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  • Writer's pictureAndreas Johansson

Auto color your tracks for a faster workflow

Coloring your tracks while mixing and producing can help a great deal to keep your projects organized. It's a lot easier to find specific track colors without having to look for the names and if you color the items the same way that will help to find corresponding tracks. If you stick to a plan for this and color similar instruments the same way this will also help with organizing your project for certain tasks like mixing. For instance I always use red for drums, yellow for bass and purple for vocals. This is all up to you of course but pick a rule and stick to it!

Having picked a color and a way to structure your project you may notice this may take a lot of your time when preparing for a mix for instance. This is where I get DAW specific. In the SWS-extension for Reaper there's a function for auto color both tracks and regions. This can help a great deal to quickly color your tracks based on their name. If you also have a well structured naming scheme your tracks will be properly colored in no time. To set this up go to extensions>Auto Color/Icon/Layout. Here you can add names for certain tracks like drums, bass, guitar etc. and add colors, icons and even track layouts. The names doesn't have to be specific names but can also be properties; for instance if the track is a child or folder. You can also add colors for regions so that there are specific colors for verse or chorus regions etc.

I have mine set up so that track prefixes like DRM,GTR or VOX, will get a specific color, I've also set up different track layouts for children and folders. Folders have a bigger meter in TCP and a tall channel layout in MCP. You can make these layouts in the Theme Adjuster window and then assign the letter through this extension. Finally you can add icons if you like but I'm fine with just colors.

Make sure to pay attention to the order of your rules in the Auto Color/Icon/Layout window. You can prioritize colors so that if a track is named KEYS_FX or something that has two colors assigned to it will pick the one first in your list.

Auto Color/Icon/Layout window

TCP Layout

MCP layout


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