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Audio plugin GUIs

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Audio plugin GUIs

Postby martinvicanek » Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:48 pm

One thing that strikes me is the sophistication of many audio plugin GUIs. Most Photoshop plugins feature far less elaborate GUIs in comparison. If anything, I'd expect it the other way round. Hmmmm... :?
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Re: Audio plugin GUIs

Postby Spogg » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:09 pm

Very interesting observation Martin.

I guess it may be down to workflow. A PS plugin is opened for a short time to achieve a particular goal quickly, whereas a VST may be visible for the whole project in some situations. So visual appeal may influence choice of plugin.

Also I would add that there’s no precedent in hardware for PS plugins, so there’s no need to make it look and behave like hardware, with knobs and stuff.



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Re: Audio plugin GUIs

Postby tulamide » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:00 am

People don't see it as mere plugins. They buy, for example, a synthesizer, a sampler, a reverb. As such they want those not only to behave like a synth, sampler or reverb, but have the look and feel. The kind of look will change over time (the very first meters were exact copies of hardware console meters, today they are very often more artistic), but the customers will always insist on a professional look, when spending hundreds of $$.

And that's a good thing, actually. In PS, most plugins use a generic interface SDK, which you could use in VST as well, but then it will only feature a list of generic sliders with some text. But instruments don't want to be an extension to your DAW-Software, they want to be individual instruments.

If you work on a patch in a synth, you want to please your eyes, you need to find things quickly and you don't want to be distracted from your creative process. Scrolling through a list of named sliders over and over again is the exact opposite.

And finally the psychological effect: No matter how advanced your DSP, if the GUI looks amateur-ish (or generic), it will be considered an amateur-ish work. I see this very (VERY!) often in Youtube Review Videos. The GUIs appearance is ALWAYS a factor in the final rating.
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Re: Audio plugin GUIs

Postby Phil Thalasso » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:28 pm

Hello forum,

call me whatever you want, I'll be the first to admit, that I have a bunch of technically excellent vstis in my DAW, which I won't use for the simple reason that they're ugly as hell. I also admit, that I would never buy certain plugins for the very same reason.

As far as the Creative Suite is concerned: There exists an excellent free-of-charge plugin-suite of cartographic tools for Adobe Illustrator (ETH Zürich, There were companies out there, which - at least in the beginning - didn't offer half of the functionality for hard earned cash. One toolbar, familiar icons - that was it.

When I'm using After Effects, which is complicated enough as it is, I want plugins to look the same, feel the same and have one uniform visual language. Just simply, because I am not smart enough to plough my way through different looking interfaces, trying to memorize their functionality. I prefer Maoist homogenity over appealing looks.

Using a vsti is different and in conclusion I agree with both Spogg and Tulamide. You look at the thing for hours, writing, actually programming music. I sometimes don't get around it for practical reasons, but certainly don't like having to use Ableton Live. Why? The colours were picked by the Hammer Studios with malintent and the built-in instruments and effects remind me of Sozialistisches Einheits Design.
Just my piece of mind, but then again, I also like to draw and paint for enjoyment.

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