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Old 03-06-2019, 04:24 AM
Magic Giraffe Soundworks Magic Giraffe Soundworks is offline
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Default "Cheats" For Improving Workflow with Templates

First, the question: What are the shortcuts/cheats/tips/tricks you have for streamlining your workflow for ease of use?

Now, the explanation: I've worked up a nice template that includes just about everything I'd use. I've been working paid projects using this template, and although I'm relatively new to using the Hollywood series (I think I started about 8-9 months ago, maybe even less) I felt like I had a pretty good setup. Basically, I do a pretty simple thing where I assign articulations to separate MIDI channels and that works really well.

However, yesterday I thought about the fact that there are many, many more instruments in the libraries that I haven't even begun to look at, mainly with the massive amounts of strings. I broke out the Full Strings Divisi, and I won't even begin to try to remember the exact name but it's the one where the mod wheel takes it from niente to no vibrato, gradually increase both in volume and amount of vibrato. I've never used this one, but I can see that it would be useful...BUT...

...I've already got I think 6-7 articulations and/or effects in my violins, for instance. It seems like if I were to build a template with everything I might ever possibly need, it's just going to get cluttered - not to mention difficult to remember which MIDI channel is assigned to which instrument/articulation/etc.

For my current large project, it's an entire album worth of orchestral arrangements of metal songs (rather, orchestral arrangements ADDED to metal songs), and I have been saving a new VEP project for each song so that I'm not spending time loading up instruments that I'm not using for that song.

So what are some good tips you folks have found for keeping yourself organized? One such example of the type of tip I am looking for is something I actually have already implemented - I keep pizz strings separate from my other string tracks. This makes sense for me because I'm rarely (if ever) going to switch quickly between pizz and legato strings in a single passage.

Related note: I watched this cool interview video with Brian Tyler where he walks through some of his setup, and when you look at his computer he's actually using an iPad so he can search articulations and instruments. Screen is small, but it actually looks like he keeps a separate track for every single one, which is just nuts to me and does not seem practical. Educate me, friends!
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Old 03-06-2019, 04:40 PM
Dominik Raab Dominik Raab is offline
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The way my template (Cubase and VE Pro) works hinges on two main ideas, both of which you're probably not going to like, but I'll annoy you with them anyway!

1) One track for every articulation. It's what I think works best with PLAY. Efficient grouping of tracks and shortcuts assigned to logical editor presets that close all folders and then open only one folder means you don't have to look for the one you need for too long. Cubase also has a Ctrl+F shortcut for searching your tracks, so efficient naming means you can just type the name of your track in. No iPad needed! I realise that this is probably not what you want.

2) No new VE Pro projects for new Cubase projects. Whatever I do in Cubase, it always uses the same VE Pro project. Switching Cubase projects is a matter of a minute or two. To facilitate this, I have a "bread and butter" part of my VE Pro template that's always active - and a whole lot of deactivated/unloaded instances. I assign a MIDI CC to activating/deactivating those instances. Whenever I need something "exotic", I select the channel, send the MIDI CC value (assigned to a knob on my nanokontrol), wait for it to load (twenty seconds max, I think?), and here we go.

This is a huge pain in the behind to set up and takes an eternity - but once you've got it, you have maximum flexibility without the need for twenty-three slave computers. Building a template on the idea of deactivating non-essential stuff and activating them on the fly is something that's crossed my mind only recently, but I've never looked back.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:16 AM
Magic Giraffe Soundworks Magic Giraffe Soundworks is offline
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Thanks for the input, Dominik! That's not annoying, just not the way I'm doing it. I use Logic Pro X, but I could probably do something similar to the Cubase folders you mentioned using Logic's "summing stacks" (I typically use this feature to group sections of the orchestra together, i.e. strings, brass, percussion). I'll have to see if there is some way to search track names in Logic.
I'm already using a slave PC for my iMac and it's super quick to load my current template - I think I'm at about 90 seconds to load my biggest one.
I'm about to show my ignorance here, and I can try this on my own when I get home, but I guess I thought there would be some strange performance issues if I had, for instance, spiccato or staccato violins one track and the legato/sustained violins on another and attempted to use them as "one section" - I guess in my head I've assumed that wouldn't sound "natural" so when I saw someone else doing it it didn't make sense.
Thanks for all the info on another way of doing things. I'm going to look into it and see about adapting it for my setup!
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:12 AM
Dominik Raab Dominik Raab is offline
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Quote:
there would be some strange performance issues if I had, for instance, spiccato or staccato violins one track and the legato/sustained violins on another and attempted to use them as "one section"
Quite the opposite, in my experience. Even beautifully balanced virtual orchestras need some tweaking - the staccato articulation might be too loud at a certain velocity value and not 'mix right' with the sustains. With two separate tracks, you can easily select all stacc notes and modify their velocity without touching your sustains or legatos.

Of course, before you do that, you'll have to "arm" both tracks and play your passage in with both articulations active on every note, but once you get accustomed to the process of deleting the "wrong" notes, that's an easy fix. It's all a matter of getting used to things. There is, in my experience, no quality difference between using one track with Keyswitches or one track each for all articulations - it's all just workflow, and that depends entirely on your preferences.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:13 AM
jspencer jspencer is offline
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Well, I've gone back the other way....a more minimalistic approach. I have a "bread and butter" template (like Dominik), consisting of about 200 instruments; I have one for Logic, and one for Cubase. However, I find I never use a majority of he template patches unless I'm riding something epic. I've been using EW stuff for so long, I just know exactly what I need to load for a given project. And when I do load them up, it's one instrument per instance. I find this keeps things simple (no routing issues) and it's more resource friendly in Logic.

BTW- those MOD wheel patches that you mentioned are the golden nuggets of Hollywood Strings...they are the "ni" patches. They are what breathes realism into your sequences.
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:06 AM
Magic Giraffe Soundworks Magic Giraffe Soundworks is offline
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Thanks for the reply, Jeremy! I have a question about something you said. You mentioned you have a template for both Logic and Cubase, and that it consists of about 200 tracks. Cubase has a search function, but Logic does not. I'm a Logic user and I'm really accustomed to it and its shortcuts now, so I'm dreading changing to anything else. Do you have an effective way of navigating quickly to the desired articulation/track in Logic with that many tracks?
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Old 03-08-2019, 06:55 AM
jspencer jspencer is offline
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In Logic, I keep the instruments in groups, and have each group colour coded and in their own track stack. I also use the Hide function in Logic, I modified my own key commands to "H" for hide, and "U" for unhide. This allows me to only show tracks that have data in them, makes the project area a lot cleaner when I start sequencing bigger projects.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:15 AM
Magic Giraffe Soundworks Magic Giraffe Soundworks is offline
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Oh, cool. I need to look into this. Thanks for the assistance, Jeremy and Dominik! This is exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for to improve my workflow.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:59 AM
danno danno is offline
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I'm Logic only - I can't work without a score and seeing musical notation. In both the score view and the mixing view I need it to be clean, consistent and hierarchical because as a conductor this is how I view the musicians. At the moment my approach is the following.

First I have a few templates that follow traditional ensembles - orchestra, quartet, etc, and I'll change the needed instrumentation from there. Take the orchestra template for an example.
  • Summing stacks for Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Keyboard/Extras (like harp) and Strings.
  • I work in surround and headphone mixes (video games) which are all set up previously with Fx plugins and routing preconfigured in the template
  • Extensive use of the new Articulation sets, with an X-Keys used to switch between the articulations. Since Play doesn't natively understand articulation sets I use MIDI routing, which means I get 16 patches maximum per instrument. I'd love it if EW could support articulation sets but this works OK for now.

I'm still refining my patch set/articulations, but what seems like it will work is to have a standard articulation setup for an instrument group - e.g. woodwinds all use one set, brass, percussion and strings another. With EWHO this seems to work well because those families are all structured similarly anyhow, and it means I only have to learn/remember 4-5 groups. But I do keep similarities between the groups, e.g. longs for 1-8 and shorts for 9-14 with 15-16 for KS/effects.

Then it's just a matter of playing and hearing how the patches behave, and setting up an internal feedback loop of knowing how to 'play' them like a real instrument.

I'm single vendor - I don't know how people can try to master multiple libraries from different vendors. Fundamentally here it's a level playing field - no vendor has some magic sauce not available to another, while I haven't spent much time outside EWHO I don't get the impression that the others are significantly different. So I went for a vendor with a deep and expansive library, that doesn't require a mortgage on the house.
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Old 03-28-2019, 01:34 PM
jspencer jspencer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic Giraffe Soundworks View Post
it's the one where the mod wheel takes it from niente to no vibrato, gradually increase both in volume and amount of vibrato. I've never used this one, but I can see that it would be useful
Those are the niente "ni" patches, and IMO, the sonic gold of Hollywood Strings. By learning how to program these patches correctly (MOD wheel for example), these patches breathe life into an orchestration.

My orchestral templates are pretty lean, and consist of only a few articulations from each section; namely a sustain (ni), a legato, and a short.

How you load/route these really comes down to which DAW you are using. Are you on Logic or Cubase by chance?
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