AUv3 UI scaling issues

So I've been along for the ride for a while now. Been patiently waiting for the infamous "3.1" to drop, then 3.10 came, and now it's finally 3.12 time. There's been promises about making AU scale better in BeatMaker UI's on 12.9" iPads for what seems like forever; some of that was even part of the release notes in 3.08! It's still awful today.

The fact of the matter though is that plenty of AU still scale terribly in BeatMaker, and that makes for a bad experience when it happens. Things are too small, don't scroll well, or look downright bizarre at times. Some AU developers are notoriously bad at this, others are brilliant.

And there's no silver bullet for handling all possible current (and future) resolutions. Making UIs scale properly is difficult, I know. It's time consuming. I know there's no particular actor at fault here. Take your pick:

  • Apple for hammering in a single X by Y resolution for AUs in GarageBand
  • Steinberg for refusing to update Cubasis to support the larger native resolution of the 12.9" iPads for the longest time
  • Steinberg again for finally updating Cubasis to support the resolution, but specially handling AU interfaces as "small mode" to maintain the old dimensions and make them look better
  • App developers for hard coding their UIs (but can you blame them given the above 3 points?)
  • Others that aren't as obvious.

Is there a reason for Intua sticking to their guns and continuing with "here's a region in the app, let's hope that AU developers fill it properly"? This doesn't seem to work. Cubasis looks better. Auria looks better. AUM looks better. And it's only because they default to that standard old "small X by Y" resolution that happens to be the default in GarageBand and isn't relative to whatever the iPad's screen size happens to be.

Is there any chance for Intua to rethink how they display AUs? Surely I'm not the only one making beats on a 12.9" iPad.

Comments

  • edited November 23

    Here's my take on this issue...

    In summary:
    The host is responsible for allocating a canvas size/shape to the plugin, and it's the plugin's job to decide how to draw their plugin effectively in those dimensions.

    Unfortunately, here's the reality:

    1. The earliest AUv3 plugins only had to contend with 1 or 2 ipad sizes, and many were designed at a fixed/pixel size. I don't think it's likely that developers of these plugins will retrospectively update their UIs to be responsive/vector-based, no matter how many times we plead with them
    2. To make matters worse, developers often have to work from the lowest common denominator... which means they have to design their plugins based on the most restrictive host, and then upscale from there. There is also a situation where the large userbase of Garageband and Cubasis effectively 'set the standard' for plugin developers (ie. ignore the needs of these hosts and you will lose sales!)
    3. Apple keeps adding new sizes and shapes - not only to their iPad range, but many developers are trying to be considerate to the new iPhone aspect ratios (including the 'notch')
    4. There is no agreed standard for how to create a plugin that works gracefully across small and large screens. Some developers have switched to 100% vector-based, and can scale beautifully to any size. Other have elected for a more responsive style, so that panels reveal (or hide) based on screen real-estate, and some of them even rearrange their dials based on the shape of the canvas.
    5. Different users have different preferences

    .
    .
    Having said all this, I am also aware that - just as web browsers must compensate for badly-coded websites - iOS hosts also have some responsiblity to compensate for legacy or badly-coded plugin UIs (particularly when it comes to the 12.9" model).
    My suggestion here is that perhaps we allow the end user some control over which view of the plugin they see. For example, we could give users a small/medium/large viewstate button in the top-right?

  • My take on this.
    If an older plugin is just plain ugly on the 12.9, tough, I know that sounds harsh, but they designed it before the 12.9, if it isn't within their scope to spend the time to re UI the plugin, its a live with it proposition, we cant expect a host to fix this.
    If it is a plugin that actually has serious issues, and does not work (There are quite a few, @blueveek has pointed out a few in the chat) and is advertised as working, then the plugin developer really should be fixing it, we cant expect a host to fix these either.

    Now, having said that, all these issues would be resolved immediately by having floating AU panels ala AUM, so in reality an upgrade to that would actually fix it from the host side, so everything i said above is negated, so there is a quandary here.

  • Ironically, Garageband on iPad Pro does no longer conform to Apple's own plugin aspect ratio guidelines. That's my favourite WTF- insight as a developer. :s

  • edited November 23

    3.1 didn't come yet.

  • @brambos said:
    Ironically, Garageband on iPad Pro does no longer conform to Apple's own plugin aspect ratio guidelines. That's my favourite WTF- insight as a developer. :s

    I was going to say thats unbelievable, actually its the complete opposite lol.

  • @Audiogus said:
    3.1 didn't come yet.

    Did you post that in the wrong thread ?

  • @5pinlink said:

    @Audiogus said:
    3.1 didn't come yet.

    Did you post that in the wrong thread ?

    No, @blueveek said "Been patiently waiting for the infamous "3.1" to drop, then 3.10 came, and now it's finally 3.12 time." Just clarifying that this is not the 3.1 release.

  • Not sure it was needed, nobody said this was 3.1, I'm pretty sure everybody saw the leaked release notes for 3.1 at this point and knows that this release is far from that.

  • edited November 24

    @5pinlink said:
    Not sure it was needed, nobody said this was 3.1, I'm pretty sure everybody saw the leaked release notes for 3.1 at this point and knows that this release is far from that.

    Didn’t @blueveek just say ‘...then 3.10 came, and now it’s finally 3.12 time...’? I mean, isn’t he saying 3.1 came? I think he thinks 3.1 came. What do you think he meant?

    Isn’t saying 3.10 the same as saying 3.1? I mean 99.0 is the same as 99... so it looks like he said that he thinks 3.1 came out.

  • edited November 24

    @blueveek When you said ‘3.10 came’ was that a typo and you meant to write 3.0.11 or 3.0.10 or did you think that the famous 3.1 (coming soon, wink) had in fact come out?

  • edited November 24

    @Audiogus I know this isn't 3.1. For what feels like a while now, "3.1" is some sort of messiah that seems to never come: it's been almost a year. Of course most folks thought .10 was the messiah, then we expected the real one to come afterwards; and then what we got a was big hiatus before "3.1 update imminent" and .11 and .12. Sometimes I feel like Intua is trolling with versioning numbers and release schedules :) EDIT: To be clear, I'm not criticising Intua here: I understand that good things take time.

    The reason I mentioned it was to paint a picture of for how long this has been sporadically discussed in other threads, with the standard answer being "wait for the 3.1 drop, it might fix everything".

    Regardless, that's completely orthogonal to this thread. I don't know when the messiah does come to make everything better. This thread is about the current status quo and unfortunate reality we live in with regards to plugin behaviour.

  • @tk32, I appreciate the "here's what's true" bullet points in your comment above. It clearly defines the problem. As a corollary, I don't know where DAWs ought to stand with regards to misbehaving plugins.

    It's easy for everyone to throw their hands in the air and say "it's not my responsibility": plugin devs can say that because they developed for smaller screen sizes and updating costs time and money; daw devs can say that because it's technically not their problem to fix misbehaving plugin code.

    What I do know is that sometimes someone needs to take responsibility and fix the mess they may not have created. At least in Linux world, there's a saying : "you never break userspace"; in browser development there's a similar saying; "you never break backwards compatibility". I don't know if in DAW ought to be the same, but I personally think all software should.

    Here's an example of this, which I have to deal with almost daily: when a website breaks in a browser, every uninformed user will think it's the browser's fault, even if the website is built (unintentionally or maliciously) in a way that doesn't work in that particular browser. Most users are uninformed.

  • @brambos said:
    Ironically, Garageband on iPad Pro does no longer conform to Apple's own plugin aspect ratio guidelines. That's my favourite WTF- insight as a developer. :s

    Is this aspect ratio relative to the iPad screen size or something else? I think the actual X/Y ratio of the plugin bounds is exactly the same in Garageband regardless of iPad screen size. In fact, the X and Y numbers are actually the same.

    I have a sneaky suspicion they kept the X and Y numbers the same regardless of iPad screen size to deal with misbehaving plugins. And Steinberg followed. And doing so enforced the current state of affairs.

  • edited November 24

    @blueveek said:
    @Audiogus I know this isn't 3.1. For what feels like a while now, "3.1" is some sort of messiah that seems to never come: it's been almost a year. Of course most folks thought .10 was the messiah, then we expected the real one to come afterwards; and then what we got a was big hiatus before "3.1 update imminent" and .11 and .12. Sometimes I feel like Intua is trolling with versioning numbers and release schedules :)

    The reason I mentioned it was to paint a picture of for how long this has been sporadically discussed in other threads, with the standard answer being "wait for the 3.1 drop, it might fix everything".

    Regardless, that's completely orthogonal to this thread. I don't know when the messiah does come to makes everything better. This thread is about the current status quo and unfortunate reality we live in with regards to plugin behaviour.

    I find your reference to version numbers that never existed very confusing. I get your overall point, sure, (long waits suck) but it seems like you said 3.1 came out by saying ‘3.10 came’. Specificly which four digit version number were you refering to when you said ‘3.10 came’?

    The last version number was 3.0.12, the one before was 3.0.11, before that 3.0.10

    Which of these updates were you refering to when you said ‘3.10 came’?

    Edit: Ok after reading this stuff over I think I get that by 3.10 you meant 3.0.10? Ok, yah that was ten months ago. I certainly didn’t think that was 3.1 back then as I don’t recall reading/registering anything about 3.1 hype until well after that release. But whatever, I’ll ignore any version discussions that don’t stick to the actual four digit format as it just hurts my brain.

  • @blueveek said:

    @brambos said:
    Ironically, Garageband on iPad Pro does no longer conform to Apple's own plugin aspect ratio guidelines. That's my favourite WTF- insight as a developer. :s

    Is this aspect ratio relative to the iPad screen size or something else?

    No, the letterbox is wider on my 12.9 than on other iPads even though the Pro still has the same 4:3 screen aspect ratio overall.

    Cubasis is actually consistent and does it correctly.

  • edited November 24

    @brambos said:

    No, the letterbox is wider on my 12.9 than on other iPads even though the Pro still has the same 4:3 screen aspect ratio overall.

    Cubasis is actually consistent and does it correctly.

    Edited to add more screenshots.

    Is this just for instruments or also audio effects? From what I can tell, it looks like Garageband has the same X and Y size for instruments (on all iPads), but a different X' and Y' size for effects (which changes depending on iPads).

    Here's some screenshots.

    Phasemaker is allowed to fit in specific bounds (these are the same on all iPads; larger iPads have the extra controls on the left to compensate), while Perforator is allowed to fit inside wider bounds (no extra controls to compensate).


    Some effects plugins do take advantage of the extra space for effects, some do not.
    For example, FabFilter Pro-Q does:

    Some effects plugins can even be resized to full screen, some cannot.
    For example, Perforator isn't allowed to be resized full screen (there's no maximize button). FabFilter Pro-Q is (there is a maximise button).

    Cubasis indeed has just a single X and Y size for both instruments and effects.

  • edited November 26

    Hey @blueveek guess what.

    Our favourite plugin dev just updated Phasemaker with new UI scaling features.

    That guy @brambos is awesome

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