Track Pictures As Text

For quite awhile I’ve been dissatisfied with using Track Pictures. Over the years I’d cycled through a bunch of different Track Picture collections and was using a mix from a few sources, which never looked like they belonged together. And then because of different naming conventions it could be hard to locate a specific image. And often no picture really matched the need. Eventually I realized using the space for text descriptions would work better for me.

So I created a Photoshop Elements project with about a gazillion layers of text that can be toggled on/off on 4 different lines. This is what they look like in use.

Here are almost 200 Text Pics. These reflect what I needed for my Templates and Track Presets, plus some additions. So they are in no way comprehensive. But many other combos can be created using Photoshop (or a clone that can edit .psd files).

Track Pictures.zip (3.0 MB)

Hopefully folks will use Photoshop on the file below to generate additional Text Pics and post them here.

Track Picture Text Template.zip (2.0 MB)

The idea is that Line 1 at the top is what you are hearing on that MixConsole Channel: guitar, synth, reverb, shakers, delays - whatever. And Line 4 on the bottom is the source of the sound: VSTi’s, mic, sample, modeled reverb, submix, etc. And the 2 lines in the middle are used to add additional information.

The rest of this post will mostly focus on how this is organized in Photoshop - so you have been warned.

Basically all the Layers are organized into nested Groups (which many folks might call Folders). The pic below shows the top level structure. Notice the naming convention always starting a Group’s name with “L” followed by the line number position for the Text in that Group.

This shows some open Groups on Lines 1 & 2 and how various lines of text can be toggled on and off.

Below are a few more screenshots of different Groups expanded to give an idea of what’s available. On the VSTi Group notice how there is a sub-Group for Halion. Further down is the same thing for Kontakt.

Once you have an image you’d like to keep use ‘File>Save For Web…’ (Ctrl+Alt+Shft+S) to create a .png file with a transparent background. Here’s the settings for that.

So, how to load a bunch of Track Pictures in bulk?

The Pictures shown in Cubase’s Picture Browser need to be saved into 2 different locations:

C:\Users\ACCOUNT-NAME\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Cache\Track Picture Thumbnails
C:\Users\ACCOUNT-NAME\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Content\VST Sound\User Content\Track Pictures\

You can remove the Current Track Pictures by deleting (or moving) the files currently in those locations if you like (or not to keep 'em). Then copy the new pictures into both folders.

However I DO NOT RECOMMEND using this method for these Text Pics.

Look at this screenshot of the Cubase Track Picture Browser

Because of the transparent background and blank lines it can be difficult see where one image starts and another begins. But some of the pics like Guitar Rhythm 4 to 6 and a couple of others show a black square. The difference between the two is how they were loaded into Cubase. All the images with ambiguous boundaries were added in bulk by putting them in the folders above. While the ones in the black squares were all added by dragging a file directly from Windows Explorer onto the MixConsole. I didn’t even know that was possible and wonder when it started.

It seems better to me to stop using the internal Cubase Track Picture Browser and switch to Windows Explorer instead. Just keep it open to your own folder of pictures and ignore the folders above. When you drag a new Picture onto the MixConsole it adds it to the folders above, so it becomes part of what Cubase internally knows about. Plus Explorer has a bunch of different useful views and a file search function.

Dragging Track Pics

3 Likes

what a fabulous idea - love it !!!