Old 04-27-2019, 08:05 AM   #1
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Default Reaper V6 Default Theme - alpha 1.0

Please find attached the Alpha 1 of the Reaper V6 Default theme and its associated adjuster script. It is at a stage where it now needs rigorous testing so we can discuss its functionality, how it interacts with its script, and its many opportunities for future modding.

The Dawn of Script-able Themes

New REAPER functionality now allows the WALTER-able parts of a theme (Mixer, Track Panels, Env panels, Transport) to be altered by scripts. While this has no affect on the styling of themes, it has the potential to radically empower even the most casual of users to make useful changes to the functionality of the theme; sizing some elements like the track name field or simplifying panels by only showing some elements when they are relevant.

What I have here is both a theme and the script that adjusts it. While the two only work with each other, I have taken great pains to make it easy for future modders and scripters to alter and enhance either part.



This all makes use of functionality that is only currently present in development branches of the program, which are not included in RC or final releases. Therefore, you must be using a DEV version of REAPER to test this.

Use 'Options > Show REAPER resource path in explorer/finder' to open your resources folder. Place the theme (the .ReaperThemeZip file) in the 'ColorThemes' folder. Unzip the contents of script.zip into your 'Scripts' folder.

Go to 'Actions > Show action list'. In the bottom right, click the ReaScript Load button. Select 'Default_6.0 theme adjuster.lua' and click Open.


HiDPI(retina)

The theme uses the new (incomplete work in progress) REAPER HiDPI functionality. The theme has three sizes - 100%, 150%, 200% in the form of layouts. WALTER-controlled panels now automatically choose the appropriate layout size for the resolution of the monitor they are being displayed on, even across different monitors.


High Contrast, Bold Colors

A bolder contrast palette has been used throughout. OS-drawn and un-themable elements are as bright as they've always been, but this time rather than trying to blend in with them, an overall strong and punchy contrast range has been used throughout the theme. Tracks and panels are roughly the same brightness as they were in V5, but inactive and background elements have been made dark.

Custom colors are now exactly the color you chose. Everywhere. You may now use the full range of custom colors to highlight important tracks and dim less critical background tracks.

This likely means that any existing projects colored in with the V5 theme will have eye-searingly strong colors. This:



...will become this...



You'll want a quick and easy way to fix that, right? No problem. The script has a button to dim all the custom colors in a project:



you can then, if you wish, go through and use coloring to highlight the tracks that are on your mind...



Since the script is messing with your colors, it seemed like a golden opportunity to provide an easy way for you to apply color. I have made a choice of palettes with a simple 'click to apply to selected tracks' functionality.

Beyond this, I have also made it possible to totally recolor a project using the chosen palette. Which I'm sure you'll agree sounds like something you'd never want to do. However, its actually strangely pleasing and compelling, give it a try!



For reasons of consistency I have been spelling colour wrong both in this thread and within the script. And I have winced every time.


A,B,C - the three Layouts

My experience of watching REAPER users is that users don't necessarily want a huge choice of layouts; they just want a few that are right for them. This suggested an entirely different approach that the scripting makes possible.

The Track Control Panels and Mixer Control Panels each have three identical layouts, with a wide range of user-configurable properties. Setup your own layouts, select some tracks and apply them to taste.

As it stands, this will all only work reliably with tracks that have had layouts applied to them using the script.




Folders and Borders

Just like the Track Control Panels, the Mixer Control Panels can now indent tracks based on their folder depth. On both TCP and MCP the amount is adjustable using the script, from 'none' to 'surely that's too much'.



Users with large projects have been using the unsatisfying and risky practice of 'separator' tracks to break up their projects. On the mixer, here is a possible alternative : borders. You can apply a border to either edge of a layout, then apply that layout to a track at the start or end of a section, or you can tell tracks to automatically apply borders around folders.




Contextual Controls

One of the things that new users struggle with when first using REAPER is that, compared to other DAWS, it has more controls visible, they're always visible, and if the mixer is showing then they're all shown twice!

We now have the opportunity, if we're brave, to change that.

Both new users and veterans benefit from a clean, uncluttered range of potential things to click at any one time. Using contextual assumptions based on track selection, record mode and whether the mixer is visible, the script can (entirely optionally) hide elements from the TCP. If the track isn't armed, maybe the track input selector is just visual clutter. If you're doing your volume and panning on the mixer, maybe the pan controls and a full volume fader on the TCP are just visual clutter.

This powerful functionality is now here, we have much to discuss about how we deploy it.


Design Intent

As with the Default V5 theme, the design intent has been to follow the principles of data-driven high functionality design. Its not about looking cool at first glance, its about this being the most efficient theme it can be, that you're still using 5 years from now. So, is in V5, no two elements look the same, elements that do the same thing look the same wherever they appear, and as wide as possible a range of styling (from flat boxes all the way to big shiny chrome things) used to diferentiate elements, create a functionality-driven visual heirarchy to speed visual searching for key elements, and to create visual anchor elements to draw the eye to different sections.

I consider the visual styling of the theme to be pretty much final. I appologise again for not including the forum in this task, but we've learned the hard way that internet based design by commitee doesn't work, use the forum search tools if you don't believe me I have made use of my meatSpace Reaper community testers, so ...er.. if you don't like it, blame the Brits!


Other Nice Things
  • The script can be docked to provide the core of its functionality as part of your day-to-day workflow, if you wish.
  • Grid lines are now semi-transparent, so at last can be visible in all circumstances without needing to be eye-searingly bright.
  • The 'high-detail' toolbar icons of V5 have been reverted to a simplified style more like previous versions.
  • Mixer meters can now expand based on channel count, and their panels expand to fit them.
  • TCP track name fields can be set to 'auto' so they fit the largest track name in your project.
  • Track folder controls are now on the left, next to the indents, so that stuff all lives together.
  • The transport rate control is now out of the way where you're not going to accidentally nudge it, and you can also resize it using the script, all the way down to a knob if you choose.
  • Transport control right-click menu visual tweaks have been duplicated in the script for your convenience.


Bad, sad and unfinished things
  • I have attempted to include functionality to allow you to use the HiDPI sizes that are not being used at your current resolution, as layout options. The way I have done this has been universally hailed as confusing, unintuitive and somewhat broken. Big rethink needed there.
  • No scaling or script interaction yet on the master track or master mixer, waiting till the other panels are fully tested before approaching them.
  • The interaction between per-track layout assignments (which is what the script uses) and the existing 'default' layout assignments (as set in Options > Layouts or the Screensets/Layouts window) is extremely muddled and I'm not clear on which direction to take to resolve this. Your thoughts would be most welcome.
  • Expectation is that mixer strip layouts will NOT be included, my impression is that few users use them, and they would come at the cost of much greater complexity for new users. I encourage feedback on this decision, and I will make it as easy as possible for modders to add them in.
  • Drag & drop folder creation indicator is broken.
  • Mouse handling with images in the script is currently buggy/bad.
  • This is the first script I've ever written, and its alpha. When (not if, when!) it breaks, please share the error message you get
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:18 AM   #2
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Congratulations on a great milestone. It sounds like some nice things are in our future. Thanks!
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:18 AM   #3
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Well, this all sounds pretty great, I must say. Some really nice new additions here, and making it easier for the users to tweak theme elements is excellent!

I do wish we got more WALTERable sections of Reaper, though, along the way... For example, if we can WALTER the transport, why shouldn't we be able to WALTER the MIDI editor's transport? Etc.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:44 AM   #4
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Just to be very clear : it is completely pointless to make Reaper feature requests to me.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:48 AM   #5
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Thanks WT.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:50 AM   #6
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Yay! I can finally talk about this.

so many cool things you can do with this theme, still many you can't but still a great leap ahead with theming.

Things like:
hiding most of the controls unless track is selected
automatically expanding to a sidebar layout when selected
hide track controls if the mixer is visible
The folder indenting and borders are great visual guides
Love the selection of color palettes

There's also mouse-over help text for everything if you click the ? at the top.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:54 AM   #7
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Just to be very clear : it is completely pointless to make Reaper feature requests to me.
so just make them in the normal Reaper feature request forum?
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Old 04-27-2019, 09:01 AM   #8
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Haleluljah!/Excited! Better do my damn laundry first *sigh* and then.. try this.
Both GIMP and Photoshop chose (Color) I think, but what evs about that.
Someone told me that it is a choice anyway according to the grammar LAW.
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Old 04-27-2019, 09:14 AM   #9
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Great news!Thanks for new opportunities!
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:54 AM   #10
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Default Couple things...

Amazing work, WT! Just a few things that look weird using version 5.975 pre1. That is a dev release, right?

1) The blue bar that shows up when dragging tracks under other tracks to create a folder track doesn't seem to change lengths. It appears pretty thick too, but maybe that's personal preference.



2) Are the control knobs and labels supposed to be disconnected? Pan and volume labels do not appear to be locked to pan and volume controls which is what I would expect. Maybe I'm not used to having labels in the V5 theme.



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Old 04-27-2019, 11:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by squibble94 View Post
1) The blue bar that shows up when dragging tracks under other tracks to create a folder track doesn't seem to change lengths. It appears pretty thick too, but maybe that's personal preference.
He did say that is a known issue, see "Bad, sad and unfinished things" section.
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Old 04-27-2019, 11:21 AM   #12
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My master track seems funky. Not sure why I also have a Route icon with differing stripes on tracks. Also with Mute and Solo on the far right of the TCP, what is the expected way to select tracks?

So is there a limit of 3 layouts now per area ?


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Old 04-27-2019, 11:26 AM   #13
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I think the theme might not load correctly here:



Besides everything being way too dark, elements are much larger than in other themes (even larger than in the Reaper 5 default theme) and there is no separation between elements (in the screenshot above, I marked some borders between two elements which is, however, not visible, but everything blends into each other).

Or are these just artifacts of the theme still being an alpha version?
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Old 04-27-2019, 11:38 AM   #14
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Default Colors

Regarding the Custom Colors. I think it would be more user friendly if the user could make their own palettes simply by pasting in some hex like:

#0468BF #22A2F2 #52B5F2 #5BC6F5 #91E0F2

Adobe color picker makes is so easy to find palettes and then we could use them instead of only have the choices of the author.

https://color.adobe.com/search?q=ocean%20blue

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Old 04-27-2019, 11:48 AM   #15
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I'm noticing the volume and pan labels not tracking the controls also.



The option to have the meter in the tcp track body horizontally would be nice. Like this.

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Old 04-27-2019, 12:02 PM   #16
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After minimizing the script by docking it into the docker multiple times the following crash occured:


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Old 04-27-2019, 12:02 PM   #17
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This saddens me .....

"I consider the visual styling of the theme to be pretty much final. I apologise again for not including the forum in this task, but we've learned the hard way that internet based design by committee doesn't work"

There are so many brilliant people here that are your customers that I find it sad (and arrogant) to not at ask the opinions of this wealth of users and THEN make your own decisions based on truly valuable and insightful input. I've noticed this behavior before and it's wrong imo. To not get their input before finalizing the design is no bueno. In fact if you had asked them you might have found the majority want Imperial as the default.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:04 PM   #18
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Yay! but to be honest I like Default_5.0 better
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:11 PM   #19
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Yay! but to be honest I like Default_5.0 better
That's awesome but my point is that without user input we will never know what the actual customers want. I wrote code for 30 years and I always involved the customer in the process and found out exactly what they wanted and what their workflow was and by doing that I could then take what I could do and find out what matched up with what they wanted. I had a lot of very happy customers that way.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:12 PM   #20
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This saddens me .....

"I consider the visual styling of the theme to be pretty much final. I apologise again for not including the forum in this task, but we've learned the hard way that internet based design by committee doesn't work"

There are so many brilliant people here that are your customers that I find it sad (and arrogant) to not at ask the opinions of this wealth of users and THEN make your own decisions based on truly valuable and insightful input. I've noticed this behavior before and it's wrong imo. To not get their input before finalizing the design is no bueno. In fact if you had asked them you might have found the majority want Imperial as the default.
To be fair, there have been more than enough criticisms for him to absorb. At a certain point it's up to him to decide.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:15 PM   #21
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The "Route" button with those multi-colored stripes in the background looks really bad, I would say it's downright unusable and unhelpful visually. Sorry WT. It doesn't make it easy to identify things at a glance because there's text in front of those stripes.

How are we supposed to know which colors is send, which is return, etc.? Really unintuitive. :/ v5 variant was better because there was nothing overlaid on top of something else - and in MCP you actually had letters, M/R/S, which IS intuitive.

Last edited by EvilDragon; 04-27-2019 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:15 PM   #22
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To be fair, there have been more than enough criticisms for him to absorb. At a certain point it's up to him to decide.
Criticism of this theme ? No, this theme was never given for users to provide input. We just got it today with the note that the theme is basically final. That's all I'm saying.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
The "Route" button with those multi-colored stripes in the background looks really bad, I would say it's downright unusable and unhelpful visually. Sorry WT. It doesn't make it easy to identify things at a glance because there's text in front of those stripes. v5 variant was better because there was nothing overlaid on top of something else.
What do the stripes indicate ?
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:20 PM   #24
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If it is a multichannel track, the representation of the track in the mixer is surprising:

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Old 04-27-2019, 12:23 PM   #25
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What do the stripes indicate ?
One is send, one is return, one is master/parent send. Still handled better in v5 theme than this.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:25 PM   #26
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I recall the "last time" WT opened up for suggestions about D5, did not go so well, like WoW/Woah!.
I have my fav themes myself but NO theme is Perfection for me, might as well make themeing easyer if - possible since I for one would like to make a theme for myself and share it ofc and people can do what they like with it, throw darts or make music.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:27 PM   #27
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But this "scripts can tweak themes" thing is actually NOT making theming easier, it's making it harder by adding another layer of complexity on top of an already complex system (WALTER)...
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:27 PM   #28
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Like, I don't know... some things are cool and the fact that you can do a lot behind the scenes it's really promising. But as far as first glance... I don't know, I'm a bit disappointed. Not really what I was hoping for.

Maybe I'll get used to it once Reaper 6 comes out.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:32 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKeehl View Post
Like, I don't know... some things are cool and the fact that you can do a lot behind the scenes it's really promising. But as far as first glance... I don't know, I'm a bit disappointed. Not really what I was hoping for.

Maybe I'll get used to it once Reaper 6 comes out.
What were you hoping for? There's nothing wrong with having different ideas.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:34 PM   #30
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But but, I thought stuff.. and it goes summit like this *ehem*
This is .lua WT is messing with and a script can be improved/add stuff over time? and the devs can add stuff, new functionality at any time for it to get even more power, if they feel like it?
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:34 PM   #31
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I got used to the routing almost immediately. It's something I previously found annoying to be intuitive quickly, in many themes. This new way works for me somehow. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:39 PM   #32
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I do wish we got more WALTERable sections of Reaper, though, along the way... For example, if we can WALTER the transport, why shouldn't we be able to WALTER the MIDI editor's transport? Etc.
While I don't want to in any way take away from the extraordinary amount of work White Tie has obviously put in, I very much agree with EvilDragon that this would be a HUGE missed opportunity to not make as much as possible accessible in WALTER.

The truth of the matter is that as much work that has gone into this new default theme, most users are not going to use it. That is the reality. We all have our own preferences and in my case, I would simply never use this theme - it just doesn't visually appeal to me at all. Thus having access to as many parts of the theme as possible IMHO is more important than anything happening with the default theme.

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There are so many brilliant people here that are your customers that I find it sad (and arrogant) to not at ask the opinions of this wealth of users and THEN make your own decisions based on truly valuable and insightful input. I've noticed this behavior before and it's wrong imo. To not get their input before finalizing the design is no bueno.
I also wholeheartedly agree with the above. Not including the community in these decisions is a mistake. There are so many parts of Reaper that would not be even close to what they are if we didn't spend time hashing out what is really wanted/needed, different use cases, etc. Things like automation items. That doesn't happen without input from a LOT of different people. This should be no different.

Again, I don't want to take away from anything White Tie has done here. But when he says that he considers the visual styling to be pretty much final and that it's pointless to make feature requests to him, that comes across as both arrogant and completely un-Reaper like. This is a community and without input from the users, Reaper would not be where it is. There are so many talented people on this forum with so many good ideas that would be able to bring up issues one or two people on their own would have never thought of. Surely, a discussion topic for this would not have taken development completely off the rails. To me it just sounds like White Tie didn't want any user input whatsoever which I think is a huge mistake and a huge missed opportunity.

Just my two probably worthless cents...
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:40 PM   #33
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No one mentioned it, but I suppose the script shouldn't create undo points.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:43 PM   #34
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Liking the general look of everything here design wise. As long as no icons show pixels, scalable vector would be ideal but small steps at this stage.

Dark grey is the future, all pro design apps have it now (and that sector knows best about design more than anyone) I think people are just used to it now.

I know it's personal preference and some won't like it but think that's the right step to take. Clean, minimal and professional.
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:35 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by squibble94 View Post
2) Are the control knobs and labels supposed to be disconnected? Pan and volume labels do not appear to be locked to pan and volume controls which is what I would expect. Maybe I'm not used to having labels in the V5 theme
Yes, this is the same behaviour as the V5 theme. You can disable the readouts using the script, if you wish to replicate the V5 default layout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fladd View Post
I think the theme might not load correctly here... ..I marked some borders between two elements which is, however, not visible, but everything blends into each other).

Or are these just artifacts of the theme still being an alpha version?
Looks like its loading fine. Some of what you are highlighting is intentional, some is something I'm hoping for the ability to fix.

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I noticed the solo button (with solo enabled) in TCP seems to be missing its left border, when mute/solo are side by side.
Yes, I don't like that either. Its a space saving measure that I was talked into, I'll mull it further!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luster View Post
After minimizing the script by docking it into the docker multiple times the following crash occured:


Thanks for letting me know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
The "Route" button with those multi-colored stripes in the background looks really bad, I would say it's downright unusable and unhelpful visually.
Stick with it, I believe you'll find it works well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Sermonne View Post
If it is a multichannel track, the representation of the track in the mixer is surprising:

Wow, that's a lot of inserts! Things you might like to try include dragging up the top of the panel (shrinking the extended mixer section) or switching on the sidebar.

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Originally Posted by Klangfarben View Post
Not including the community in these decisions is a mistake.
We've tried before, many times. Many many, many times. It doesn't work. You might like to believe it would work this time, but I know it wouldn't. I agree that this is extremely regrettable, that's why I tried so many times. This is not a me thing, or a you thing, or a Reaper community thing. Its an internet thing.

It is, very sadly, how it has to be I'm afraid. I acknowledge that you think I'm wrong, I wish I was. I'm afraid this will need to be my final word on the matter. Sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vitalker View Post
No one mentioned it, but I suppose the script shouldn't create undo points.
I hadn't considered that; could you talk me through why?
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:50 PM   #36
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looks good!
hope Shcwa and Justin will work on the GUI of the FX windows to support more user organization.

way to go WT!
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Old 04-27-2019, 02:28 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesPeters View Post
Track 1 sends to tracks 2 and 3. Indication for this is seemingly backwards from TCP to MCP.
OOPS.

Thanks
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Old 04-27-2019, 02:39 PM   #38
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I like the clean look and the functional approach. Is there a visual indication for frozen tracks on tcp/mcp now? That would be helpful.
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Old 04-27-2019, 02:56 PM   #39
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Nice start WT!
I really like the routing buttons.

Allow tinting of mixer channels?
Allow coloring/tinting envelope lanes?
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Old 04-27-2019, 03:09 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Tie View Post
I hadn't considered that; could you talk me through why?
Hm, I'm sorry. It creates undo points for Colours only. I remember the script did it for other things. Now I don't see other things that can be undone.
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Make a thread "F%#! you Reaper! I quit!" to get more views and feedback since these kind of threads get much more traction
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