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Mariano Germán Flores

Is Skylight interface getting obsolete?

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Posted (edited)

We can see these days how Studio One is menacing Pro Tools with stealing its "industry standard" title. I spent very little time trying Studio One, but I'm sure one of the best features it has is the easyness and flexibility of its user interface, mostly in its track view. I'm not talking about its dark background with fluorescent colors which I sincerely don't like it so much, but the capacity that it has to mix a project even minimizing all tracks to tinny color lines. We are also testifying how the latest versions of Cubase, Logic, Tracktion and even Acid are "getting inspired" by that Studio One user interface.

After 9 years of Skylight, do you think Cakewalk should stop looking at Pro Tools as the UI reference, and start to look at the Studio One simplicity?

My personal opinion is no, but at the same time I think Cakewalk GUI needs a drastical reduction of lots of "death" spaces (for instance, the windows borders are excessively wide). This is not for estetical matters, but because it is almost imposible to work confortable with Cakewalk in a 14" screen laptop.

Thanks for your opinions::.

Edited by Mariano Germán Flores
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I have studio one and the main reason I don't use it is because of the ugliness of the UI. I like the browser with the ability to show a snapshot of the UI of the various plug-ins, but other than that I really don't like looking at it at all. Amongst the ugliest of all the alternatives IMO.

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11 minutes ago, paulo said:

I have studio one and the main reason I don't use it is because of the ugliness of the UI.

Same here, I also have Studio One but don't use it anymore because I hate the interface, never really got on with it. Too dark and you can only change that a little, I don't like the flat interfaces. The industry seems to be moving towards dark and flat interfaces, I hate them.

At 7.00am in the morning if I am working with audio, I don't like to be confronted with a black interface. I use the Mercury and then late at night maybe switch to the Tungsten (sometimes).

I do have to have Studio One on the laptop because as pointed out, Cakewalk will not run properly on a small interface. Still both these are better than Cubase that will not even run unless you have the aero running (which i don't like).

I don't know if Skylight is obsolete but I hope that whatever changes they do make, they retain the option of a lighter colored interface.

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6 minutes ago, Tezza said:

Too dark and you can only change that a little, I don't like the flat interfaces. The industry seems to be moving towards dark and flat interfaces, I hate them.

The trend to dark interfaces is mainly because of so many people using smartphones. Black pixels draw virtually no current with AMOLED displays, so it extends battery life (this isn't about brightness, which is the case with LCDs; it applies only if the pixel is true black). 

Anyway with Studio One, you can have a more Mercury-like interface by going Options > General > Appearance and changing the Luminance controls to positive values. The higher the values, the brighter the interface. Also, you can turn off "Colorize Channel Strips" if you don't like the colors, or reduce saturation to make them more muted. HTH.

As to Cakewalk on a laptop, screensets are very helpful for hiding and showing elements to optimize the available space.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Craig, yes I have spent weeks fiddling with Studio Ones display controls but never end up with an acceptable situation, you can only brighten the arrange window and piano roll together, everything else is set, the surrounding GUI and track headers (unless you use the color controls but there is no default light color). When you do change the arrange window then you start to get other problems with the playback  line and cursor disappearing and the transparency of the automation lines looking strange. Also, the Presence instrument that comes with Studio One is all black.

The icons and transport controls and sliders for the arrange and piano roll windows are very small and dark.

I prefer DAW's that respect their users enough to supply a functioning light default color scheme as an option, one that has been worked out by the DAW's graphic artist, that blends in properly. Not just to supply a black color scheme and then say all the people who want a brighter interface need to fiddle with the controls.

I would say with Studio One that how I have the piano roll now is really nice and clean and light, might put that in as a feature request to be added to the Mercury theme here.

Edited by Tezza

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It is still the best looking interface on the market.  Not sure what this nonsense about being obsolete about. 

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Posted (edited)

Question: Didn't Cakewalk and a lot of other software makers go with gray and less vibrant contrasting colors because over time the high contrast colors cause eye fatigue?

I'm pretty sure Cakewalk said that was the reason they went with the current gray and duller colors.

 

Sorry if I derailed the original topic.

Edited by razor7music

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22 minutes ago, razor7music said:

Question: Didn't Cakewalk and a lot of other software makers go with gray and less vibrant contrasting colors because over time the high contrast colors cause eye fatigue?

That can be an issue, and is a matter of preference for some people. However, a dark interface is preferable when doing audio-for-video work, otherwise you can get a false sense about the video's brightness and color. 

What's great about Cakewalk's Theme Editor is that if you have the time, you can make the look however you want...or at the very least, download some of the user-contributed ones (some of which are quite wonderful).

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Posted (edited)

I totally groove on the skylight interface and don't want to see it go anywhere.  As for the minimizing tracks to skinny lines, Cakewalk has had that for many years, called the Navigator view.  One author's book referred to that view reminding him of the 1980's video game "Defender", which it actually does resemble if you were around then and remember the game.  :)

Regarding colors, I actually do prefer X3 Producer look with the greys, over the new CbB dark theme.  I've voiced my opinion on soft synth colors, numerously and for years all over the web.  The developers seem to love eye fatigue to the max always using very dark colors for their themes, go figure.

Lastly, if you're going to use your DAW seriously, then by all means get a 2nd monitor which Cakewalk takes advantage of in the best of ways.  Even if your main PC is a laptop, get a 2nd monitor.  You can have your Track view on your primary monitor and have your Bus Controls maxed out on your 2nd monitor and when you need it, click B for Browser and I for Inspector, and your workflow should be primo.

Edited by Toddskins

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11 hours ago, Mariano Germán Flores said:

My personal opinion is no, but at the same time I think Cakewalk GUI needs a drastical reduction of lots of "death" spaces (for instance, the windows borders are excessively wide). This is not for estetical matters, but because it is almost imposible to work confortable with Cakewalk in a 14" screen laptop.

I fully agree and it relates to this post from January as well but  I still have to open Sonar 8.5 occasionally and it's surprising how much more compact it is . More tracks, faders, busses fit on my screens and yet everything is clearer to my eyes.  Modern GUI design seems to be very 'flat'..muted colours and not much sense of 'depth'... whereas they use to be a little more photorealistic in the past which is easier to work with IMHO. I think I remember reading somewhere years ago the reason everything was more spread out is it allowed for better touch screen use. 

If they were going to overhaul it some sort of scaleable vector based GUI would enable losless resizing of things such as the faders mentioned in the post below  

 

 

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I think there are aspects if skylight that are cool and some about studio one that are.  Overall, I think I prefer studio one.

I think the individual controls in skylight look good/cool.  It's when you have a while screen full of them that it gets to busy and cluttered looking to me.

I prefer the darker (bit quite black) scheme's personally so that elements that I want to stand out actually do.  That separation again makes an interface look less cluttered and more focused to me . Studio one could use a little live in this way.

Studio one also lacks the ability to control anything other than macro level changes, so even though there are a lot of choices there are still only a small number of them that work overall in my opinion.

On the other wand, skylight theme editor is so complicated to get around to actually build a whole theme is a huge labor.  It's not just about changing a few major colors and calling it done.  It seems like you can either use the regular options and have the ability to change 10 to (exaggerated), when you try to get into the theme editor you have to edit 1000 elements just to get enough done to not look like you quit half way and it probably still won't be complete...forget about changing out actual graphics, like knobs and such.  And this all assumes you can even locate the elements that You want changed.

No gui us perfect.  Unfortunately, it seems that developers spend a ton of time on features and very little if any on gui.  Of course people would complain about the opposite as well.

Seems like studio one would have better options and Cakewalk would simplify the theme editor to be more approachable and also release some new themes once in a while.

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I really like the skylight interface, especially the multidock. When using studio one I've had to undo a duplication more than once 🤨

If cakewalk could fully save the gui state it would be better. In my experience, the height of tracks in folders, the browser, and bus pane all get reset when reopening a project.

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I find the colors in current Cakewalk to be acceptable, but still prefer the original color schemes possible with Sonar 3 up to Sonar 8.5.  Since X1, the colors have been less inspirational and somewhat bland.  

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My 0,05 €: Cakewalk interface beats Studio One. S1 font size is too small (not tweakable?) and colors can't be adjusted enough to suit my taste (more contrast, please). S1 is modern and in many ways it operates smoother than CbB but its interface is too ugly and small printed.

Skylight interface is OK. Freely scalable interface would be cool but I doubt it would be too expensive project to carry out for Cakewalk at this time.

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I like the Cakewalk interface. There is nothing about it that is hindering me in any way. I dont even think about it, which is the best comment I can give on a GUI. It just works. 

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Yeah, I was able to get Studio One because I purchased the FaderPort 16, at after installation I immediately un-installed it, the UI is terrible, and it is definitely not easy like Cakewalk by Bandlab, then I tried MOTU digital performer for windows, again SUCKED big time, at that time I actually started to really appreciate the UI of Cakewalk by Bandlab, if I have one complaint that would be that Bandlab should have kept the name SONAR, because that name is well known in the industry, and I still to this day refer to it as SONAR, Please, Please go back to the SONAR name, I know its trivial but hey think about it, other than that Cakewalk by Bandlab is great, tightened up the code so it wouldn't crash in windows so much.

Jimi Jones

Taurean Matador Productions

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> Please go back to the SONAR name

Funny.. I like Cakewalk much more. IMO SONAR is is not a beautiful word.
And maybe Bandlab may not use SONAR name. Many other goodies were left behind, like tonsof old plug-ins.  Cakewalk is as well known trademark as SONAR if not even more.

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On ‎4‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 4:53 PM, Mariano Germán Flores said:

do you think Cakewalk should stop looking at Pro Tools as the UI reference, and start to look at the Studio One simplicity

I hope not. im very happy with UI of Cakewalk

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43 minutes ago, Chuck E Baby said:

I hope not. im very happy with UI of Cakewalk

Same here.

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51 minutes ago, panup said:

Funny.. I like Cakewalk much more

So do I.

The by Bandlab bit not so much. Too much of a mouthful IMO.

 

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