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The Problem With Logic Pro X Automation and Automatic Node Creation

logic pro x 10.0.7 snapshot automation

There have been some nice enhancements to Logic’s track automation in the sub releases of Logic Pro X. Unfortunately, some of the features are not working as expected.

The Problem With Logic Pro X Automation and Automatic Node Creation

Here I’ll look at a problem encountered by many Logic Pro users struggling to understand the intended work flow of two particular functions.

Snapshot Automation

I was among the first in line to herald the arrival of snapshot automation in the Logic 10.0.7 release. Creating one or two automation points, either for the visible parameter or for volume/pan/sends, is a great way to have Logic Pro capture parameter values at specific locations. Two points for static changes; one point for ramps.

automatic automation node creation in logic pro x

Once an initial value is set using these functions, the Channel Strip automatically switches to Read mode. Which makes perfect sense, given that there is now automation present that needs to be read on playback. Simply re-adjust the value, invoke the commands, and create automation points wherever the playhead is at.

In one of the subsequent sub releases however, the ability to freely move an automated parameter when the transport is stopped was damaged. Any attempt at moving a parameter immediately resulted in it snapping to the existing automated value. This rendered the automatic node creation functions difficult to use.

Workaround

But there is good news. A workaround exists. If the Channel Strip track automation is toggled to Off instead of Read mode, the values can be changed freely. This can be done in one of three ways:

1. In the Inspector or Mixer

toggle automation in logic pro x

2. In the Track Header

logic pro x track header

3. Key Command: [Command + Control + O]

04 Key Command

When you are finished creating automation points, simply toggle Read mode back on, and you are back in business.

That’s the good news.

Now the not so good news.

The existing function to create one or two automation points at region borders is not working, and there is no workaround that I am aware of. Here the same problem exists when Read mode is enabled; values for parameters with existing automation cannot be altered when the Channel Strip automation is set to Read mode.

05 Region borders

Toggling the Channel Strip’s Read mode off, as expected, allows the parameter values to be modified. The problem however, is that when a new region is selected and one of these two functions is invoked, it doesn’t work. The existing automation value preceding the selected region is created at the region borders instead of the current modified parameter value. As it is now, the only possible use of these functions is to “print” preceding automation values to subsequent regions; which, IMHO, is of limited value.

06 Previous automation values

Let’s hope that these problems will be addressed in future updates. For now, remember to temporarily toggle Read mode off when creating automation points either for volume/pan/sends, or visible parameter. And remember to use the “create automation point(s) at region borders” functions only as a means of writing existing values to selected regions. This is useful to insure regions retain automation values before shuttling them around the timeline. However, we can also achieve this with region automation; which is probably the better choice in this scenario.

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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  • Alexander Alfredo Nadal Pianti

    This is how I think automation should be fixed and redesigned in Logic Pro . ( coming from thinking that pro tools automation is the best) . Throw all that create two points things to the trash..
    1. Plugin lock – so that if you want to write other plugins on the same track , the already automated plugins don’t get rewritten.

    2. Write mode should start writing from the beginning of the playback, and SHOULD write parameters of plugins without the need of touching the parameter. Right now Logic Pro waits for the parameters to be touched to start writing. Not ok.

    3. Range selection (marquee selection maybe?) to set all parameters while looping playback, then just hit a button to paste all parameters changed so it makes a snap automation. Pro tools calls this automation preview, then write to all. Write to selected.

    • polygooner

      Yes, Logic could learn a lot from Pro Tools automation – it is the one area where they have a comprehensive, thought out system. Their snapshot system is exactly what Logic needs- looping a track until you get the plugin right, then write that to automation. Move on the to the next.

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