thorwil's fader design

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porl
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i'll probably be hated for this, but the more i think about it the more i think it is important to bring up.

i absolutely love the look of the new fader design thorwil did, however when i look at it and try to picture the mixer from an 'ardour newbie' point of view i think it could be confusing. the faders look too much like level indicators i think, and maybe need to have some sort of visual indication that they are indeed faders (even if it is only on mouseover maybe).

don't get me wrong, it doesn't bother *me* in the slightest. i'm just thinking about newcomers and if it might be a bit confusing to them.

porl

thorwil (not verified)

What do you think is the intention of the structure painted on the
faders?

Anyway, long term usefulness trumps a brief moment of wondering what that thing is big time ;p

breakerfall
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I have to agree with porl. I don't like the look of the faders at all, in fact. They don't resemble faders and the structure that's painted on the faders is hardly indictive of a fader, or even something you can grab and control. The painted structure seems to cover the actual fader and the non-fader area.

I'm basing my opinion on the screenshot http://ardour.org/files/main-screenshot-big.png

I haven't tried ardour2 since it was released, I've only used the beta's... so I'm not giving my opinion, based on useability, but purely on aesthetics. To me, they simply don't resemble controls that can be manipulated in an up-down manner.

thorwil (not verified)

breakerfall: fader and non fader area? these faders have only one area. That's much of the point about them. The problem graphics-wise is indeed to have enough contrast for the level while also expressing that it's one area to click / drag on.

You should try them.

I'm open for suggestions on how else to style them. From people who tried them.

retep
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just my opinion but I think ardours fader design is fantastic after years of using DAW's that have little buttons to aim the curser at I find thorwil's design very refreshing...cheers

porl
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as i said, i certainly don't have a problem with them myself - i think they look great. i'm just wondering about the usability for newcomers. perhaps a 'handle' that appears on mouseover? i don't know really, just thought i'd mention it to see if anyone else has thought the same.

porl

ps. thorwil please don't hate me :) hehe

bennyp
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+1 for thorwil's design.
~bennyp

thorwil (not verified)

porl: no bad feelings. there is no handle to not mislead anyone into thinking he has to aim for it. The presence of a handle on sliders in Blender has been shown to lead people into thinking they have use the handle, while they can in fact drag on the whole slider area.

The mouse cursor could be changed to an up-down arrow on mouse-over.

porl
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The mouse cursor could be changed to an up-down arrow on mouse-over.

that might help. like i said though, i was just saying that it's something to think about. i haven't heard anyone actually complain about it, so it would be very low priority anyways.

porl

bennyp
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While we're throwing ideas around, I've been thinking about the fan sliders idea more and more, and I think that (down the line) it would be really neat to see tiny little faders that explode into full size elements on mouse-over, with neat openGL composite effects
~bennyp

mattb
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Thorwil's design has worked very well for my students. They are younger than me (!) and are not looking for software that looks like hardware, as hardware was not at the heart of their first recording experience. I love the fact that we are not holding on to a design when there are better options in software. It feels great in use too.

thorwil (not verified)

thanks, retep.

mattb: love to hear that, thanks :)
Could you please report about your experiences with your students learning Ardour? It could lead to insight on stumbling blocks that might not be so clear in cases the user and observant are the same person.

grfpopl
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I'd like to say I like thorwil's design. I've never really thought much about them, but I think that's the point. You don't have to think about them to use them. I'm by no means an anvanced user, but I've never wondered how to use them.

I agree with porl that the up-down cursor can be helpful to new users as a visual aid, but I think anything more than that, such as OpenGL effects, is just eye-candy and should be avoided. It takes away from the developers' ability to focus on functionality, and people with slower systems (like me) might not be able to display them at all.

skipkent
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It would be nice to have 'traditional' faders and such as a sort of 'skinning' option somewhere. Off by default, but there for those who want them.

skipkent
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The more I use Ardour, the more I like the faders exactly the way they are. I like that I can grab anywhere on the fader and not have it automatically snap to that position. It's very elegant and functional the way it is.

And elegant stuff is cool...

; )

beta
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I think these faders are not ok with a control surface.

Yes, if used with the mouse, they're beautiful and functional.

So, is there an option for have the faders looks more like the real ones?

muzicman0
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I also think an option would be nice. I'm coming from years of doing 'other' DAWs, and I'm just used to seeing some handle...I've often wondered why there isn't.

Obviously, this is a minor issue, but it would be nice.

mm0

thorwil
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beta: I don't see why there would be a problem with this faders and using a control surface.

muzicman(): there is no handle, because there is no special target area. You can click and drag the fader on the whole area. This larger target means you have to aim less precisely, hence the fader can be operated faster.

Another graphic with knobs would also require other code to handle the different behaviour. This will not happen.

muzicman0
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like I said, it's a minor issue...

beta
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thorwil: the problem is that the moving faders you see on screen are not a good representation, for my eyes and my brain, of what is visually/tactilely happening on the control surface..
And because there I dont use the mouse, the functional need of this (beautiful) "level-indicator" design is no more an issue.

I was only trying to understand if this control-surface (with faders!) / fadersonscreen-design "visual fight" is a thing that annoys just me..

Anyway, I'll try to make a patch for this option,
and if you think that its useful I'll post..
or should I join the developer area?

Thanks.

[Great product, Ardour.]

thorwil
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beta: you have to ask Paul Davis if he would accept such a patch. Best come into #ardour on irc-freenode.net, he's there as "las" or "ardour".

breakerfall
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Anybody can write whatever patch they want!

Beta, feel free to patch Ardour to your hearts content. There's no guarantee that any of your patches will be committed into Ardour, but if they're publically available, then anybody who wants them, can use them. You don't need permission from anybody to write patches against Ardour.

As I've already stated in this thread, I'm not a great fan of the new fader design. Having a larger area with which to click on to control a fader isn't something I've ever found myself needing. If you want to change fader values easily and quickly, you use a control surface. Also, like with any interface design, there are general rules that one should try to follow. Stick to known, tested and implemented techniques and methods. It removes the need to re-learn an interface each time you switch between applications. Even in web-development, it's a key rule. Use concepts that your visitors will already be used to. Don't have menu's and navigation working completely different to how people expect, don't change the way drag and drop works, etc...

But hey, that's my opinion. Beta, if you were to patch Ardour to use the old-style faders, you would have one additional user here. =]

beta
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Ok, thanks for pointing this out..

I absolutely need this patch/option for myself, and if I succeed the patch will be publically available.

In fact, I'm just installing now ardour 2.3 on a test gentoo-pc,
hope to finish the thing next week, must do some study in gtk.. and then I'll post it here.

porl
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i look forward to seeing the results :)

i'm a bit two sided with the new faders. i think they are a good idea in some respects, but i like old fashioned looking faders, makes me feel more 'at home' :)

i think one of the things ardour needs to focus on in future (as i have said in other threads) is a more modern look and feel. i started playing around with the gtkrc file at one point, but i haven't had any time lately, so it has stagnated somewhat.

porl

ps. i think logic's fader design is a good compromise between 'obvious and easy functionality' and speedy use (i think i remember it working like thorwil's faders, with click-anywhere-to-use functionality). i think they look prettier too :)

thorwil
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I did not say anyone needs permission to make a patch for Ardour. But it's no fun to maintain a patch and if you want something to get into the official line, you have to ask Paul. I figured one might want to consider this before starting to write something.

breakerfall: by far not everyone has a control surface. Making sliders harder to hit because of some "general rules" is just silly. I noticed people tend to either mention conventions or play them down depending on their agenda of the day.

porl: do you mean sliders as on http://www.musicianslife.de/bilder/logic8/Logic-Abbildung6b.jpg?
With those, I wouldn't know if you can click and drag anywhere, if clicking the handle allows numerical entry and whether the handle can be dragged or not. Wouldn't take much time hands on to find out, though.
I went through several design iterations until I had something the core team accepted. People who want an alternative should just create one, not blather on and on.

mattb
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Thorwil's faders are great to use with a mouse; I can't comment on their functionality with a control surface. Is the issue one of quickly seeing the current setting? Would having a coloured strip or greater contrast between the lighter and darker sections help?

The faders as they are don't require the user to re-learn anything; they are still faders. You also can't make anything better if you stick to conventions; I agree that conventions are useful, but Pro Tools et al were designed to help ease the transition from tape to DAWs. We are probably past that point now.

I like Logic's faders too, but I don't want Ardour to look or feel like Logic. The current faders make a visual impression as well as being very functional, and I like that.

porl
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those were the faders i mean. don't get me wrong though, i have no issue using the current faders whatsoever. my original questions for this thread were answered long ago and i don't think it necessary to change them. i do however believe that ardour does look a little dated compared to some of the other programs out there (i especially like the clean look of logic, but that is probably a familiarity thing), but it has been getting better of late. i think if ardour can continue to be improved visually it will eventually pay off with luring more users over (although i know that that is a two edged sword also).

actually, as a side note, is there any way to change the colours in the faders or are they hard coded? i'm at work at the moment so i can't check.

porl

thorwil
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porl: the faders are based on pixel images. I think nostar once wanted to generate the graphics, as they are rather simple, this way allowing to change the colours on the fly. I don't know if he actually got around to that.

beta
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porl:
in source tarball there are 2 files:
./gtk2_ardour/icons/fader_belt.png [mixer window]
and
./gtk2_ardour/icons/fader_belt_h.png [editor window].

If you [backup first..] modify these 2 files changing colors with gimp
or another program, and then recompile ardour,
[maybe using scons --implicit-deps-unchanged to speed-up]
you'll have the faders with new colors.

porl
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thanks. i know that i can change pretty much anything if i delve into the source (i played with the fader colours before they made them customisable), i was just curious to see if they were able to be easily changed to work with customised themes without making someone compile a custom version.

thanks guys

porl

beta
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I'm a total idiot.
Spent hours digging in code, when its enough to change 2 pngs.
[and was also wrong.. no need to recompile for changing faders-design]

Here are my controlsurface-friendly vertical faders:

tightened faders

wide faders

Here is the fader "source" of the 2 above imgs:
put this image in /usr/local/share/ardour2/icons/fader_belt.png [no need to recompile!]

I'll make another horizontal one, and maybe a patch for changing faders-design whithout restarting ardour.