In the steps above, you've experimented with offline automation, a process in which you enter nodes by hand. Live automation, on the other hand, records automation data as you move faders and plug-in knobs inside Logic, letting you effectively perform Track Automation in real time.
Track Automation has its own recording system, which functions independently of Logic's other recording features, and the Transport's Record button has nothing to do with it! That's rightLogic can record automation during regular playback. To accomplish this feat, Logic uses Track Automation modes. There are six automation modes available, each with a slightly different purpose:
Off Automation is turned off and Track Automation will be neither sent nor received. In other words, Logic ignores all Track Automation for each track whose Automation mode is set to Off.
Read All existing automation data will be read, but moving any fader or DSP plug-in slider will not result in any new automation data being written to the track.
Touch Logic writes new automation data whenever a fader (or automation parameter) is touched. When you stop touching, or moving, the fader, Logic stops writing automation data and the fader returns to the pretouched level.
Latch This is similar to the Touch mode, but Logic continues recording automation data as long as playback continues, even if you stop touching the fader.
Write This mode overwrites all existing data for all the data types selected in the Track Automation Settings window (the Track Automation Settings window is discussed in the next exercise). In general it is better to use the Touch or Latch mode, because those modes overwrite the data only for moved faders, while the Write mode generally overwrites all automation data. Period.
MIDI Track Automation is disconnected from faders and knobs inside Logic, though faders will still send MIDI data.
Well, that's the theory. Now let's put it into practice by automating an EQ curve for the Bongo track.
Click and hold the Bongo track's Automation Mode menu.
Choose Latch from the pop-up menu that appears.
The Bongo track is now ready to be automated. All you need to do is play the song while adjusting the Channel EQ's Peak 2 Gain and Frequency parameters.
Press the spacebar to start playing the song.
Adjust the Channel EQ's Peak 2 Gain and Frequency parameters. Frequency and gain automation data is recorded into the Bongo track's automation tracks! Note that you did not have to click the Transport's Record button. To automate this plug-in's settings, all you need to do is set the Automation Mode menu to Latch and adjust the Channel EQ's parameters and sliders as Logic plays. Congratulationsyou've just automated a filter sweep!
Move the SPL back to the beginning of the song and start playback again.
Adjust other settings on the Channel EQ.
Notice that the automation tracks intelligently switch to display the settings as you automate their changes.
Click and hold the Bongo track's Automation Parameter menu.
Notice that in the pop-up menu, all automated parameters are listed in bold text at the bottom of the menu. If you need to touch up any of your automation passes, this list lets you quickly select the parameter you're looking for.
Press the spacebar to stop playback.
We're not finished exploring Track Automation, so get this first pass of automation data out of the way. If you are using Logic Pro, skip ahead to the next excercise to learn how to use Logic Pro's Undo History. If you're using Logic Express, proceed to the next step.
If you're using Logic Express, press Cmd-Z until you've undone all added automation.
Using the Undo History (Logic Pro Only)
The Undo History keeps a list of the edits you've made, and it provides a great way to undo multiple steps in one fell swoop. On common problem in undoing multiple steps is that you can easily press Cmd-Z too many times, and accidentally undo something you wanted to keep. Using the Undo History, you can see a list of all recent edits, and undo only to the point you intend by choosing the correct edit from the list.
Choose Edit > Undo History (Option-Z). The Undo History window opens.
Click the step directly before the first instance where the Peak 2 filter was modified.
All of Peak 2's automation is undone.
Offline automation is labeled "Hyper Draw" actions in the Undo History.
Close the Undo History window.
MORE INFO By default, Undo History lists 30 undo steps. You can change this by visiting the Global Preferences pane's Editing tab. There you will find a Limit Multiple Undo Steps preference you can adjust as desired.
Filtering Automation Types
Logic's automation preferences allow you to specify exactly which type of automation data you want Logic to record. In the Automation Preferences pane there's a line of check boxes labeled Touch/Latch/Write Erase. These check boxes tell Logic which types of automation to record. By default, all the check boxes except Solo are selected, which means that Logic will record automation data for the Volume, Pan, Mute, Send, and Plug-in settings. To avoid accidentally automating something you shouldn't have, it's a good idea to deselect all the check boxes that represent parameters you don't want to automate.
To open the automation preferences, choose Options > Track Automation > Track Automation Settings.
For the purpose of demonstration, deselect all the check boxes in the Touch/Latch/Write Erase section of the Automation Preferences pane.
Move the SPL to bar 1, and press the spacebar to play your song.
Adjust any setting on the Channel EQ.
No automation is recorded, because the Track Automation Settings window's Plug-in check box is currently deselected.
Click the Plug-in check box to reselect it, and then adjust the Channel EQ's settings.
Automation is once again recorded.
Press the spacebar to stop playback.
In a moment you are going to learn a far better way to automate the Channel EQ, using Automation Quick Access. Let's undo the automation you've just created.
Logic Express users, press Cmd-Z until you have undone all added automation. Logic Pro users, use the Undo History to undo the automation.
Using Automation Quick Access
In the previous exercise you adjusted the settings on the Channel EQ to create live automation. Wouldn't it be great to make these automation adjustments using a knob or slider on a hardware MIDI controller, instead of adjusting the relatively nonintuitive knobs and sliders in the plug-in window? Well, you can, using a feature called Automation Quick Access!
Quick Access assigns a slider or knob on your hardware MIDI controller keyboard to modify Track Automation data. The bottom of the Automation Preferences pane has a section dedicated to Quick Access, and here you turn Quick Access on or off. Let's set up Quick Access now and then take it for a test drive.
If the Automation Preferences pane is not open, choose Options > Track Automation > Track Automation Settings to open it now.
At the bottom of the Automation Preferences pane, click the Automation Quick Access On radio button.
An Alert dialog appears. This dialog informs you that Automation Quick Access is not yet defined. In plain English, this means you need to specify a MIDI controller knob to generate data for automation.
Click the Assign button.
The bottom left corner of the Automation Preferences pane updates to say "Slowly move/turn the control up and down you want to assign." At this point you can turn any knob or slider on your MIDI controllerfor example, the pitch bend wheel or the modulation wheelto assign it to Quick Access. (Even better, if you are using a controller keyboard that has several controller knobs on it, such as the Midiman Oxygen 8, you can turn one of those knobs to assign it to Quick Access, leaving the pitch bend and modulation wheels free to do their real jobs.) Let's try it out.
On your MIDI controller, move any slider or knob (try the mod wheel).
A help tag pops up to tell you the assignment is complete.
Click the Done button to lock in your Automation Quick Access controller assignment.
Quick Access is now turned on and ready to go.
On your MIDI controller, move the knob or slider you assigned to Automation Quick Access.
Notice that the parameter displayed in the selected automation track moves, as does the corresponding parameter on the Channel EQ.
They both move as you adjust the modulation wheel! Greatlet's record these movements.
In the Arrange window, make sure that the Bongo track is selected and the Automation Mode menu says Latch.
Position the SPL at the beginning of bar 1.
Press the spacebar to play the song.
On your MIDI controller, move the modulation wheel as the song plays.
Presto! Automation data is now entered via your MIDI controller's modulation wheel. This provides a much smoother and more intuitive way to enter this data than turning the software knob of the Channel EQ, doesn't it?
Select a different automation track, and move your MIDI controller's knob or slider.
Now this automation track's parameter is automated. Indeed, Automation Quick Access can be used to modify the parameter of any selected automation track.
When you're finished automating, choose Options > Track Automation > Automation Quick Access. This is a shortcut you can use to toggle Quick Access on or off without having the Track Automation Settings window open.
Assigning Multiple Controllers
Automation Quick Access is a fast way to assign a single MIDI controller for use in automating plug-in parameters. But it is limited by its ability to control only the parameter of the automation track currently selected in the Arrange window. When you adjust the EQ, for example, it's often beneficial to be able to automate both the EQ band and the frequency at the same time, using two controllers.
New to Logic 7, you can assign multiple controllers to automate several plug-in parameters at the same time. You should still have the Automation Preferences pane and the Channel EQ open (if you don't, open them now), so let's explore how this works.
At the bottom of the Automation Preferences pane, click the Edit button.
The Controller Assignments window opens.
This window lists the controller assigned to Automation Quick Access. Let's remove the Automation Quick Access controller and start with a clean slate.
In the bottom left corner of the Controller Assignments window, click the Delete button.
The Controller Assignments window is now empty.
In the bottom right corner of the window, click the Learn Mode button.
The Controller Assignments window enters the Learn mode and is ready to accept input from both your MIDI controller and a Logic plug-in.
On the Channel EQ, adjust the Peak 2 Gain parameter.
On your MIDI controller, move any knob or slider you wish to assign to this plug-in parameter (if your MIDI controller does not have extra knobs or sliders, move the mod wheel).
The MIDI controller is assigned to the Channel EQ's Peak 2 Gain parameter. To assign a new parameter, keep the Learn mode enabled and move directly to the Channel EQ and adjust another parameter.
On the Channel EQ, adjust the Peak 2 Frequency parameter.
On your MIDI controller, move any knob or slider you wish to assign to the Frequency parameter (if your MIDI controller does not have extra knobs or sliders, move the pitch bend wheel).
The MIDI controller is assigned to the Channel EQ's Peak 2 Frequency parameter.
On the Controller Assignments window, click the Learn Mode button to disable it.
Use the Next and Previous Controller Assignment buttons to make sure you have only one controller assigned to each of the two Channel EQ parameters.
Close the Controller Assignments window.
Close the Preferences window.
In the Arrange window, make sure the Bongo track is selected and in the Latch mode.
Move the SPL to bar 1.
Press the spacebar to start playback.
On your MIDI controller, adjust both assigned knobs.
You are now manipulating two of the Channel EQ parameters at the same time! Now doesn't that put the icing on the automation cake?
Press the spacebar to stop playback.
Save your song.