Theme / skin support

Provide a method for users to create and share skins for Bitwig’s UI.

What problem(s) would this feature resolve?

Color preferences are subjective, and different users prefer different colors to work. Also, users may get tired of the same colors, and they wish to change them.

Finally, some users just want a dark theme, which the current settings for Midtones and Black level don’t provide.

How does this feature fit in Bitwig as a product?

Bitwig offers many features to allow users to define their workflow and environment as they please. A recent feature allows users to define the colors of clips, which is a step in this direction.

Is there already an alternative way to achieve this on Bitwig?

No. A default.theme file can be accessed in any Bitwig installation, but its use is undocumented and community attempts to change the UI through modifications of this file haven’t brought any results.

Could it be implemented using Bitwig components or APIs, without Bitwig team’s support?

No.

Could it be provided by a VST or something else reasonably integrated with Bitwig?

No.

Are there other products that offer this feature?

Ableton Live, Reaper, Reason. Cakewalk, LMMS…

Relevant links (optional)

“Bitwish” theme for Ableton Live. :wink:

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25 posts were split to a new topic: [Draft discussion] Theme / skin support

On a Linux installation, default.theme can be found on /opt/bitwig-studio/resources/themes. I have just opened it for the first time. It seems to have… every single elements that shows in the UI. Thousands of lines of code. I’m not a Java developer, and I don’t understand how the color values are being assigned. I haven’t found something obvious like hexadecimal color numbers. There are many references to variables, and decimal numbers in triplets. Anyway.

As it is now, this file looks very exposed. If users could happily modify values here, chances are that someone would break something soon. Or someone else would create a consciously or unconsciously malicious theme file that would post i.e. here and then other users would copy it and so forth. Probably nothing that a user with some technical knowledge could revert, but…

Perhaps a first step to test what people would come up with would be:

  1. From all those classes, select just a very few that would be themable and document them somewhere obscure mentioned in the release notes.
  2. Users could create and exchange .theme files that ciould be located somewhere in the .Bitwig folder in their home directory.
  3. To use this theme, a user should give it a precise name i.e. atmyownrisk.theme :wink: and enable beta features.

If beautiful things appear and no havoc happens, then a next step could be to remove the requirement for beta releases and/or select the theme file from the Settings UI.

Then we would just need to wait until someone requests a device to modulate the theme color values on the go. Disco Bitwig! :dancer:

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This would be nice, although I actually like the color scheme of BW atm. I do, however, with BW had real-looking fader knobs instead of the bar graph. It probably wouldn’t take up more space, but it would just look more “professional” IMO.

The more I look into this the more excited I get about taking the bullet and trying to change something and see what happens.

So far some of the elements in default.theme seem self explanatory. This section:

"absolute_color" : 
{
	type : "color",
	data : [0.9882353, 0.4745098, 0.039215688]
}

is the Bitwig orange-y yellow #fc790a (#fc790a Hex Color Code, RGB and Paints).

This feature is also critical to improve accessibility for visually impaired people. The current default theme has already a good contrast, but not on all elements. While the hole layout is relative dark the midi editor is mid tone gray. Thats a problem because it is iven impossible to solve this with accessibility tools that simply inverts all colors.It is simply not enough to use some kine of tool that meters the contrast values and therefor came to the conclusion that this will be good. It may be somewhat usable but not necessary for a lone time or if you want to concentrate on other things than where exactly the lines in the MIDI editor are.
Most DAWs out there make the same misstake ass it comes to scaling it is mostly not availbale or so deeply hidden in settings that you are not able to reach it if you realy need it. This was for real a selling point for me as I first tested out Bitwig 2 long time ago. Simply tap top of the window and select new scaling . How gread would it be to have high contast theme and simple light theme and so on selectable the same way.
As Developer I moved to VS Code mainly hust because it was simply Ctrl+P “Theme …” that leads me directly t a high contrast theme - no headache needed - no long internet research needed it just was there ;-).
Bitwig has such a good comunity I am sure if You provide such a feature the comunity will do the rest. And maybe you could provide already some good themes like a real high contrast theme and consistant theme.