Last few days I was thinking about the GUI concept. Also I watched a hundred of plugins screenshots and tried to analyze: why do a lot of people dislike photorealistic GUIs for audio plugins?
In short, I found that a lot of photorealistic GUIs in terms of ergonomics has the next 3 problems:
- Glare: All surfaces are polished and looks like very powerful floodlight projectors are behind operator’s back. Glares are even lighter than text labels. To concentrate on parameters the brain starts to ignore glares and soon gets fatigue. In real life the surfaces of devices for serious work are dull, opaque, frosted. No glares. Also the light should be soft if you want to work several hours without burning your eyes.
- Perspective distortions: I don’t know either it’s wrong visual angle setup or lens simulation but surfaces and knobs are crooked. When I work with real hardware device I know it’s really straight. But on the screen it doesn’t look straight. The brain starts to compensate this distortion and gets fatigue. I think the right way is to use isometric projection instead of perspective one.
- Labels font size: If the modelled hardware on the screen were 1:1 scale it should be OK. But the hardware size in plugins is smaller than original. It causes for text labels to be hardly recognizable. I think the right way is to enlarge them a little. It’ll get a little “cartoon-like” look but it’ll be very convenient to work with.
And also GUIs either photorealistic or non-photorealistic often have problems with color scheme choosen, controls layout and fonts used. I mean you can make a bad GUI regardless either it photorealistic or not. 🙂
After hundreds of screenshots I found the best GUIs for my taste (never worked with these plugins though):
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I’m glad to introduce public alpha version of new limiter plugin (codename “Limiter6”)!
This plugin is unique combination of slow RMS-compressor, peak limiter, high-frequency limiter, oversampled clipper and inter-sample limiter. The idea of this combination is “gain staging” when each stage used a little to make a most clean sound.
This is not a plugin with 1 knob and smart brain inside, which allow making your mix 0 dB RMS. All settings are manual and there’re a lot of knobs.
The GUI is a draft yet and will be redrawn to photorealistic military style.
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Today I did version for Mac OS X. Only couple of bugs left to fix. So the public alpha version soon will be available!
Check this screenshot ^^
I’m continuing my experiments with new plugin to prepare public alpha version. You can check my test of using it on master.
This is my old work for Sound on Sound “Flags” remix competition. Just mixdown. No mastering processing. “Molot” was the only type of compressor used for this mix.
(as usual I recommend you do not press “play” and listen soundcloud’s encoded mp3 but download wave file by pressing “arrow down” button)
And this is my try to use new limiter plugin on master.
This is the screenshot of settings (public alpha will come soon and you’ll be able to try it).
And also Sound on Sound’s Mike Senior version of remix just for kicks.
Check also this:
And a note about last freeware compressors released. I like these compressors very much:
I’m experimenting with usage of new plugin as dynamics processor effect in mixing to try to make presets and to find its weakest points. A year ago I tried to use only Molot in test mixes and now I try to use the new plugin.
It is an interesting test. To compare the character of new plugin with Molot I used both of them for 8 track drum record which is the part of the mix I was experimenting with.
NOTE: These are soundcloud links but don’t press “play” button because due to mp3 soundcloud’s encoder they contain a lot of encoding artifacts. Just download these records (as 32-bit waves ~70 Mbytes each, press “arrow down” button to do it) and then listen to them.
#1. Molot compressor. Presets “kick”, “snare”, “overheads”, “room”, “DRUM BUSS”, “Master BUSS” were used. The sound is… aggressive and hammering! 🙂
#2. New plugin was used for kick, snare, room tracks and drum and master busses. The sound is… For me it’s very soft, wide and with a lot of depth.
#3. Molot plus new plugin. Molot plugin was used for kick, snare, overheads and room tracks. New plugin was used for drum and master busses. For me these plugins are like the best friends 🙂
Also the screenshot of settings that were used: