zip' file which has had its extension renamed. To tweak the theme, you are going to want to unpack it. All your active themes live in a folder. Find this folder by selecting 'Options > Show REAPER resource path in explorer/finder...' and opening the 'ColorThemes' folder.
  1. Find the '.ReaperThemeZip' theme file.
  2. Change its extension to '.ReaperTheme.Zip'
  3. Unzip it.

What you have unzipped should be : A theme file (.'ReaperTheme' extension) and a resource folder with, most likely, the name of the theme. These parts together are an unpacked Reaper theme. Please note that they should both be in the root ColorThemes folder, if your zip program has put them in a new folder then move them into the root.

If you would like a walkthrough of these steps, follow all but the last part of the helper in 'Step 1 : Open the rtconfig.txt file' here.

If Reaper finds a packed theme and an unpacked theme with the same name, you'll only see one theme in the theme selector. Choose it and what you'll see will be the unpacked theme, which Reaper will prioritise. Note : Some themes, such as the default themes, change name when they are unpacked.

An unpacked .ReaperTheme file can also reference a packed .ReaperThemeZip file as its resource folder, which can get... confusing This is most likely to happen if you use the 'Theme development/tweaker' on a packed theme file. Lets ignore that!



Required knowledge : Refreshing the theme

If you've made changes to any theme files using external tools, you need to tell Reaper to refresh the theme. This is done by changing to a different theme, and then back again. Use the shortcuts Ctrl+Alt+PGDOWN (switch to next theme) and then Ctrl+Alt+PGUP (switch to previous theme).
(If you do a lot of theme work, you may want to make a custom action containing these two commands, and assign it to a shortcut and/or toolbar button.)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Tweak : Changing colors and fonts

The most basic features of a Reaper theme reside in its .ReaperTheme file. This is just a text file; you can open it and edit it with a text editor. Open it now and have a look, see that its nothing scary or clever, though it isn't very user friendly. To help with that, Reaper provides two built-in tools to help you find which of those inscrutable entries you want to edit, and to make editing them easy.

That file determines colors and fonts used in many parts of Reaper. Note, however:
  • Some parts cannot be themed.
  • Some parts share font or color definitions with other parts, and occasionally in uneditable combinations that may limit you.
  • More advanced theming functions may have overridden fonts and colours set here, or covered them with image files, in the Track panels, Mixer panels and the Transport bar.

Finding the color element you want to change

Select 'Actions > Show action list...'. Check that the Section drop down in the top right is set to 'Main'. In the Filter box type 'Theme Development'. You should see two entries; double click on the first: 'Theme Development: Show theme element finder'.

The first drop down in the Theme element finder will highlight the areas set by each color assigment. Select the first entry, then use the down arrow key to scroll through the assignments. Take note of the name of the area you want to change.

Editing the file

Reaper's built-in editor for the .ReaperTheme file of a theme is found using the action list as described above. Double click the second entry: 'Theme Development: Show theme tweak/configuration window'. Here you can launch your OS's colour editor or font selector to edit each of the .ReaperTheme file's entries.

For more advanced themes, don't forget to check out the 'WALTER font' entries. With a little trial and error you may find the theme maker has used these to set fonts in key areas on the Track panels, Mixer panels and/or Transport Bar.

I would advise against messing with the 'Image resource path' setting at the bottom, for now.


Tweak : Making meter colours editable

As described above, advanced theming functions can override colors that you might otherwise easily tweak using the theme tweak/configuration window. You will often find this is the case on modern themes, because it uses an image that gives the theme maker deeper control over all conditions of the meter colors. However, if you disable that image then the control of the colors will revert to the old form.

Open the resource folder that was extracted when you unpacked the .ReaperThemeZip file. Find the following files:
Code:
meter_strip_h.png
meter_strip_v.png
meter_strip_v_rms.png
meter_clip_h.png 
meter_clip_v.png
meter_clip_v_rms.png
meter_clip_v_rms2.png
If you corrupt the special file names of any of these images, they will be disabled. Try renaming the vertical strip image to:
Code:
x_meter_strip_v.png
Refresh the theme, and the vertical meter strips will have reverted, and you will be able to edit the colors using the theme tweak/configuration window.

This approach will also work with other images that override color definitions, such as panel backgrounds.


Tweak : Editing the Default_5.0 Theme

The default theme for REAPER 5 has been designed to be more easily edited by you, the user. I have done this by controlling some sections of the theme's complex underlying WALTER script using a system of macros that I call 'Flow'.

Flow responds to the most common requests that I hear from users - to be able to decide the order in which interface elements are hidden when a panel is shrunk, and the size of elements - without learning WALTER. With Flow, you can do just that merely by changing a few clearly labelled numbers in a text file.

I have provided a walk through on how to achieve this HERE.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please do share suggestions for tweaks that are often requested and easily achieved that you think might fit well into this sticky.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:56 AM   #2
Kihoalu
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.

GREAT STUFF!!

Thanks so much for this intro to Theme making White Tie!

Will come in very handy in the near future.

.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:03 AM   #3
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Thanks Mr Tie!
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:15 PM   #4
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Beginning to feel slightly guilty about the passive role I have played up to now.
With the level of documentation out there now (Thanks!) I might just pluck up my courage and have a go.
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:47 PM   #5
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Looks pretty good. You might consider putting the "Editing the Default Theme" bit more at the beginning, since that's probably the first thing a new user might want to tweak. Having all of the Flow logic in there obviously makes it noob-friendly, so it also serves as an easy introduction to rtconfig.txt and how the language works.
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Old 02-03-2016, 04:02 PM   #6
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Nice work!
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Old 02-05-2016, 05:05 AM   #7
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Thanks !
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Old 02-05-2016, 06:42 AM   #8
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Thanks so much for this, White Tie!
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:03 PM   #9
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Thanks you kindly Sir! %^)
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Old 05-10-2016, 05:36 AM   #10
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Default If you're using 7-ZIP...

Thanks a lot!

One quick tip (at least if you're using 7-ZIP ... but probably it works the same in other packers): you can directly open the .ReaperThemeZip-file then simply drag the .png to be altered onto the harddrive, open and change it in your favorite graphic program, save (overwrite) it and drag the .png back into the packer. You don't even have to save the .ReaperThemeZip-file since 7-ZIP does it immediatly.

This way you are very fast in doing a lot of tweaking steps.

Cheers!
Bernd

PS: as always, remember to backup the .ReaperThemeZip-file before changing it :-)
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Old 10-24-2016, 08:57 AM   #11
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hallo thnks for the tutorial but i unzipped the theme -0.5. file but see only icone photos of the layout theres no texts file...i am using win7 32 bit..
so can t find rtconfig.txt file...
may be the problem is that my computer ditectid the file already as a zipp ..
did not need to put a dot in front of it...do you now what i did wrong may be ..
woed be nice if a coud make some minor chachings greetings from holland
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:26 PM   #12
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Nice.. Themes baffle me so if it's not "great" at least for me in it's default mode I usually move on because I'm lazy. Your post has helped me tweak things to make good for me themes, great for me themes.
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Old 11-04-2016, 02:13 PM   #13
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Me too!
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Old 11-10-2016, 08:47 AM   #14
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Default Some interesting UI improvement Suggestions

1.Availability of Multiple "Track Colour Schemes".I've seen people making use of Colour gradients to improve the workflow.IMO the user interface adds to the creativity.

I have made added artistic Colours to represent my tracks, and i have added it into the auto colour feature too. I wish if someone could create colour schemes like these which the user can toggle (just like one can toggle like the UI themes )

Check this link and you will get a picture of what I am trying to say

https://goo.gl/photos/1iYaV1X3E9BJpmgv9
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:04 AM   #15
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You can save/load/share the color schemes using the SWS extensions' auto color feature actually.

Go to Extensions (top bar menu) -> Auto Color/Icon -> right click next to a button -> Show color management window -> Save color set to file... / Load color set from file...

By the way I like that color scheme! Would you mind sharing the color set file?
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sju View Post
You can save/load/share the color schemes using the SWS extensions' auto color feature actually.

Go to Extensions (top bar menu) -> Auto Color/Icon -> right click next to a button -> Show color management window -> Save color set to file... / Load color set from file...

By the way I like that color scheme! Would you mind sharing the color set file?
Heres one of the schemes I used
Attached Images
File Type: png color scheme 1.PNG (11.9 KB, 242 views)
File Type: png color scheme 2.PNG (4.1 KB, 170 views)

Last edited by Krish_Hm; 11-10-2016 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 11-12-2016, 08:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krish_Hm View Post
Heres one of the schemes I used
Ah ok I see now what you mean with the color scheme: you want the definitions included for type/filter etc.

Those are stored in the sws-autocoloricon.ini file, which you could easily share with others.

Thanks for the color scheme pngs by the way!
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:40 AM   #18
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Please I do not know if this is the right forum to ask this but I need to ask.

How is this tweak achieved on reaper themes?

Sorry for the low resolution of the image.
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File Type: jpg _20170304_122736.jpg (38.6 KB, 171 views)
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:14 AM   #19
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The red area seems to be a customized toolbar above the mixer window. Both are docked to the left side of the screen.

To achieve this first of all open the mixer and dock it to the left side. Then open the toolbar docker (key F) and drag it to the left above the docked mixer while holding CTRL pressed! Thus you force it not to dock into the same docker as the mixer but to dock into a separate pane.

Now you can configure the toolbar as needed. The buttons shown in your image are just toolbar buttons without icon.

Hope this helps!

PS: with CTRL pressed you can separate as much docker panes as you like!
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:22 AM   #20
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I wanna thank you so much WT !

With your help, i now managed to change the VU metering colors in a Theme to my own likings, wow, so cool !!

Warm Regards.
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:22 AM   #21
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I renamed vertical strip image and changed color to my own (blue), instead of green. But now when record button is pressed, vu meter doesn't change into yellow, nothing happens(( It was so nice in default theme! Is it possible to make it turn into yellow when record armed ?
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:57 AM   #22
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I urgently wanted more readability in mixer.

I few tips that I learned(windows):

a) unpacking zip as described, give you Default_5.0_unpacked folder.

Start Reaper

If you open this folder as current theme you know images come from there.

Open the developer tweaker dialog and have it open in the process below.

There is a Reload images button which is very handy, you change a png file and save, and reload images - and you have visible what you did right there.

Easier than switching themes back and forth.

b) rightclick images in the folder and select Edit to open in Paint
Increase zoom to max, if it is 800% or so.

c) color filler tool will fill clicked area with current selected color

Make custom color and select if not present, or use pick color tool to make a color from anything from your screen.

d) save png file to original name.

e) Alt-tab back to Reaper which is running, and press the Reload images button in color tweak dialog.

Going back and forth with this, makes it much easier I think.

f) revert zipping process to make a new selfcontained theme, or just leave it there if using on this computer.

This is the images I went for mixer:
MyMixer

Most influential was mcp_fxlist_empty.png and mcp_sendlist_empty.png and made border from all black to rgb 90,90,90 to give eyes guidance sweeping over mixer panels. Way to dark as default I got just installed R5 the other day.

And remember your tweaked colors can be saved with new name, not influencing default, and it still reference that basic theme from those settings. That file is much smaller than theme file, if you look at it - it just reference main theme for images.
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Old 08-15-2017, 08:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Tie View Post

Ask someone else to do it

Without the theming community, there would be no themes. Many themes are tweaks of other themes. There are a lot of good people here who might find it a trivial amount of effort to do what you want; the person who made the theme you want to tweak might even show interest in doing it. If you can clearly state what you want, why you want it, post in an agreeable manner and say please, maybe you'll get lucky. Be Nice.
Hello White Tie,

I am in love of your Imperial Theme . But it's impossible to work with it because the main page is not practical and foggy for midi editing.

However, the Mixer is wonderful and very inspiring.

Then, do you think it's possible to merge 2 themes ? The Defaut 5_0 for Main page and Imperial for the mixer ? which would be incredible on 2 different screen :-)

Maybe it's an inaccessible dream ?

Thanks again for your contribution,

Cyril
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