DAW Screen Scaling for Bias plugins

  • I don't think I'm alone in thinking how great it would be to have the option of increasing the scale size of the PG plugin windows. I use my Bias plugins in Logic on a 27" iMac and Bias and all the UI in the window is tiny. I have other plugins that offer screen scaling and man it's awesome not having to be close to a high resolution screen to see the settings. Scaling definitely helps to cut back on eye fatigue too.

    Anyone else really wanting this feature?

  • A2


    A lot of people want this feature and I hope it will be added in the next minor update

  • Following on Sal's: you might have guessed in this day a lot of people may have asked for it. There's a little glass up yonder right to look through.

  • @Anthony-Newcomb You are not the first person to ask but anyone who does gets an upvote and thread bump from me, because that would be awesome. Especially with the nice GFX upgrade Bias 2 got.

  • A2

    This is an issue that's really vexxing a lot of developers right now. Believe it or not, with most of the solutions that help developers eliminate the gruntwork from making plugins, scaling is a very tricky proposition. Hopefully JUCE will start making this easier, I've seen a few tricks people who use WDL have been trying, but its trickier than you might think


  • @pipelineaudio : this wasn't an issue as I recall in earlier Windows - though was that due to image format parameters, video rendering, or both?

  • A2

    You can force UI scaling trhrough the OS with varying degrees of success, but the places you click on would still be the old locations so it would be hard to control. It sure seems like it should be easier than it is, what a PITA

  • DPI scaling is tricky for sure. I use FL Studio and BIAS Amp 2 has layout issues there due to DPI scaling as well. Certain elements seem to scale while others don't, and a chunk of the window is invisible or blacked out.
    I can get it to work/scale normally by running it in bridged/detached mode, but that is not optimal at all.

  • Makes one think it might be better to go back to raster images and sprites.....

  • @tannhauser They could draw the GUI in realtime using vectors. For example Helix Native easily scales its interface. Lot of modern stuff does not use rasterized stuff for GUIs for this very reason.

    Buuut you lose the oh-so-pretty skeuomorphic skins we all love so much! :cry: I want the scaling but am willing to wait if it means we keep the cool skins. I'm superficial like that, I guess. :wink: Honestly, I asked before but could easily live with Fixed scale factors on a drop down like Revalver does. It has a really nice Amp-like interface and it can get pretty big even on a giant monitor. Pretty darn good compromise.

  • @elric yeah that's how some of my synth plugins scale...using drop down menus where I select the % to increase the window/UI size to. I could easily live with that approach to scaling if that's what PG would choose to do if they do ever offer scaling in the future.

  • @elric : I thought OS rendering since 7 was vector.

  • @tannhauser I believe it has vector-based controls, yes, and WPF is entirely vector (well, except for the image rendering aspects) but that's actually pretty irrelevant to the issue of DPI scaling, since WPF doesn't have any scaling issues at all -- in fact, if the UI were vector (or WPF-based) then we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place, because scaling would Just Work (unless they just did something really really stupid). That's the entire benefit of vector graphics.

    Most third-party GUI frameworks are not actually vector-based, however, and may not use Windows' vector controls at all. BIAS is such an example. These apps are subject to the GDI-based rendering system and have to handled by Windows' scaling system, which does its best but can't account for developer mistakes. The issue with DPI scaling in non-vector frameworks is a compound one; some frameworks don't handle it very gracefully, but also some developers just aren't good at designing DPI-aware UIs.

    The big issue a lot of apps have is that some elements are designed to work with the scaling system while others aren't, or that the app developer uses DPI-aware units (pt, em, etc) for some elements but non-scalable units (px, etc) for others -- you can see this in any app that, when scaled in 'application' mode, has some elements that are oddly larger than others. I noticed that when I load BIAS into FL Studio, some elements seem to scale while others don't, suggesting it's rendering in such a fashion.

    Likewise, DAWs/VST hosts haven't generally put the same degree of effort into solving the DPI scaling issue that Microsoft has with recent versions of Windows. The scaling that goes on in a DAW/VST host isn't generally as sophisticated as what Windows has and doesn't try to take poor DPI scaling support in the VST into account; this is why we have problems with BIAS scaling in DAWs but not in Windows itself.

    The situation regarding DPI scaling is actually far better now than it used to be. As a bit of a history recap:
    In old versions of Windows, all we had was the 'Application' based scaling, which left scaling entirely up to the app and had highly mixed (and often extremely poor) results, with scaled apps having a mishmash of scaled and unscaled elements, strange appearances of scaled controls, and controls that often stretched outside the bounds of the window. Apps were usually "usable", to some definition of the term, but it wasn't pleasant at all from a UI perspective. The upshot was that high-DPI displays just weren't really a thing yet, so we didn't really have much opportunity to notice how bad it was.
    In either Vista or 7, they added the 'System' scaling option, which pretty much literally just took the image of the application window and just...stretched it. Applications in this mode are never aware of being scaled from the lower resolution, and don't need to do anything special for everything to be sized correctly. The downside is that the extra resolution is accomplished via stretching rather than DPI-aware rendering, so it lacks the extra detail and crisp edges that a proper high-resolution image should have, and thus this was the era when everyone complained about everything being 'fuzzy' or 'blurry'.
    Now, with Windows 10, we have the new "System (enhanced)" scaling mode. I don't know what kind of black magic is going on with this one, but it looks pretty darn good from what I've seen thus far, and further research may be required before I fully understand how they accomplished it. It seems to meet the requirements of proper element sizing while still having clear text. It's unlikely that DAWs are aware of this mechanism though, and at least in my experience it seems like FL leaves the rendering up to the VST itself ("Application" mode) which is why we get weirdness like this.

    Of course, without knowing exactly what framework PG uses for BIAS and how they wrote the UI, it's hard to say who to point fingers at. It's clear they need to be doing something to address the issue, though, as I cannot deal with having to detach my plugins from my DAW just to be able to use them.

    (note: I'm a software engineer by trade, with a particular emphasis on UX/UI, and all my devices are high-DPI, so BIAS' problems with DPI scaling trigger me greatly) =x