Proposal: Waveform and clip colors

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Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to assign different colors to individual tracks, clips or regions.
Proposal pages are used on an ongoing basis by the Audacity development team and are open to edits from visitors to the wiki. They are a good way to get community feedback on a proposal.


  • Note: Proposals for Google Summer of Code projects are significantly different in structure, are submitted via Google's web app and may or may not have a corresponding proposal page.


The Problem

  • In projects with many multiple tracks users find it hard to differentiate bewteen the recordings of different instruments and voices.
  • In recorded interviews of skype conversations it would be useful to see each participant in a different waveform color.
  • Im multiple participant projects it would similarly be useful to see each participant's track(s) in a different waveform color.

Proposed Feature

  • Assign different colors to individual tracks, clips or regions. For example different colors for different participants in an interview
    • A border around the clip is sufficient
    • Changing the track background is sufficient, not the waveform colors
    • Allow different names for each clip as well as different colors

Developer/QA Backing

  • Peter: I support: "Assign different colors to individual tracks, clips or regions"', particularly tracks, I remain to be convinced about clip and region coloration.
I do not support (but I'm open to persuasion)
  • A border around the clip is sufficient
  • Changing the track background is sufficient, not the waveform colors
  • Allow different names for each clip as well as different colors
  • James: I support:
Selectable colours for clips. I see value in a clip remembering its colour as it is moved from track to track, when effects are applied to it and when it is split up.
The interface needs clear simple design. I favour a menu item on the track, 'set colour' which sets the colour of all clips on the track, and of new clips created on that track.
I think the default should be that we have four preset wave colours, that we use them in turn for new tracks - though users can choose to not do so in preferences.

This will require a change to the project format to remember the clip colours.

Use Cases

  • Users need to identify tracks by different participants in a project - see this Forum Post
  • Users would like different waveform color-ways for different instruments/voices.

Details

Doer decides ...

But I'm assuming that access would be by way of the Track Control Panel dropdown menu, with an entry for a color-picker provided.


GUI Examples

  • coloured clips, showing possibility of individual clips having different colours in the same track. Clips retain their colour when moved from track to track or duplicated.
ClipColours.png

Work in progress by James Crook, Nov-2017. Track colour is set by track menu item. Colour persists in .aup file. Backward compatible with older Audacity .aup files.

This change requires two commits:

Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal

This is one of our "most popular" Feature Requests.

New/Modified other GUI elements

  • Waveform and clip colors:
    • Assign different colors to individual tracks, clips or regions (46 votes) For example different colors for different participants in an interview
      • A border around the clip is sufficient (1 votes)
      • Changing the track background is sufficient, not the waveform colors (1 votes)
      • Allow different names for each clip as well as different colors (2 votes)
    • User-customised waveform colors for RMS and background to improve contrast (31 votes)
      • Do this without need for Theme downloads (3 votes)
          This will be added in a future Audacity along with other interface customisations. Average value (RMS) already is light blue. Another issue is that the selection color is behind the waveform. Other editors e.g. GoldWave, CoolEdit just use different colors for selected and non-selected waveform.
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