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[Logic] How to use Pattern Regions for step (parameter lock) automation on MIDI AND audio tracks
I'm putting this here to consolidate a tip that's spread over a few threads:
You can use a Pattern Region to enter automation in the step editor, here's how to do it:
This is what we're going to make:
Firstly, to make this easier, we are going to use a trick to enable us to make multiple tracks that use the same instrument so that we can separate the automation from the notes:
- Create a new MIDI track and choose the VI you want to automate
- Create a new MIDI region
- Record at least 3 different pitched notes into the region
- Tap the region and choose Convert->Separate by Note Pitch from the pop up menu
- You now have at least three regions in new tracks and each track points to the same instrument
- You can delete all those regions, but keep the empty tracks.
- Record your notes into one of the new tracks
Now for the automation:
Create a new pattern region in one of the other new tracks you created
- Tap the pencil icon to edit the Region (And if you like, delete all the notes from the rows)
- Now you need to create rows for the parameters you are going to automate:
- Tap the add row button + and either manually choose the parameter you want to automate (The plugin parameters for the VI are at the bottom of the menu)
- OR open the plug-in view with the little knob button so you can see the plug-in UI
- Tap the Add Row (+) button as step 4 above
- Tap Learn (Add) from the menu and manipulate the parameter you want to automate (doesn't work for all plug-ins)
- Now repeat until you have all the rows you want to add
Now the fun bit
- Turn on each step in the step editor and tap the > button to show the value below
- Edit the value to suit.
You now have two regions playing the same instrument. The green one in the screenshot above is the MIDI notes data. The purple pattern region is just automation.
You now have independent control of both. One trick is to make the length of the automation different from the notes and loop it so it doesn't repeat the same automation for the same notes (if that makes sense).
You may find that the automation isn't early enough if you're triggering on each note-- Say you have a 16ths baseline and are automating the filter cut-off -- the value in the automation might not trigger on the correct note. If that's the case all you need to do is select the automation region in the tracks area and open the inspector (i). Just add a bit of - delay until it sounds right -- you should only need a tick or two to make it trigger before the note. This is non-destructive (by the way, another tip, use the hell out of the inspector; Warning though, you may just miss not being able to non-destructively transpose, delay, quantise, change the velocity, etc in other DAWs!).
NB. this is much easier than delaying a step in the pattern step editor as it works on the region rather than a single step.
Also another thing to play with is the automation mode button, where you can do things such as the automation slop. You can latch or slide the steps (i.e. have sudden jumps in automation or glide between values). Play about with the inspector inside the step editor for lots more power, shifting steps, changing direction, randomise, etc.
There's a ton of power in the step editor.
*** UPDATE ***
I’ve worked out that you can also automate fx in audio tracks with the pattern editor too.
You need to add a couple of steps for audio tracks, but it’s otherwise just the same.
First of all, drag a midi region containing 2 or more different pitches into the audio track you want to automate then you can follow step 4 above.
Then, create the pattern region in a MIDI track and drag it into the newly created empty tracks that point to the main audio track. You now have MIDI tracks in your audio track that can automate the fx.
You can also automate the pan and volume of the track fader — just learn from the track fader panel — which is cool for step fx. Don’t forget to set the pattern editor to ‘Latch’ for step fx and ‘Slide’ for smooth changes between steps.