Consistent Workflow and One Clip Type in Playlist

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Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:09 pm

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Consistent Workflow and One Clip Type in Playlist

This is a very detailed request, but I think could solve many issues that frequently are brought up as "to do" topics from time to time: Organizing, Hard to Locate specific Audio and Automation Channels in Channel Rack, Recording, Working with Audio and Automation in FLS, and Workflow. So here goes.

One of the recurring feature requests is to make the Playlist linear where a user wants it, and people who are used to the workflow of FL Studio aren't always keen to such suggestions, despite needs for linear relationships in recording environments and master-slave relationships with patterns/audio and automation. One of the things that makes Playlist workflow a little frustrating for me is how editing different types of information has to be done in multiple windows in different ways depending on the type of clip in the Playlist, and how hard it is to maintain inherent relationships with audio and automation clips. Here is the current behavior:

• Click Pattern Clip (Playlist) -> Piano Roll Active Window (Channel Rack shows Pattern Clicked on with Channel Selector behavior a little unpredictable depending on if only one channel has data)
Current Workflow-Pattern.jpg

• Click Audio Clip (Playlist) -> Channel Wrapper for Audio Clip is Active Window (Channel Rack Shows Audio Clip Group with Channel Selector on Clip)
Current Workflow - Audio.jpg

• Click Automation Clip (Playlist) -> Channel Wrapper for Automation Clip is Active Window (Channel Rack shows Automation Clip Group with Channel Selector on Clip).
Current Workflow-Automation.jpg

As you can see there is pretty different behavior when you compare the clicking on the Pattern Clip in the Playlist to clicking on the Audio and Automation Clip in the Playlist. Specifically, you can fine tune the Pattern Clip a lot by clicking on the Pattern Clip and getting into the Piano Roll (Notes and Automation), and you can use the Channel Selector to cut, copy and paste notes to other generators and patterns. However, the user can barely do any editing intuitively with the Audio and Automation Clips outside of the Playlist. With respect to Automation Clips, there is no information aside from the Automatically Generated Clip Name to understand what the automation clip is modifying, and the channel wrapper could certainly be improved to indicate such information.


After much vetting with my Playlist Improvements thread viewtopic.php?f=600&t=149898 I think a more natural progression for FL Studio is to keep the playlist relatively the same with some improvements (e.g., greater vertical zoom, better locking of lanes, collapsible hierarchy/folder lanes, separate mute/solo (although they have a temporary fix with lock LEDs in 12.3 coming)), with one major difference to have only one Playlist clip type to rule them all, rather than three different clip types with different behaviors and different workflows. What this would do is make the Channel Rack a more powerful linear display that can be edited further in the piano roll, and piano roll like editors for audio and automation. Thus:
• Click on Playlist Clip -> Channel Rack displays Only Channels with Data (Notes, Automation, Audio) where Roll for top Channel is Active Window
New Workflow - Audio.jpg

Additional Channel Rack and Piano Roll/Piano-type Roll Features

In order to do this the Channel Rack and Piano Roll and Piano-type Rolls would have to be able to have more functions and features to accommodate displaying and editing audio and automation. The Channel Rack is naturally linear, and has a display to designate mixer track routing. One of the current features of the Channel Rack and its relationship to audio and automation clips in the Playlist is a long list of Channels that have no visual reference in the Channel Rack Patterns. Moreover, when you create unique instances of automation of the same parameter and audio which does not need different mixer routing you still create different channels. Here are the features that would make the concept of one clip type very workable:

Less Unique Instances - Ability to manipulate the same audio and automation Channels in different patterns, there would be less need for so many unique instances and there would also be visual reference for audio and automation in the Channel Rack - so that you know what automation and audio channels you are using. You could still create unique instances if you wanted and needed to (e.g., different mixer track for audio). Another benefit would be that you could keep audio and automation related to that audio in the same pattern, which is consistent with the way you can keep automation with MIDI (albeit through the Piano Roll) in current pattern clips. This would make the Playlist to Channel Rack workflow the same and would allow someone to keep things organized in a linear fashion in the Channel Rack, especially when adding some hierarchy structure to the Channel Rack.

Automation Parameter Channel - Automation Channels would remain if you wanted to control multiple parameters; however, there would be parameter channels that you could think of as Automation Parameter Channels so that you could assign different envelopes to the same parameter for a particular pattern.

Audio Roll - The Piano Roll or a Piano-type Roll for Audio would be where users could edit in fine detail audio, automation and pitch/notes. This would include slicing up audio clips so that you only have the audio you want in that pattern, the ability to stretch the particular slice or the entire audio file, the ability to pitch a particular slice up or down (via the piano roll-like editor - similar to Newtone), and an Edison type interface and/or automation clips below the roll (you can toggle the automation, and Edison on and off). This also would add the ability to warp the audio with markers in Edison (i.e., stretching between points, not necessarily the same stretch percentage for the entire audio file).

Hierarchy in the Channel Rack - you could use folder/tree structures to collapse subchannels in the channel rack, and any automation created in the piano roll, or piano-roll type editor would automatically be included as a automation subchannel in the channel rack (see graphic below showing automation parameter channels in the channel rack that also show up in the piano roll).

Enhancing the Piano Roll display to include Automation Envelopes in a playlist like manner (with multiple parameters visible below the notes would be a really nice enhancement), and these parameters would also show up in the channel rack as subchannels with the envelope shown in the Channel Rack display. Automation tied to effects on a particular mixer track would show up as an grouping of subchannels that could be expanded and collapsed as slaves to a mixer folder channel .

Dedicated Channel Wrapper Window to Manipulate Plugins

There should be an option for a static wrapper window that appears in a user designated space (much like the playlist, mixer, piano roll, channel rack, and browser), that has several options:
1) only shows the active or last active wrapper and includes cycle buttons to cycle through the all of the wrappers for the project;
2) Has a rack like structure that allows you to scroll through wrappers, and set filters for the rack display;
3) A Workspace option to make a stable window environment for certain interfaces that allow drag and drop of audio slices (such as dragging from Edison into FPC, Edison into Harmor, etc.)

Playlist Enhancements and Behavior with One Clip Type

Cycle Active Channel Data in Clip for Editing - Editing audio and automation would still be possible in the Playlist, while adding the ability to edit MIDI in the playlist - user can use clip focus to designate what they wish to edit (a cycle button and/or drop down on the clip could also be used to cycle through the different channel data in the clip for editing in the Playlist - again it's a matter of workflow consistency - why make only audio and automation editable in the Playlist while MIDI is done in a separate Piano Roll). This would require more vertical zoom in the playlist, and an ability to turn on a Inline Piano Roll.

Musical Time Indicators - indicators on a clip that display musical time so that it is immediately clear where the slice of a clip comes from in comparison to the entire clip - this would be most useful for long clips that have been sliced up (especially if you are working with slicing up multiple stems of equal length that you want reference points for).

Stretch Mode Indicators - indicators on clips to indicate if you are in stretch mode to prevent unwanted stretching. Stretch mode would be applied to all data, and you could set option to prompt you to create new unique pattern when stretching (in order to preserve original pattern in other parts of the project).

Better Locking Feature - ability to set permissions for Playlist lanes that prevents clips not permitted for being dropped or inserted in the lane. Option for prompt to come up if you attempt to drop a clip not permitted in the lane, which asks: (a) add to permission; (b) insert subgroup lane with this clip; (c) insert new lane with this clip; or (d) cancel. Why? The current lock system doesn't really lock things out from being dropped in a locked lane, and doesn't really work consistently with painting or drawing only the locked content in that lane. Sometimes you just want the ability to lock a lane completely down from anything else.

Separate Solo/Mute Buttons - I know that they have introduced a new solo/mute feature, but that is viewed as possibly a temporary solution according to the IL team. I think more traditional two button approaches work better, so I suggest the square solo button and the round button as mute.

Easier Clip Management and Use in Performance Mode - having audio and automation combined in patterns makes launching audio and sliced audio a much more straightforward process. Launching audio that has been sliced and arranged or subject to an automation parameter can be a bit of a pain currently in performance mode, unless you render it down first. Keeping it all in a pattern would be a huge improvement.

Ability to Select and Copy Multiple Automation Nodes - the ability to repeat a series of automation points by selecting multiple nodes with a copy and paste function would make repetitive automation edits much quicker, especially if you want to make small changes instead of slicing an automation clip and creating unique instance that crowd the channel rack.


Recording of Audio and Automation is something many of us would like to see improved. In this particular architecture of having a single clip type, the audio and automation would by default be recorded into the currently active pattern in the channel rack. However, the additional option could be added to the mixer track to record audio input and effects on that channel to a specific pattern (i.e., Record to Pattern -> Current (default), New,or {select pattern from existing}). The
"New" pattern option would autoname/autocolor based on the mixer channel name (multiple recordings from this mixer track would auto number), and you could specify this to be the default setting. There should also be a setting in the mixer track to route a specific mixer track recording to a playlist lane: "Place Recorded Pattern in Playlist -> Select Lane (First Empty (default), Insert New Lane on Top, {select lane - only named lanes appear}).
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Last edited by Ayjent on Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:46 pm, edited 16 times in total.

Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:26 pm

2 x

Re: Consistent Workflow and One Clip Type in Playlist

Audio and automation previews in the channel ra...
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Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:14 pm

0 x

Re: Consistent Workflow and One Clip Type in Playlist

The overlay is needed because audio and automat...

Fri May 13, 2016 7:20 pm

0 x

Re: Consistent Workflow and One Clip Type in Playlist

Ayjent wrote:Would people use an Inline piano r...

Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:24 am

1 x

Re: Consistent Workflow and One Clip Type in Playlist

Mister Nosu wrote:Should have posted this in Lo...

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