Working Without MIDI Draw in Logic Pro X 10.4

In Logic Pro X 10.4, the consolidation of the old MIDI Draw functions into a new and improved Region Automation has a lot of benefits.

We now have a full-text description of the displayed parameter in the Track Header, instead of simple CC numbers shown on the individual region headers. We can also now easily work with multiple lanes of MIDI-based automation being displayed simultaneously in the Tracks Area. And it is easier than ever to cycle through the used automation parameters in the MIDI editors.

Old Workflows

Some people have found it confusing adapting old workflows. So, let’s look at a few common scenarios.

Tracks Area

Here is a simple MIDI region that contains both sustain pedal and pitch bend info. Viewing region automation in the Tracks Area, it is simple to use the newly renamed “Cycle Through Used Parameters” key command to toggle the display of a single automation lane between the different automated parameters.

To display and work with the multiple automated parameters together, simply expand the automation view using the automation arrow in the Track Header and the + icon to add additional automation lanes to the display. Notice the automated parameter and accompanying MIDI channel is displayed in the Track Header.

Piano Roll

In the Piano Roll Editor, the automation button in the menu bar now opens an automation view that allows you to toggle between track and region automation. In fact, there is a new key command, directly above the new “cycle through” key command, that allows you to easily toggle back and forth between track and region automation. It is unassigned by default.

Using the same above example, it is simple to cycle through the automated parameters either via the same “cycle through” key command, or the cycle through button at the right of the automation header.

It is not yet possible to view multiple lanes of automation simultaneously in the MIDI editors, but this is a great first step in that direction.

Score Editor

The same automation functionality is available in the Score Editor as well, when in Linear View

Audio Track Editor

A nice bonus is that both track and region automation is now also available in the Audio Track Editor. Same routine as the others; enable automation view, choose either region or track automation, and cycle through the used parameters either with the mouse or with the “Cycle Through” key command. This is a great way to keep your tracks zoomed to a narrow height in the Tracks Area, and then instantly switch to an expanded view for the purposes of automation editing.

R.I.P. MIDI Draw

MIDI Draw was great, but it has had its day. I think making the transition to this new consolidated Region Automation paradigm makes a lot of sense. Your MIDI Draw key commands should now work with Region Automation. The small inconvenience some may find in modifying their workflow is, in my opinion, far outweighed by the benefits.

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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  • Andy Hope

    Hi, I am experiencing some issues with using the new midi automation editing in the piano roll editor. in the left hand side I have region selected. In the graph area I can toggle through the different automation I have written using the arrow button. Now, If I want to edit the modulation automation, for example, I toggle to show it. When I edit some of it (with the pencil) the line disappears. So I have to reselect it again. Likewise if I toggle to view the modulation or the velocity or whatever, when I press play this disappears again to show everything “greyed out”. This is very frustatrating when I want to view the modulation, say, all the time. Also, when editing the modulation, say, for a certain instrument, sometimes it pops up with the automation for another instrument instead! It’s like it is combining many automation details all together. Sometimes if I draw the modulation for an instrument I end up with 2 lots of modulation for that instrument, one on CH1 and another on CH2. Please help. Thanks.

    • Paul BUijs

      Andy. I am experiencing the same problem and don’t know how to solve it.
      Is is very frustrating!!Paul (The Netherlands)

  • Paul BUijs

    Hi Andy

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