Final Design

The finished product!

This was a huge learning experience for me. I tried a lot of new techniques and styles in this project, as demonstrated above. The goal of skeumorphism meant more time spent in getting lighting and angles correct. I think I managed to do this in quite a few areas. Things like knobs, switches, faders, and the wood paneling are where I spent a lot of time trying to add realism to the project.

I'm extremely pleased with the small details, like the 'on-off' switches, for example. There were so many little components to consider, so it was hard to include everything that I wanted, but I think what I narrowed it down to would be reasonably functional. 

Some major changes that I felt needed to happen:

  • Moving the envelopers to a more obvious spot
  • Moving the tuning section towards the middle and making big, intuitive buttons for things like Voices, Pitch tuning, and transposing. (These were all really subtle in the previous version of the EXS24)
  • Adding an effects section
  • Adding a waveform visualizer 
  • Removing all the awkward sliders and weird knobs 

Overall, I think this is an improvement on the current EXS24. It's reminiscent of a vintage synthesizer. It's very hands-on, with big knobs and buttons that all react with obvious effects to the tone being produced. 





Creative Phase

Currently working on the creative phase. I've moved everything in to illustrator because I was getting annoyed with how pixelated everything was in Photoshop.

I've designed everything from scratch, then applied some wooden textures to it. All the knobs are vectorized so they can be scaled easily. 

Next on the list: creating little windows for preset names, creating faders, and figuring out how to fit text around the knobs. My biggest fear is creating realistic piano keys - it seems like it's going to be a ton of work. 

The style I ended up going for is a mixture between Braun appliances and an oldschool Moog synthesizer. A smooth plastic top with wood paneling on the sides makes for a unique synth! 

More to come.




Concepts + Wireframes

Above, I've included my newest wireframes and inspiration.

I really love the old wood frames of the Korg and Moog synths, so I've started by basing my wire frames off the old-school synth layouts. Additionally, I really like the style of Brauns appliances designed by Dieter Ram (this may play a role later on. I'm leaning towards a combination of the two styles). 

From left to right, I have the modulation panel, the modifiers (enveloper, ASDR), the oscillation bank, pitch effects, a newly added waveform visualizer (which was not included in the original EXS24, but I love the way they work), and an effects section, which is also new. Below the main window will be a key bed, which is pretty common in VSTs. 

The next step is refining the shape and controls, and then creating skeuomorphic graphics to add to the layout. Following this, I'll be getting feedback on the layout and functionality, from some trusted musicians. 





G A T H E R I N G   I N S P I R A T I O N

What Logic has now is pixelated, outdated, and difficult to navigate. My idea is to gather inspiration from vintage synthesizers and combine it with modern interface design. I want to arrange everything to be quickly accessible and easy to find. I despise having to dig around inside a VST to find a  knob that should be large and upfront. 

Additionally, I was looking at guitar effects pedals for different graphic styles.  

I love the style of analog synthesizers like the ones shown above (Moog and Korg). I want to try making some semi-realistic knobs and faders based off of some original synths, and maybe some wooden textures like the Korg synths or Dave Smith Instruments. 




Here we go.

The Project: 

Throughout this semester, it is my plan to improve some interfaces inside of Apple's Logic Pro. They're outdated and impossible to use smoothly, and for a user, it's a frustrating experience. The goal is to do something new and different than what Logic currently has to offer. The final product will be blogged, shared for feedback, and published on Behance with a write up/case study. 

The Schedule: (Bold weeks are days we will meet)

  • Week 1 - N/A
  • Week 2 - Registering for the course and kicking things off.
  • Week 3 - Starting this blog. Everything from here on is more relevant. 
  • Week 4: February 1st - Gathering Inspiration
  • Week 5: February 8th  - Sketching Concepts
  • Week 6: February 15th  - Finalizing Concepts
  • Week 7: February 22nd - Experimenting with Digital UI
  • Week 8: March 1st - Experimenting with Digital UI
  • Week 9: March 8th  - Experimenting with Digital UI
  • Week 10: March 15th  - Experimenting with Digital UI  / Feedback
  • Week 11: March 22nd   - Finalizing Digital UI
  • Week 12: March 29th - Writing, preparing for publishing.
  • Week 13: April 5th - Wrap Up - Published and finalized.

Here are the interfaces I plan to improve: 

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