Avoiding RSI - Steinberg need to take a look at Blender

Hi folks,

In order to reduce the amount of people suffering from RSI, Steinberg should take a look at other, more ergonomic ways of implementing editing in Cubase.

Steinberg could do a lot worse than checking out how Blender works with hotkeys & editing.

Here’s an example:

This is how Blender (if it was a DAW) would let you move the end of a MIDI note:

  • You select the note (by rubber-banding it).
  • You press (and hold) a hotkey on your keyboard.
  • You move your mouse (without pressing any button on the mouse).
  • The end of the MIDI note moves when you move your mouse, regardless of where on the screen your mouse pointer is.
  • You release your hotkey and the action is complete.

This way of working greatly reduces the possibility of RSI and other input device-related injury and grief. As an experiment, try copying the movement described above, and compare the feeling to how it presently feels to perform the same action. You’ll notice that the Blender method feels a lot less tight and tense and more fluid.

Because you’re not doing tight little movements while holding a mouse (or trackball) button (or pressing down with a pen on a tablet). Also, you’re not required to navigate your mouse pointer to a very tight little spot (the end of the MIDI note) before moving it.

There’s a huge difference in the amount of fine motor control required between these two methods.

For those who don’t know Blender, they have an interesting philosophy around hotkeys. Instead of taking the attitude of “this is the way it’s always been so we can’t change it”, they come to the opposite conclusion of: “f@ck it, we’ll just keep improving it when we get new ideas, and people will get used to it. Or edit the hotkeys back to the old way if they want”. This philosophy leads to contant improvement and innovation, and is the enemy of stagnation!

Curious what others think about this!

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I mainly use keyboard for moving note lengths, have always found it quicker than mousing around. Just navigate through notes using cursor keys, hold down shift to add more to the selection.

Then Cmd + cursor moves them sideways, Option + cursor affects start and note length independently, up/down changes pitch - shift modifier changes octaves. It’s instantaneous and quick for me.

I know that’s only an example that you were demonstrating, and the Blender methods show more progressive thinking. But Cubase does have it’s alternatives too.

Nice, my technique is the same as yours. Only, i have a Wacom tablet with 4 buttons at the top, and i have those mapped for ctrl, shift, alt & right alt.

I’m just thinking aloud here.

How about this:

We get a new hotkey to switch the pointer (only while it’s pressed) to a rubberband tool.

You rubber band either just the start, end, or middle (which selects both ends) of the part or event.
Now either the start, end or entire object is shown selected.

Then press the “move” hotkey and the rest of the action is as i described in my first post.

So the advantage of this way is that you don’t need separate hotkeys for moving the start, end or entire object.

How could also have an alternative “move” hotkey that latches when you move your object (so you can press and release), you can then press another hotkey for defining the grid for your move, and when you release that hotkey the movement ends. So this would override whatever your global grid setting is.

Actually Blender does this a lot (hotkeys that can be pressed to change how an already in-progress action is performed). So for example, you can start to move an object, and while you’re moving, you press Z, and the movement will now be constrained in the Z axis of the original position.

Blender has so many incredible features in terms of selecting, moving and editing like this. There’s something called proportional editing where you select some objects (like vertices), then they all move based on their distance from the last vertex selected, or even from some arbitrary point via a secondary cursor called the “3D cursor”. I have no idea if this sort of thing is even useful in audio. Perhaps not, but sometimes new tools give birth to new sounds! Anyway, Blender constantly amazes me with it’s innovation, i’m sorry to say i never have that feeling with Cubase. New features added, sure, but very little innovation on old ways of working. Any innovations feel like they’re done through gritted teeth only after years of whinging by users.

You know what happens on this forum when Steinberg decides to change something workflow-related? It’s a shitstorm galore…
That philosophy might work for open source software, but for a (relatively) high cost software with some high profile users, that can get difficult.

That being said, I’d like Cubase to be a bit more flexible with mouse and modifier keys. There are e.g. some commands where I have to press “STRG+ALT” before clicking something with the mouse (quicklink setting channel I/O e.g.). which is a pita for left hand mouse users…

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Try using the AltGr instead of Alt+Ctrl (or Strg as you call it). It does the same thing but can be reached by the right hand easily.

Thanks, I’ll try that. I thought i already tried that and it didn’t work, but that might’ve been a long time ago…