Make Your Parameter UI Retina-Friendly

Many FxFactory products use banner image parameters as a way to display text to the user in the parameter inspector. Very often, these banners are used to separate different sections of the parameter UI, as an alternative to a standard parameter group. Other times, they contain tips about how to use parameters below the banner:

With the arrival of Retina displays, the pre-rendered text in these banner parameters stands out from the rest of the parameter UI. Though it may be tempting to generate new images at four times the resolution (144 dpi vs 72 dpi), FxFactory now offers a more efficient alternative: the new Section Title parameter.

The Section Title parameter can be used to replace an existing banner parameter whose purpose was simply to render a line of text. In order to make this transition simple, FxFactory also introduces a new feature: the ability to replace an existing parameter with one of a different type1).

Example: Replacing a Banner parameter with a Section Title parameter in the "Genie" plug-in

The “Genie” plug-in in FxFactory Pro is one of many plug-ins that use banner images to separate parameters into sections.

The first step is to select the existing banner parameter:

The banner image simply contains the title of the parameter section, “Distortion”.

Click on the Add Parameter button while holding down the Option key. Doing so tells FxFactory that you want to replace the selected parameter, rather than create a new one:

Select the Replace with Section Title menu command. FxFactory will delete the old banner parameter and place a blank Section Title parameter at the same spot, and with the same parameter ID.

Parameter replacement is a very delicate operation, which should not be performed blindly on a shipping product. Once the original parameter is deleted, its ID is re-used for the new parameter. This operation is harmless only for certain parameters, such as Banners and Section Titles. Replacing other types of parameters will make pre-existing instances of your plug-in inoperational, and perhaps crash the host.

Enter the title you would like to assign to the parameter section, and you are done:

Although it is possible to specify a custom font, you should always pick among the fonts that are guaranteed to be installed on end-users systems, such as “Lucida Grande” or “Helvetica”. If you pick a font that does not exist on the system, FxFactory will use the system font instead.

As noted later in this tutorial, only certain parameter substitutions can be done on a shipping product, or else you run the risk of breaking project compatibility and crashing the host application.