Old 02-10-2019, 02:47 PM   #1
sl23
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Default Editing Themes

Hi I've donwloaded a couple of themes for Reaper 5.965 that I'd like to combine certain elements of each into one.

But first, how the hell do you specify the x and y positions as they just won't seem to work for me! I've spent 2 days solid trying all manner of edits to adjust a fault with the FLogic skin.

If anyone has this, try editing the BPM. You can't click on the numbers to edit them but instead you must click on the wording along the underneath. But not just the wording for BPM, but adjacent words for Rate and Signature.

I need to adjust the height, width,as well as x,y position of the clickable area. Also, when the BPM is in edit mode the little edit window takes up the whole are of the aforementioned display, instead of just the numbers themselves highlighting as everything else does.

I think I've managed to isolate the correct lines of code for editing this section, but after perusing several help pages, manuals and even WALTER manual, I just can't seem to get a logical response from my edits. I think it may be due to the extra code which I do not understand.

Quote:
set trans.bpm.edit sh_fw !trans_flags&1 w<1200 [350 8 95 48 ma_offS] ?trans_flags&4 [383 8 147 48 ma_offS] [383 8 95 48 ma_offS] w<1200 [569 8 95 48 ma_onS] ?trans_flags&4 [543 8 147 48 ma_onS] [543 8 95 48 ma_onS]
set trans.bpm.edit.color [144 179 215]
set trans.bpm.edit.font [7]
set trans.bpm.edit.margin !f_viscurt{x} [0 -2 48 0 0.5] [0 -2 100 0 0.5]
That seems to be the only code related to the transport/BPM that I can find.

Please help!

Thanks in advance
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:30 AM   #2
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I always recommend against starting out how to learn the basics of Reaper theming by editing existing themes, because it not only requires you to understand how WALTER works (which is fairly simple) but also to completely understand how the theme maker used it to make his theme, which could be staggeringly complicated, and also how it interacts with any shenanigans he may have got up to with the way he set up his images to hack various effects. So:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sl23 View Post
Hi I've donwloaded a couple of themes for Reaper 5.965 that I'd like to combine certain elements of each into one.
...could be quite easy, but might also be a quite terrifyingly complicated task, depending on the two themes, because you'll need to figure out everything that two theme makers used to achieve their outcomes, and then pick and choose from the two.

Feel free to start copying images from one theme to another, with a few size changes in the WALTER that might turn out OK. However if you start copying lines of code from one theme to another, depending on the complexity of the themes in question, its extremely likely to do very weird things that you would have a very hard time debugging.

Themes can't crash Reaper or do any lasting damage, so by all means try if you like, but just remember that I warned you that this is a terrible way to learn WALTER

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Originally Posted by sl23 View Post
That seems to be the only code related to the transport/BPM that I can find.
The three bits are :

trans.bpm.tap
trans.bpm.edit
trans.bpm.edit.margin

but there's also a number of user variables in there (sh_fw, ma_onS, ma_offS, f_viscurt) that will be specific to this theme. You need to figure out how the theme maker is using them and why, which might not be immediately obvious if you're not used to this sort of thing.

It does sound like the trouble you're having might be a bug, have you reported it to the theme maker?
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:51 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply.

It's always been the recommended way to go in other apps, hence my decision to edit existing themes. Even though Rainmeter can be very complex, I kept it simple. That's about as deep as my programming skills go! lol

I made a start editing FLogic theme by editing the Main Toolbar Buttons to act more consistently, easy stuff to start with!

I had planned to use this theme and be done with it. Then I saw a theme called: Solaris Pro. I love the whole theme design, but the mixer is over sized imho, and overall, the theme is a bit too 'busy' for my liking. I prefer the plain themes like FLogic, but wanted to add some buttons and knobs from Solaris.

Knobs I'm doing the hard way, as one theme has vertical knob stack other is horizontal! So I have to copy paste each knobs picture in the graphic file to the other!. no matter though, it works!

The buttons for the mixer are vastly different though, how would you recommend I learn about how to proceed with this? The buttons themselves are slightly smaller, but they have a transparent glow effect surrounding them. So the .png is almost the same length but twice the height of the one I want to replace!

Also, when you unzip a theme, there is a text file and the main theme folder inside. Open the main theme folder and there are several folders and over 400 .png files. In these other folders there are many subfolders and png's. To edit the main theme am I just editing the Main theme folder? the one containing rtconfig.txt? And is that file all I need to use?

I am curious though, why the complexity? All Reaper needs to do is know what it is, it's size and location. If you tell it to place Mute button somewhere, the program knows what the Mute button does. There are no parameters to choose, nothing else that could be added, so in my ignorance I fail to see the necessity?

Don't know how to contact the publisher about that bug. I had quick look on the theme page but nothing was apparent.

Thanks
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:44 AM   #4
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Hi, sl23

Concerning the transport.bpm.edit behavior in FLogic, it's not a bug : I had to do it like this to preserve the appearance of it when not edited. I had no choice, as its background is also used by the control immediatly on its right (the transport.rate one), from which the oversized area appearing when you are editing it. The main reason for this workaround is that, in the present theming implementation, we don't have background images usable for each transport editable controls.

Concerning the toolbar buttons, I have joined 4 toolbars in the theme, usable with both CLogic and FLogic. Are they the one who are not consistent and, if so, in which way ?

Beside this, a theme is basically structured as following :
1) A .ReaperTheme file which contains, among others, all the settings available in the Theme development/Tweaker window. It indeed can also be edited with a raw text editor but things are getting more complicated in this case.
2) A folder which contains all the image files used in the theme and also the rtconfig.txt (the Walter instructions used for the theme). The eventual subfolders in it are used by what is called layouts : these are an alternative way of showing things in certain circumstances. In example, in FLogic, I have a 'Bus' subfolder which can be used for displaying only the controls useful for this task (there is no record related controls in it, in example) :

Layout "30] Bus" "Bus"
...
EndLayout

In bold, I have specified in which subfolder Walter should find the appropriate images to display this layout correctly. We can have as much layouts as wanted but we are limited to only two degrees of image folders nesting, if we want to preserve the theme under a .ReaperThemeZip format.

This said, and to answer at all your other questions, l suggest you to look at White Tie theming guide which can be found here.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sl23 View Post
It's always been the recommended way to go in other apps, hence my decision to edit existing themes.
The way Reaper theming works is multi-layered and complicated. We also have a culture of people pushing the theming capabilities far beyond anything they were ever designed for. There is documentation for how themes work, but there is not (and can not) be documentation to explain what every theme maker does to make use of it all. The path you are treading is one that many have trodden before, and most seem to give up and of those that don't seem to, I'm afraid, often get frustrated and angry. I hope to save you this pain, but of course the decision is yours.

My advice is always to make, from scratch with no WALTER at all initially, a really basic, awful, ugly theme that probably doesn't even have most of the elements activated. But that will teach you how to do the simple things before you start learning how we do all the horrible and abusive things we do to bend it to our will

I respect whatever decision you make, but if you find this difficult then please try to remember that I warned you...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sl23 View Post
one theme has vertical knob stack other is horizontal!
Reaper doesn't care if you use strips or stack or a combination of the two. It detects which it is and just uses it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sl23 View Post
The buttons for the mixer are vastly different though, how would you recommend I learn about how to proceed with this? ... Also, when you unzip a theme, there is a text file and the main theme folder inside. Open the main theme folder and there are several folders and over 400 .png files. In these other folders there are many subfolders and png's. To edit the main theme am I just editing the Main theme folder? the one containing rtconfig.txt? And is that file all I need to use?
Please see the three stickies at the top of this forum:
1. How to use a REAPER theme
2. Common tweaks to a REAPER theme
3. Making a REAPER theme

Quote:
Originally Posted by sl23 View Post
I am curious though, why the complexity? All Reaper needs to do is know what it is, it's size and location.
Well, it needs to be a bit more complicated than that, because things also have to resize and reposition when the panels change size. But complexity also often goes way beyond that, and the why is, as I have mentioned, because most themes these days push the theming capabilities far beyond their intended use, and to do that you have to get creative with a combination of code and image formatting, which is exactly what is happening in the theme you are looking at right now.

cubic13 is doing something on the transport he's not supposed to. He's cheating; not because he wants to but because its the only way to achieve the effect he wants. Its not perfect, because of the edit field issue you have noted, but that's the trade-off.

Every time new theming capabilities are added to Reaper, we need to cheat a little less to do the things we used to do. And then, 10 minutes later, we figure out how to use the new stuff to come up with new cheats

Quote:
Originally Posted by cubic13 View Post
Concerning the toolbar buttons, I have joined 4 toolbars in the theme, usable with both CLogic and FLogic.
Please consider not doing that. I know many theme makers do it, but consider this: You understand that such things aren't part of the theme, but most users don't, and I've had to support many users who have got into trouble because of confusion caused by things they have added as part of a theme that they don't realise will persist when they change theme.

If you could package such (very useful and worthwhile) things separately, users could get all the benefits without the pitfalls, which has to be a win-win.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:21 AM   #6
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It kills me that this is so overcomplicated...
imagine that i like a theme but like to use the master track in the mixer of another theme...why the hell do i have to waste hours learning programming?
Why the hell cant i just tell reaper "hey, use the mixer view of this theme"...

Not everyone is a programmer/photoshop master/coder just an audio engineer.

Rant over.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:59 AM   #7
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Cause without those complex stuff such beautiful/impressive themes wouldn't be possible.
Themes can be created/modified by users who have particular skills. If you haven't then use what is available. Nobody has promised theming to be easy way for everybody.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:30 AM   #8
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Before WALTER, almost every theme that was posted here was a mix'n'match of other existing themes. You can still do that, exactly as we always did, but only with pre-WALTER themes.

WALTER was added, and then developed, to allow themers more and more control over Reaper's appearance. The further this has progressed, the more advanced the appearance of themes has become. Given the choice of development time being spent on a) even more control to themers, but with a corresponding increase in complexity, or b) more simplicity in theming, I will always ask for a) because it gives the greatest outcome to the greatest number of users. Obviously, the utopian situation would be 'both' but, in the real world, difficult compromises have to be made.

One of the secondary goals of the 'flow' macros that underpin the V5 default theme was that they would make it easier for people to fly-in images from other themes to replace some of the elements, and all they'd need to do is change the image dimensions in the code, without having to mess about with all the resizing and repositioning logic. By all means try that, people have had a lot of fun that way.

Its actually not that unreasonable to ask for Reaper to pull in different elements from different themes for different panels, rather than it being done within the theme, but that would be a Reaper FR that I wouldn't expect to gather the level of support from users necessary to justify the corresponding development time, and even if it did whether that would be something the developers would be interested in actioning. But ...shrug... maybe I'm wrong.

As you know, most software doesn't let you theme it at all. We work within the constraints of what we're given, and sometimes even a little outside them
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:12 PM   #9
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Crikey, didn't expect that much response! Thanks for all your replies.
Wait your turn now...

@Cubic13
First of all, thanks for such a great theme!!! I absolutely love the minimalistic approach, even if slightly plagiarised! lol

BPM - ah ok, so a limitation in theming then?

Um, button consistency, well, that's just a graphical thing in the main toolbar. for example the open icon has no background and some icons are typical of any other app, others are specific to Logic, I presume. I wasn't keen on the buttons personally, so I changed them to be the typical type and added interactive backgrounds to all in the main toolbar. Also created some of my own to replace Add/Delete/Show Track.

What's this Tweaker window? Can't seem to find it. There's an entry in the menu for Theme Helper, but this doesn't do anything when I click it.

I have a feeling I've lost many entries of the Menu as I can't access the scripts window anymore for downloading scripts. Unless I'm looking for the wrong thing? Is there a way to reset the menu system?

@White Tie
I understand what you are saying about the complexity. Rainmeter is similar in this respect. It can be basic, just measure stuff and display it, or it can use seriously complex ways of doing this for much more flexibility and functionality. I expect you know of Rainmeter? It can also use scripts and regex for this. Which is where I get lost and give up! I tried so hard to find info out about how things work in RM that it beat me in the end

Ah, so are you saying I could simply swap a pan's H stack with a V stack and it would just work? I'll try this in a bit actually. But would be good to get a professionals opinion. Perhaps there are limits to this? Must be same size?

Looks like I'll have to start with the basics, but all I wanted was to change the buttons! lol An extreme route for such a seemingly simple task.

Quote:
Ask someone else to do it
lol Great advice! Would pretty please help my case? haha

Oh, btw, maybe you know this but prefer to keep things simple for the less technical here, not that I'm an expert or anything! But did you know you can associate the Reaper theme extension with WinRAR and once open, you can go to a specific file, open that, edit and finally save it. Then WinRAR asks you update the actual theme file.

This makes editing themes easier as it almost becomes a live way of doing it and saves all the compression, decompression and frustration from such a lengthy process! lol

Also, I can't find this:
Quote:
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'.
I think I have lost some menu items and have no idea how to get them back. First I installed the ReaPack, then the Wait Note function by, oh can't recall who it was now! The the Reatraction theme and FLogic. But the original menus appeared at the bottom of each menu and that's also gone!

Thank you for your fantastic and expert explanation, you have made it very clear in your answers that I don't have a hope in hell! lol Seriously though Thanks

@The-Zeronaut
Haha! I hear ya! I think it could be made simpler even if restrictions are placed. Trouble is, the functions lost would be greatly missed by many if that happened I believe. That's why Rainmeter has done the right thing imho. You create an INI file to do basic editing, but within this you can specify scripts, other skins and stuff to add complexity and features.

@MaXyM
I get that. But I'm not complaining, only asking. It just seems odd that the dev's say - Great news, here's the ability to theme, but most of you suckers won't be able to use it! lol just having a joke, don't take it too serious.

@White Tie (again)
Quote:
One of the secondary goals of the 'flow' macros that underpin the V5 default theme was that they would make it easier for people to fly-in images from other themes to replace some of the elements, and all they'd need to do is change the image dimensions in the code, without having to mess about with all the resizing and repositioning logic. By all means try that, people have had a lot of fun that way.
This was my intention. But for some reason, I just can't get understand WHERE the actual code is for sizing. I've looked at WALTER docs and a few other sites like sound on sound's instructions. But they don't relate to anything in the FLogic theme I want to edit. I mean, they do, but only if you understand it in the first place. I don't so I can't actually identify the specific code I need to look out for in order to change location, size or even an image.

Thing is, I can't find any code that relates to the sizes of a given button file, or even a third of a tri-state graphic file for buttons. Tbh, I don't understand what mcp and tcp are! I see that there are refernces used in mcp, which appears after tcp code, telling it to use previous code to display stuff. If that makes sense? For example, in Rainmeter, you could tell it to display CPU% with a certain font and colour, then instead of repeating the full instruction, just refer any future code to the CPU% as a sort of global setting. Change this one setting and it all changes. If you don't want it all to change, you edit those specific instructions with their own font and colour.

Quote:
[CPULabel]
Meter=String
MeterStyle=sText | sHighlight
Text=CPU
LeftMouseUpAction=[!ToggleConfig "RM\Sidebar" "SideBar - Compact.ini"]
ToolTipText=Toggle Sidebar
X=12
Y=25
Here you see RM code to display CPU%. Note MeterStyle=sText | sHighlight. This is a central piece of code that most of my Meters use in this skin to display the same style of font.

Quote:
[BinImage]
Meter=Image
ImagePath=#@#Launchers\
ImageName=BinEmptyOrg.png
LeftMouseUpAction=[!CommandMeasure mBinCount "OpenBin"]
RightMouseUpAction=[!CommandMeasure mBinCount "EmptyBin"]
ToolTipIcon=Info
ToolTipTitle=Recycle Bin
ToolTipText=[mBinCount] item#ItemPostfix##CRLF#[mScaledSize] #ScaleFactor##CRLF##CRLF#L ~ Open#CRLF#R ~ Empty
X=25
Y=20R
W=30
H=30
Here is another piece for the recycle bin image. It simply displays the image at the size you specify in W=* and H=*. This doesn't relate to the exact png size of 256x256 though. But sections are clearly labelled. So you can see what this section is for.

It helps greatly that .ini files are used and not plain text files. Syntax highlighting is a marvel!
I think Reaper should use it and adapt to using INI files instead of TXT. To me, it looks very messy inside a theme file! Everything is so hard to find, unless you know exactly what you're looking for.

Thanks for all your advice, I will certainly keep trying, for a while

Last edited by sl23; 02-13-2019 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Tie View Post
Before WALTER, almost every theme that was posted here was a mix'n'match of other existing themes. You can still do that, exactly as we always did, but only with pre-WALTER themes.

WALTER was added, and then developed, to allow themers more and more control over Reaper's appearance. The further this has progressed, the more advanced the appearance of themes has become. Given the choice of development time being spent on a) even more control to themers, but with a corresponding increase in complexity, or b) more simplicity in theming, I will always ask for a) because it gives the greatest outcome to the greatest number of users. Obviously, the utopian situation would be 'both' but, in the real world, difficult compromises have to be made.

One of the secondary goals of the 'flow' macros that underpin the V5 default theme was that they would make it easier for people to fly-in images from other themes to replace some of the elements, and all they'd need to do is change the image dimensions in the code, without having to mess about with all the resizing and repositioning logic. By all means try that, people have had a lot of fun that way.

Its actually not that unreasonable to ask for Reaper to pull in different elements from different themes for different panels, rather than it being done within the theme, but that would be a Reaper FR that I wouldn't expect to gather the level of support from users necessary to justify the corresponding development time, and even if it did whether that would be something the developers would be interested in actioning. But ...shrug... maybe I'm wrong.

As you know, most software doesn't let you theme it at all. We work within the constraints of what we're given, and sometimes even a little outside them
I think it's honorable that the people here at the forum like WT and Cubic put in so much time and effort to give extensive advice and documentation. Hats off to you guys.

Cheers,
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:11 AM   #11
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Well said! And I quite agree
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Never View Post
I think it's honorable that the people here at the forum like WT and Cubic put in so much time and effort to give extensive advice and documentation. Hats off to you guys.

Cheers,
Never
Truth! B)
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
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1) A .ReaperTheme file which contains, among others, all the settings available in the Theme development/Tweaker window.
What exactly is this window?

I recall seeing a window with a long list of colour boxes and settings for them, but I'm buggered if I can find it now!

Unless it's the Theme Helper Window? In which case this is not working when I click on it! It closes the context menu but nothing happens. I have installed the ReaMenu5 script though, would that make a difference?
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:23 AM   #14
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Actions > Show action list... > Filter: > (type) theme > select: Theme Development: Show theme tweak/configuration window
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Old 02-28-2019, 04:30 PM   #15
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Marvelous! Thanks
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