NKS 2 Utilizing The New Screen

SuperTRev Member Posts: 89 Member
edited January 4 in Komplete Kontrol

The new Kontrol Mk3 screens are too big to just be blowing up a plugin banner and calling it a day. You can fit entire plugins into that size of screen real estate.

The first thing to note is there are redundancies. The preset name and the page number can be put up on the header. Then you can isolate the plugin modules and put them right overtop the hardware knobs.

In the case of a plugin like Analog dreams you could just replace the knob bar.

Instead of this:

You could do this:

To mirror the software on the computer screen.

Or you could just straight up stick that whole plugin onto the screen. (I had to stretch the image)

But plugins with a lot of knobs can have the respective areas of the plugin divided to be over top of the knobs. Like Super 8 for example.

Instead of this:

It could have the modules on screen, associated with the knobs. And animated; mirrored with the computer screen:

My example looks bad because it's just a rough draft. I used Super 8 ish color scheme in between, and the knobs still don't line up. For a better example of this you could further divide the ADSR module into its parts and put each part directly overtop the knobs.

Otherwise you're just wasting the space and capability of that screen.


  • Kymeia
    Kymeia Member Posts: 3,508 Expert
    edited January 4

    I do agree it could be much better utilised and I think that is planned but to be honest rather than replicate an actual plugin gui, I’d rather have something like what Ableton Push can do, which is render a visual functional representation of what is being controlled such as an envelope, filter or even a wavetable

    I think that may be possible now it has some sort of a processing capability built in

  • SuperTRev
    SuperTRev Member Posts: 89 Member

    Yes that does look good. The filter images and such.

    But plugins already have their own GUI's and labels (That's what I really meant by redundancies). So what they look like and how they behave is familiar and loved as they are. So instead of creating new images, I think using the already existing image assets is better. This is a pure, direct integration with the plugins, so copy and pasting the plugin images themselves right onto the screen reflects this integration. Having two separate sets of images somewhat breaks the fourth wall of using the plugins.

    Keyboards like the Akai Advance and Novation keyboards etc. can be linked up to control plugins. So it is natural for them to have their own proprietary knob images that look like those own company's artwork, instead of the plugins native artwork. You get the feeling that a third party is controlling the plugins instead of being integrated with them.

    But these S series keyboards should feel like an extension of the plugins, especially for NI plugins. So having the actual plugin GUI's on the keyboard screen immerses the user in that integration. Kind of like the difference between a full screen video game and a windowed game. The way it currently is, is kind of like having an image of a video game controller on the screen over top the game itself while you're playing the game.

    I think maybe the knobs should have had little light strips around them. The 4D encoder already does, but doesn't actually do anything. It has no indications for use, just looks pretty. The knob lights would show the current values. They could have been push button too, like the MIDI Fighter Twister, and pushing the button would reset values, and/or be an enable toggle.

    The plugin GUI's also have a three dimensional look about their knobs, but the keyboard screen images are flat. It looks far too much like Ableton products instead of NI products. It's not an Ableton integration, it's an NKS plugin integration.

    Massive is a good example. Just look at how horrible it looks:

    A red curtain? What? Where is there a HINT of red in the plugin? WHERE? And garbage looking ableton clone knob sliders with scribble scripts, blown up larger to cover the space that isn't being used. It looks like a nine year old scribbled it on the screen with a crayon. We are going backwards in progress by having high resolution screens that people put 8-bit windows 92 looking images on them.

    The keyboard screen should LOOK like the plugin it's controlling:

    Why do I even have to say this? What is wrong with computer programmers? What is actually wrong with them? This is pretty obvious.

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 809 Pro

    Nothing's wrong with the computer programmer's. They coded what they were told to by management.

    I think it's a bit much to say the UI looks horrible. I think it looks quite nice. Is it an efficient use of space? Absolutely not.

    Give it time, there's still tons of plugins that aren't even NKS compatible. Never mind ones that have a GUI optimized for the Kontrol MK3.

    I would say there's still plenty of higher priority issues too, like the fact that a lot of NI's libraries still only support monophonic AT, which is insane considering the 10 year old Roland INTEGRA-7 seems to have more instruments that support polyphonic AT than NI.

  • SuperTRev
    SuperTRev Member Posts: 89 Member
    edited January 5

    I think the one screen approach is wrong entirely. I think there should be two screens, an 80/20 size footprint. The left large one would be the plugin etc., and the right one would be a text list of the browser. Always on screen so you don't have to keep jumping back and forth between plugin and browser. You could push a button to toggle off the text browser screen if you don't want to look at it, or have an alternate view, for an effects list or something. You could still 'go to browser' and the current browser look would appear on the left screen too. But reserve text lists for the right screen.

    There would be small dedicated buttons for user/factory, favorites, prehear. And the 4D encoder would only have four lights on its perpendicular sides, not an entire ring that doesn't make sense. This browser screen could double as the Kontakt/Reactor/Machine file manager.

    First of all just look at how much wasted space is on the browser list:

    Why not have a 16 character preset name limit and just truncate the names after that size. Just look at that. 99% of all names are nowhere near the length that fills up that screen.

    Two screens at 80/20 is much better:

    The browser list would be on screen at all times, unless that screen is toggled off (Preset management is 50% of the whole point of having a "smart" keyboard). There would be a second Shift button so you can shift & push buttons with the right hand only. And the prev/next preset buttons too. (Why those are on the left side when the browser is on the right, I have no idea). This would free up vertical space on the left for Machine buttons or whatever else. The more dedicated buttons the better, because one physical bodily action is always faster than two.

    The manufacturer and product on the bottom of the list (or top).

    Also a search bar with a button to search. Would have to use your qwerty keyboard, but it's probably near by anyway, as this is a MIDI controller. Shift + push its button to reset the filter.

    The KK plugin probably should have a search bar anyway. The user could type in searches about anything; could set the filters about what they are looking for and where. Could use wildcards or whatever, using presets with a tagging system. Akai's Advance is very good with this, and some of the sample managers out there.

    Also a project folder system where you could add presets to user created custom project folders. When you load up one of these project folder all those presets would be available in the list. There would be a dedicated button for this and Shift + Fav (the toggle favorite view on/off button) would add to the current project folder. When in a project folder, Shift + Set Fav would delete out a preset from that folder.

  • Kymeia
    Kymeia Member Posts: 3,508 Expert

    I think it is good to have different opinions, personally I do not want to see an exact reproduction of the plugin on the keyboard screen. I think firstly for many plugins it would be too cluttered, not all plugins even have great GUIs themselves, but secondly I would ideally like to have some standardisation across multiple plugins which is good for muscle memory, to know that for example filter params or oscs are always in the same place and displayed the same way is very helpful. Also I prefer the slightly more abstracted but functionally more useful displayed information on the Push to just a 1:1 representation of a plugin GUI.

  • Matthew_NI
    Matthew_NI Product Team Posts: 708 mod

    Hi folks!

    Some things to clarify:

    • We won't be moving anything up into the "header" (something @SuperTRev suggested). Here's why:
      • The header is reserved solely for giving you visual context for the eight buttons above the screen.
      • It tells you if a button has a function assigned, and if so, what that function is.
      • There is no other way that we will use the header but this.

    • Another thing I can clarify is that there's no design intent to recreate the plug-in user interface on the keyboard screen. That becomes redundant and cluttered in other ways. You may want that, but that's not a universally held view, and not something our design will incorporate now or in future. For instance, I see the suggested design of the Massive macro view on the keyboard screen and shudder (in testing, many other users also disliked such things). Small screens should not be cluttered or crowded with such things. That's what the computer desktop screen is for.

    • The "wasted space" in the browser screen is space left available for longer preset names, which some content has.

    • The design of the banner image, and the colour choice of the parameters, is up to the designer behind that specific product, 1st or 3rd party. The keyboard just reflects that choice. Subjectively you may not like a particular choice, sure, but that's where the decision is made.

    • Browsing by typing in the KK plug-in is possible, so I'm not sure where the suggestion it isn't is coming from?

    That's a lot of "here's why". But to move on to the "what if" or "what next"...

    As @Kymeia points out, the value of such controllers is the "slightly more abstracted but functionally more useful displayed information".

    NKS 2 already gives you fantastic hardware control over your software, particularly with the groups for quick navigation, and with the parameter types for the appropriate responsiveness.

    There are some plans, some designs we've explored, that allow the plug-in to update the image on the keyboard, as and when it may want to. That could be used many many ways, to display contextually relevant images. That may be where we go next, as a step 1. And a step 2 may be more animations. Push, as @Kymeia says, is a good example of this done quite well.

  • SuperTRev
    SuperTRev Member Posts: 89 Member

    reffahcs wrote:

    "Nothing wrong with the computer programmer's. They coded what they were told to by management."

    I can't quote out individual sentences on this fancy new forum. Another thing computer programmers did. You can in forums like Image Line's. Where they used a freeware forum setup that is like 15 years old tech. How bout that. Like I said, going backwards in progress.

    I've seen so many of the worst decisions in human history come from computer programmers. I don't even think they are sane at this point. I could type out a list of OMG's from a variety of software companies, but we all know what's up. And this is the only industry that's ever existed where the builder and the designer are one and the same. The computer techs and the musicians are the same people. So we end up with instruments that were designed by computer techs instead of musicians. "Ya but this team or that team make music too." Ok, then why are certain things so asinine?

    reffahcs: "Give it time, there's still tons of plugins that aren't even NKS compatible."

    Ya, like Image Line plugins. They usually ignore the request, but have said once that doing it would cost money. Yup. Straight out of the horse's mouth. The rich wouldn't even feel the financial loss if they cared about other people one time in their meaningless lives and underwritten the things that are self evident.

    reffahcs: "I would say there's still plenty of higher priority issues too"

    Ya, that's quite the thing. These multi billion dollar companies in a $3B+ annual industry have a handful of people working on things to save labour cost. In this case, NI released a new keyboard that isn't finished. "We are working to develop the NKS 2 and DAW integration." Ok.. ? So why is it released if it's still in beta?

    I know of some other companies that like to publicly brag about their numbers and growth, saying they are a success, when their DAW has had some of the most basic usability broken and lacking and collecting dust because they don't want to pay to fix it. They evidently invest only in things that have a monetary return. That is NOT SUCCESS! That is good marketing; bringing in new customers, getting them to pay full price then delivering a mediocre experience and acting like it's fine because they don't complain about it, so it must be fine, right? (Focusing on new and advanced things instead of mastering basic things burns me to no end. Some people don't deserve their business license)

  • SuperTRev
    SuperTRev Member Posts: 89 Member
    edited January 5

    The modules of a plugin are not the exact representation of the plugins. The only reason something like Analog Dreams could be put in there in its entirety is because it only has one row of knobs. Otherwise I've put examples of chopping up the plugins into their parts; using the existing screen page system.

    "Too cluttered" is a pretty funny thing to say. I had to make the images LARGER to fit the software plugin images into the pictures of the S61 screens. 😂

    As you can clearly see nothing is squished into the keyboard screen. If you used the modular approach, you wouldn't need the added scribble scripts as the labels exist on the plugins anyway. And the ableton crayon knob values are circling around nothing at all. That is a lot of empty space where a knob could be. I think the knobs themselves should have lights on them, or extend the screens to wrap around the knobs. Not sure if that is doable with current tech though.

    So by stating it looks cluttered, it's a statement that the plugins themselves are cluttered. NI "shudders" at the plugin GUI's being on screen. They are shuddering at their own plugins. 😂 This is the kinds of thing only computer programmers say.

    I agree about muscle memory. But that is dynamic, in that the user will relearn new things (muscle memory isn't written in stone) If someone doesn't use the keyboard a lot then they won't build any muscle memory at all.

  • Kymeia
    Kymeia Member Posts: 3,508 Expert

    The thing is functionally this

    and this

    are identical, except the second has a load of extraneous graphics and knobs that actually don't even do anything on this screen - that's clutter. I have to agree with Matthew on this; I prefer the first one which is much more elegant and doesn't distract so much from the functions. Perhaps the first screen could have better colours that evoke Massive as a plugin better than the red screen? (which is taken from the Massive splash screen) - I don't know, tbh to me it's all cosmetics anyway. It's not perfect for sure, and again I do agree this screen could be used better to provide more functionality and clearer information to the user. At the moment it is too simplistic, I don't just want circles but graphs and envelopes and buttons that actually work like buttons - but it's a step in the right direction and hopefully with the increased capabilities for rendering information on-board the series 3 and the capabilities of NKS2 and maybe also MIDI 2 I do hope we will see development more in the direction of something like this which is what I would prefer - or beyond that even.

    This has elegance and simplicity while also doing a lot more functionally and in terms of giving the user useful real-time dynamic information and feedback. If KK2 can enable that then it will be worth it.

  • SuperTRev
    SuperTRev Member Posts: 89 Member
    edited January 5

    Matthew wrote:

    "The header is reserved" ...

    Ok that could be a problem. But the info in question (preset and page #) could be put into the text screen on my 80/20 dual screen idea for a Mk4.

    Matthew: "There is no design intent to recreate the plugin user interface on the keyboard screen."

    Ok but at least TRY to use the same colour and image themes. Massive has a red bubble background thing? RED? (I've noticed several times that the light guide and a plugin's colour scheme isn't the same either. And why can't we change the colours of the light guide?) For things like Serum you can get Massive skins that look pretty cool. Because Massive is a handsome plugin as it is. But even if it's not, the software and what's on the keyboard should be mirrored as they are integrated.

    Matthew: "The "wasted space" in the browser screen is space left available for longer preset names, which some content has."

    Yes I know why it's that large, thank you. Have a look at the preset lengths. The space is wasted. Just truncate the very rare long names.

    Matthew: "The design of the banner image, and the colour choice of the parameters, is up to the designer behind that specific product, 1st or 3rd party."

    Yup I'm pretty sure NI made Massive and Super 8. I'm on the NI forum, am I not? I know the decisions were decided upon, or else the products wouldn't exist. My point is the decisions were wrong. You say it would be cluttered. I just used a measuring tape. The KK Massive interface on my PC screen (1920x1080 HD) is 3.75" x 7.75". The S61 Mk3 screen is 3.5" x 8.5". ... cluttered, hey? It's almost identical. You guys chose to "clutter" the plugin on the computer when you made it but not the keyboard, or.. ? Is the keyboard screen some kind of extra clutter by default? What's this recent obsession with minimalism? Either something looks good or it doesn't. It doesn't matter how many objects are in a given space. It looks good or it doesn't.

  • SuperTRev
    SuperTRev Member Posts: 89 Member
    edited January 5

    You have a point. Changing how it looks doesn't help us do anything. So just more strictly themed colours would be my request, at least. For the light guide too.

    Although an 80/20 dual screen would definitely help. Going back and forth from browser to plugin again and again is a big yikes. I can do those same things (search, favorites etc.) faster with a mouse on my right hand and a 25 key $50 keyboard with my left hand to preview notes.

    Although the browser always on screen, with the plugin to the left of it, would work currently, just using the single large screen. (You would lose two knobs though, so maybe not). But we would have to convince NI that the wasted browser space is actually wasted. They also have the names justified in the column to the right instead of (common English) justified to the left, so the eye has to read the names in a wayward fashion. I think this is why Matthew doesn't want to truncate longer names, because that would mean they would have to justify the list to the left of the area. This would give the browser one more row of items too, though.

    Ya that Ableton Push screen does look good. And MIDI 2 is pretty exciting.

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