Mixxx Object Orientated User Interface Prototype

Introduction

Page for mixxx-devel showing Mixxx object orientated user interface prototype ...


grobda24: For example I wonder about the mixing interface paradigm ... glmixer uses videos placed in a circle to determine blending.

grobda24: I wonder if tracks could be placed in such a way to determine volume levels, mix fading, fx and so forth

Pegasus_RPG: grobda24: interesting idea. Send a message to mixxx-devel with your thoughts and a link to that project

Pegasus_RPG: and get the discussion going :)

Pegasus_RPG: grobda24: oh, the new waveform will also support GLSL (work is in progress)

grobda24: Pegasus_RPG, in fact I'm making a mock up now. Will send :)

GLMixer and Mixxx ?

glmixer (Bruno Herbelin) uses an object orientated user interface (similar to some tangible interfaces, example). This is an alternative to the function orientated interface that commonly uses widget controls.

In the case of glmixer the position of videos on a mixing desk circle determines the blending level of each video. In a Mixxx environment the circular view could become what is essentially a circular cross fader. Positioning of tracks in the circle determines the cross-fading volume level of each track. This replaces the functional digital interface with a familiar "vinyl record" object orientated interface. This impression is strengthened by having three views.

Mixxx View

The first view - Mixxx View - is the circular "cross fader". At the center a track is fully mixed in. A track outside the circle is mixed out. Track placement from edge to center determines the volume of the track from zero (outer edge) to full in the center.

Track View

The second is Track View which shows the currently selected track in Mixxx View as a spiral render of the track waveform (not unlike the vinyl groove) rendered in OpenGL and possibly using GLSL. The spiral can be zoomed in on and used to set cue positions. A marker shows the current play position. Much longer waveforms can be shown using this spiral method than can be shown using a linear waveform.

The grooves pressed into a real vinyl record lay down amplitude, modulation and stereo separation. Depending on the audio recorded this shows as a pattern of varying degrees of black and grey bands on the record. As every vinyl enthusiast knows, its easy to find the gaps between tracks and the various sections of a track that make up it's corresponding pattern on the vinyl. This is a great example of an inherent "built in" visual interface ... no need for digital displays or time counters. That might sound absurdly fundamental but a bit of paper is another good example of this. It stores data effectively and it uses no power. It does not need any batteries. Vinyl is also very succinct in what it does as an interface. In fact it's so good that nobody really thinks of it as an "interface". It's these kind common sense and practical ways of presenting information and manipulation that are so desperately needed in digital interface design. Computers being what they are, design can quickly become unmanageable and "clever" at the expense of actually allowing an artist to go wild with the medium. Think of a paintbrush, or a skateboard. There aren’t any hurdles in the way of the expression. In fact the technology becomes almost transparent. Why should a digital audio mixer be any different ?

The other intention here is to use a method that I have used as a DJ. I'm not actually sure how many DJ's do this but I don't think I'm the only one. I can recognise tracks based on the pattern on the vinyl. It's often a lot quicker than looking at track listings. The pattern made by the waveform of the track in it's spiral (or "vinyl") form could be used to make thumbnails for each track.

FX View

A third view - FX View - applies the same approach to arranging effects.

Prototype Interface Mockup / concept

See attachements.

Other ideas

Track view could have a "lock groove" feature. This is what some Hip Hop Dj's do with some vinyl records. They lock the groove (sometimes by blocking the rotation of the pickup arm) or use specially pressed vinyl record with locked grooves on them (Plastikman has done such a thing I seem to remember). This would be the Beatloop feature of Mixxx applied to the circular interface.

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http://tjl.co/blog/graphics/interface-12/

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GZ6vw-tzTI

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-oriented_user_interface

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