Routing Matrix Conception

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Anonymous

Work on a routing matrix implementation started, based on my earlier abstract concept with rotated labels. So it's time to get into details:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/matrix-2/

Feedback welcome ;)

thorwil (not verified)

One thing is clear already: the "Show" options are just wrong, since "Busses and "Tracks" can only be shown if "Ardour" is on. I intend to switch to checkboxes for "Busses", "Tracks" and "Hardware" (instead of "System").

philicorda
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Looking good.
Are you considering making a way to assign the outputs of multiple tracks at the same time?
It would be very handy when you want to put all drum tracks, bvox or whatever to the same bus.

thorwil (not verified)

philicorda: thanks. yes, could be done by allowing the legend items to be Ctrl or Shift selected, working similar to editing with multiple selected tracks in the editor.

thorwil (not verified)

Update: http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/10/16/matrix-3/

thorwil (not verified)

Update, with new details:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/matrix-4/

thorwil (not verified)

Little tweaks and a version for Inputs:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/matrix-5/

thorwil (not verified)

Hmm, a monologue. Anyway, on to inserts:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/matrix-6/

porl
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the insert part looks awesome. i like how these are clear without resorting to the cliched 'patch cables' look. definitely suits ardour's design approach of making sense without looking like a gimmick :)

porl

thorwil (not verified)

Thanks, porl :)

Just now I wonder if the buttons should be labeled "Add Send"/"Add Return" instead of "Add Output"/"Add Input".

porl
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i think 'add [in/out]put makes more sense here, as there may be confusion otherwise with what they actually do. a 'send' on a console is like a branch, with the original signal continuing on, whereas an insert actually breaks the signal. there is also the possible issue that some people might wonder why a 'send' they add in this window doesn't appear in any 'send' windows (not sure if that's clear or not).

anyways, keep up the good work :)

porl

thorwil (not verified)

First mockups for the global variant:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/11/02/matrix-7/

porl
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looking great. i like the first one the best, but the only thing i would suggest is to make the 'on' indicators (can't think of a better word for it at the moment) a bit less blurred and rounded. they look great with the matrix on it's own, but i think they would look a bit out of place in the subtle-highlight world of ardour.

porl

thorwil (not verified)

Thanks and glad you like it, porl, but it has been found to be too busy. Leading to:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/11/03/matrix-8/

porl
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one way to do it might be to use the subtle single coloured boxes, but have them change to the 2-colour boxes on mouseover, with perhaps the row and column also taking the colours to allow easy sighting. that way if you are unsure of something due to an excessively complex routing matrix you can just move your mouse around to see. it would also be an easy way to show which two inputs/outputs a particular grid cell will connect. this should be slightly transparent to allow you to see the connections underneath, and this also allows you to see if the cell is on or off.

i know this is probably not that clearly worded, so i'll try to make some mockup hacks of your images:
(hope these appear properly)

mouseover inactive cell:

mouseover active cell:

hope this makes sense :)

porl

ps. the images are hosted on my own home adsl connection, so apologies if they are slow. if necessary i can move them elsewhere if someone wants me to.

thorwil (not verified)

porl: Nice. There will definitively be some highlighting, likely row and column from crosspoint to source and destination like here. Your version works fine in the mockup, but would do less so with darker track/bus colours. So I lean more towards neutral highlighting.

Thanks!

thorwil (not verified)

Here we go again:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/11/04/matrix-9/

thorwil
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Even more, now with "bundle-level" views:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/11/07/matrix-10/

philicorda
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Is a 'bundle' when tracks or busses have the same number of io channels, and so can be represented by a single item in the routing matrix?

I'm not all that keen on the circles for some reason. It feels harder to read than the lighter squares in this one for instance:
http://thorwil.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/matrix_global_03_a.png

The faint grid lines, some of which are slightly lighter to emphasise which rows belong to which track, do make a lot of sense to me. Anything to help the eye getting lost in a grid is a bonus IMHO.

thorwil
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philicorda: a bundle is a track, bus, device or application. so it's a logical bundle of ports :)

Paul likes the circles.

Glad to hear the different line widths work.

porl
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definitely looking good. the circles have grown on me :)

offtopic, but what happened to you account?

porl

thorwil
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porl: I accidentaly deleted it when I actually meant to kick a bloody spammer :}

thorwil
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Mute, solo, rec buttons and stuff ;-)
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/11/08/matrix-11/

cbreeze34
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Holy crap, this is a sweet thread. I had no idea this brainstorming was going on. You are singlehandedly reinventing the routing matrix and mixer abstractions. I'm pumped to see the results in action!

thorwil
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cbreeze34: heh, thanks!

Continued:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/11/10/matrix-12/

porl
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i love the last mockup on matrix-12 (matrix_global_07_e.png). it is pretty much exactly what i had in mind :) the mute, solo and record buttons are spot on, i wouldn't change a thing. the only (incredibly minor) thing i would suggest is to change the 'right mouse' cell highlight thingy from an old-fashioned looking dotted rectangle (reminds me of win9x days) ;) to a slightly faded copy of the 'normal mouse' cell indicator thingy. the way they are now just seems to stick out in an unappealing way compared to the rest of the screen.

as i said though, this is an extremely minor issue - it is looking great :)

porl

edit: oops, i didn't see the gain levels screenshot.. i really like that idea, although i'm not sure paul will think it is necessary ;) what about implementing that idea somehow in the arrange window? i still think there needs to be some sort of toggleable mini-mixer view with the arrange window (like sonar does, but not as elaborate, as there is the editor-mixer panel for more advanced work).

thorwil
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porl: The dotted line style should help to link the framed info text with the rectangle(s). A faded copy wouldn't work for this. Plus the contrast can be kept high this way.

The gain levels are not exactly necessary ;)
But the next thing right after solo/mute that could lead to other than the expected results when changing connections would be the levels ...

I'm thinking about having (optionally) 2 mixer strips on the right for source and destination. Plus a cell cursor working like in a spreadsheet.

Let's not get into the editor or any other window (except if it's about some interoperation).

Thank you, porl!

porl
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i think the 2 mixer strips is a great idea. maye have the input on the left of the matrix dialog and the output on the right? or what about having the gain levels show in the matrix cell somehow, since the 'gain level' is really only valid for one output, not sends etc. maybe some of the ideas you tried in the midi mockups for velocity could be adapted?

porl

thorwil
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Yet another one:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/11/12/matrix-13/

porl
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i think keeping the label sections on the bottom but doing the top-aligned text (as in the second shot) is the best of the four, but i like the suggestion of rdoursenaud on your blog to try sources on the top and destinations on the right. i think this feels more familiar to someone used to an analogue desk, with the input channels running top to bottom, and sending the outputs (aux sends etc) towards the groups/busses etc to the right. in fact now that i think about it it feels kind of weird *not* seeing it like that :) it would also save screen space, with the top labels leaning into the space above the right labels.

keep it up! :)

porl

thorwil
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Finally the missing layout variant:
http://thorwil.wordpress.com/2007/12/06/matrix-14/