Author Topic: Tips window at startup  (Read 7873 times)

Offline Paul Legovitch

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Tips window at startup
« on: November 07, 2009, 01:03:48 »
Hi !
Thanks to the soon compo I've made my first track with OpenMTP after years of good ol' ModPlug... So let me thank all OMPT developers for this amazing achievement : great work, bravo,  OMPT truly is wonderful ! :D

Now I must say that it took me quite some time to read lots of topics in this forum (plus Harbinger's Help file) and gather enough info on what are OpenMPT features and how they work (and I'm not even using VSTs).
In a thread about the old chord editor Rakib said this :
Quote
If people knew what it was, it would be more used. The lack of new documentation after 1.16(Oliviers help file) makes people stick to old habbits.
So true !

So I think OpenMPT would benefit from a tips window at startup like in Renoise, Gimp and other feature-heavy softwares. I personally like to read info that is condensed and to the point, to learn what I can do and how. Startup tips are great for this and not too hard to implement I guess. Also they can make you try things you would'nt normaly think about or search for in a Help file.

Code: [Select]
____________________________________________________________
|                   Welcome to OpenMPT !                    |
|                                                           |
|                          Tip#01                           |
|Pattern editor :                                           |
|Double-click on a field to open the effects menu.          |
|You'll find all available commands with their description. |
|                                                           |
| <- previous tip             close             next tip -> |
|___________________________________________________________|


I've written a list of tips, some are obvious, some not :

EDIT : I'll update and classify this list.
Code: [Select]
1 INPUT SETUP

2 PATTERN
   a. EFFECTS
   b. EDIT & RECORD

3 INSTRUMENT

4 SAMPLE

5 PLUGINS (VST, VSTi, DirectX)

6 GENERAL, MISC

1 INPUT SETUP :
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - MIDI keyboard :
You can use a MIDI keyboard to enter notes or play live : open the setup window (Ctrl+F1), go to the MIDI tab and select your MIDI input device.
In the main toolbar, click on the "MIDI record" icon to activate your keyboard.

Tip#XX - keyboard setup (Ctrl+F1) :
To optimize your workflow you can modify almost all keyboard actions and shortcuts.
Open the setup window (Ctrl+F1) and go to the keyboard tab (you can load and save configs).
It's also a good reminder of all available options with their description.

Tip#XX - You can use your PC keyboard as a 3 octave piano.
If notes are not correclty assigned to your keys, go to the keyboard tab of the setup (Ctrl+F1) and select "Pattern editor - Note Col".
In the main toolbar, you can select an octave to transpose your keyboard (shortcuts available in keyboard setup : "Global keys").

Tip#XX - modplug live
When playing a module, Modplug allows you to create a live performance :
* improvise : select an instrument and play live (select 2 instruments with keyboard split)
* alter the sound : change instrument settings (like filters) in real time, edit or redraw samples.
* mute channels on transitions : Ctrl+left click on the channel label (or right click menu).
* Loop or unloop the current pattern (shortcut available in keyboard setup Ctrl+F1)
* Drag and drop the next pattern order in the tree view.

2 PATTERN :
   a. effects :
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - pattern editor :
Double-click on a field to open the effects menu.
You'll find all available commands with their description.

Tip#XX - pattern editor :
To play a sample backward, use the S9F effect (or X9F for XM format) and S9E (or X9E) to play the sample forward again.

Tip#XX - sample offset :
To play a certain part of a sample (useful for drum loops), use the offset effect Oxx (or 9xx for the XM format).
In the sample editor the bottom info bar displays the value needed for the offset command when you hover the mouse over the sample.

Tip#XX - pattern editor (IT or MPTM format) :
The cutoff filter is assigned by default to Z00 - Z7F (\00 - \7F for smooth slides)
The resonance is assigned by default to z80 - ZFF (\80 - \FF for smooth slides)

Tip#XX - Pattern editor :
When you enter a note, you can specify 2 different effects.
A row is composed of : note / instrument / note effect / channel effect.
D#5 07 v30 H4A
Note D#(octave 5), instrument 7, effect v (volume) set to 30, effect H (vibrato) set to 4A.

Tip#XX - Channel effects have hexadecimal values :
0, 1, ..., 9, A(10), B(11), C(12), D(13), E(14) and F(15).
Examples :
22 (hexa) is 2*16 + 2 = 32 (in decimal)
4B (hexa) is 4*16 + 11 = 75
FF (hexa) is 15*16 + 15 = 255 (the maximum value)

Tip#XX - Create a phaser effect :
* Duplicate the channel of your lead melody : right click on the channel label -> duplicate.
* Add a fine portamento (FEx) on the duplicated notes to detune them.
Example : |C-5 01 .. ...|C-5 01 .. FE3|

Tip#XX - Create a phase shifting effect :
* Duplicate the channel of a drum loop : right click on the channel label -> duplicate.
* Add a small offset (Oxx) to the duplicated notes.
Example : |C-5 01 .. ...|C-5 01 .. O02|

Tip#XX - Tempo and ticks-per-row : Txx and Axx

Tip#XX - Zxx and \xx : smooth variations

Tip#XX - #xx extended value parameter

Tip#XX - SCx SDx tick based note cut and note delay.

Tip#XX - Glissando control :
S10 : smooth
S11 : semitones (more realistic for guitars)

Tip#XX - param editor

   b. edit & record :
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - multi channel record :
To enter chords in a pattern (with a MIDI keyboard), you can select several channels for live record with shift + left click on their label.

Tip#XX - pattern editor :
Activate the "overflow" icon (top right) to be able to paste notes and data continuously to the next pattern.

Tip#XX - cursor navigation in the pattern editor :
In the setup window (Ctrl+F1 : general) you can select the behaviour of the cursor.
Cursor wrap : past the last row of the pattern, the cursor wraps back to the first row.
Continuous scroll : past the last row, the cursor jumps to the next pattern.

Tip#XX - pattern editor :
You have 3 different ways to end a playing note.
* note off (==) will act like releasing a pressed key.
* note fade (~~) will fade the sample's volume, all instrument envelopes are ignored.
* note cut (^ ^) will stop the sound immediately.
You can assign a key for each command in the keyboard tab of the setup window (Ctrl+F1).

Tip#XX - pattern editor
Press Ctrl+L to select a channel, press it again to select the whole pattern.
Ctrl+C to copy
Ctrl+V to paste.

Tip#XX - Follow song on/off (for easy editing)

Tip#XX - transpose notes (+/- semitone or octave)

Tip#XX - row spacing

Tip#XX - pattern edition : insert/delete event/row

Tip#XX - pattern edition : mouse or arrow keys ?
mouse select : drag&drop (Ctrl to copy)
arrow keys + shift select :  (need keyboard setup)

Tip#XX - pattern selection : change instrument in selection

Tip#XX - pattern selection : amplify

Tip#XX - grow/shrink pattern or pattern selection : double/half the number of rows.

Tip#XX - pattern order : Create/insert/copy new pattern

Tip#XX - pattern order : (select multiple patterns)

Tip#XX - pattern order --- and +++

Tip#XX - organize your tracks for better workflow :
To organize your music you can give a name to each channel (In the general tab) and each Pattern (Pattern editor).

Tip#XX - channel manager

Tip#XX - change colors of the pattern editor

3 INSTRUMENT :
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - instrument editor :
Shift + left click on instrument envelopes to insert new points.
Shift + middle click to delete the nearest point.

Tip#XX - instrument editor (IT or MPTM format) :
Set the New Note Action (NNA) to "note off" or "note fade", to obtain smooth transitions between notes of the same channel (otherwise the sound is cut by default).
The S75 and S76 effects allow you to temporarily apply this setting in a pattern.

Tip#XX - pattern editor (IT or MPTM format) :
You can temporarily enable or disable the envelopes of an instrument with S77 to S7C :
double-click on the note to open the effect command list and select "S7x : Instrument control".

Tip#XX - Instrument random variations

Tip#XX - Envelopes : release node

Tip#XX - Envelope carry

Tip#XX - Pitch/Pan Separation (like a piano)

Tip#XX - High pass / low pass filter. (also change in pattern ?)

Tip#XX - instruments : sample map (create drum kits)

Tip#XX - MIDI bank usage

4 SAMPLE :
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - sample editor :
Shift + left click on the "save" icon to save all the samples of your song at once.

Tip#XX - sample editor (normalize button) :
You can normalize sample selections instead of the whole sample by highlighting a part of it.
You can normalize all samples at once with shift + left click on the normalize button.

Tip#XX - Sample optimization :
Samples should start at a zero level (half height of the signal) to avoid click sounds and have a maximum amplitude for best quality.
* Either try the "Remove DC Offset" or the "Normalize" button to maximize the volume.
* Highlight the first few sampling points to apply a quick fade in (click on "amplify" and select 100% + fade in).
You can also apply a quick fade out at the end.

Tip#XX - sample editor (sustain loop) :
For a guitar sample you can set a sustain loop after the attack : when notes are released with a note-off event (==) the sustain loop is ignored and you can hear the end of the sample (idealy a string release sound).

Tip#XX - sample loops :
Forward loops should start and end at the same height to avoid click sounds.
Bidirectional loops should be set at horizontal points or on symmetric axis of the waveform.

Tip#XX - sample frequency tunning tips

5 PLUGINS (VST, VSTi, DirectX) :
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - Install plugins :
VST plugins are easy to install : drag & drop all your .dll files from your file explorer directly into modplug's window.
In the general tab of your song, go to the plugin area, click "select" (next to "FX1:undefined") and double-click on the plugin of your choice.
Then you can assign this plugin "FX1:VST_name" to any instrument (in the instrument tab), or any channel or the master output (general tab).

Tip#XX - Assign a plugin :
to the master
to a channel
to an instrument

Tip#XX - VST chain :
If you want to apply more than one plugin in an instrument, you can chain plugins together (FX2->FX5->FX6 for example).
In the general tab : choose the first plugin (FX2) and click on "Output to" (Mix settings area) to choose the next plugin of the chain (FX5). Same thing with FX5 to FX6.

Tip#XX - Turning VST knobs can be recorded live :
In the VST window, select Info->Macros->SF1:unused (or any empty slot), then turn the knob you want to automate.
Select Options->Record Params, then turn the knob while playing your track, the parameter is recorded in the pattern.
You may have to add manually the instrument number in the channel.
Don't forget to uncheck Options->Record Params once you're done.

6 GENERAL, MISC.
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - Volume handling :
General : global volume (master) - sample volume - VST volume
Sample : global volume, default volume
Instrument : global volume, volume envelope, random variation
Pattern : global volume V - Channel volume M - sample volume v

Tip#XX - Cleanup features

Tip#XX - Render to wav (to create new samples)

Tip#XX - Tree view
Double click on a module unfolds all instruments and samples.
Drag and drop in the sample editor or the instrument editor.
A song can be used as an instrument bank.

Tip#XX - Song format :
MOD, XM, S3M, IT, ITP, MPTM


bvanoudtshoorn's tips :
 
Code: [Select]
1. If you find a bug, or you're after a missing piece of functionality, head over to the ModPlug Central forums and let us know !
Click on the red exclamation mark button of the main toolbar or go to lpchip.com/modplug

2. OpenMPT is developed and maintained by a few dedicated volunteers who are always looking for bug reports, good ideas, and patches. The developers hang around at ModPlug Central (lpchip.com/modplug) and in #modplug on irc.esper.net, so why not drop around ?

3. Although OpenMPT can work with just about any sound device that Windows supports, you'll find that using an ASIO device will make tracking easier, as you can lower the latency right down. There are many relatively inexpensive sound cards available that support ASIO -- head over to the ModPlug Central forums (lpchip.com/modplug) to find out more.

4. OpenMPT runs on every version of Windows since 98, including 7. It can make effective use of everything from a Pentium 100 to the $20,000 beast that guy in your office keeps bragging about.
OpenMPT also runs on Linux via the use of Wine (minus a few functionalities).

5. Although OpenMPT has good support for VST and VSTI plugins, it can't handle them all. If you find that you have a plugin that doesn't work, try using Xlutop Chainer (xlutop.com) -- it's not free, but it enables OpenMPT to handle every plugin you can imagine. As an added bonus, it greatly enhances OpenMPT's plugin i/o routing capabilities.

6. If you open the "About" screen, then press and hold [Ctrl], [Shift], [4], [PgDown], [Right Arrow] and [P] whilst frantically hitting the [\] key at a rate of no less than 2Hz for at least thirty seconds, pretty much nothing will happen. Except maybe injury.



I think this would ease the learning curve of OpenMPT, complementarily to the future Help file by Harbinger. I think it's also good to have info embedded offline in OMPT, as internet connexions are not always working... (personally I don't have windows connected, I use linux to go online).
I'm willing to write more of them, so what do you think ?

Offline LPChip

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2009, 08:19:02 »
Great idea! :)

I'll move this to the OpenMPT Request section, as this is some kind of request.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline Saga Musix

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 12:30:31 »
If a bigger tip list could be compiled (feel free to add more tips to this topic) - hell yes, why not!
» No support, bug reports, feature requests via private messages - they will not be answered. Use the forums and the issue tracker so that everyone can benefit from your post.

Offline machinesmith

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 14:48:24 »
Oh NICE! Its been a while since I visited the forums - This is an AWESOME suggestion, Paul man YOU are teh love!

Offline Paul Legovitch

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2009, 16:08:45 »
Much love to you machinesmith :oops:

Ok then, I'll be posting some more tips here, I'll try to keep them short and clear.
Jojo, what would you consider a good total number of tips ? I'd say around 40.

Offline Saga Musix

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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2009, 16:21:28 »
The more the better :D
» No support, bug reports, feature requests via private messages - they will not be answered. Use the forums and the issue tracker so that everyone can benefit from your post.

Offline Sam_Zen

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2009, 00:46:15 »
Excellent idea.
And so far you succeeded in being short and clear, so please continue this, PL !
0.618033988

Offline Rakib

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2009, 01:35:43 »
If this is implemented, I would say: very good!
But this feature must also be able to be turned off.
^^

Offline Saga Musix

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2009, 01:50:27 »
Well, I at least know no program that has a "tip of the day" feature that's not "turn-offable".
» No support, bug reports, feature requests via private messages - they will not be answered. Use the forums and the issue tracker so that everyone can benefit from your post.

Offline Paul Legovitch

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2009, 23:29:05 »
I've updated the list in the first post to throw and organize tips that still need to be written  / rewritten.

Some new ones :
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - You can use your PC keyboard as a 3 octave piano.
If notes are not correclty assigned to your keys, go to the keyboard tab of the setup (Ctrl+F1) and select "Pattern editor - Note Col".
In the main toolbar, you can select an octave to transpose your keyboard (shortcuts available in keyboard setup : "Global keys")
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - cursor navigation in the pattern editor :
In the setup window (Ctrl+F1 : general) you can select the behaviour of the cursor.
Cursor wrap : past the last row of the pattern, the cursor wraps back to the first row.
Continuous scroll : past the last row, the cursor jumps to the next pattern.
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - sample editor (sustain loop) :
For a guitar sample you can set a sustain loop after the attack : when notes are released with a note-off event (==) the sustain loop is ignored and you can hear the end of the sample (idealy a string release sound).
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - sample loops :
Forward loops should start and end at the same height to avoid click sounds.
Bidirectional loops should be set at horizontal points or on symmetric axis of the waveform.
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - modplug live
When playing a module, Modplug allows you to create a live performance :
* improvise : select an instrument and play live (select 2 instruments with keyboard split)
* alter the sound : change instrument settings (like filters) in real time, edit or redraw samples.
* mute channels on transitions : Ctrl+left click on the channel label (or right click menu).
* Loop or unloop the current pattern (shortcut available in keyboard setup Ctrl+F1)
* Drag and drop the next pattern order in the tree view.
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - Pattern editor :
When you enter a note, you can specify 2 different effects.
A row is composed of : note / instrument / note effect / channel effect
|... .. ... ...|
|D#5 07 v30 H4A|
|... .. ... ...|
Note D#(octave 5), instrument 7, effect v (volume) set to 30, effect H (vibrato) set to 4A.
Code: [Select]

Tip#XX - Channel effects have hexadecimal values :
0, 1, ..., 9, A(10), B(11), C(12), D(13), E(14) and F(15).
Examples :
22 (hexa) is 2*16 + 2 = 32 (in decimal)
4B (hexa) is 4*16 + 11 = 75
FF (hexa) is 15*16 + 15 = 255 (the maximum value)

Please comment if one of these is unclear or not accurate.
Grammar naz... specialists are also welcome to help. :D

To be continued...

Offline Sam_Zen

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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2009, 04:21:09 »
Quote
Forward loops should start and end at the same height to avoid click sounds.

It's a nice advice, but technically not enough. It should say :
"Forward loops should start and end at a zero level (half height) to avoid click sounds."
Otherwise any DC offset will cause a click at the start. And at the end if looping is disabled.
0.618033988

Offline Saga Musix

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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2009, 06:28:22 »
Sam_Zen: First of all, DC Offset can be removed in the sample editor, so that's of no concern. Also, this has not much to do with loops, because they don't care about DC Offset. You can even set the loop points at the maximum height, they only have to be at the same height.
» No support, bug reports, feature requests via private messages - they will not be answered. Use the forums and the issue tracker so that everyone can benefit from your post.

Offline Sam_Zen

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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2009, 07:31:35 »
I accept that.
0.618033988

Offline LPChip

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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2009, 12:08:31 »
I would try to not use shortcut keys as much as possible because they're customizable. I bet it will be hard to implement proper support for finding out which shortcut key is set in someone's config.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline Saga Musix

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2009, 14:36:42 »
Not really. How do you imagine are f.e. the context menus built? They also contain the shortcut keys. That's absolutely no problem.
» No support, bug reports, feature requests via private messages - they will not be answered. Use the forums and the issue tracker so that everyone can benefit from your post.