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The sample library box (metaphor) lives on!

gpax

Senior Member
This is all meant to be in good fun, though no doubt there’s some logic as to why it endures.

Have you ever wondered why some digital content, especially sample libraries are depicted by select developers as being in a box? Indeed, the skewed perspective of rendered boxed packaging still thrives, even propagated by developers who have only ever offered digital downloads from the start. And yet, others are finally laying the metaphor to rest.

Now boxes rendered in skewed depth perspective makes it impossible for me to create my 2D custom folder icons, and Logic Pro icons, lol. One company only shows boxes and no cover art at all! Music Sampling comes to mind. I mean, those kids can’t be old enough to even know what sending install disks in a box really looked like!

Fortunately, Orchestral Tools does sometimes have 2D cover art I can use, even as they continue to render the thickness of their box metaphors relative to download size: just compare the new harp to previously released products like their brass or strings, or compare those to expansion libraries and so forth. It appears download sizes vary from thick, to medium, to thin, or even skinny, depending on how many instruments and/or ensembles are (theoretically) contained in that box.

Not just OT, but some graphics person is still sitting in front of a computer determining how deep a fictional box should be. Developers, big and small, seem to love those rendered boxes, down to their perceived volume. Some even conflate the boxes to compensate for, uh-hum, content size. Just go to Best Service - a veritable shrine of boxed products being displayed - to see how all this works, yet where none of the things rendered actually ship in that box!

Now, for our younger members, there was a time when some of these sample libraries and soft synths actually did come in boxes containing installation disks. Heck, there were even member threads devoted to showing pictures of ginormous East West boxes filling up shelves in our studios! Some even boasted of having to buy more shelves to accommodate all of this! Those were the days... VSL literally came shipped in a cardboard cube, which lives on in their logo today. All DAWs once shipped in boxes, with thick printed manuals as well. Maybe some of those still do?

Then there was that transitional period during the dawn of the download-only era, and where newcomers, such as the early days of Spitfire Audio, along with other developers (like 8Dio and the Sound Iron sibling split) all felt compelled to show rendered boxes for their new ventures. Why? I suppose, again, to give a sense of mass to the digital content, perhaps as a means of reaffirming legitimacy. Just a guess. And yet, as I also recall, a thread even emerged where users requested Spitfire’s templates so they could print out the product art and paste it to ... you guessed it, their own homemade box!

Some of the above that I mentioned have now laid the box metaphor to rest. Only time will tell if this is a trend. Though doing searches for just the products I use, it seems the boxes, with their rendered depths, thicknesses, drop shadows, and dramatic highlights, are not going anywhere soon. The fictional box lives on.

All in fun, on a slow night.
 

Fredeke

Active Member
I pruchased ProTools 12 a couple of years ago, and it came in a box. Because, I suppose, you can't download a physical dongle.

(I regret the expense anyway. Now I'm a Reaper convertado.)
 

Morning Coffee

Active Member
A nice box always gets me excited!

I remember when life was simple. You bought software, it came in a box, you got excited, unwrapped it, put the software CD into your computer, installed the software, entered the serial number which came with the software, and everything just worked!
 

mcalis

Active Member
I still have the Hollywood Strings Gold Edition box on my shelf, next to a very slick looking "Complete Composers Collection Pro" black box which is the complete EW sound data disk. Call me weird but I actually like having those boxes. My cubase (8.5) came in box too, which I also still have.

For fun I checked if there's a price difference between getting an EW download vs getting a boxed version shipped and currently (I only check Hollywood Percussion) the price difference is $0,50!

I might actually just put down the $0,50 extra because you don't just get the box, you get the sample data on a HD... which (if you copy the samples over) means you basically get a hard drive for $0,50.
 

asherpope

Member
I read this post and immediately went to Best Service...gotta say I was pretty tempted by the products featuring virtual boxes! They just seem more tangible than their 2d counterparts!
 

TigerTheFrog

Amateur
some graphics person is still sitting in front of a computer determining how deep a fictional box should be.
The culprit here is Photoshop Mockups, which allow you to create a "box" with one click. These box mockups come in various shapes and sizes. As I make icons too, I appreciate that companies like ISW give you the flat artwork on their Press Materials page.

The real problem isn't box mockups but lack of imagination. There are tens of thousands of mockups out there. Why does it always have to be a box?

Jillian.jpg Cinematic.jpg Django.jpg
 
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gpax

Senior Member
The culprit here is Photoshop Mockups, which allow you to create a "box" with one click. These box mockups come in various shapes and sizes. As I make icons too, I appreciate that companies like ISW give you the flat artwork on their Press Materials page.

The real problem isn't box mockups but lack of imagination. There are tens of thousands of mockups out there. Why does it always have to be a box?

View attachment 20360 View attachment 20361 View attachment 20362
Well... show up my clever post, why don’t you? Love it.
 
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gpax

Senior Member
I still have the Hollywood Strings Gold Edition box on my shelf, next to a very slick looking "Complete Composers Collection Pro" black box which is the complete EW sound data disk. Call me weird but I actually like having those boxes. My cubase (8.5) came in box too, which I also still have.

For fun I checked if there's a price difference between getting an EW download vs getting a boxed version shipped and currently (I only check Hollywood Percussion) the price difference is $0,50!

I might actually just put down the $0,50 extra because you don't just get the box, you get the sample data on a HD... which (if you copy the samples over) means you basically get a hard drive for $0,50.
I meant no disrespect!
 
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gpax

Senior Member
A nice box always gets me excited!

I remember when life was simple. You bought software, it came in a box, you got excited, unwrapped it, put the software CD into your computer, installed the software, entered the serial number which came with the software, and everything just worked!
I gotta say, I miss physical manuals for those products that shipped with them.
 

Morning Coffee

Active Member
There is also a trend in the advertising of some plugins and virtual instruments, to make them appear as though they were real pieces of analog gear, when in fact it is only 3D graphics, which I don't mind, but they are getting better at it.

iu2.jpeg .

1700x1000_6060.jpg
 
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gpax

Senior Member
There is also a trend in the advertising of some plugins and virtual instruments, to make them appear as though they were real pieces of analog gear, when in fact it is only 3D graphics, which I don't mind, but they are getting better at it.
Even as these look fantastically good to look at, it’s when skeuomorphism (or such attempts) in GUIs gets in the way that I get worked up. If some actually looked this good...

But suffice to say I favor (good) interface design the same way I have come to regard the physical boxes themselves: flat.
 
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gpax

Senior Member
uuuuuhhh... I don't exactly see how you thought you meant disrespect? At any rate, I don't feel disrespected in the slightest haha.
My guilt. I kinda sorta used to maybe poke fun at people who displayed all those boxes. Yet, I have a bit of nostalgia for it all at the same time. All in fun.
 

Fredeke

Active Member
A nice box always gets me excited!

I remember when life was simple. You bought software, it came in a box, you got excited, unwrapped it, put the software CD into your computer, installed the software, entered the serial number which came with the software, and everything just worked!
I remember diskettes in a box !
With a Bible-sized manual :)
 

kitekrazy

Senior Member
I still have my copy of Gigastudio 3 that came in a wooden box. I don't know why but some of us like to keep old useless software for nostalgia.
 

Henu

Senior Member
For fun I checked if there's a price difference between getting an EW download vs getting a boxed version shipped and currently (I only check Hollywood Percussion) the price difference is $0,50!
That's nothing- I bought Stylus RMX a month ago. It's $399 as a download at Spectrasonics' website which I thought was outrageous for a product that "outdated". I got the boxed version from a Finnish store for €199 ($212) for a campaign price but the current average price in all the Finnish stores seems to be around €265 ($283) for the boxed product.

(And for those who don't know- Finland is a notoriously expensive place, and everything is usually at least 20% more pricey than e.g. in Germany or say, Spain.)
 
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