Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ardour 4 Visual Theming and Customization

Ardour has had various ways of customizing the interface since...I don't know...sometime before I started using it.  Newly released Ardour 4.0 has a Theme tab in the preferences dialog that looks like this.

The Items tab, within the Theme tab, features an extensive list of GUI elements with customizable colors.  This includes buttons, text, backgrounds, mixer elements and other fiddly things from all around the visible parts of Ardour.  To change one click the chiclet shaped example in the Color column on the right of the dialog.  A palette will appear from which you can choose a different color for that piece of the Ardour interface.

For example, this is what waveforms in one of my projects look with Ardour 4.0's default colors.

This is what they look like with the "waveform fill" element set to a vivid purple.

A little more fun.  A lot harder on the eyes.  How about a change I honestly want, for myself, for a practical reason?

I want my marker lines to catch my eye more.  I use them to show beats and bars who's lines are no longer visible when I'm zoomed out.  Here are some with the default theme.

Here are the same markers in canary yellow.  

In some cases this would be too bright and distracting.  For how I usually use them, it's probably about right.  If I'm not content with this exact shade of yellow I can modify Ardour's pallete.  Each available color can be changed to any other color[1] using an RGB color selector.

Not yet satisfied you have the power to screw up the nicely designed interface of a staggeringly powerful audio app?  There's more!  You may have noticed the Transparency tab in my previous screen shot.  I'm not going to dig into this very deeply, just demonstrate what the first slider does.

Here are the same regions I showed before, and all of Ardour 4's transparency defaults.

Here is that screen with the waveform gradient turned all the way up.

I would love Ardour without the ability to do these things, or a lot of the other features Ardour offers, but I'm sure as hell not going to complain.

1. To me it looks like standard web colors, complete with six digit hex code.


Domain said...

Can we steal your screenshots for use in the Ardour manual?

DJ Dual Core said...

Please do.