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Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

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Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby Anonymous » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:11 pm

Hello. I was using photoshop yesterday and when I later worked on a Nuendo project, it occured to me how useful layers would be for different groups of instruments (rather than have 30+ audio tracks all stacking up vertically). I mean like when you open two projects at once except it's the same project and synchronised. You could have a separate layer for percussion, another for strings, etc, for instance.

I've only used Nuendo(4), so if this is already done in other DAWs I wouldn't know.

Also, I think there should be a lot more visual help for composers, by providing flexible ways of adding information on the screen like you can on a paper score. I mean, I'd love to write (text) notes all over the place to help me remember what the hell I've done to something, or might want to do here and there. Nuendo 4 seems very archaic, but I suppose they don't want to frighten off users. The way around that is surely to offer alternative customisable visual modes (like skins) perhaps that have to be downloaded -perhaps via open source?

By the way, can you save a written log of the history actions? That could be helpful. Or, can you actually save history that can even be used next time you open it up?
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:16 pm

There is already the concept of Photoshop layers in DAWs - they are called tracks - vertically stacking independent content to create the final mix.

*However*, there is one layer/Photoshop/compositing feature that I've said before that I *would* like to see in a DAW - and that is the concept of blend modes for audio.

That could be really interesting - and no ones done it yet...

(If you don't know what blend modes are, they are basically ways of mathematically compositing the current layer/track with the layer/track underneath. By default, a DAW gives you a simple "Add" mode only, but the various other blend modes (subtract, difference, exclusion, multiply, screen and so on with audio equivalents of the mathematical image processing functions) would make tracks modulate each other in potentially interesting ways. What about it, devs?)
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:20 pm

There is already the concept of Photoshop layers in DAWs - they are called tracks - vertically stacking independent content to create the final mix.


But once you get beyond a certain number of tracks with automations, etc, it becomes tedious. That's why I thought it'd be good to have the option of detaching groups of the them to a separate layer. Also, why can't the (volume and panning) automation lanes be on top of the audio image (if you want). It'd save space.

What you suggest sounds interesting! Blend modes... I think it's like on Photoshop when you blend one layer to the one behind by making it +/- transparent, or by choosing the blend options?
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby narcoman » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:22 pm

Always wanted automation playlists for various edits of tracks. Very useful for different mixes....
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:28 pm

J.A.S wrote:What you suggest sounds interesting! Blend modes... I think it's like on Photoshop when you blend one layer to the one behind by making it +/- transparent, or by choosing the blend options?

Yep, in Photoshop, or other image based applications like video stuff (Final Cut, After Effects etc) every layer has a selectable blend mode, which governs how it interacts with the layers beneath it.
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Wave Editor IS Layering

Postby Jeraldo » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:49 am

No one has mentioned Wave Editor (audiofile engineering) yet? Layering is everything Wave Editor is.

For what I do, as compared with other DAWs or "editors," it would take many times longer to do almost anything than it does in Wave Editor.

When I first tried this app, I just didn't get it. At all! Seriously, it was like "what's this thing do?"

Now I would hate to imagine being without it. It can revolutionize the use of plugins. Imagine dragging plugins from layer to layer, or reordering plugins, or setting up an unlimited number of simple delays on different layers to change alignment on main, section, and spot mic's.

Plus there are a lot of freebies hiding in this low priced app-mostly stuff from iZotope, like the SRC with its many options, and relatively sophisticated options for dither.

It has features found nowhere else, and it lacks features found everywhere else.

There are a few bugs-very few in number. When I was without it for several days-due to a bug-I learned how much I like it, bugs and all. The company does provide very speedy and consistent support.

Worth and look. Try it for free.

BTW, I still find it a little hard to get around the name "Wave Editor."

Because it doesn't do any of the things I normally associate with editing!

It's really about mixing via layering-with some high quality processing provided by iZotope.
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:43 pm

J.A.S wrote:
But once you get beyond a certain number of tracks with automations, etc, it becomes tedious. That's why I thought it'd be good to have the option of detaching groups of the them to a separate layer. Also, why can't the (volume and panning) automation lanes be on top of the audio image (if you want). It'd save space.

Sounds a bit like Reaper's grouping system where you can have a whole bunch of tracks appear as just one single track. I'll often use it for stacked vocals or other instruments where there are a few similar tracks.

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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby narcoman » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:50 pm

theres a lovely similar trick in PT on an ICON.

bit of a pricey workaround though!!
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby A. AuCr » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:39 pm

Multiply is essentially ring-modulation; isn't it? That's not an option I'd normally choose...

Compressor side chains are like an opacity control, and whatever is the sidechain key is the 'front' layer (assuming it's audible).
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:01 pm

J.A.S wrote:it occured to me how useful layers would be for different groups of instruments (rather than have 30+ audio tracks all stacking up vertically). I mean like when you open two projects at once except it's the same project and synchronised. You could have a separate layer for percussion, another for strings, etc, for instance.

J.A.S wrote:Also, why can't the (volume and panning) automation lanes be on top of the audio image (if you want). It'd save space.

James has beaten me to it, but the OP seems to have just given a fairly precise description of Reaper!

It does other things as well BTW and many of them are things that no other DAW does and I cannot now live without!
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby narcoman » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:21 pm

...yeah - but so does Cubase and PT to that extent!!! Automation lanes are on top of the audio image in PT and display groups will let you flip between batches of tracks..... The unique stuff that Reaper does is far better than those two!!
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:10 pm

narcoman wrote:. Automation lanes are on top of the audio image in PT and display groups will let you flip between batches of tracks..... The unique stuff that Reaper does is far better than those two!!

In other words, the OP needs to stop using Nuendo and get with the programme! Loads of DAWs do this stuff, one way or another.
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby Guest » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:38 pm

You can have folder tracks in Cubase, if that's what you're looking for J.A.S
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Re: Introducing 'layers' into DAWs...?

Postby molecular » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:41 pm

A. AuCr wrote:Multiply is essentially ring-modulation; isn't it? That's not an option I'd normally choose...

Compressor side chains are like an opacity control, and whatever is the sidechain key is the 'front' layer (assuming it's audible).


Just to add to this line of thought, I reckon what you're after is a vocoder.

EDIT:

... which I suppose is a bit like masking, or something?

I think the problem is, you need to figure out what the different possible ways are for two sounds to interact.

1. Balancing their levels against one another
2. Using one to modulate the level of the other (using e.g. a side-chained compressor/gate/expander)
3. Using one to modulate the tone of the other (using e.g. a vocoder)

What else is there? I don't mean that as a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely interested!
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