Some questions about the Transform tool

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davidestevens
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Some questions about the Transform tool

Post by davidestevens »

So...
load an audio file, select the Transform tool. A white box appears around the whole sample, with white dot handles on the sides.

Auto-Activate Layer is on (default). I have no idea what this is doing. If I have 2 layers present, clicking on the waveform doesn't switch the active Layer (in the Layers window), so what does "Activate the layer under the mouse cursor when clicked." mean?

At this point, changing the values in Time Stretching or Pitch Shifting doesn't appear to do anything. Clicking on the spectrograph causes those values to reset to 100%. Similarly for other parameters.

aha! I have to press Return to get the transformation to happen. I had assumed that the operation would occur when I released the mouse after changing a value. And it's only the most recently changed parameter that gets processed.
Oh, that's wierd. Sometimes changing a value (by click and scrolling) _does cause the processing to happen.

Actually, I'm having a really hard time figuring out what the rules are here. Sometimes it seems that scrolling a parameter _is followed by a processing update (without pressing Return).

I'm also finding it difficult to find the dots on the overall selection frame, especially the bottom one (which has now completely disappeared, even if I use the hand to grab and try to move the spectrogram).
A "conceptual" explanation of how the tool functions would be really helpful!

Robin Lobel
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Re: Some questions about the Transform tool

Post by Robin Lobel »

Auto-Activate Layer is indeed not working properly, this will be fixed with the second patch coming by the end of the month.

If you prefer to time-strech/pitch-shift with numerical values, I suggest you use the Edit > Transform dialog instead, it's dedicated to that (more parameters are coming to this dialog as well in patch 2). The majority of tools parameters can be changed and seen live, but the time-stretch/pitch-shift is indeed an exception, as users of the Transform tools will generally directly transform using the mouse in the spectrogram rather than typing values.

Yes, there's no bottom control because that would be irrelevant in a context of pitch-shifting : you can't grab 0Hz and pitch it up or down. On the other hand, it makes sense to grab the highest frequency and pitch it up or down. That being said, additional options are coming in the second patch to make it a little easier to pitch up or down, so you don't necessarily have to use those external control dots.

You're right, the tool would certainly benefit from more detailed explanations in the manual, the documentation will be updated accordingly when the second patch will be released.
Robin Lobel - SpectraLayers creator and lead developer

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davidestevens
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Re: Some questions about the Transform tool

Post by davidestevens »

hi Robin

>I suggest you use the Edit > Transform dialog instead,
I'll have a look at that. Though what I was doing was scrolling to a value rather than click/select/enter.
Clicking and dragging in the spectogram can still require watching the changing values in the top number boxes so that you know how far you're stretching (or contracting), so operating directly on the stretch amount by scrolling the number box does make sense (to me, at least!)

>there's no bottom control because that would be irrelevant in a context of pitch-shifting
ok, yes. I was thinking in terms of shifting all of the frequencies up, which of course is transposition, not pitch stretching.

Looking forward to the updates. I've has a lot of fun playing with the app today, getting a sense of what it can do. It's actually quite different to RX7 and Metasynth. In some ways, much more flexible, and an interesting compositional tool (though I guess most users are editing music tracks). I especially like being able to isolate particular sounds to a new layer and then running effects on them.

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