Working with panels and widgets

Working with panels and widgets

In this article you will learn about panels and widgets and useful tips for designing your panels.

TheWayfarer, S-Gear, working with panels and widgets

Before we start, if necessary, please check out these user manual topics to become familiar with Panels, Widgets and other basic terms in Gig Performer.

Some musicians don’t make changes to their sounds (or make only minor tweaks) and therefore may only need on or two widgets (an example is this Simon Leiner’s setup) on their panels. On the other hand, you can create very nice panels with a lot of real-time control such as the one shown by Erik Schütz in this video. Basically, Gig Performer has the flexibility to arrange things to suit your approach and make your setup productive and efficient (here is an example of how Joe Luca is designing his panels).

Working with panels

A great starting point to pick some ideas to design your panels are:

  • Bundled templates,
  • Bundled panels,
  • the Gig and Rackspace files forum.

Gig Performer comes with bundled templates – click this user manual page to learn more. Note that Gig Performer also comes with bundled panels, as well. While in Edit mode, click on New panel drop-down menu, select Load panel (click here to learn more) and then select on one of the supplied panels, e.g. “Parametric EQ”:

Gig Performer Parametric EQ panel

Visit this Backstage with Gig Performer episode to see detailed explanations what can you do with built-in templates and panels.

Finally, the Gig and Rackspace files forum is a great place where our community members share their amazing work. You can download and use these gig or rackspace files or alternatively open them, save panels you like, and then load those panels in your own gig file and map the widgets to your own plugin parameters.

If you’re starting with an empty gig, first decide what panel size you want. The default is 2U, but you can select 1U, 3U or 4U panel (“U” is an abbreviation for rack unit – a unit of measure defined as 1 ³⁄₄ inches (or 44.45 mm)). While in Edit mode, simply right click on a panel and select its size.

Afterward, click on a panel and then choose a color or texture for it:

Gig Performer Panel Texture

In this example, the selected texture (see the red arrow) can be modified using Shape widgets to look (say) green or blue. This will be discussed below.

Now you’re all set. In the next section we’ll present possibilities to add and arrange widgets.

Working with widgets

Similarly to operating with panels, we add, position and edit widgets in the Edit mode of the Panels view. Make sure to review our user manual to make yourself familiar with:

How to add widgets to a panel
Widget alignment and distribution
Widget z-ordering
Widget Properties inspector

When it comes to designing panels, the Shape widget is probably the most valuable for decorating the panel. Guitarists can arrange their widgets to resemble their pedals, as shown in the screenshot below (to the left):

The Shape Widget Gig Performer

Generally, the Shape widget is used to easily organize related widgets into logical sections and with different colors (see the screenshot above, to the right).

You vary the transparency of the Shape widget by changing its widget value. The Shape widget provides you with great flexibility as you can group it with other widgets or map it to a plugin parameter. In the example below, I took advantage of the transparency feature of a shape widget:

Shape widget, combined with other widgets, Gig Performer

The screenshot on the left shows how widgets look when they are turned off (widget value = 0) and the screenshot on the right shows how the same widgets look when they are all turned on (widget value = 100). The first red vertical switch is an unaltered Gig Performer widget. On other two switch widgets I wanted to make the light stronger or rectangular respectively so I grouped it with the corresponding shape widgets.

You can use the Shape widget as a custom LED with the color you want. Note the Shape widget above the Toggle Switch widget. NB: At the end of this article I will post a gig file that contains these examples, so you can easily experiment yourself.

In Gig Performer 4.5 there are cosmetic improvements for the Label widgets; you can now select font size, text position (nine positions) and text color:

Label widgets in Variations

Similar to the Shape widget, you vary the transparency of a Label widget by changing its widget value. You can use this behavior (say) in rackspace variations to highlight or hide certain messages.

Another new feature in Gig Performer 4.5 is the ability to drag single widgets across panels in a rackspace. Unlike the standard copy-paste mechanism where widgets will be resized when pasted onto a panel that has a different size than the source panel, widgets moved this way will retain their size. 

Gig Performer 4.5 also introduces the ability to hide a widget. Simply turn on the Hide toggle button in the General tab of the Widget Properties inspector for (say) the Black Metal widget and it will be semi-transparent in Edit mode (A) and completely hidden when you exit Edit mode (B):

A hidden widget in Gig Performer, audio plugin host for live performance

We’ll conclude this section with two options in the Widget Properties Inspector, the General tab: Display Range and Show Back Plate (click here for more information):

Widget cosmetics with Display Range and Show Back Plate options in Gig Performer

In the “Normal” row (1) are shown some widgets and how they look by default, when you drag them onto the panel. You can easily compare those widgets after removing the back plate (2). With (3) are displayed some widgets without both their back plate and their range. Note: there are widgets for which the range and/or back plate cannot be altered.

Other tips with panels and widgets

While dragging a widget onto a panel, press a number (between 2 and 9) and that number of widgets will be added to a panel laid out horizontally. Press the desired number twice while dragging to add them vertically (click here to learn more). Also, if you drag exactly 9 drawbar widgets, they will appear with the same colors as on a real Hammond organ:

Drawbars Gig Performer Widgets

You can move widgets using the arrow keys on your computer keyboard. Hold the Shift key to move widgets in bigger steps.

To replace an existing widget with another one, simply drag the other widget over the existing one and when the REPLACE label appears, release the mouse button. Note: this works only with related widgets; for example, you can replace an LED button with a Pad button or a Metal knob with a Black Metal knob.

If you use widget groups, you can choose whether you want to show or hide widget group letters in the Panels view; see Display Options for more information (NB: these letters will always be visible in Edit mode).

To quickly assign all the widgets to the (say) widget group “N”, select all the widgets and then press the keyboard key N while holding the Alt key (or Option on Mac).

Copy and paste operations on widgets and panels are supported:
– between rackspaces,
– between rackspaces and the Global rackspace,
– between multiple instances of Gig Performer. This means that you can open another instance, load a gig file (say) from the Gig and Rackspace files forum and copy panels and widgets to your gig file.

You can use widgets to create a metronome with visual feedback. Click here to learn more.

Download the gig file: DOWNLOAD

Note: in the Bonus rackspace, a knob widget is moved slightly on every beat using a rackspace script. If you like scripting make sure to check out the Related topics section and the Getting started gig file to see animated widgets. If you have any questions or want to share your own tips, please visit this Community thread.

Share this article it to support Gig Performer and spread the word! 🙂

Own The Stage® with Gig Performer®

Nemanja Pudar

Related topics
Getting started gig file
How to make various elements of Gig Performer bigger
Larry the “O” explains Gig Performer Widgets
How to create a custom metronome with visual feedback

Scaling Curves

Scaling curves allow you to control the shape of the output of a widget or convert an incoming note velocity to a new velocity. Various predefined curves are available and they can be tweaked as necessary. You can also just draw your own curve as well to achieve the effect you require.


MIDI File Player Plugin

You can load up to 128 MIDI song files in a single plugin instance. Switch from one song to another, mute tracks and/or change their channel numbers. Tempo can be controlled by individual songs or you can use the global tempo and tap tempo to control the BPM interactively.


Favorites and Presets

Create a sound by placing and interconnecting your desired plugins, such as a synth, some effects and perhaps a mixer. Select them all and then save the selection as a named favorite. The favorite will subsequently show up in all plugin insert menus, making it easy for you to recreate that configuration whenever you need it again. This feature is also very powerful for creating your needed sounds on your studio computer and then transferring them to your touring laptop.


Probabilistic Sound Designer

Parameters you select in an open plugin are captured into the Probabilistic Sound Designer dialog window. When you click Randomize, you're only adjusting those selected parameters. Each entry in the PSD dialog has a curve but unlike widgets where the curve controls scaling, in the PSD the curves are used to define the probability of particular values being selected. Make sure the filter cutoff never gets too slow so as to block all sound. Perhaps adjust the max range of the VCA attack parameter so that the sound doesn't have too much delay. Constrain the octave ranges of the oscillators, perhaps ensuring that 1/3rd of the time we select 8' and 2/3rds of the time we select 4'. The possibilities are endless.


More Widgets

Numerous new widgets are included in Gig Performer - a new sustain pedal, plastic knobs, drum pads and more colored sliders. Shapes can be colored with different borders and fill colors and morphed from rectangular to circular. Your creativity is now the limit to creating fabulous front panels in Gig Performer.


MIDI Message Helper

Select MIDI devices by name. Choose the MIDI message type and adjust the appropriate parameters for the specific type



Layout management

Gig Performer supports arbitrary resizing. Layout your widgets the way you want - resize the main window and the widgets will grow or shrink as necessary to maintain the same interrelationships. No matter what size screen you have, your front panels will still be neat and usable.


Undo Support

If you move your widgets around and/or resize them, or even delete them by mistake, the Undo facility will correct your mistake. Minor moves to a widget by mistake will no longer spoil your design


Plugin Channel Count

Some plugins support a large number of outputs and they depend on the traditional channel strip to control how many ports should be available.   When you only need a stereo pair, it is convenient not to have a large horizontal block. In Gig Performer, the number of available ports  is controlled by the channel count override, which can be applied to individual plugins and will be remembered when the gigfile is reloaded or if the plugin is saved as a favorite.


Input muting and output fading

Rather than a single audio length tail, Gig Performer 4 gives you the ability to control input muting and output fading separately. Input muting controls how much time it takes for audio input to be silenced when you leave the rackspace. Output fading controls how much time will be taken for audio to fade out when you leave the rackspace.


Faster Plugin Finder

Instead of searching through menus of perhaps hundreds of plugins (you know who you are!), the Quick Plugin Finder makes it easy to find the plugin you need by simply typing partial strings. For example, as shown here, to find the Modartt Pianoteq 7 plugins, it's enough to type pia mod 7 (in any order, by the way)  to restrict the list of available plugins to those matching your query. The Quick Plugin Finder also knows about manufacturers, presets and favorites.



Touch Friendly Input

Any entry field can be changed by either dragging your mouse (or finger) up or down, or by using the large popup touchpad where you can just tap on the squares to enter a value. The large popup keypad also does validation so you can't enter an invalid value. You can also just tap the BPM field to pop up a larger view where you can quickly change tempo, tranpose, trigger Tap Tempo and enable Ableton Link, the last allowing you to synchronize Gig Performer with any other application that also supports Ableton Link.


New Tuner Display

The tuner view makes it easy for guitarists to quickly check and adjust their tuning. You can toggle into the tuner view from any other view and toggle right back as soon as you're done. All output will be silenced automatically while you're in tuning mode. You can adjust the concert reference pitch from its default of 440 Hz to suit your own needs. The tuner view fills the entire screen so you can easily see it from a distance.