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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
lozzec
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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
nicholas
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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
salsaman
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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, 03:23 AM   #6
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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   #7
Frank Lee Scarlett
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholas View Post
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   #8
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Originally Posted by Frank Lee Scarlett View Post
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, 01:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
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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