Elephant User Guide

Introduction

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Elephant was created with the purpose of offering the possibility of transform the Surface Dial in a powerful controller for DAWs and VSTs acting as a mouse complement.  The great Elephant  community already start to find and expand the usage beyond of music production.
Elephant software is quite easy to use, but it is really important read this guide to be able to use all the power of this little tool.

Getting Started

Please proceed to download the trial software but before try, read this user guide.
Before start… very important!!  after run Elephant software don’t press and hold the dial, that action close Elephant software!


Download Elephant click here

 

After download the software, just unpack the zip and install the software.
From Elephant version 1.9.1 the software is sigitally signed.

Elephant install in your desktop 2 icons:
Elephant software and the License Manager, ignore for now the license manager.

Before run Elephant software ensure your Surface Dial is paired and working, press and hold the Surface Dial and  check the surface dial native menu appear on your screen.
Now run Elephant software wait for initialization, then left mouse click the screen when the software indicate all is ready.

At this point Elephant is running and ready to take control of the world……..well, at least of your DAW, all your VSTs, Rack etxensions, the lovely VCV Rack, Adobe Premiere, and more!  🙂
Now open your DAW and or any VST,  hover the mouse over object to be controlled, and turn the dial,  you have instant control over any slider or knob, click the dial again to release the control.

Now, double click the dial or double press ESCAPE keyboard key, and the Elephant menu appear:


Now, you can turn the Surface Dial for select SENSITIVITY, and double click again the dial or double press ESCAPE keyboard key to hide the Elephant Menu and continue working.

Remember!! Press and hold the dial and the Elephant software close, if you do this, remember you need open again the software to operate with Elephant.

Mouse Mode

In the previous chapter, you already learned how simple is operate with Elephant software for control Knobs and Sliders, for use on video editors like Adobe Premiere or advanced features, please continue reading this guide.

When you double click the Surface Dial or double press ESCAPE keyboard key,  the Elephant menu appear.
You can rotate the dial to access to  different levels of sensitivity, when level is selected, just double click again the dial or double  press ESCAPE key and the menu be hidden.
Not all DAWs , VSTs and software in general offer the same sensitivity, I suggest try and test for check what levels are better for your common tasks.

Elephant start by default in combined mode (COM), under this mode is possible control vertical sliders, horizontal slider and knobs.
VRT:  control vertical sliders or objects respond to vertical  (up-down) mouse movements.
HRZ: control horizontal objects respond to horizontal mouse movements (left-right).
KNB: control knobs with not mouse in place feature.
COM:  this mode named COMBINED, control vertical sliders, horizontal sliders and knobs without have to switch between modes.
SCR: scroll mode, emulate the mouse scroll.

For general purpose COM mode, control all sliders and knobs on any DAW, anyway if you need switch from one mode to other you no need open the Elephant menu and switch using your mouse, that is unpractical way to access to this features.  Now from Elephant v1.6, the software include hotkeys or mouse extra buttons support and is what you learn across this guide, please continue reading.

MIDI mode

Elephant software is being able to control in a natural way knobs and sliders without the need of MIDI mapping. Since in some cases the use of MIDI could be very useful, Elephant can connect the Surface Dial with your favorite music software trough MIDI using its own port….. yes, probably you already read this on the Elephant landing page.
Let’s explain now in detail how this work.

The first step in order to enable MIDI mode, is just click with your mouse or touch-screen MIDI OFF

That simple action disable the MOUSE mode, and activate the MIDI mode in temporary way, if you want use in MIDI mode in permanent way, please check in this user GUIDE, Config Panel MIDI.

Now with MIDI mode activated, Elephant allow to connect the surface dial trough MIDI to your DAW.
Elephant software provide is own MIDI Virtual port, you no need install third party software, just open your software, go to MIDI section and you can find MIDI port named Elephant, that is the MIDI output of Elephant software.
Under MIDI mode, Elephant can send MIDI CC in mode 0 to 127 is the default mode, and also encoder mode, 7Fh/01h.
With the 6 colored circular buttons  you can click with your mouse on their and choose the 6 possible MIDI signals, for sure this can be expanded in the near future to enable more MIDI CCs, post in the forum your wish list 🙂
Under MIDI mode you can also change the sensitivity just rotating the dial.

Example of usage:

1- Click the Surface Dial, menu open, activate MIDI mode clicking MIDI OFF.
2- Click with your mouse on any colored circular button.
3- Then click the dial,Elephant menu be hidden, and rotate the dial…..now you are sending MIDI.
4- Open your DAW, activate Elephant MIDI port in your DAW,  map the incoming MIDI to some knob or slider.
5- Click the Surface Dial, choose your desired sensitivity, click again the dial in order to hide the menu and continue with your operation.

That is the basic MIDI operation, now you are controlling elements fo your DAW with MIDI and Surface Dial.

Encoder mode 7Fh/01h
The encoder is relative, is the perfect mode instead of  0-127 absolute mode, and also provide more accurate control.
In order to activate the mode, just click with your mouse text “0-127 MODE”  in the Elephant menu, that activate the mode 7Fh/01h
Check the documentation of your DAW or software about how use encoder mode and if is supported.
As an example, in Ableton , after map MIDI, you need select “Relative (lin 2’s Comp.)” otherwise, the configuration will not work, see image bellow:

DIAL SELECTOR
Dial selector mode allow to select the MIDI signal rotating the Surface Dial or you can use the mouse or touch-screen for select the buttons and hide the Elephant menu in one step.


X2 mode.

Duplicate 6 MIDI signals to 12, just enable x2 mode.

MIDI buttons enumeration.
Please read chapter Custom Configuration if you want activate buttons enumeration, and if you want setup custom MIDI channels / CC numbers.

Send MIDI to external MIDI device.
I no want make this guide super large, instructions for send MIDI to any external device is available in the forum.
https://hi.computer/forum-community/troubleshooting/sending-midi-to-external-device/#post-16

Config Panel

In order to start operate Elephant in advanced mode. Double click the dial, or double press ESCAPE keyboard and elephant menu open.

Over that menu, right click your mouse and now you can access to Config panel.
From this panel you can setup different behaviors as switch between modes using hotkeys, or extra mouse buttons, middle button etc.
If you want close this menu, just click  one time the Surface Dial.

Note: the main purpose of hotkeys is assign to mouse buttons, and use with gaming mouse, as example, I use mouse Cougar 700M, this is the mouse I prefer due the location of buttons,  is a great mouse with 6 assignable buttons, combined with Elephant 1.6 you can obtain a good number of behaviors.  Anyway, you can use the hotkeys  with your keyboard for fire different behavior, specially in case you not own mouse with multiple buttons.  Mouse with multiple buttons is highly suggested.
Cougar 700M:

In the last years the market see lot of mouse like the Logitech G600 , or the great looking mouse Corsair SCIMITAR PRO RGB,  this mouse come with 12 assignable buttons. I no test yet any one of this models, due I not test yet any of this  kind of mouse with lot of buttons, I cant provide a realistic judgment, but plan order one soon, that 12 buttons with elephant and dial can be a juicy combination!

Elephnat user nick name TREJ, already start experiment another cool way to combine Elephant with hotkeys trough free app Tablet Pro, what is another cool way to combine Elephant + Tablet Pro + MIDI to Llightroom ,   and also can be used with DAWs or other software.

 

Lets back to the Elephant new config MENU and start provide a description of features:

Template combobox: from this box you can select the custom named templates you create. For save templates, just click on the Elephant image.
Elephant not provide any pre-made template, and open a template named Default, is up to you create your custom behaviors.

Run On Startup:  select this option if you want Elephant start every time the OS start.

Locked:
if this option is activated, when you operate the dial on any of the mouse behaviors as vertical, horizontal, combined etc, the mouse is locked preventing accidental movement of the mouse create interference in the object under control. Under this mode the mouse and keyboard is locked when Surface Dial is rotated and some mouse mode is selected.

TouchPad/Trackball: when this mode is selected, drag of the mouse release the Dial action. This mode is perfect for use with laptop mouse TouchPad and or Trackballs, anyway with a little of practice can be also used with standard desktop mouse.

Disable Hide Mouse Cursor:  when you operate the Surface Dial, the mouse disappear, is really more convenient use in that way, anyway if you want the mouse cursor appear always visible, you can activate this option.

Disable Keyboard Dial Click:  The same behaviour reached when click the Surface Dial is available from Elephant version 1.5 trough ESCAPE key, now on Elephant 1.6 you can disable or also change Escape key to any hotkey.
If want change the key, just make left mouse click in the box contain ESCAPE  text, and press your preferred key or hotkey.

Note:  any custom keystrokes only operate when the  config screen is closed.

On Dial click Always return to:  this feature allow to keep accessible the mouse behavior preferred and I suggest operate Elephant with this feature always enabled.
Example, you can use combined mode as a default mode and assign to middle mouse button (what usually is the click on the scroll wheel of the mouse)….. scroll mouse behavior, in that way when you click the middle button and rotate the Surface Dial, you obtain a nice and smooth scroll, if click the dial again, Elephant back to Combined mode.
Inside the combox, there is other modes you can select:

Vertical Mode: move the mouse in vertical direction when turn the Dial.
Horizontal Mode: move the mouse in horizontal direction when turn the Dial.
Knob Mode: move the mouse in place, that mean the mouse move up or down when turn the Dial, and on Dial click return to original mouse position.
Combined Mode:  this mode allow to control any slider, vertical or horizontal or any knob.
Scroll Mode: when rotate the dial scroll mouse is sent.
MCU JOG Mode:  this mode enable MACKIE UNIVERSAL PROTOCOL, is useful for scrub or shuttle on any DAWs  or software support the Mackie protocol like Adobe Premiere.
This feature will be explained on separated chapter.
Leave this option for now selected to Combined Mode and continue with this guide, we use this feature in the next 2 examples.

Important! When this mode is disabled you can switch from modes using hotkeys without have to click the dial or use the keyboard dial click event.

Mouse in place OFF: with this mode disabled, the mouse not retun to original position when release the surface dial action on combined mode.

Disable Mouse XtraButtons:  activating this checkbox, disable available behaviors from mouse extra buttons.
As I said before, Elephant come now with actions or behaviors you can easily fire and switch using mouse middle button and Xtra buttons:

From left to right, you see first the name of button in orange color, if you want identify your mouse buttons, just start press all available buttons in your mouse, when a button pressed correspond to middle mouse button or with one of the mouse Xtra button, the orange corresponding name will be highlighted.

The workflow here is very simple,  you can select any of the available modes for one of your mouse buttons, Example 1:
Probably you not own gaming mouse, so we start with middle mouse button, what is the button when you push the scroll wheel and the wheel make that click sound.
Press the button, and you see orange Middle Button text is highlighted,  now select the check box named SCROLL.

Now double click the dial , the config menu close, go to any part of your software is scrollable, click the wheel button, and turn the dial, you can now scroll with the Surface Dial, when you click one time the dial again, Elephant back to combined mode, and you can continue controlling your sliders and knobs, and easily back to scroll again clicking the middle button of your mouse.
………….mmm but my mouse already have scroll…….well, let me said is 1000 times better rotate the dial for make a simple scroll than move 1000 times that clicky scroll wheel, and depending of the software you use, scroll can do a lot more things than simple scroll.

Vertical, Horizontal, Knob, Scroll,  we already know what that options do, and you can program in the same way to access any of that behaviors with your mouse buttons.
Now lets talk of options present you don’t know what do:

Ultra:
major part or DAWs or software require accurate adjustment of some parameters and  provide a simple mode to access with the mouse movement to more accurate value,  example:
On Ableton, Reason or Bitwig, and many more DAWs , you can press shift keyboard key, and then move a slider or knob in more accurate way.  Well, the ultra option do exactly that when you turn the dial. Example 2:
Now as on excample 1, ensure the option On Dial click Always return to: is activated and selected to COMBINED MODE.
Now select on middle button Ultra.

Now go to your DAW,  mouse hover some knob of your DAW, turn the Dial, you see the object is control to normal accuracy, click the dial and then press the middle mouse, and rotate the dial.
Now you can see you obtain a super ULTRA accurate control of the knob or slider with the dial. Of course all this happen if your DAW, support shift + mouse movement.

You can combine the multiple buttons of your mouse for access to different behaviors and now also you can switch to MIDI mode for send MIDI at any time.

Elephant can send 12 different MIDI CC,  from mouse buttons you can select up to 3 MIDI buttons (3 MIDI messages).

EXAMPLE 3
If you activate  MIDI BT and BT1 check box,    when you click the middle button and rotate the dial Elephant send MIDI CC corresponding to selected button, when click the dial again,  Elephant back to sleected option under On Dial click Always return to:

but………… you own a gaming mouse with a lot of buttons and  want send more than 3 MIDI messages!………ok don’t worry, and continue reading this guide, there is a way to do that, but we talk of that in a separated chapter. HOTKEYS.

At this point you have some good info to start imagine some capabilities of Elephant v1.6, and probably you want start save some template.
For save a template, just click the Elephant image, and then just select the name and click save.

Important note:  don’t try change the folder level, templates need be saved on folder template the save dialog open as default every time you click on Elephant image to save.

Before continue with hotkeys, is time to explain the main MIDI area of the config panel, duet how work Elephnat 1.6  , you can see is possible switch form one mode to other in easily way.
Is time now to check the right side of the panel where the main MIDI part is located.

Start In MIDI Mode Only: if need use Elephant in MIDI mode only, check this check box, then click Elephant image, save as template name like  MIDI only, or something you prefer.
Now every time you load the template, (select the template) , elephant work in permanent way as  MIDI only mode.

Destroy MIDI ports: if check this option, every time you close Elephant ,  the virtual MIDI ports created by Elephant will be disabled, in simple woprs are destroyed and not available.
Keep this option deactivated, only is useful in some rare cases where software to be connected with MIDI, can connect to virtual MIDI ports created by Elphant, in that case, activate this feature, and open always first Elephant, and then the software to be controlled.
NOTE: this strange case can happen on some software can handle virtual  MIDI ports in proper way.

Start in encoder mode: this option setup MIDI sent by Elephant is send as encoder mode,  example:
Encoder mode 7fh/1h,   where 7fh is a hexadecimal value equivalent to  127 in decimal  and 1h hexadecimal value is equivalent 1 in decimal value.
127   1  =  7fh   1h
Use the below online converter in case you need setup a different encoder mode.
https://www.binaryhexconverter.com/hex-to-decimal-converter

MCU <- JOG->: 
this mode allow to send JOG MIDI message, trough Mackie protocol and will be explained in a separated special chapter.

MIDI VALUES:    Elephant can send up to 12 CC MIDI signals, in this area you can setup CHANNEL and CC number.
Where reddish boxes are for setup channel number (1 to 16) and grey boxes for CC number (0 to 127).

Hotkeys

Elephant 1.6 provide access to some mouse and MIDI behaviors from keyboard hotkeys.
The original idea is use this with programmable buttons of gaming mouse anyway you can use with your keyboard.

VRT BUTTON: when this hotkey is activated, vertical mouse movement is active when rotate the dial.
HRZ BUTTON:  is horizontal mouse mode.
KNB BUTTON:
is knob mouse mode.
COM BUTTON: is combined mouse mode
SCR BUTTON: is scroll mouse mode.

Remember the dial operation can back or not to desired behavior related to “On Dial click Always return to”

Remember the Elephant can send up to 12 MIDI messages?
You can easily access to send that MIDI messages with hotkeys.

Sensitivity check boxes when are activated, override the dial sensitivity you select, in that way you can select different sensitivity  per every MIDI button.

The green boxes related to sensitivity represent the sensitivity, where 1 represent fire one midi event/message per one degree rotation.
You can increase the number to more higher values.

Send Keystrokes

 

Previous version of Elephant broken a very useful ability of native Surface Dial implementation, send hotkeys to your program, change volume, etc.
From version 1.9.1 you can send custom keystrokes to your software and also change volume with the Surface Dial.

This implementation include a new special mode not available on native implementation what is send a keystroke when direction of rotation change, this simple behaviour allow to simulate classic J K L on software like Adobe premiere, or  map this key action to transport of DAWs, etc.


Important!   
sensitivity is expressed in decimal number equivalent to one pulse per degree rotation of dial. That mean, if you set sensitivity to 1  on full rotation you send in this case 360 key press emulations!!!   Warning !!  this can cause the software to be controlled react in really bad way!

Example: in Adobe Premiere J K L simulation is highly suggested use value around 20 or 22 otherwise the software really react in a wrong way, but if set left arrow and right arrow for scrub, is highly suggested setup to some value between 1 to 5, adobe premiere can handle that without trouble using arrow keys.
If found this “send keystrokes” feature useful the amount of keystrokes can be selected on Dial Rotation will be increased in the next version, please lave all your comments on the forum.

Note: send keystrokes require the app to be controlled is on focus.

 

MCU mode

Elephant allow to sent some basic but useful transport commands to DAWs and Video edition software trough Mackie protocol, all DAWs usually support Mackie Control Universal protocol (MCU). In the bellow picture you see example how access to MCU  JOG mode (scrub) using the middle click of the mouse.

If enable play instead of scrub, Elephant send play/pause after you finish scrub and press/click the dial.
Please note when this mode is enabled BT1 is asinged to MCU JOg feture and can’t be used for any other MIDI function.
MCU jog mode also can be accessed trough hotkey BT1.

Arm record and separated play/stop can be accessed  trough hotkeys.

Example Setup Mackie

 

Ableton

Adobe Premiere


For other software  setup, please refer to the documentation of the software.

 

 

System requirements

Any  computer with Windows® 10 Fall Creators or newer.
A Surface Dial device paired to your computer.

 

Submit your feature request

Please submit your feature request, general comment or report any bug trough the Community Forum.

Before start interact with the forum, ensure setup your Forum profile after complete your login.

Activate the software

In order to activate the software, after completing your order, just open the License Manager, enter your user and password. Remember you have created your user and password when you completed you order.
Not remember what is your user and pass? Do not worry, you can recover it at any time, Click here to recover your user and password. Internet connection is required in order to activate the software.

 

Changelog

Elephant v1.9.2 – 30-03-2019
Bug fix: some unexpected behaviours on mouse mode in vertical mode.
New feature:  all mouse mode can be now inverted.

Elephant v1.9.1 – 17-03-2019
New feature:  Elephant now can send custom hotkeys.
Bug fix:  When Instant switch between modes when mode “On Dail Click Always Return To:”  is disabled, hotkeys fire events when menu is open.- Fixed
Bug fix:  Ultra higher amount of inconsistencies when switch from modes with hotkeys are now fixed.
Improvement: under scroll mode mouse pointer is now hidden.
New feature: TouchPad/Trackball is a new special mode to release Dial action when mouse is moved.
Some cosmetic fixes when enable MIDI only mode.
Documentation updated.

Elephant v1.8 – 1-02-2019
Bug fix: Knob mode, work in incorrect way -Fixed
Bug fix: On version 1.7, mouse in place on combined mode not start and user need select and unselect the option to enable mouse in place again – Fixed
Bug fix: The mystery X is removed.
New feature:  Instant switch between modes when mode “On Dail Click Always Return To:”  is disabled.

Elephant v1.7 – 25-01-2019
New feature: added disable mouse in place for combined mode

Elephant v1.6 – 15-01-2019
Bug fix:  Under version 1.5 the double tap on dial under “direct mode” work erratically – Fixed.
Bug fix:  After some hours of usage Elephant can crash – Fixed.
Bug fix:  Elephant is unable to start when MIDI port is already in use by some already opened software with port in use. -Fixed
Improvement:  duet the evolution of software now the system always work on direct mode, where if user want, is also is possible use the older mode, click and rotate the dial
Improvement:  When click the dial, some times, the action not is un-released and have to click the Dial again, now work perfect.
Improvement:   On mouse mode the response latency is lowered to ultra lower values.
Improvement:   On mouse mode the control is now ultra accurate, now is possible obtain values  superior than MIDI and ultra smooth response.
New features:  Config panel, please read the documentation.

Elephant v1.5 – 15-12-2018
Improvement:  Escape key, act as Surface Dial click.
New feature:  Lock Mode, this mode make mouse action not disturb the Surface Dial control / operation.
Lock mode is mandatory mode for work with VCV Rack, and Reaper.
User guide updated, section direct mode.

Elephant v1.4 – 11-12-2018
Improvement:  mouse pointer is hidden when control objects with the mouse/dial.
Improvement: All possible mouse modes are accessible trough a new menu.
New feature:  Control any slider or knob with COM mode without switch form modes.
Also added scroll mode and in place mouse control for knobs.
All user guide is updated.
Preparing the software internals for the extender project:
https://hi.computer/forum-community/diy/the-extender/

Elephant v1.3 – 5-09-2018
Improvement:  better sensitivity and accuracy in mouse mode.
Improvement: 6 MIDI  signals increased to 12.
Improvement: initial support for touch-screen.
Improvement: configurable MIDI channels and CC per MIDI signal.
New feature:  hover your mouse and control (Direct Control mode).

Elephant v1.2 – 24-08-2018
Bug fix: under some scenarios mouse pointer disappear, requiring user click on screen to make pointer be visible again – 100% fixed.

Elephant v1.1 – 19-08-2018
Bug fix: some antivirus report Elephant software contain virus – 100% Fixed.
Improvement: the software run in single instance mode, preventing multiple instances of software be opened by mistake.

Elephant v1.0 – 18-08-2018
First release.

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