The central horizontal strip shows all available modulation sources,
with motion graphics of the behavior of the active sources.
Notice that the sources are color-coded to match the tabs below,
which is where you’ll find the controls for the modulation sources themselves,
such as envelopes, LFOs, and so on.
How do I set up a modulation routing?
There are two ways.
You can select a source in the central strip (we call it the Modulation Overview),
then drag on the outline of any knob to make that parameter the target.
Or, you can click the + sign that appears when you hover over a target parameter,
then move the slider that appears under the source you want by a positive or negative amount.
Of course, you can have multiple sources per target and multiple targets per source.
What modulation sources are on the Keyboard tab?
Besides the keyboard itself (which technically is a modulation source), there are the pitch-bend and modulation wheels.
The up and down bend ranges are separately adjustable.
For example, you could perform subtle upward bends of a couple of semitones,
but set the downward range to an octave (or two or three octaves!) for guitar-style dive bombs.
Envelope 1 is always routed to the VCA but can also be used to modulate other targets.
Envelopes 2 and 3 are freely assignable.
What is special about these envelopes?
In ADR mode, an envelope runs its entire course once triggered.
Lifting your finger off the key will not cause the envelope to jump to its release phase.
How many LFOs are there?
Three, all freely assignable.
What waveforms do the LFOs offer?
The Waveform knob is continuously variable between sine, triangle, square, and sample & hold.
Can the LFOs sync to tempo?
A drop-down menu under the Rate knob selects binary, dotted, and triplet feels,
which are then applied to the rhythmic values the knob chooses.
There’s also an unsynced option expressed in Hertz.
What are Reset Source and Unipolar?
You get a choice of 16 different things that will reset the LFO to its starting point,
including three keyboard triggering modes.
There’s also a free-running mode.
In Unipolar mode, the waveform stays the same but runs entirely in a positive phase.
The net effect on a target might be offset by factors such as
setting negative modulation amounts in the central overview strip.
Imagine if an LFO and an envelope had a baby, which then developed superpowers. That’s a function in Pigments.
It’s basically a progression of values that can have lots of breakpoints and adjustable curves between those breakpoints.
It can operate as an envelope or an LFO, and you get three of them.
What is a Function good for musically?
Just about anything you can dream up.
A set of factory Function Presets suggests various musical applications,
from modulating any parameter in step sequencer fashion to creating a strumming effect.
If you create a function you like, you can save it as a user Preset.
What are the Play Modes?
Each function can run in one of three ways.
- One-Shot: Plays through once when triggered by a gate source.
- Loop: Continues to play until re-started from the gate source.
- Run: Free-runs without regard to the gate source.
The Gate Source menu selects the source that will restart the function from the beginning.
Can Functions be tempo synced?
They can sync to rhythmic divisions and support binary, triplet, or dotted feels, just like the LFOs.
You can also set them to a fixed (unsynced) rate in Hertz.
What do the Function Draw Modes do?
They provide a quick and fun way to draw functions with a sweep of the mouse.
There are square, ramp, and sawtooth drawing modes.
You can then go back and tweak individual breakpoints and curves to your liking.
Also, the Magnetize mode snaps breakpoints to the nearest grid line,
which can be useful for guaranteeing your Function works in a rhythmic way.
Three Random generators let you add an element of controlled chaos to your Pigments modulations.
Each generator can be set to one of three models: Turing, Sample & Hold, or Binary.
All are tempo-syncable like other modulation sources.
Turing? As in Alan Turing, the famous mathematician?
Yes, the scientist who cracked the “Enigma” code in World War II.
You’d have to be him to understand the math our developers use, but basically, you choose the Length of a repeating cycle of values,
then the Flip parameter sets the probability that the next step in the cycle will be an “mirror image” of the previous one.
So, zero and 100 percent are completely predictable and 50 percent is totally random.
It’s disciplined but also a free spirit — just like Mr. Turing himself.
What is Sample & Hold?
In the analog world, this refers to taking snapshots of a continuously changing voltage,
then stringing the snapshots together to use as a series of control signals.
It’s responsible for that burbling “the computer is thinking” effect heard in vintage sci-fi movies and prog rock.
The S&H generator in Pigments has adjustable rise and fall times,
which you can think of as attack and release times for each snapshot.
What does Sample and Hold take snapshots of?
Any of 27 sources, selected from its Source menu.
What does the Binary Generator do?
It flip-flops between two values, but you can adjust the probability that the value will be one instead of zero.
(The effect on any modulation target will be scaled based on the modulation amount set in the central overview strip.)
You can also adjust the Correlation, which is the probability that any successive output will be the same as the previous output.
What other features to the Random generators have in common?
As mentioned before, they can sync to tempo.
You can also choose the trigger sources, which determine what makes a generator restart.
For the Sample & Hold option, a trigger causes a new snapshot to be taken.
The Combinate tab provides myriad ways to combine two modulation sources, then use the result as a modulation source itself.
How does it combine the two modulation sources?
Really, by modulating a source with another.
First, in any Combinator, the Source is actually the thing being affected.
The Mod setting chooses the thing doing the affecting.
Then there’s the Type, which is the mathematical process by which the Mod affects the Source.
So, what results does Combinating produce?
The animated graphic shows what you wind up with as an input to Combinator 1, 2, or 3 on the central modulation strip,
which in turn modulates whatever parameters you’ve assigned.
In this example, Function 2 is modifying LFO3 by way of a Multiply process, and the result is all over the place.
One of the more unusual Combinator processes is Remap.
Instead of having a Mod selector, it modifies the Source by way of the “mini-function” shown at left.
You can add and move breakpoints and tweak the curves here.