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Old 09-07-2023, 08:22 PM   #1
salsaman
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Default I don't understand volume envelopes

what I am trying to do should be relatively simple. I have a tack with a media file, and all I want to is to get it to fade in.

I know enough I think to understand that this needs a volume lane and volume envelope. The only way I can find to add this is to click on Trim for the track, and select volume + visible. Now the volume envelope appears. I don't see why i should have to click on Trim but anyway.

Now I try to add some points in the envelope. I try clicking but nothing appears. OK so maybe i need to make a time selection, so I drag out a time selection at the top, but this makes no difference.

OK, so try a different approach. I click the right button and select "Inert Point". Surely this should work ? But no, still nothing is added !

So far, not a great experience. But, I know a sure fire way to add an envelope. I go back to Trim and arm the volume then start playback.

Now this works, but for some reason it adds two envelopes ! What is this, left and right channels ? I think maybe i did something wrong with my earlier attempts, so I remove the envelopes and try again. Click on Trim and it again appears, I got straght for Write this time, trigger playback, and once again - two envelopes. I try removing the first, short one but when i remove that it also removes the second, longer one.

Anyway a bit of experimentation and I am now able to add points, adding to the longer envolope seems to do what i want, the shorter envelope seems to be ignored.

So anyway, I can add a point at the start by right clicking and add point, or i think double clicking. I drag this point down to zero, but it is really sluggish. It doesn't seem to want to move and it takes a few goes to get it down to zero. Eventually I succeed. So now I again right click and add a second point at the end of the envelope (the second envelope, not the first).
I drag this end point back up, again it is painfully slow, but finally I manage to get the point up to the top.

I listen back to the track, and it does fade in, but I want to make it fade in over a longer time.
Well, at least this should be easy, just drag out the envelope and move the end point, right ? So I do that, but now, what? The envelope is repeating itself ! The longer i drag it out, the more repeats I get ! I just want one fade in, not a whole load of them,
But Reaper has other ideas. So i must be doing something wrong, surely it cannot be that complicated just to add a couple of volume points , but what ?
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Old 09-07-2023, 09:07 PM   #2
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At first glance, envelopes can appear a bit tricky
You need to know the useful mouse modifiers, and the available shortcuts.
For example :
By pressing Cmd or Ctl and left drag in the enveloppe Lane you can draw the envellope
The shortcut to Show or Hide the Volume enveloppe is V

You better to check some tutorials.
Just search "reaper envelopes"
This one first
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUEaStl4naI
then this one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsuYl5JcPkE
or this one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8szptXeVDCo

You also have tons of action. Just search for envelope in the action list.

If you just want a fade-in, just position the mouse at the top left of your item (not the item bar), and left-drag you'll get an Item fade-in
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Old 09-07-2023, 11:11 PM   #3
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The default shortcut to display the track volume envelope is 'V'.

('P' for pan btw. I've set my mouse modifier preferences for 'double-click on envelope' to toggle the envelope automation lane, very helpful with several close envelopes).

Shift+click on the envelope to add a point - the default snap settings are a bit constricting, so turn snap off or use the softer settings in the manual. A selected envelope is drawn slightly thicker.

(My fave way to draw an envelope slope is to draw two points, one at each side of the envelope target area. Drag the right-hand one to where you want, then use Alt+Drag over the segment to edit the slope (the cursor becomes a double arrow). No messing with point shapes).

The other way to draw points quickly is Ctrl+Drag, though this can get messy if you don't use the 'reduce points' dialog.

You also have four very useful item envelopes (vol, pan, mute, pitch) accessible through the item button if displayed. The item envelopes can be drag-copied between items, or Alt+Click deleted.

(I have a custom action to add two envelope points to the edges of a time selection - as long as the envelope is selected).
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Old 09-08-2023, 12:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salsaman View Post
I know enough I think to understand that this needs a volume lane and volume envelope. The only way I can find to add this is to click on Trim for the track, and select volume + visible. Now the volume envelope appears. I don't see why i should have to click on Trim but anyway.

Now I try to add some points in the envelope. I try clicking but nothing appears. OK so maybe i need to make a time selection, so I drag out a time selection at the top, but this makes no difference.
I don't want to sound narky, but honestly 5 minutes watching one of Kenny's videos or 10 minutes reading the Envelopes section of the User Guide would have answered all your questions without any of the frustration.

The good, useful, free learning resources are there to help you!
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Old 09-09-2023, 01:11 AM   #5
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Sure i will check all the tutorials etc out. But before doing so I really wanted to share my impression as a new (ish) user.
As a UI programmer myself, I know it i NOT good design if doing simple things requires you to read the manual, watch tutorials etc. The simple, basic, common things should be done in an obvious way. Then if you want to do something more complex, fine put that in the manual, certainly. But think about all the things a new user might want to do - add a track, import media item, add a volume envelope, set some points, maybe cut-and-paste sections of audio, do a little time stretch, perhaps add a MIDI track with some percussion. Add a sample loop, record some effects, render. Voila you have probably thought of 80 or 90 of what any basic user wants to do. Now all of those things should be simple and intuitive.
Now I do understand the other point of view, Reaper is a very flexible advanced tool, and it can be configured in various ways, and if you do read the manuals, watch many tutorials and so on you can do some remarkable things with what is a powerful tool. But understand that maybe only 10 - 20 of users want to do those kinds of things, at least to begin with, as people progress, of course, they would like to explore and try new things. But if you insist on making people read manuals and watch tutorials just to do basic stuff, then many people will be put off, stop using Reaper in frustration, and look for something that better caters to just getting started users.
So really i was framing the question from the point of view of somebody just installing the program, and trying to do things the obvious, painless way.
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Old 09-09-2023, 01:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by salsaman View Post
what I am trying to do should be relatively simple. I have a tack with a media file, and all I want to is to get it to fade in.

I know enough I think to understand that this needs a volume lane and volume envelope...
so far, so incomplete

if you put your mouse over the left top edge of the item the cursor will change to a curve like one. and you can leftmouse drag this cursor to make a fade in, will occur as a red curve in the item (at the right side of the item you can do this for a fade out.
rightclicking such a fade shows some variations of the fade you can select.

if have more than one item on the track and they overlap the fade will be set automatically. (provided you have a somehow mint configuration)

the track has an option for free item positioning. item can float around at will. overlapping will be set automatically.

and yes, the use of a track volume envelope is valid, too.


i point to kenny's videos and the documentation as my for-poster.

and play around and right click everything

greetings
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Old 09-09-2023, 03:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salsaman View Post
Sure i will check all the tutorials etc out. But before doing so I really wanted to share my impression as a new (ish) user.
As a UI programmer myself, I know it i NOT good design if doing simple things requires you to read the manual, watch tutorials etc. The simple, basic, common things should be done in an obvious way.
Being a user, and not a programmer, myself, I have never found anything about any computer app to be obvious.
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Old 09-09-2023, 04:40 AM   #8
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Being a user, and not a programmer, myself, I have never found anything about any computer app to be obvious.
Same here. But ironically, I find one of the simplest things to do is create and work with a volume envelope. I mean...select a track, press "V" and start automating. It's one of the simplest functions.

I'm not trying to sound snarky. The OP's concerns are valid, as are almost anyone's concerns. But I have less computer knowledge than anyone I know, and I find this action one of the simplest.
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Old 09-09-2023, 04:55 AM   #9
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Same here. But ironically, I find one of the simplest things to do is create and work with a volume envelope. I mean...select a track, press "V" and start automating. It's one of the simplest functions.
It's not uncommon that when people used to one DAW - Pro Tools, Cubase, whatever - try out another they initially expect it to behave in exactly the same way as the one they are used to ... then when it doesn't do so complain about it "not being intuitive."

Which brings me back to my point. Breathing is for human beings intuitive, but not much else is. Computer apps certainly aren't.
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Old 09-09-2023, 05:45 AM   #10
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It's not uncommon that when people used to one DAW - Pro Tools, Cubase, whatever - try out another they initially expect it to behave in exactly the same way as the one they are used to ... then when it doesn't do so complain about it "not being intuitive.".
Yeah, it's hard for me to put myself in that frame of mind because I was "lucky" to go from a TASCAM 2488 right to REAPER. I never used another DAW (I might have used CUBASE for about a week, but I don't remember). Because of that, everything was a learning curve, but nothing was "Counter-intuitive" because I didn't have another DAW to compare it with.
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Old 09-09-2023, 06:14 AM   #11
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Then you've done really well ... "Old dog, new tricks" ... speaking as one to another!
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Old 09-09-2023, 10:39 AM   #12
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There is still something wronh though, aside from the general points which I will come back to.

I am following a Kenny video and he just opens the volume envelope and can click on it. In my case the envelope appears but it does nothing when clicked on, just the timeline cursor moves. This is one of the points I was trying to explain and why I ended up actually arming and recording. I took a screenshot of it.

AS you can see I Was clicking around and all it did was make the small selection at the top.
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Old 09-09-2023, 02:17 PM   #13
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Not sure which video you are referring to, but ...

Shift Click on envelope to add points.
Left Drag points up, down, left or right
Ctrl Hold Drag to freehand draw curve abd add points
Click drag to move segment up or down
Right click on envelope for menu of other options.

See 18.13 to 18.15 of user guide for much more.
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Old 09-09-2023, 02:46 PM   #14
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That is what I am saying, none of that works. Shift click, control click, nothing
Not until the actual envelope appears, which only happens when I record.

https://forum.cockos.com/attachment....1&d=1694296565

I have tried clicking on Insert Point and nothing appears.
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Old 09-09-2023, 03:15 PM   #15
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What happens to a selected media item when you press 'V'? Or 'P'?
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Old 09-09-2023, 05:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bolgwrad View Post
What happens to a selected media item when you press 'V'? Or 'P'?
The volume and pan "lanes" (?) appear and disappear but I can't add point to either, i t is like they are insensitive.
But like I said, if I arm them and then record even just a little bit then I see an envelope there, actually two envelopes https://forum.cockos.com/images/attach/jpg.gif

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Old 09-09-2023, 05:55 PM   #17
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Like I said if I arm the envelopes and set it to Write, then the envelopes do appear up to the point when I pressed stop. Actually, two envelopes appear for each control


Now I can add points in both envelopes, but when I try to extend the lower one, as I mentioned, it repeats the same section over and over.


If I try to delete the top envelope, the lower one also disappears. So I just ignore that and stretch out the lower one to the length of the audio, then select all points and delete them, and then finally i can add my own points.

I know for example when you add an audio track or an instrument track, or a MIDI track you have to add an empty item and then stretch it out to the desired length, but I can find a similar add empty item for envelopes.
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Old 09-10-2023, 12:16 AM   #18
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looks like you have created automation items, not plain envelopes?
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Old 09-10-2023, 01:27 AM   #19
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To insert envelope points manually you want Trim mode not write mode.
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Old 09-10-2023, 09:52 AM   #20
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To insert envelope points manually you want Trim mode not write mode.
Same thing whatever mode I put it in.
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Old 09-10-2023, 09:53 AM   #21
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looks like you have created automation items, not plain envelopes?
No idea. I just pressed 'v'.
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Old 09-10-2023, 10:14 AM   #22
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Same thing whatever mode I put it in.
If you start from scratch and put it in trim/read then it should not. You're probably getting same thing because you left the automation items there and are just recreating points in the items not directly in the lane.
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Old 09-10-2023, 08:32 PM   #23
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Also check your mouse modifiers (Options, Prefs) for envelopes in case in fiddling about you might have altered some.
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Old 09-11-2023, 02:15 AM   #24
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Same thing whatever mode I put it in.
Hmm. Some more questions for troubleshooting.
Is that on a plain fresh install or are there already scripts running in the background?
Could something from your desktop environment be blocking mouse modifiers?
Could you perhaps upload a short screencap of how you approach the automation in a new session?
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Old 09-11-2023, 03:59 AM   #25
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Actions List -> envelopes: enable envelope outside of AI for all envelopes in project

Also: preferences -> automation -> uncheck “Always record to automation items”

Does this restore the desired envelope behavior?
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Old 09-11-2023, 05:05 AM   #26
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Actions List -> envelopes: enable envelope outside of AI for all envelopes in project
I totally forgot about the "enable envelope outside" setting.
Quote:
Also: preferences -> automation -> uncheck “Always record to automation items”
That's my new thing I learned today.

Thanks, I'm going to play around now .
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Old 09-11-2023, 05:40 AM   #27
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Like I said if I arm the envelopes and set it to Write, then the envelopes do appear up to the point when I pressed stop. Actually, two envelopes appear for each control


Now I can add points in both envelopes, but when I try to extend the lower one, as I mentioned, it repeats the same section over and over.


If I try to delete the top envelope, the lower one also disappears. So I just ignore that and stretch out the lower one to the length of the audio, then select all points and delete them, and then finally i can add my own points.

I know for example when you add an audio track or an instrument track, or a MIDI track you have to add an empty item and then stretch it out to the desired length, but I can find a similar add empty item for envelopes.
Just saw the screenshot attached to this post, totally missed it. Based on this, The first thing in my previous post should solve the issue

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Thanks, I'm going to play around now .
You’re welcome
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Old 09-11-2023, 05:57 AM   #28
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Actions List -> envelopes: enable envelope outside of AI for all envelopes in project

Also: preferences -> automation -> uncheck “Always record to automation items”

Does this restore the desired envelope behavior?
I don't have that option in my Actions List.

The preference is already unchecked.
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Old 09-11-2023, 06:03 AM   #29
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Hmm. Some more questions for troubleshooting.
Is that on a plain fresh install or are there already scripts running in the background?
Could something from your desktop environment be blocking mouse modifiers?
Could you perhaps upload a short screencap of how you approach the automation in a new session?
This is a fresh install. I doubt it is anything in my desktop, because literally everything else works. Just as a test I clicked on "view tempo in track list", amd I am able to enter tempo points with no problems.

What I did notice though is, when I move the mouse pointer over a normal track, the cursor changes, when I move it over a volume or pane lane it doen't change, but if have an automation item in the lane then the cursor does change on that part only.
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Old 09-11-2023, 06:13 AM   #30
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If you start from scratch and put it in trim/read then it should not. You're probably getting same thing because you left the automation items there and are just recreating points in the items not directly in the lane.


No it doesn't respond ein Trim / Read mode/ That is my default mode.I just opened a new project tab to check, and that is the default, and when I add a media file, then click on the envelope button and add volume, it appears unresponsive. The reason I put in Write mode is so I can record little bit into the lane which I can then stretch out as it is the only way I have found to be able to insert / edit points. After recording that little segment I put it back in Trim Read *actually I have this set to do so automatically).
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Old 09-11-2023, 06:20 AM   #31
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What I did notice though is, when I move the mouse pointer over a normal track, the cursor changes, when I move it over a volume or pane lane it doen't change, but if have an automation item in the lane then the cursor does change on that part only.
Your observation points into the direction of smandrap's idea. Perhaps there's something with one of the "bypass underlying envelope..." settings in the actions list that could help you?

Also it might be interesting if these are pooled items.

Places to look for possible toggles are also in "Options->Automation Items" and "Options->Envelope Points"
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Old 09-11-2023, 07:40 AM   #32
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These are my settings, I haven't changed much if anything from the defaults

https://forum.cockos.com/attachment....1&d=1694443180

(I think the pnly change I made was - after stopping in Write mode, go to Trim / Read mode).
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Old 09-11-2023, 08:34 AM   #33
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I think it would be worth confirming if it does it in a new portable install.

Also what theme is that and running on what o/s.....a few things look odd but might just be theme or your colouring choice. Did you check default theme?
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Old 09-11-2023, 11:15 AM   #34
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I think it would be worth confirming if it does it in a new portable install.

Also what theme is that and running on what o/s.....a few things look odd but might just be theme or your colouring choice. Did you check default theme?
Running on Linux (Ubuntu Studio), so maybe that is why it looks a bit different. But I have not encountered anything like this with other applications. If there is an issue my guess is that it's a Reaper bug specific to this OS, and not am OS bug. If I had access to the low level UI code, I could probably pinpoint the issue, as this is what I do for a living (in a manner of speaking).
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Old 09-11-2023, 12:38 PM   #35
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I'm running on Ubuntu main and the only interference with Gnome are any Ctrl+Alt-Commands reserved by the OS. (e.g. switch workspace)

Anything from the Option menus?
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Old 09-11-2023, 03:43 PM   #36
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I'm running on Ubuntu main and the only interference with Gnome are any Ctrl+Alt-Commands reserved by the OS. (e.g. switch workspace)

Anything from the Option menus?
Aha ! Yes I think that was it. Right click on the lane and then Automation Items for this Envelope, changed from the default "Project default behaviour outside of envelopes", and changed it to "Automation items do not attach..."

I don't remember ever having changed that
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Old 09-12-2023, 03:19 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salsaman View Post
I don't remember ever having changed that
We've all been there
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Old 09-17-2023, 12:02 AM   #38
salsaman
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But why is that the default, when it is probably NOT what 99% of users actually want ?
And there doesn't seem to be any option to alter the default, so I will have to remember to do this every time!

It seems to be the reverse of what common sense would dictate.
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Old 09-18-2023, 08:58 AM   #39
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Mhm, perhaps you have that backwards.
For me the standard behaviour is that I can draw outside of automation items. Also, my screenshot was not from the right-click menu, but from the "options menu". (To make anything permanent, you set it in the latter, go to the "project settings" dialogue (Alt/Opt + Enter) and press "Save as default project settings".
The "Envelope points" submenu is worth checking out, too, btw.)
So my comment was aimed at that we've all experienced changing settings due to misclicks combined with an acute case of amnesia thereof. It's just human.

Last edited by mindlessgenius; 09-18-2023 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 09-18-2023, 08:54 PM   #40
salsaman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mindlessgenius View Post
Mhm, perhaps you have that backwards.
For me the standard behaviour is that I can draw outside of automation items. Also, my screenshot was not from the right-click menu, but from the "options menu". (To make anything permanent, you set it in the latter, go to the "project settings" dialogue (Alt/Opt + Enter) and press "Save as default project settings".
The "Envelope points" submenu is worth checking out, too, btw.)
So my comment was aimed at that we've all experienced changing settings due to misclicks combined with an acute case of amnesia thereof. It's just human.
But I don't have anything remotely like that in my Project Settings. It's just a window with 5tbas.Project Settings, Media, Video, Advanced and Notes
Believe me, it was one of the first hings I checked
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