FL Tips - a list of useful techniques and other things I've found to be useful while working in FL

tahutoa

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#1
And now,
:gwdancing: Useful FL tips! :gwdancing:
Disclaimer: most people who do music on this forum prolly know a lot of this shit already, but these little bits of knowledge have just been so goddamn useful, and keeping a log in case of disapparation can only benefit people. Keep in mind, all this stuff I figured out how to do on my own because I don't retain anything from actual tutorials, hardly.
  • Sept. 2017 : Put Fruity Free Filter (set to Peaking at ~4500-5000 freq.) on WL4 sf for higher sound quality.
  • Somewhere in 2018 : Fruity Free Filter's "Q" and "Freq." can be used in conjunction to back an instrument up with extra sounds; works best with low-pass filter in my experience; can sound really cool when used in conjunction with Fruity Reverb 2 (possibly 1 as well).
  • Putting decay time to low settings and increasing the initial delay on Fruity Reverb to around 75 ms can be used to sort of recreate the Mega Man X SNESVerb.
  • Oct. 2018 : Putting "Dry" to 0% and "Phase" to the full 360 on Fruity Flanger gets rid of the dumbass chorus effect.
  • Week of Nov. 12 : Use "Release time (under Plugin)" and "Gate (FUNC. under Time)" together-- can and will really help you out, especially when making 8-bit stuff. Release Time works like a sort of fadeout thing that starts as soon as the sound block reaches its end, and Gate cuts a sound off early (how soon is determined by the time you set it to).
    • Used in conjunction, they can give any instrument a pseudo piano effect, which is very useful if you're using a 'goes on forever' type instrument but don't want it to last the entire note length or cut off abruptly.
    • Also, for instruments with a set release time, you can overwrite it and put it to the lowest setting of 15 to make it work like your average 50% pulse.
  • Set "Attack time (under Plugin)" to somewhere around 0:12-0:15 to recreate the effect seen in Slow Strings.
    • Conversely, you can set it to 15 (like with Release) to lessen a Slow String effect (you'll have to go into the Edit Events thing and set it to 1 manually to really get rid of it, as far as being able to actually tell goes, but keep in mind I usually hate the Slow String effect anyway so I wouldn't be using instruments with it, it's just too much hassle).
  • Nov. 15 : Put low-pass filter (~1192 freq.) on Wildflower Reed to make it sound like a Bassoon/Oboe; adjust Q as needed but keep it at somewhere 'round 4-7 notches to keep your audio from peaking too much.
  • Nov. 16 : put an arpeggiator on a 32767-bit noise channel to make creating higher quality 8-bit drum sounds that much easier.
    • Editing the Time Gate for said arpeggiator is also useful for creating different sounding arpeggios, be they smoother or rougher.
    • Setting the arpeggiator to Slide can kind of recreate a distortion-type effect, as shitty as it'll sound for some notes. This one'll probably only work for HQ 8-bit instruments, though.
 

tahutoa

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#2
I'll add to this as I learn new stuff. Hopefully in the event that I DO remember I'll be un-lazy enough to actually put in on here (and log the time at which I learned it).
 

tahutoa

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#3
here's one thing: if you don't have any ambient background sounds, specifically the kinds featured a lot in MediEvil that are kind of hard to put a name to, the Ocarina of Time soundfont has you covered. Some of them even sound like the ones from MediEvil. creepy and ominous for some, high-ish sounding 'steam hiss' type pad presets, that sort of thing.
 

tahutoa

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#4
The shift & drag ability for the pencil tool that lets you shrink or expand a plethora of notes to whatever % their original size also adheres to the Snap-To Grid (edit: in theory. To some degree, possibly.) If you find that you can't quite hit that perfect 50% or 200%, try switching your Snap-To to other settings.
  • It can also help to (temporarily) change the length of your last note before using shift-drag so it will line up with the end of that measure/beginning of the next measure. In my experience you're much more likely to get your desired even percentage that way. I haven't yet found a reason to shrink anything to 67% or expand to 134% yet, however, so this might not be universal.
  • This is just personal preference, but I find 1/6 Grid to be more versatile (for obvious reasons), and in situations like this, use it for finer percentages, I'd say, as it's less likely to give you even percentages in tight spots (as I found out today, just before typing this). When operating in close quarters, I recommend 1/4 Grid, as it can give you a nice even 50% even if your selection's all within the confines of a single block :O!!!
Edit: Okay, take my theory with a grain of salt, because apparently it also matters where on the note you're grabbing it from, possibly more so than anything else, as I've just discovered from tabbing over and starting work again.

I suppose I should've ran more tests before publishing my theory, but I've always been more of a Math guy than a Science cat, and as history's shown, this ain't anything new. I've written more than one model in my notes, on how to solve certain type of problems based on one experience that then immediately doesn't fucking work on the next problem. I've always been a learn-by-doing sort of person (which would explain why I bombed piano), and those Eureka moments always gave me such a high that I'd never stop to question them. During this time period I mentioned, I would skim through Algebra I lessons like a douche and miss a bunch of shit, and my brother's been following my footsteps on that path (he's ignored my warnings just like I ignored my mother's, but he's the resident immovable object around here-- nothing short of being held at gunpoint will get him to budge on a position), so it'll probably take a goddamn earthquake of a math-related failure before he'll learn). I dunno if I was even on Adderall yet, but fuck me was I getting on it after that semester.
 
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#5
Sounds interesting. :) I might get FL Studio once. I would like having a piano roll program at my disposal, and GarageBand for iPad is sometimes a pain to work with, especially since the last update I could download on my iPad. Most good piano roll programs are Apple only though, it seems, which is why FL Studio would be an option. I also got MAGIX Music Maker through a Humble Bundle once, but I don't know if it's actually useful. Maybe I should actually try that, once. :P
 

tahutoa

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#6
Sounds interesting. :) I might get FL Studio once. I would like having a piano roll program at my disposal, and GarageBand for iPad is sometimes a pain to work with, especially since the last update I could download on my iPad. Most good piano roll programs are Apple only though, it seems, which is why FL Studio would be an option. I also got MAGIX Music Maker through a Humble Bundle once, but I don't know if it's actually useful. Maybe I should actually try that, once. :P
Well, if you just need a piano roll, and not necessarily a MIDI-making program, there's always Polyphone. It has the option to support a MIDI controller (pretty much an electric piano that doesn't make any noise until you connect a program to it, just in case you didn't already know), like my UMX-610. It is a soundfont editor, though, so you'll need a .sf2 and a highlighted instrument or preset. However, I'm going to assume you are looking into a MIDI maker specifically, in which case I'd recommend getting FL Studio 8 or 9. They're pretty much the Last Guard when it comes to FL using Bitmap graphics (I think 10 may have used bitmap as well, but I use FL6 and that's too much of a leap for me to even think about). Don't get 11 or 12, they're confusing and graphically look like shit.
 
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#7
Well, if you just need a piano roll, and not necessarily a MIDI-making program, there's always Polyphone. It has the option to support a MIDI controller (pretty much an electric piano that doesn't make any noise until you connect a program to it, just in case you didn't already know), like my UMX-610. It is a soundfont editor, though, so you'll need a .sf2 and a highlighted instrument or preset. However, I'm going to assume you are looking into a MIDI maker specifically, in which case I'd recommend getting FL Studio 8 or 9. They're pretty much the Last Guard when it comes to FL using Bitmap graphics (I think 10 may have used bitmap as well, but I use FL6 and that's too much of a leap for me to even think about). Don't get 11 or 12, they're confusing and graphically look like shit.
No, I am not interested in MIDI functionality for piano roll software, I'd rather use notes for that. However, notes allow for a lot less expression, as much is left to the performer/instrument/director. Sometimes another level of control (for example, the effects you talked about) could be nice.
 

tahutoa

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#8
No, I am not interested in MIDI functionality for piano roll software, I'd rather use notes for that. However, notes allow for a lot less expression, as much is left to the performer/instrument/director. Sometimes another level of control (for example, the effects you talked about) could be nice.
I don't know for sure if you quite grasp just how important MIDI functionality is. Everyone associates the word with Microsoft's shitty default GS sound system, but in actuality, MIDI is probably one of the best ways to sequence music-- alongside .XM files, S3M, etc. (which you would use OpenMPT to open-- I recommend that too, by the way). These types of music files have the instruments included as part of the package (it's how I've made the soundfonts for SuperSponge, Insaniquarium, and Best Friends). Those types of files are kind of like "MIDI XL," know what'm sayin'?

Take a look at this shit:

Everything, everything on this playlist was programmed with MIDI. Personally, I had no idea up until I started a brief correspondence with the composer on SoundCloud-- it was very informative even besides that, but the fact that Red Faction's soundtrack was made in some primeval version of FL using MIDI data is goddamn inspirational.

Anyhow, assuming you mean
1547154689736.png

THIS, when you say "using notes," then yeah Polyphone won't be of much use. Of course, you don't have to torrent Polyphone :SCool:
Without MIDI functionality, there would be no placing notes. However, if by "using notes" you mean 'pressing a key with u mous and it play a noise,' Polyphone is still a good idea. Let me know if you'd like me to add, say, a Google Drive link for the soundfonts I use, 'cause I could go make it :3V:
 

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tahutoa

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#10
I know how MIDI works. xD

Why would I? :confused: I mean specifically the notation that's called 'notes'. Here's a picture from Wikipedia:
I know how note works. xD

But anyway, jokes aside; I would suggest looking into MuseScore 2, in that case. It uses the traditional staff system that you seem to be looking for.
 
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#11
Good job, you have guessed what software I use on Windows. xD OpenMPT and MuseScore 2, indeed. :P But I feel like for some types of music a piano roll program would be more suitable than a tracker or note-based program. So that's why I made my first comment. ;)
 

tahutoa

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#12
I just discovered by accident that you can use Alt+X, or as I like to call it, the Multiplication tool, to alter velocity of notes in the piano roll (in addition to the Edit Events windows).
In other words, you don't have to double click and fiddle with the Volume knob with a bunch of notes selected (although that method is a bit more controlled, in my experience, since you don't have to also worry about Offset and Tension).
 
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