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How do you colour-code your tracks?

SupremeFist

Senior Member
I see a lot of people doing that rainbow colours thing (at least in Logic) and it makes me unhappy. For me strings should obviously be green, woods blue, and brass yellow/orange. How do you do it?
 

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effect busses are all blue, sub exclusive/heavy stuff (808s, moog, rumbly drones) is green, and then a handful of important tracks in a piece (lead/solo lines, or the main piano riff usually) will get a random color just so they pop out when scrolling. otherwise everything is grey and doesn't bother me one bit. i also happily use the DAW everyone likes to complain looks bad, so...
 

brek

Active Member
This hits me. I have spent way to much time going on side quests to "fix" my color palette.

I feel like reds, oranges, and yellows are an eye sore while I am working. They are the ALL CAPS equivalent of colors. No thanks.

But there are only so many shadea of blue, blue/green, purple, and magenta to work with... and then you have to factor in synths, plucks, percussion, voices, PBH, global tracks, FX tracks, etc...

I think I can comprise on some muted reds and oranges for brass and percussion, but every existing color palette for Cubase I have come across puts the warm colors at the front of the line, so...

I know I need to sit down and build a color palette from the ground up but I also know how likely it will be to perseverate and deliberate that into a solid week's worth of work.
 

Rob

stale member
I tend to colorize by sections too, and like you I feel brass is orange-red. Inside this group, french horns are usually red, I need to be able to recognize their tracks immediately. For woods, like you blueish but for strings I can't help having violas in violet... viola in italian is a color. Percussion and singers can vary.
 

Germain B

Member
Yellow/brown for strings.
Blue for woodwinds
Orangy red for brass
Green for percussions
Purplish pink for harps, keys, plucks...
Purplish deep blue for choirs
FX (aux tracks) stays the default gray
Outputs vivid reds

And the colors are quite greyish and go darker as I move towards the lowest instruments of each section. I find it's very pleasing for the eye and a workflow enhancement to have it set right in the template.
 

from_theashes

Active Member
Strings are pink
Brass is blue
Woods are light green
Percussions are orange
and I use different color gradations for for synths, drum kits, vocals, guitars, etc...
 
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gpwilliams

Hobbyist
I see a lot of people doing that rainbow colours thing (at least in Logic) and it makes me unhappy. For me strings should obviously be green, woods blue, and brass yellow/orange. How do you do it?
Yes! These are the correct colors and the ones I use in Cubase.

I use red for percussion which is terrible. I need to find something less glaring.
 

R. Soul

Senior Member
I like to have each track a different colour to the previous one.
That way if I accidently drag a MIDI part from one track to the next - or 5 tracks further down, I can see where it came from. Having 10 tracks in a row in the same colour would just give me anxiety.
 

devonmyles

Active Member
I like to have each track a different colour to the previous one.
That way if I accidently drag a MIDI part from one track to the next - or 5 tracks further down, I can see where it came from. Having 10 tracks in a row in the same colour would just give me anxiety.
Same procedure for me. Although, the last part made me laugh.
:grin:
 

TomislavEP

Senior Member
REAPER user here. Most of the time, I'm striving toward smaller arrangements realized with as few elements as possible, even when working with orchestral instruments. So I often don't use track colors at all. However, from time to time, I do use color coding, especially now when REAPER has those new "organic" color swatches, which I vastly prefer to the standard pallete. I usually associate pianos and keys with black, strings with blue, woodwinds with green, brass with yellow, percussion with red, synths with purple, etc.
 

Tag

Member
I am totally not sure, why or how I came up with this color coding, but I do it this way:
(Edit; haha thanks for this thread ... somehow you made me rethink my color coding and I just changed it a bit)

- Woods: yellow
- Brass: green
- Percussion: dark blue
- Piano / harp: grey or orange
- Voicals: bright blue
- Strings: bright red
- Guitars: orange
- Synth-leads: pink
- Synth-pads: purple
- Synth-bass / bass: darker red
- Beats / drums: dark blue

And I also do not know why I have strings red and bass also red-ish ... maybe I am going to rethink this whole thing, haha. But one thing is clear to me: it helps me a lot during production!
 
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juliandoe

youtube.com/juliandoe
I don't have a fixed colour palette in my templates but the important factors to me are:

1. The sequence of colours must be contrasting
2. The colours must represent the instrument families (not single ones)
3. Don't use the "primary" colours of my DAW (Logic has prefixed a dark blue for audio, green for midi, yellow for aux, and violet for the master) In this way if I add a new track/midi/aux/master I can leave it that way and easily identify it as a track added to the template.

I hope this is helpful.
 

muk

Senior Member
Except for the strings - which are blue, I use the instruments colors. Woodwinds are dark red/brown (because of the bassoon), brass yellow/gold, percussion silver/black. But it doesn't matter too much, as I use one instrument per track in score order. So it's pretty clear to me what is where even without the colors.
 
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SupremeFist

SupremeFist

Senior Member
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I tend to colorize by sections too, and like you I feel brass is orange-red. Inside this group, french horns are usually red, I need to be able to recognize their tracks immediately.
I can understand that but I couldnt bear having anything red, it's just too in your face.

Thanks to all for the fascinating answers! Since I guess I have mild synaesthesia it's important for me to have the visuals make "sense" when I'm working on something all day. I wish Logic had more colour gradients to choose from though...
 
As long as I don't use them like Junkie XL it's all fine...

The videos were great but man that guy loves his rainbow vomit...
 

Quasar

Senior Member
I see a lot of people doing that rainbow colours thing (at least in Logic) and it makes me unhappy. For me strings should obviously be green, woods blue, and brass yellow/orange. How do you do it?
Absolutely. Strings are obviously green, WWs blue and brass is yellow/orange, and it can't be any other way. I wonder if this is an archetype or something that some have and some don't? I was a bit shocked to read that you laid this out as "obvious" because I am exactly the same way, but thought it was merely a personal quirk.

Low brass gets darker toward brown, and bass in general (such as a bass guitar) is brown. Percussion tends to be on the grayscale, lighter and silvery on the high end. In general, the scale of low to high equates to dark to light.

DAW tracks can often only approximate the colors though. The real, internal "colors" of the instrumental sounds don't necessarily translate well to what you can choose in a color picker. But you can get close enough so that you know at a glance what the track color represents once you get used to how you translate it.
 

Quasar

Senior Member
I can understand that but I couldnt bear having anything red, it's just too in your face.

Thanks to all for the fascinating answers! Since I guess I have mild synaesthesia it's important for me to have the visuals make "sense" when I'm working on something all day. I wish Logic had more colour gradients to choose from though...
No instrumental tracks would ever be red, so I use red for aux, for busses or for bouncing audio to a new stem.
 
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