Logic Pro’s Event List, the Automation Event List, the Automation Arrange Window, Fader Messages, Control Data, Region Data, Track Automation… Learning all automation features that Logic Pro offers is just plain hard. But hey, it’s Easter! So put on your bunny suit, and let’s go hunt for some Logic Pro automation tips and easter eggs.
The Automation Event List
Here’s an audio loop with some simple automation:
Changing the automation parameter (in this case, Channel EQ High Cut Frequency) while holding down ⌥ enables you to either convert or copy and convert the automation data. After choosing copy and convert I get this:
After pressing E to bring up the Event List, you’ll see that the automation data doesn’t show. By pressing ctrl+cmd+E however, you’ll bring up the Automation Event List, which is an Event List dedicated to automation. Make sure that the Additional Info button is not active. Look:
Note that here you can quantize and change the position, channel, parameter, and value of your automation data. If you’ve automated more than one parameter, use Edit>Select Similar Events, or ⇧+S to quickly select and sift through all different parameters. Also note that unfortunately, using Functions>Transform is not an option. Bummer!
But do read on…
While you’ve got the Automation Event List open, pressing ⌘+1 will open up a separate Arrange window displaying all automation data as folder regions. See the manual page. Perhaps this editing method is a bit obsolete. In my view, putting automation on a separate region works better.
Transforming and Stretching Automation Data
Here’s the same loop. I’ve added a new track using Track>New With Same Channel Strip/Instrument. I then created an empty region on the new track with the pencil tool. The empty region can now be used to move the automation around:
Now I’ll move the automation data ‘to the region’ using Track>Track Automation>Move Visible Track Automation To Region, or ctrl+⌘+↓. Look:
Let’s check the regular Event List, by pressing E again:
There’s your automation data, visible in the regular Event List. Note that this time though, you can use Functions>Transform to seriously mess with it. Huge Yay!
Once your automation data has been moved to the region (I prefer to say it’s been burned into it),
you can stretch and compress the region, using ⌥ while dragging the top right corner of the region. The automation will follow. This makes it easy to stretch and change a 2 bar fade into a 4 bar fade, or if you really want to get creative, you can quickly copy a region a few times on new tracks with the same channel strip, slightly change the length by individually compressing or stretching each copy, then loop the regions, then automate multiple parameters. Something like this:
Since the automation data is showing up nicely in the Event List, you may think it’s a good place to change the automation parameter that each region automates. Be careful though, changes to the parameter in the Event List won’t be reflected in the region (a nice feature for the new Logic Pro, perhaps?) so you won’t see the automation curve any longer, and things will rapidly become messy. Instead, use Track>Track Automation>Move Visible Region Data To Track Automation, or ctrl+⌘+↑ on all the looped regions at once. Now change the parameter to be automated for each track, holding down ⌥ while selecting the parameter. Choose ‘Copy and Convert’ every time. Look what I’ve got:
Notice that regions are looped, but the automation isn’t. Let’s use ctrl+⌘+↓ again to ‘burn’ the automation data into the region:
Cool. An entire universe of LFO’s controlling anything you want! How many LFO’s did you say your softsynth has?
Saving Automation As Apple Loops
What do you do when you’ve made the fade of the decade, the automation curve that makes your softsynth’s LFO’s shudder, and you want to save your work for future use in Logic Pro? You can. The quickest way would be to save it as an Apple Loop. The rules:
- The automation data has to be on a separate region, on a separate track (with the same object).
- Automation data has to be inside the region. So use ctrl+⌘+↓
- If it’s a separate region on an audio track, either move it to an empty software instrument track or an empty external MIDI track in order to be able to save it as an Apple Loop. Wildly senseless, yes. But it seems to be the only way for now!
It could very well be that you’ve found some automation tips too. Feel free to add them to the comments below.