Logic Pro X 10.0.7 – Snapshot Automation

logic pro x 10.0.7 snapshot automation

Logic Pro X 10.0.7 has so many great enhancements it’s easy to overlook the powerful addition of snapshot automation. They don’t label it as such, but it is present by way of four new, very useful, key commands. I’m dating myself here, but for those of us old enough to remember, the only way to accomplish snapshot style automation previously was by cabling up channel splitters, tracks, and ports in the Environment. It was so obtuse, it was rarely used.

What is Snapshot Automation and Why Should I Care about It?


Menu Command

In Logic Pro automation has been traditionally either track based or region based (now called MIDI Draw). One can either pencil it in with a mouse or capture parameter movements in real time. We’ve all learned to work this way, and it’s generally pretty efficient. But often all that is needed are static parameter changes. And this is where the new automation key commands are so useful.

Let me give you an example. Say you’re mixing a pop tune. You have everything sitting nicely where you want it and the mix is sounding good. Now the chorus comes in and you want to bump the rhythm guitar part up 2 db, pan it to about 10:00 o’clock, and send a bit less to the reverb bus. You want this to happen right on the downbeat of the chorus.

Position your playhead there. Adjust your channel strip parameters accordingly, and hit the new key command for “Create 2 Automation Points each for Volume, Pan, Sends”. I’ve assigned mine to βŒƒ βŒ₯ ⌘ V. Bang! Automation nodes for all those changes are created. Now position the playhead to the end of the chorus. Move your channel strip parameters back to where you want them for the next section. Hit the key command again. Done. Static automation points are created for the new settings.

Now, lets say I don’t know the exact parameter changes I want when that chorus comes. Maybe I want to try a 3 db or 4 db volume change to hear what will work better. No prob. Enable a cycle range that encompasses the downbeat of the new section as well as a few bars before it and after it. Position the playhead, set the parameters, invoke the new key command, and hit play to audition the effect. To audition different values, stop playback, place the play head where the change is, re-adjust the parameters, hit the key command again, and hit play. All this while leaving the cycle range intact so you hear the same area each time you try different parameter values.

Working Blind

One really significant change to workflow that this allows is, what I like to refer to as “working blind”. I find that when I am mixing, my editing is usually more or less done. I am focused on the mixer (and plug-ins) and less on the Tracks Area. Creating automation used to require me to switch views, open automation lanes, and pencil in what I need. Then inevitably edit the parameters if I entered them inaccurately. I know I can enable one of the write modes and mouse in the parameters directly from the mixer, but that always requires significant clean up after. Especially when I don’t want/need a parameter value to ramp up/down, but really only want a static change. With this new function, it will be easy to stay in the mixer and not have to be distracted by moving around Logic Pro’s GUI. Move the parameters where I want, hit the key commands, and move on. No need to actually view the automation data, or even the Tracks Area, while working.

The new function works wonderfully for volume, pan, and sends, as you can see in the short video below. The “visible parameter” command is great for plug-in automation. But for basic bread and butter mixing, this new volume-pan-sends key command will sure make these types of static changes a heck of a lot easier to implement and experiment with.

Watch the video:

logic pro x 10.0.7 snapshot automation

Eli Krantzberg
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Eli Krantzberg

Apple Certified Pro Eli Krantzberg is an internationally known author and music software trainer for Groove3. His instructional videos have helped demystify music software such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Sonar, BFD, Melodyne, and Kontakt for thousands of users all over the world. Based in Montreal, Canada, Eli is involved in all aspects of audio production. In his studio he works with various artists, as well as on commercial jingles, corporate videos, and original music composition.
Eli Krantzberg
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  • Cameron

    Great post! . Thank you

  • Thanks Eli, for the rapid response, this is really cool, but you need to clean up unwanted automation lane-s especially sends, if you want to set static send values during the mixing stage. So It may be recommended to use this on the final automation phase, but sounds great, maybe some automatic ramping setting for the 2 points on each side would be useful, do you use ramping aztomation manually to avoud abrupt changes?

    • Eli Krantzberg

      The thing with automation, any automation, is that once you start using it on a track, you can no longer make any changes to that parameter unless they are automated.

      It might be interesting if Apple added the option to include/exclude volume, pan, and sends individually. But truthfully, this new snapshot automation thing is so simple and straight forward, that the inclusion of nodes on parameters you might not need (sends) seems like no big deal. In fact I would go as far as to say that this new workflow will certainly encourage me to use automation more readily than I otherwise might.

      In terms of ramping, how about this: Use the version of the key command that creates only one node instead of two, set your start value and hit the command. Then reposition your play head, set the second value, and hit the command again. You should get a smooth ramp.

      FTR, even though I own a Mackie Control Universal, and a Novation Impulse keyboard with Automap, I generally prefer entering automation by clicking with the mouse than by moving faders in real time. I find it more accurate. But that’s just me. I was “raised” with a mouse, not sitting in front of a big analog console….

      • Lacko

        I might misread something, however if I’d like to automate only one parameter or some others, I just make the parameters visible, then I use the “Create 2 automation points for a visible parameter” option.

        • Eli Krantzberg

          D’oh! Right you are! I was thinking that command was for parameters _other_ than volume, pan, and sends. But of course it can also be used for any individual one of them as well. Nice tip!

          • Lacko

            Thanks Eli, to tell you the truth I was a bit worried when my favourite Logic site went under the “Pro-Tools-Expert” flag, but I must admit I really like your posts and your approach, so I’m happy to help anytime, especially because I’m in love with Logic since Logic 7 πŸ˜€

      • Yes I found the command for the visible lanes, and works great, except the marquee selection. When I automate, I use often the marquee selection, and quickly change a section parameter, so instead I should create 4 single point to quickly ramp this way I’m only using my control surface fader if I ride vocals or something, I set up a fader to the quick automation tool.

  • Alexander Nadal Piantini

    Im a logic pro 8-9-x user, and it still does not compare with pro tools automation or the automation we all know. They really need to work with the WRITE mode, because it reads before writing, that disable us to set parameters then hit play so automation gets written.

  • Alexander Nadal

    Why don’t they just make automation like it is supposed to be?, just put it in Write mode, set all your faders, pans, sends, plugins settings, hit play and thats it, it writes the automation settings.. Like in pro tools. That is the way it needs to be done..
    Right now , it is imposible to make changes to, lets say, a full Eq change. For example. Working in film audio post, i would need to change a person’s voice from normal to telephone sound eq (because he is sounding from the phone when the camera is in the face of the other talker..), those changes must be from one moment to another.. we don’t really need menus for creating automation… what logic pro x needs is a working WRITE mode that does not reads before writing for some reason..

    • Alexander Nadal

      I’ve been waiting since logic pro 8 came out that they fix the automation, but not with more menus, they could even eliminate all menus of automation if they just made a working Write mode πŸ™

      • Eli Krantzberg

        I hear what you are saying, but as a simple work around to the situation you describe, why not just use two eq plug-ins and automate their bypass status.

        • Alexander Nadal

          yes I understand, I could also create another track for the effect, but you know, doing that for a 200 track project (film) , is very tedious, but why, why haven’t they worked on that , for everything else minus the environment, logic has been my preferible daw. Thanks for replying! πŸ˜€

          • Alexander Nadal

            Also if they can’t do this because they need license to whomever invented the right way to automate , what they could’ve done is – Create 2 automation points for all parameters ( visible or non visible) . We could then automate all plugins the same way now we can with volume pan and sends..

          • Alexander Nadal

            Or,… sorry to bother people, just giving ideas, who knows…..
            or… they could do is let us select all parameters of a plugin to automate, so we can see it on the lanes, that way we could use the already existing command create automation point for visible parameters.. thats it bye people.

  • Okay, I checked this feature, and there is option to onlz create automation point only on visible parameters, and this works for every parameter.but with the marque selection on automation lanes, doesn’t work, always creates on the Playhead.

  • I think I worked up the perfect shortcuts for this. I use comma and dot to forward and rewind and set to create 2 points on visible automation lanes to Alt+Ctrl+/ this way with my right hand I can press play, move the playhead and quickly zoom with the mouse while golding Alt+Ctrl and quickly adjust the automation with the mouse, while playing, and rewind to check or press play with my pinky:)) This really works!

    • Whoa this sounds like a good set of key commands, I’m going to try this out today. Good one!

      • Oh I use the keyboard with my left hand of course, and the mouse with the right.:)

    • John Henry

      Sounds like a good workflow!

  • killmedj

    Hey there Eli, It seems to me that there are oodles of new tweaks to this version, will you be highlighting a few more by any chance?

  • Teknik

    Adding the ability to snapshot ALL parameters of all plugins on all selected channels would be insanely powerful … Hopefully Apple include it in the next update!!

    • Teknik

      Wait .. My bad, you CAN! Happy days!

      • Happy days indeed! πŸ™‚

      • Yoshi

        How? πŸ™‚

        • Teknik

          Each parameter has to be visible for a start, ie. it has to have its own automation lane open, then you simply select/highlight all the automation lanes (parameters) you want to take a snapshot of and hit whatever shortcut key you have assigned to ‘Create 2 Automation Points For Visible Parameter’ .. this works not only across multiple parameters but also across multiple parameters on multiple channels as long as all the lanes are selected! Hope that makes sense, it’s a great feature.

          • Yoshi

            Thank you Teknik (^_^)

  • Sam Bo

    Related to refinement and extended features. Just yesterday when working on a movie score I found a new feature that must have been introduced between 10.0.5 – 10.0.7 called
    Delete and Move!!! Available as key command and menu entry. That’s so great. I don’t need to set the drag mode from no overlap to shuffle for my marquee edits any longer. When doing such editing tasks.

  • Steven Harding

    I wonder why Apple has not also moved these new commands into the region flip menu ‘Automation’ (mouse-rightclick) ???

    • guessing they probably just forgot. also notice MIDI hyperdraw in the piano roll… bugged. at least on my system, at least 50% of the time, when i’m dragging a MIDI hyperdraw envelope I can’t see the changes I’m making until after I release left click

  • something I have not tried yet, but am keen on doing so: instead of changing your faders/pans/sends with transport stopped (like, OOPS, I HIT SPACE), just change the tracks you’re “snapshotting” into automation mode ‘off.’ mix it how you like it. use the key command to write values. re-enable ‘read’ πŸ™‚

  • tom Kaplan

    i noticed in Apple’s release notes that its possible to download logic content to a drive of your choice. Has anyone figured out how to do this?

    • EdgarRothermich

      That item was put on the list obviously by mistake. It should be removed form the release notes by now. Hopefully it will be included in the next update because the feature is not bad.

  • Johnny

    I’m trying to bypass an insert and a send on a channel for the verse of my song. Snapshot automation is not working here for me. Does it work for bypassing?

    • Eli Krantzberg

      Just tried it. It doesn’t work on sends. But that is not surprising, since there is no send bypass automation parameter to begin with.

      I tried it on a plug-in and it sorta kinda did work. It would not work on the first node I created, but then after the first one it seemed to work fine. I tried it twice to check and got the same result.

      Don’t forget, if you are using a software instrument, it counts as “Insert 1”. So, if you have a plug-in in the top plug-in slot that you want to bypass, you need to make the “Insert 2 bypass” plug-in parameter the visible parameter for this to work. The second plug-in would be Insert 3 Bypass, etc.

  • Yuri Urban

    Unfortunately your method doesn’t work here. I’ve assigned the exact same key combo and it does create the initial 2 points. But then after I move the playhead (either by ,. keys or manually) it fails to create additional points on the lane using same shortcut.

    • Eli Krantzberg

      Just checked and it is working fine here in 10.0.7.

      1. Set parameters, invoke the function to create two automation points.

      2. Move the playhead, readjust parameters, invoke the key command again.

      3. Repeat as necessary.

  • Adam

    Hi Eli.

    Thanks for a great tip, but I can’t get it to work in Logic 10.1.1.

    The problem for me is as follows: I invoke the first ‘create 2
    automation points each for volume, sends and pan’ command. This does as
    expected and also puts the track into Read mode, as per your tutorial video. I then move the
    playhead to where I want my changes and I try to adjust my fader and
    sends etc. When I try to dial in my new parameter values, the volume,
    sends and pan just snap back to where they were.

    The only way I can get it to work is each time I invoke the ‘create 2
    automation points each for volume, sends and pan’ command, I need to
    turn off automation for that track to take it out of read mode. It’s a
    bit annoying though, having to click it off each time I move the
    playhead to write new automation.

    I’m wondering if I need to change another setting or something…

    • Eli Krantzberg

      Hey Adam,

      Sorry, just catching up with all of this now. It does seem like the original functionality is broken now in 10.1.x. How unfortunate; it was such a great feature! Using an external controller, as was mentioned in the LogicProhelp thread is one alternative.

      Another is, as you mention, to simply use the key command for turning automation off (Control+Command O) before setting the parameters to new values. It is a complete drag that this extra step is now necessary, but in the grand scheme of things, it’ just one extra key command to invoke before using this function. Not the end of the world (IMHO) given that this sort of snapshot automation is a very deliberate action; not the sort of thing you’re going to do ten times every hour automatically without thinking about it.

      • Adam

        Hi Eli.

        Thanks for your reply. Just read your reply over on LPH πŸ™‚ The workaround will have to do for now. Curse Apple for breaking such a useful feature. I’m actually using it quite a bit.

  • Alexander Alfredo Nadal Pianti

    still waiting for a more like pro tools HD automation: preview mode, and other modes, plug-ins automation safe button. If apple makes this, we wont need pro tools for film sound postproduction since everything else i can do better in logic

  • Eoin Coughlan

    This is a stupidly long workaround for what is essentially just allowing two automation nodes to exist at the same point in time but at different vertical values. Totally illogical

    • Fella

      yeah that is what has droven me crazy about Logic’s automation for over a decade.. at least there’s a *way* to do it now, to have vertical automation points.

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