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Starship Krupa

Clip backgrounds and usability

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Does it seem odd that Cakewalk lightens selected clip backgrounds in Tungsten? This works fine with Mercury, where it gets really light, but in Tungsten, I find that it reduces contrast with the waveform, which is the opposite of what I want. When unselected, an unmuted clip has a nice contrast-y dark background. Select it and you get a lighter background that for me at least, makes it more difficult to see what I'm doing. Also, at the 3-year mark I still find it difficult to tell at a glance what clips are selected but muted, not selected and muted, selected and unmuted or not selected and unmuted. This suggests that it could be improved upon.

Another question: if a dark theme were to offer clip backgrounds that went darker when selected, would you find that confusing? I'm going to be doing this in the versions of my themes that I use myself, but if it would be too confusing for others, I'll fork it and offer alternate versions with Tungsten-style backgrounds.

I'm thinking of doing a Leonard Cohen tribute theme called "You Want It Dark," which would be close to Tungsten, but with 1F1D1C black in place of dark chocolate. Matthew might already have the "none more black" territory staked out, though, I must check.

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Posted (edited)

I think it depends on the foreground colours - I'm currently using (when not using Blue Aston) a very slightly modified Tungsten theme, which just changes clip foreground and background colours (so all I do is merge my theme with Tungsten when necessary and re-save it in the Themes folder).  My clips' backgrounds go lighter and I don't see a loss of contrast (well, technically I do, but it doesn't seem to have a negative effect on the clarity).

So I just tried a quick test, where I darkened the background selection colour (0B0B0C as it happens, but pretty much picked randonly!).  There is more contrast, as expected, but it actually looks worse to me - also, the clip header (Maximise Waveform Height = off) now jumps out as it's light, and the overall effect is a bit unpleasant (to be fair, I think the clip header needs to blend in more with the selected colour anyway, but that's a different matter).

Before and after screenshots attached.

image.png.f8352f60e550291ecc81e79af0b71c18.png

image.png.22a0b07de96aa4ab3f4acf2e1ba6c625.png

UPDATE: I've just noticed the colour in the Theme Editor "Clip Background (selected)" isn't actually used all the time.

Mine is set to #444448, but if I use the colour grabber tool in the Theme Editor to actually grab the colour from a selected clip, it varies from this at the very bottom of a selected clip to #555559 at the top.  Interesting, eh?  The clip header and the unselected clip also similarly gradates.

UPDATE 2: There's also 2 lines added top and bottom of the clip when you select it, in a light colour (I say light, as I can't see how to change it - ideas?), which makes a dark selected clip header look ugly.  To demonstrate, make the selected clip header and selected clip background both black.

Edited by Kevin Perry
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Groan.

@Colin Nicholls, I notice in YLIP that when you demonstrate custom colors for clip fades, they appear as the correct color on your "Normal Selected" clips. I've not found this to be the case on my system. Cakewalk obeys the color choice in unselected clips, but as soon as I select the clip, the fade line turns black.

As you might imagine, the screws with my ambition to go coal black with my selected clips.

I could have sworn that this worked at one point, so anyone else who would like to try it for me, much obliged. Just set your Clip Fades color to any color other than white or black and see how it behaves.

One more thing: how does one go about setting the clip background color for unselected clips? There's a theme item for selected clips, but that seems to be it. Is it "Track view / Clips Pane / Clips / Tracks 1,11,21.<. Background"  and its sisters?

TYLIP warns about the clip backgrounds rabbit hole, but I went and jumped in it because if I can get it sorted the way I want, it will really help.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Starship Krupa said:

I notice in YLIP that when you demonstrate custom colors for clip fades, they appear as the correct color on your "Normal Selected" clips

Yeah, that's a bug in the document. My "Theme Tester" project has clips named "selected" but I have to remember to actually select them when taking screen shots. In the case of that latest addition discussing color prefs, I forgot to select the clips before snipping the image - because I wanted to highlight the clip fade color, I wasn't thinking that the clip name would be misleading in the image. I guess I'll have to fix that, next time I touch that part of the doc.

1 hour ago, Starship Krupa said:

how does one go about setting the clip background color for unselected clips?

Track view / Clips Pane / Clips / Tracks 1,11,21. . Background, etc

You got it.

Edited by Colin Nicholls
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24 minutes ago, Colin Nicholls said:

My "Theme Tester" project has clips named "selected" but I have to remember to actually select them when taking screen shots

I noticed that some of them looked unselected but I wasn't sure. Are your fade lines showing up as none more black on selected clips?

Why o why must there be so many gotchas and fixed elements to theme around?

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We sometimes forget the very complex "Skylight Interface" was originally never intended to be changeable. ;)

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12 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

I noticed that some of them looked unselected but I wasn't sure. Are your fade lines showing up as none more black on selected clips?

Why o why must there be so many gotchas and fixed elements to theme around?

Go ask a coral reef why it isn't a cube.

Yes, if you look in the Case Study section, you'll see screen shots of selected clips and they all show the black clip fade.

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2 hours ago, Colin Nicholls said:

Go ask a coral reef why it isn't a cube.

Ah, a rhetorical question answered by a philosophical statement. Hmm.

Coral reefs aren't talking, and the individuals who started it and formed the bulk of it are mostly long gone.

If they could tell me, I'd guess it would be because it was formed of many small parts over along period of time by many organisms whose primary goal was to survive and thrive rather than conform to ideas of human aesthetics.

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Posted (edited)

And never mind again!

What I would give for a truly white theme ...

 

Edited by Terry Kelley

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6 hours ago, Terry Kelley said:

What I would give for a truly white theme ...

I'm curious what that means to you. Some of Colin's are pretty darn pale, esp. FLIGHT DECK.

There has to be some contrast. I've rejiggered my clip backgrounds for my next releases to this end. I'm very grid-y when I work, so I like to have my gridlines stand out.

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