Reaper is the more customizable DAW from the market.
We can assign actions to shortcuts, to buttons on toolbars, create macros, write python scripts, create plugins, and we can change the software appearance with a lot of freedom.
On this last point, there is a lot of themes online, but the higher customization level you can afford, is to create your own theme !
I didn’t knew I will make software theming one day, however, i did ! 🙂
Because I wanted to have a GUI that satisfy all my needs, I didn’t wait a lot of time before beginning to learn Walter, the system elaborated by Cockos to allow users to write their own themes (a system that handle pictures, elements placement with a custom code language etc…), and I did it so intensively that I ended to write a Synthax Highlighting Color code for Notepad ++, a freebie well appreciated by the community 😀
My theme will satisfy all the needs of users who love the default theme and who love to color their tracks.
But don’t forget that a theme is ergonomic solutions chosen according to the aesthetic appreciation of its author ! So, not everybody will like this theme, but perhaps you will find that there is good ideas in it !
In any case, I tested my theme in a lot of projects of very different kinds, and it fits my needs very well !
If you want to download it, you can find it on this link :.
You can also find it on my Reaper Config Zip file ! To import it, Options/ Preferences / General / Import Configuration and then, just check the Theme and Color box !
Don’t forget to leave a comment if you like it, I will be very happy 😛 😛
But why choose to use my theme more than one other ?
The answer is : ergonomics.
Below, you will find the list of all the things that define my theme.
Note : The screenshots are not always made with the last version of the theme.
- 1 Color Charts
- 2 Rado Style Pan Pot for the Mixer
- 3 Shadowing Optimized for Colorization and Track Selection
- 4 More Ergonomic Take Selection
- 5 Three lines height Responsive TCP
- 6 Room Optimization on TCP
- 7 VU-Meters Color
- 8 dB Scale in the MCP
- 9 Envelopes
- 10 Separator
- 11 Black Layouts
- 12 Index
- 13 Color Consistency of the Envelope’s Button
- 14 Rados Buttons
- 15 Custom Button
- 16 Source code optimization
- 17 Minors Changes
- 18 Dual Pan Pots in MCP (update: 08/07/14)
- 19 Grid Lines Color (update : 10/10/14)
- 20 Consistency (update : 05/11/14)
- 21 Conclusion
The color charts came from the Default 1.8 theme, which propose a warmer version of the default green theme.
I didn’t invent anything on this point, because it was my starting point.
That why I don’t consider myself as a themer, but rather as an hardcore theme moder 😛
Rado Style Pan Pot for the Mixer
The default Pan Pot in the mixer a rotary one.
If a Pan Pot is optimum when there is not a lot of room (as in the TCP), I think that a linear slider correspond much better to our sound perception. Indeed, a Pan Pot Rotate from 7:00 to 17:00 (hour equivalent), despite the fact that the maximum amplitude is only Left / Right, (9:00 – 15:00 in hour equivalent).
To imagine the linear pan slider as a line that cross our head when we mix with headphones, or even better, as a line in front of us when we mix with speaker, line on which we place our instrument, seems to be more representative of the reality to me.
I have immediately found this idea awesome, idea that come from the Rado theme by Rado Records, so I decided to implement it in my theme, with the consent of the team 🙂
Shadowing Optimized for Colorization and Track Selection
I have often around 100 tracks on my projects. I will be completely lost without tracks colorization.
The thing is that, by default, it is the background of the track name which is colorized, which I consider to be an ergonomic al issue, due to the fact that it can generates readability issues (yellow background under white text, it’s not easily readable); I find more pertinent to color the TCP background and leave the interactive elements (buttons, slider etc, but especially text elements…) intact. This way, the color appears clearly, not just like small vignette, and don’t interfere with text.
The thing is that by default the colorization of tracks is not perfect. Some colors are not clearly visible, especially when selected, because of the blending mod applied to these colors.
Hopi tried to correct this problem in a custom theme inputting borders around selected tracks, but some tracks colors still had trouble (colors made the borders disappear when the tracks is selected).
I had the idea to draw shadows and textures in the TCP, and to define the selected tracks as flat and brighter, and I tested it with every tint were good : it works ! 😀
All the TCP and MCP have been desaturated to not interfere with color tracks chosen by the user.
Notice than pan information on the MCP are displayed on a dark grey background in order to be clearly visible no matter the color of the track.
More Ergonomic Take Selection
By Default, when a take is selected, it gets darker, which, I think, is not very intuitive. Selected items have to be highlight, literally.
So I decided to have a more lighter selection take color.
More, this color is now customizable into the preferences panel. I have to get rid of the default texture image but it’s not bad : we found the same behavior I set for TCP (selection = flat, without shadow).
Three lines height Responsive TCP
The default theme provides responsive TCP, it means that the elements appearance (position, width…) inside the TCP are adjusted, according to the width of the TCP, which is great. But… It is too responsive.
There is so much levels of responsivity that there is no consistency anymore. Thus, the more we widen the TCP, the less there is lines attributed to the track control, which provoke some counter-intuitive things : for example, you want to see a track title a bit long, you widen the track, and BAM, the buttons are merged, a line is deleted, and you see even less characters of the track title than before. You should have rather contract the track panel in order to widen the track name field…
So, I locked the responsivity on three lines maximum and reduced the number of key width to consider, which give a lot more consistency.
If you want a comparison with the original, click here !
Room Optimization on TCP
Still on this idea to optimize the TCP, I filled the empty space that it contains.
The thing is that this empty space was often left in order to display the second pan pot in dual pan mod, and that I noticed that far more later, because I really don’t often use that mod. Not bad, I had the secondary pan pot on a extra line, which will be useful for some project (but a minority of mines).
Vu-Meters colors are customizable !
dB Scale in the MCP
I really wanted that feature, so much that I implement it to every MCP layout that could receive it ! 🙂 So useful…
Thanks to Marek for the tricks about the Vu-Meters ! 🙂
By default, track envelopes are very similar to casual tracks, which is not very handy.
At the beginning, I thought about indent them as in Cubase, but there was a small things I didn’t like when the indentation number was too high (if the track was in a group inside a group inside an other group), which was not very ergonomic too; Despite the fact a lot of people were interesting in that (11 000 views on the Cockos Forum), I needed a real difference.
That’s why I decided to set it very dark (with white text), and to add shadows and textures so that they appear below (in a 3D way) the tracks they refer to.
This is far more pleasing this way 😀
The position of the envelopes button has also change to fit the space better.
An empty track with no buttons, for both TCP and MCP : nice to make visual separation.
I didn’t personally use it for the moment, but I feel the potential behind it 🙂
I kept the black layouts from Default Analog 1.8, I think they are gorgeous and perfect for my group/bus tracks 😛
Set in black the index background was the only way to be sure that the index was visible no matter the color of the track. This doesn’t bother me, I like the fact that the index number are consistent from one track to one other.
A small grey square is necessary for selected and recording ready tracks.
Color Consistency of the Envelope’s Button
Even in the default theme, the buttons read/write/latch etc. can change of colors, depending on some track layouts. I decided to apply the same color to all the disposition. It’s more consitent, more homogeneous, and so, more ergonomic.
Rado’s Buttons are included in the theme itself ! their are gorgeous, and perfectly integrated with the other buttons ! You will have more possibilities for your custom actions !
I create a button from one other, button which I use for the Import Config action. That’s a small thing but I like it 🙂
Source code optimization
The source code was optimized to avoid redundancies, unwanted lines breaks and indentations, and to group elements from the same type.
Small changes on grid appearance, odd and even lines, windows etc. have been done, but I will be impossible to list them here.
Dual Pan Pots in MCP (update: 08/07/14)
The previous version was buggy with Dual Pan Pots in MCP.
I had a lot of requests about it, and honestly, I find this a bit frustrating myself too.
So here it is ! A new MCP, Dual Pan Pots friendly !
Grid Lines Color (update : 10/10/14)
New colors for the grid ! Orange is the beginning of a measure, grid is for quarter beat, and light grey is for eight notes !
Update 11/12/2014 : same color scheme for Midi Editor !
Consistency (update : 05/11/14)
I created this theme in order to have great functionalities. With time, more and more people started to use it, and other needs came, especially constancy.
That’s why yesterday I take few hours to modified a lot of textures, TCP, MCP and MCP (selected), in order to have a more homogeneous interface.
It still not pixel perfect, but it is better than before !
Here is what I’ve done, which take me a lot of times and efforts before being satisfied 🙂
If you like my theme, you can use it in your config but please do not re-distribute it elsewhere (unless if it is in your online config zip file) or unless you modify it significantly (but don’t forget to credit me and this website, and the other persons I credit myself) !
This theme can evolve, don’t hesitate to follow this website in order to be aware of potential updates.
And if you like it but something really disturb you, feel free to modify it !
Here some things than can help you :
You can find inspiration on the Stash Reaper Resources ! 🙂
I hope you will like it !! 🙂
Forum Reaper Thread : X-Raym Analog