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Reaper is not free software though.

On the topic of tinkering and customization, I'll just add my $0.02 that the real value of being able to do so is driven mostly by the desire to get as much of the tool out of the way so the artist can enjoy and generally get "closer" to the work being created. In other words, I do agree with much that's been said about how a given look can inspire but that stuff is short term. The real value of customization gets measured in the simple equation of "how much pain do I have to endure in order to explore a particular idea or inspiration?". That's a value proposition we see patterned over and over in all areas of computing. For example, a developer writing code wants to create an object quickly in order to start exploring a particular design. If it takes 10 minutes to write the scaffolding every time, that developer is going to be less motivated in the long run. That's why people make the investment up front beefing up their editors with super powers like LSP, snippets, and more.

Essentially, the end game is to get the tool out of the way as much as possible.