Logic Pro X: Show automation curves

Show automation curves

Before you can add automation points to a track’s automation curves, you need to show the automation curves. Automation curves are displayed as colored curves and points on top of audio and MIDI regions across the track, running the length of the project. You can choose whether to view and edit automation across the track (track-based automation) or only within the track’s regions (region-based automation).

Figure. Showing track automation on for volume.

After you show the automation curves, you can choose which parameter you want to work with—Volume fader, Pan knob, or any other track parameter. You can work with multiple parameters on the same track, or you can work in separate subtracks, which appear below the main track.

Show automation curves

  • Do one of the following:

    • Choose Mix > Show Automation (or press A).

    • Click the Show/Hide Automation button in the Tracks area menu bar.

    An Automation button, an Automation Parameter pop-up menu, and an Automation Mode pop-up menu appear in each track header. When you chose an automation mode, for most automation modes the background color of the Automation Mode pop-up menu reflects the mode:

    • Gray background = automation is off

    • Mustard background = Touch mode

    • Orange background = Latch mode

    • Purple = Write mode

    For Read mode, however, the button and text color display the current state of automation and if there is automation data present:

    • Green text on a gray background = automation is on but there is no existing automation data to display

    • White text on a green background = automation is on and there is existing automation data to display

    Any existing automation is displayed on the track or within the regions. If you show automation on a collapsed Track Stack, all the automation from included tracks is displayed. You can choose the parameter you want to automate—Volume fader, Pan knob, or any other track parameter—from the Automation Parameter pop-up menu.

    Figure. Showing available Automation Parameter pop-up menu in a track header.

Switch between track-based and region-based automation

You can easily switch between viewing track-based and region-based automation. See Region-based vs. track-based automation for details on the differences between the two types of automation.

  • Click the Automation button in the track header to switch between track-based and region-based automation.

    Figure. Showing Track Automation and Region Automation side-by-side.

Choose the parameter you want to automate

Do one of the following:

  • Choose a parameter from the Automation Parameter pop-up menu in the track header.

    Figure. Showing the Automation Parameter pop-up menu open.
  • Control-click the track lane, then choose an automation parameter from the shortcut menu that appears.

Volume, pan, solo, and mute are shown in the pop-up menu. A submenu is also shown for each plug-in on the track. These are numbered and named after the slot position and plug-in: 1 EXS24, for example. When using region-based automation with an instrument or Drummer track, a MIDI sub-section shows all available MIDI parameters available for you to automate.

Figure. Selecting a MIDI control parameter for region-based automation.

Automatically select which automation parameter to display

You can automatically show the automation curve of any parameter you click in a channel strip, plug-in editor, or track header on the main automation lane.

  • Select Mix > “Auto-Select Automation Parameter in Read Mode” (or use the keyboard shortcut).

There must be automation showing in the main automation lane, and the automation mode set to Read, for “Auto-Select Automation Parameter” in Read mode to work. See Choose automation modes for information about the automation modes.

Mute an automation parameter curve

You can mute an individual automation parameter by turning it off in the track header.

  1. Choose a parameter from the Automation Parameter pop-up menu in the track header.

  2. Place the pointer over the Automation Parameter pop-up menu, then click the On/Off button that appears.

    Figure. Automation Parameter pop-up menu.

When muted, the automation curve for the parameter will turn gray.

Show multiple parameter curves on automation subtracks

  1. Click the disclosure triangle at the lower left of a track header.

    Figure. Pointing to the subtrack disclosure triangle.
  2. Choose the parameter that you want to automate from the Automation Parameter pop-up menu in the track header.

    Figure. Choosing an automation parameter from the pop-up menu.
  3. To add additional subtracks, click the “+” that appears when you place the pointer over the track header.

    Figure. Pointing to the plus button on an automation subtrack.

    All additional automation subtracks are revealed. Each additional subtrack is set to an automation parameter type that’s already recorded but not currently shown. The active automation parameter remains on the main track.

Add, remove, and reorder automation subtracks

Do any of the following:

  • To add a subtrack: Place the pointer over the subtrack header, then click the “+” that appears.

    Figure. Mousing the pointer over an automation subtrack.
  • To remove a subtrack: Place the pointer over the subtrack header, then click the “x” that appears.

    The selected subtrack is removed without deleting its automation.

  • To reorder subtracks: Drag the subtrack up or down.

Tip: You may find it easier to work with automation curves at a higher zoom level. To do so, drag the lower edge of the track header downward.

Published Date: Aug 9, 2019
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