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An Anatomy of Graph-Based User Interfaces for Media Processing

Graph-based user interfaces are employed in a variety of software such as audio synthesizers, video compositing tools, and database application builders. All of these uses afford the graphical metaphor of a graph: "Nodes" such as sound generators or filters are tied together by "links," which may represent signal flow or conceptual relations. Focusing on media production tools, we have examined a large range of current software products to find out which de-facto standards have evolved in the field of graph-based interfaces and which features can be considered unique. We categorize a multitude of interface concepts employed in actual graph-based interfaces and describe differences in their implementation. The findings provide guidelines for developers of media production software.

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