Tips for making a good looking synth

    Jan 28 2010 | 9:18 pm
    What tips can you guys give me for making a good looking GUI for a synth??

    • Jan 28 2010 | 9:33 pm
      Gradient panels go a long way in making a UI look sexy. But if you really want to spice things up, download KnobMan... Create your knobs and dials, then load them into Max.
    • Jan 28 2010 | 11:39 pm
      Learn javascript and get into jsgui.
    • Jan 29 2010 | 12:06 am
      I'm not saying this from personal experience, but I would imagine that Jitter has some really interesting applications for GUI design.........I've been meaning to delve into it but it's still on my to-do list unfortunately.
      Although, in my opinion, a simple, well thought out UI combined with an impressive sounding patch/synth/etc.. would always be more enjoyable to use than a complicated clutter of controls.
      "Less is more"............
    • Jan 29 2010 | 12:10 am
      A good sounding synth trumps eye candy any day. Thoughtful interface design also trumps eye candy. IMHO, it's the last question to ask - but *definitely* ask it - the good thing about Max is that if you're the person who created what's under the hood, you're also the best person to make decisions about useability (especially if you go out and work with the thing for a while to make sure that the decisions you made favor working with the thing instead of trying to look cool).
    • Jan 29 2010 | 12:14 am
      I have to agree with Tim on the "less is more" approach. Creating custom UI controls might also be an idea: have a look at [pictctrl], [pictslider] and [matrixctrl] where you can load in your own images. The "dialmode" attribute of the latter is pretty useful if you haven't noticed it yet. If you want to test the ideas you have then perhaps post something to the forum as a sort of beta test. I'm sure people will be more than happy to provide constructive criticism on the usability as well as the appearance.
    • Jan 29 2010 | 12:26 am
      I found that using transparency you can get some great results. - these are all interfaces I've done with Max.
    • Jan 29 2010 | 12:31 am
      I like the shadow on the [kslider] and the coloured [dial]s. Tooltips are definitely a good idea.
    • Jan 29 2010 | 12:42 am
      haha, I'm a little hesitant to suggest this.........but If you're on a Mac (I've got no windows knowledge unfortunately), you can open the package contents of an app that you like the look of, and usually can nick all the images that make up their UI and use them with fpic+ubutton and/or screams copyright infringement....but can make for some veery nice looking patches.
    • Jan 29 2010 | 2:34 am
      using custom made fpic boxes made in photoshop instead of using panel can make quite a big difference
    • Jan 29 2010 | 3:13 am
      +1 to the Photoshop approach. Don't forget also that you can make your Max controls transparent and overlay them on the background image(s). With creative use of [hidden] you can flip between graphical states based on the invisible max controls, so combining that with graphical knobs and customized sliders, effectively you can make a Max patch look like anything you can imagine.
    • Jan 29 2010 | 7:49 am
      having said using photoshop is good, ive just finished this one without any fpic type things, all regular max objects (theres an xy pad, but it is set to its standard init settings)
      was aiming for a virtual synth style look.
    • Jan 29 2010 | 12:55 pm
      + 1 for Knobman - a great, great application for making dial, slider, etc.. images to be used in Max GUI objects (or other software too).
      Also from the same developer, Skinman:
      I agree with less is more, as well as well thought out interface. Examples of some of my work include the Klee Sequencer, Major Malfunction, and MC-202 Hack, all viewable here:
    • Jan 29 2010 | 1:36 pm
      --I use semi-transparent white multisliders on top of my signal meters---it's intuitive, saves space, and looks good.
      --if you have a [filtergraph] or other object whose motion is spread out over time, you can a second object under the semi-transparent interactive one which shows where the actual response is.
      --multiple [ksliders] on top of each other, using transparent white/black keys, can highlight multiple colors on the "same" keyboard. So you can show different tracks, voices, or transpositions. The bottom one can have opaque keys if you want.
      --a global color chooser/send for certain parts of common objects: button, LED, dial, slider. Gives some user options while keeping things consistent. The "saturation" message to [swatch] is important to not have everything look too colorful.