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Ableton Live 8 Essential Training with Rick Schmunk offers a comprehensive overview of Ableton's live audio and MIDI sequencing software and the techniques required to compose, record, and edit music, in real time, on stage, or in the studio. The course includes tutorials on compiling live sets from audio and MIDI clips, loops, or samples, applying MIDI effects, warping audio, and recording and producing songs in any number of contemporary styles. Exercise files are included with the course.
As you work on finishing a Live project, you'll often find that you want to make changes to existing automation data. In this video, we'll learn how to edit automation in Live. So we are looking at a track in Arrangement view, and I've got automation break points written on this envelope. And those could have been written in any one of the three ways: either with your mouse, double-clicking or using the Draw tool, or in real time. It's all the same once it is actually written to the track. So I can move an automation break point by clicking on it and dragging it to a new location. I can get rid of it by double-clicking on it.
Let me undo that: Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on a PC. I can also make a change to an automation break point using a fine adjustment, and this works on your movements that are up and down related. So for instance, if I wanted to change the location of this particular break point, if I Command+Click on it and drag up or down, you'll see that I'm actually moving in very small increments as I move. If I let go of that and drag, you'll see that I move in much bigger increments. So that's Command+Click+Drag or Ctrl+Click+Drag on a PC.
That also constrains the movement to a vertical movement, and not right and left. Now I can also move a range, and that requires making a selection first. Then I can do one of the two things. I can click on the line at any point, and that allows me to move it up or down. In some programs that's called trimming automation data, and essentially what that allows you to do is change the automation without changing the contour. So if you like the ups and downs, in this case of your volume, then all you need to do, to make it a just a little bit louder or a little bit softer overall is to trim it up or down by just clicking on the line and dragging up or down on a selection.
Now can't move automation side to side in that manner without holding my Shift down and then clicking on one of the break points. At that point, I can actually move that selection side to side or up and down at the same time. One other thing that you might want to do from time to time, especially if you take a look at this area here, even though it's stepped it looks like I want to go from this break point up to that break point. One thing you might think about doing is deleting the break points in between. You can do that by holding down your Shift key and grabbing a break point and then dragging. And that will wipe out any break points in the direction that you move the break points. So I am going to Shift+Click+Drag, and as I move up to this other one, you notice that it was wiping out the other break points.
That's a really slick command: Shift+Click+Drag. At other times, you may want to override the existing automation and experiment with other settings. So as I'm on the track volume here, if I go over and click in the volume field and make a change, you'll see a couple of things occur. First of all, the little red box in the corner of that particular field turns gray to tell me that you've currently temporarily suspended the automation. And I also see that the pinkish-red line that represents the automation envelope has turn to brown.
So at this point the setting here in the Volume field is overriding any volume automation on the track. And that's great, as I said, for experimenting with different settings until you're ready to commit. If you want to go back to the previously written automation, all we need to do is click this Back to Arrangement button up here in the control bar, and we'll see that the automation turns back to that pinkish-red color, and the little box is back in the Volume field in this case. So other things you might want to do with automation is copy and paste to other locations.
Let me put this one on None again for a second. And I'm going to zoom back out so I can see more of the session. And now, I'm going to make a selection here on my volume automation graph there. And I am going to Command+C on a Mac-- that would be Ctrl+C on a PC--and now I can move that to another location and paste it. Once I have that at a different location, I can also duplicate that. And what duplicating automation does is at the end of your current selection it will add that same automation.
So I'll go Command+D, and that will be Ctrl+D on a PC, and you can see that I have just duplicated that right at the end of the current selection. And again and again. I'll go Command+Z to undo some that. It would be Ctrl+Z on a PC. And last but not the least, there's times when you may want to move a clip. Now, two things may happen with the related automation. So if I select a clip and move it, we'll see that the automation stayed with it. So by default that's what happens, but if I actually want the automation to stay where it currently is and still be able to move that clip, I'm going to go up here, and I am going to click on the Lock Envelopes button. That's a global setting, by the way, and I am going to, again, want to move that clip. But this time, you'll see, when I move it, the automation stays in its same place.
As you can see, editing automation in Live is a simple process, and allows you to continue to fine-tune shape a mix as you work towards finishing a project.
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