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Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:18 am
by dannemoller
Hi again!

I know that there's probably still work to do on this area by the Dorico team. But in the meantime, are there any settings that you good people recommend that can make it look better? There are quite a few of these in the score, and so a bit of a chore to alter everyone manually.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:41 am
by benwiggy
I have generally found better results by reducing the height of long slurs, down from 3 to 2 ¼.

Also try changing "Maximum angle for cross staff slurs".

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:36 pm
by Claude Lapalme
Sometimes, I'll turn off collision avoidance in the Properties Panel for the offending slurs (and then propagate). It makes them a little flat, but it's often a better starting point. Your excerpt looks a lot like Howard Blake's Snowman. If that's the case, then yes: there are a lot of those! Therefore you should filter them and turn off collision all at once to see what it looks like as a starting point. If not, Engraving Properties changes, as suggested above, would be less tedious with a little experimentation.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:35 pm
by John Ruggero
It would be interesting to see the results with the recommended settings changes. Here is the result using default settings in Finale and no hand adjustment:
Finale default slurs.jpeg
(20.08 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:46 pm
by Claude Lapalme
The cross slurs and a couple of other slurs in Dorico do need some love; that's acknowledged. But simply turning off the "automatic auto curve adjustment" (which I mistakenly named collision avoidance above), gives results that, while not optimal, are already much better without manual adjustments. But there's still obviously a road ahead towards improvements.
slurs1.jpg
(36.86 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:57 pm
by John Ruggero
Thanks, Claude. I really hope that the Dorico designers will study Finale's slurs carefully. I, for one, will never move to software that doesn't give as good a result.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:36 pm
by pianoleo
"Default settings" for slurs, John, but not for the actual document. Try using the Document Setup Wizard, with all defaults (and a default Grand Staff instrument), then inputting your example. With Finale 25.5 I get this piece of engraving beauty:

Image

I think I'll stick with Dorico!

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:46 am
by John Ruggero
pianoleo, I created my example as you did, but moved the staves a normal distance from each other to duplicate those in the original post. The slurs do distort when the staves are very far apart as in your example. That doesn't concern me because I would never have piano staves this far apart, and the majority of slur shapes in Finale are so close to what I need without reshaping, especially when I use my own settings rather than the default ones. So I will stick to Finale for now, but hope that Dorico will eventually get the results I need for my work, because there are some aspects of Dorico that could be very helpful.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:49 am
by dankreider
Those slurs are so wispy... yuck!

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:50 am
by Romanos401
Look at the slurs portion of the engraving rules. You can manipulate MANY parameters... odds are if you fiddle with them a bit you’ll get Dorico to generate what you want by default. 5 mins tweaking settings there (and then save as default) will save you hours in the future.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:09 am
by John Ruggero
Romano, during my last trial, I did tweak the Dorico slurs by means of the settings and got close to what I wanted in terms of the overall slur shape. However, changing the slur contour for the the different situations that occur, such as in the original example, was laborious. I have mentioned this before and thought this was another opportunity to prod Dorico to investigate why it is so much easier to achieve pleasing slur shapes in Finale than in Dorico.

Of course, if Dorico is happy with the Dorico slurs as they are and doesn't see a difference between Dorico slurs and those in fine engraving, then I doubt there will be improvement, and I doubt that I will ever switch over.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:16 am
by dankreider
John, I very much agree with your point about the angles. And slurs across systems are still pretty rough. I mostly just don't like the pointy ends.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:50 am
by notesetter
dankreider wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:16 am
I mostly just don't like the pointy ends.
If we're talking about Finale, the slur tips and body thickness are adjustable.
Image

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:18 pm
by dankreider
Yep, I just don’t know why that isn’t the default. I guess if you’re the programmers, after 30+ years, you don’t mess with defaults.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:49 pm
by John Ruggero
dankreider wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:18 pm
Yep, I just don’t know why that isn’t the default. I guess if you’re the programmers, after 30+ years, you don’t mess with defaults.
Aside from lethargy at MM, the reason might be that slur shape is a question of taste. Several years ago Notat.io members went through all the Finale defaults and came up with settings that produce better results.

For example, here what I prefer in Finale using my own settings and with very slight hand work:
slur shape and contour.png
(85.55 KiB) Not downloaded yet
Image
And I wish that I could actually display my examples in the post the way I see them above! What is the magic?

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:57 pm
by Rob Tuley
I would guess that if you changed the defaults after 30 years, you would have thousands of complaints from angry customers who had spent the last 30 years thinking the old default version looked perfect.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:07 pm
by dankreider
John Ruggero wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:49 pm
I wish that I could actually display my examples in the post the way I see them above! What is the magic?
This forum is really lame when it comes to things like posting photos and files. Your pics have to be less than 600 pixels. Then you have to host the image somewhere, get a link, and put that link into the post using the "img" tags.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:18 pm
by notesetter
John Ruggero wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:49 pm
And I wish that I could actually display my examples in the post the way I see them above! What is the magic?
John, this is what I do:

Post your response just the way you have above. When you view your post, right click on the link displayed at the bottom ("slur shape and contour.jpeg" in your post above) and select "Copy Link Location". Edit your post (click on the pencil icon) and add a "Insert URL" (chain link) and paste the copied link location into it. When you post this edit, you'll see your graphic displayed.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:01 pm
by b_e_n
If you increase the shoulders' offset and decrease the slur end thickness the result is much better.
offset shoulders.png
(139.85 KiB) Not downloaded yet
slur end thickness.png
(96.78 KiB) Not downloaded yet
cross staff slurs.png
(31.48 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:09 am
by Daniel at Steinberg
John Ruggero wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:09 am
Of course, if Dorico is happy with the Dorico slurs as they are and doesn't see a difference between Dorico slurs and those in fine engraving, then I doubt there will be improvement, and I doubt that I will ever switch over.
Dorico is a computer program, and (to the best of my knowledge) is not self-aware, so it is unable to make any comparisons for itself between what it has been programmed to do by its humans and the slurs produced by other humans. But I'm you know this very well and you have some strange reason for talking obliquely about the humans who actually build Dorico in this way.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:51 pm
by John Ruggero
Sorry Daniel, I originally wrote "if the Dorico community is happy with..." but then thought that was presumptuous and changed it to the strange phrasing because I didn't really know how to put it. I realize now that I should have written "If everyone is happy with..."

Notesetter, I will try that to see if my examples will appear.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:02 pm
by John Ruggero
I tried it, notesetter, but didn't get the result desired. See my post above. After I control-clicked the link (since I am on a Mac), I choose "Copy Link Address" since I didn't see Copy Link Location as one of the possible choices. Maybe that made a difference?

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:37 pm
by John Ruggero
b_e-n, thank you very much. That is kind of thing I did to tweak the Dorico slurs and achieved much better results.

In my opinion, your final example of the cross staff slurs is excellent, but does suffer from the extreme arching that one sees in a lot of computer engraving now, even from the best publishers like Henle and Baerentreiter. The best plate engraving of the past, for example, that by the same two publishers, avoided this because over-arched slurs stand out too much and take up too much of the empty space on the page in a way that impedes reading. And it is less visually pleasing because the slurs don't seem to track the path of the notes as well.

In any case, I found such necessary adjustments to slurs to be harder in Dorico than Finale. Ironically, it seemed that the higher degree of control over the motion of the control points in Dorico gave too much opportunity to misshape the slurs to create unintended bulges etc. With Finale the user is somehow protected from this, which makes shaping the slurs much easier. Perhaps having two levels of control over the slurs, fine and less fine, would be helpful.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:50 pm
by notesetter
John Ruggero wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:02 pm
I tried it, notesetter, but didn't get the result desired. See my post above. After I control-clicked the link (since I am on a Mac), I choose "Copy Link Address" since I didn't see Copy Link Location as one of the possible choices. Maybe that made a difference?
I use the Firefox browser and it definitely says "Copy Link Location". "Copy Link Address" must be the same as I see it. Take another look at my steps and feel free to contact me privately.

Re: Ugly looking cross staff slur

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:42 am
by Romanos401
Just click on the image once it is uploaded and when the image page loads, copy the url.