Author Topic: Set channel colour in pattern editor  (Read 5739 times)

Offline Paul Legovitch

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« on: November 18, 2009, 23:04:53 »
I'd like to be able to manage channel settings (currently only available in the not-fun-at-all-to-work-with general tab) directly in the pattern editor :

1) Set the name of the channel from the right click menu on the label (see mockup).

2) Add Vol and Pan buttons in the pattern toolbar (like the Fx button, see mockup) to expand/collapse channels' volume and panning settings (to manage these while actually looking at the pattern, also great for live performances).

3) Display a channel color under the label (and if possible in the channel manager) : drums in green, piano chords in purple, echos of a lead in lighter variations, a simple way to organize and group channels.
To keep this unobtrusive, the default color would be the same as the rest of the window (or make it optional).



EDIT
: One can notice the green /*IN TRACK COMMENT*/ which may eventually be another request but has nothing to do with this thread, please don't mind it.

Edit by dev: Renamed thread as one of the features has already been implemented.

Offline Sam_Zen

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2009, 00:52:37 »
Nice ideas. The comment too, by the way,
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Offline jmkz

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2009, 01:21:13 »
I agree too.

Offline Saga Musix

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2009, 08:42:48 »
The first request is actually already usable in SVN code, but there's no official build with that feature yet.
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Offline Paul Legovitch

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2009, 22:50:18 »
It appears that the 1st request, rename channel has been added to the next version, so thank you very much ! :D

Now about the third one, channel color as a way to organize and group channels :
Channel grouping has already been requested before, in various terms as Waxhead recently noted.
I think a channel color under the name could be a good way to handle it :
The color area would have the same behaviour as the name area, but applied to all channels of the same color.

left click on the color area :
    * left click : mute group channels.
    * Ctrl + left click : on transition mute group.
    * Shift + left click : record select group.


right click menu on the color area :
    * set channel color
    * change group color
    --------------------------
    * solo group
    * mute group
    * on transition mute group
    * on transition solo group
    --------------------------
    * record select
    * split record select
    --------------------------
    * lock plugin
    * lock volume
    * lock pan

Set channel color : would open Windows'color popup (or similar) to pick a color for the channel.
Change group color : would change the color of all the channels of the group.
Solo/mute/record select : would be applied to all channels of the same color.
Lock plugin/volume/pan : if checked, adding a plugin to the channel or changing the volume/pan values would be applied to the other channels of the same group.

I think this way channel grouping could be easy and intuitive for the user : pick the same color and there you have a group with all these possibilities (no need to define groups in some kind of group channel manager window).

Offline Sam_Zen

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2009, 03:37:33 »
Nice thinking ! And nicely worked out consequences.

This way of grouping channels by assigned colors has a lot of potential.
It would be e.g. fitting nice regarding another thread, to keep some channels 'sticky' in the pattern view.

This elegant solution definitely confirms my doubts about the present channel manager.
As a matter of fact, my doubts about the existence, so the usefullness of it, anyway..
But I'm biased, because I never used the channel manager. Maybe a poll about this would help.
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Offline Saga Musix

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2009, 06:22:14 »
I don't know about you, but I prefer to save as much vertical space in the pattern editor. Your resolution (at least on the screenshot) appears to be very small, and I'd absolutely hate to have another two unnecessary rows there, since I don't like the fact that the upper panel is already so unnecessarily big.

Quote

This elegant solution definitely confirms my doubts about the present channel manager.
As a matter of fact, my doubts about the existence, so the usefullness of it, anyway..
But I'm biased, because I never used the channel manager. Maybe a poll about this would help.

A poll about what? The channel manager is a great thing, and if one never tries it, one never discovers all its functionality. Being able to move around channels with it is already one of the best features of the channel manager.
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Offline Paul Legovitch

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2009, 17:13:11 »
Quote from: "Jojo"
I don't know about you, but I prefer to save as much vertical space in the pattern editor. Your resolution (at least on the screenshot) appears to be very small, and I'd absolutely hate to have another two unnecessary rows there, since I don't like the fact that the upper panel is already so unnecessarily big.

My resolution is 1024*768, and I also think the upper panel is too big. But this little color box (12 pixels  => 1 row) would not be more intrusive than say the "VU-Meters" with its expand/collapse button. I don't think that's a problem.
Quote from: "Sam_Zen"
Nice thinking ! And nicely worked out consequences.
This way of grouping channels by assigned colors has a lot of potential.
It would be e.g. fitting nice regarding another thread, to keep some channels 'sticky' in the pattern view.

Thanks for your comments, I've read the discussions about hiding channels, pinning channels, etc... very interesting suggestions.

About the channel manager, it may not be perfect but I really like it and use it quite often to move channels around, so I'd say definitely keep it. Like many of the new features added in OpenMPT, it could use a good "Help" section (or at least a startup tip, I could work on that).
Did you know that you can Ctrl-select several channels to move them or apply changes ? Ctrl + left click to select the channels (right click to unselect), then drag them and they will be grouped together where you drop them. Easy as pie.
Actually I think it would be even easier with channel colors. :D
Here's a mockup with colors in the channel manager :



So the channel manager is great, my original thought was that the channel area of the general tab may become obsolete (with its strange way of grouping channels by 4). Also the plugin area of the general tab could be moved at the top since it's where VST users need to add their apps.

Offline Saga Musix

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2009, 18:10:04 »
Quote

My resolution is 1024*768, and I also think the upper panel is too big. But this little color box (12 pixels => 1 row) would not be more intrusive than say the "VU-Meters" with its expand/collapse button. I don't think that's a problem.

If I were running at such a low resolution, I'd sure try to avoid any additional stuff in the height, and such a box is at least one row high. If this is ever going to happen, I'd rather change the background colour of the channel label and not use it as a seperate field.
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Offline Paul Legovitch

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2009, 21:01:21 »
Quote from: "Jojo"
If I were running at such a low resolution, I'd sure try to avoid any additional stuff in the height, and such a box is at least one row high. If this is ever going to happen, I'd rather change the background colour of the channel label and not use it as a seperate field.

If you color to the name box, the black text will be hard to read and most of all you will loose the possibility to have left click and right click actions related to groups.

But let me clarify this a little bit :
I don't use the VU-Meters (I don't know who does), I don't expand it, it doesn't take on my workspace, everything's fine.
I do use the plugin box under the channel name sometimes (for DirectX effects), but once I've set the plugins, I collapse the box and I'm done with it.

Well obviously the color box would work exactly in the same way. Let's say I start a new song, I'm not going to add colors everywhere right from the start, so I don't expand the color box.

Now a few minutes (hours) later, I need to organize : I expand the color box, add the same color for channels I want to group, and maybe I open the channel manager and group channels with the same color (Ctrl left click + drag and drop as said before). Then I can leave the color box closed to work with the track if I need space, no problem.

But now I want to focus on the piano : expand the color box, right click on the color of any piano channels and select solo group. Great, I can hear the piano part, but wait I want to record it : shift + left click on the color box to directly record select all piano channels.

Now I'm done with that, I collapse the damn 12 pixels box (man that takes my space, I can't breathe) and go on with my song.
8)
But wait ! Now I want to go on a live performance with this great pattern with 48 channels : I expand the color box to see my different groups (strings, piano, brass, ...), I select the low display to see more channels : I can't read the channel names but it's easy to keep track of the different groups with these colors.
I hit play... Ok, next pattern I'm loosing all the drums (4 channels) and adding the 8 channels of synth chords along with my cool piano riffs (6 channels) : Shift + left click on a blue box (drums), a yellow box (synth) and a red box (piano). 3 clicks instead of 18...

Vertical space is not a problem : expand... collapse.
:P

Offline Saga Musix

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2009, 21:06:38 »
Well, who says that the text has to be black?
I for once use a lot of features that many people seem to not use, like the treeview (especially with the recently added functionality) and also the VU Meters. They give me a good approximation of what's going on.
It is debatable which features make sense and which don't of course, but such a discussion is useless when it comes to the question "leave it on the inferface or not", as I've recently learned in HCI (Human Computer Interaction): "When in doubt, remove". Which is what I would like to do right away with the split keyboard feature. It's one of the main reasons why the upper panel is so unnecessarily big.
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Offline g

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2009, 21:22:10 »
Quote from: "Jojo"
as I've recently learned in HCI (Human Computer Interaction): "When in doubt, remove".

That could cause some problem with the Human-Human interaction if the feature you remove is already implemented.

Offline Paul Legovitch

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2009, 21:26:24 »
Jojo, please read me right :
Quote
I don't use the VU-Meters (I don't know who does), I don't expand it, it doesn't take on my workspace, everything's fine.


I am for keeping the VU-Meters since it is possible to collapse it.
Expand, collapse... keep it.

I use the tree view very often as I love its drag and drop possibilities and it is possible to collapse it (in fact I'd like a little button next to the "new song" button to open it with the mouse since it's a mouse thing obviously, and I never remember the shortcut).
Expand, collapse... keep it.

You don't like the color box, then you don't expand it.
Expand, collapse... keep it. Well, in this case : please consider creating it :D

The text of the name box can be of another color, fine but as I said you loose every possible group action (solo, mute, record select... ) or need to have a huge right click menu on the name box. Maybe, why not.

PS : You don't like the keyboard split, neither do I... Then please read the fullscreen mode request I'm about to post.

Offline Saga Musix

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2009, 21:47:11 »
I didn't say that you said that they should be removed :P I just wanted to utter that there are indeed people who're using them. :P

Quote
That could cause some problem with the Human-Human interaction if the feature you remove is already implemented.

well, it's not about removing functionality but removing anything that is not necessary from your interface.
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Offline Paul Legovitch

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Set channel colour in pattern editor
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2009, 21:54:48 »
+1 for removing the keyboard split from the panel : I'd rather have it as a popup window  since this is not something you have to use/change very often, and it takes a lot of space in the panel. Keep it, it's great, but not in the panel.

EDIT : Actually an alternative to the color box would be to set the color behind the VU-Meters.



The expand/collapse button already exists, this box is currently available for left and right click actions and the colors are quite visible behind the "meters" (and of course totally visible when the track is not playing).