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In addition to being able to automate track parameters, you can also automate any parameter in a plug-in or virtual instrument. The quickest way to enable automation on all of a plug-in's parameters is to do it automatically by choosing Setup > Preferences, and on the Mixing page, choosing Plug-in Controls Default to Auto-Enabled. So when you go to open up a plug-in for the first time, you'll see that all of the plug-in parameters are enabled to be automated.
And you can tell in this one by all these green dots and all these green boxes. That means that all of these parameters are ready to be automated. If you don't want to use that preference, here is how to enable individual parameters on a plug-in. I am going to open up this filter gate, and then I am going to hit the Automation enable button in the Plug-in window. This window enables you to select the parameters that you want to automate for each plug-in on that track. You can select the parameter over here on the left, click the Add button, and then it will be added over on the column on the right.
Now all five of these parameters are ready to be automated. When you're done, you can click OK. To skip this step and enable all of a plug-ins parameters for automation, you can press Command+Option+Ctrl on a Mac or Ctrl+Alt+Start in Windows, and click on the Plug-in Automation enable button. Everything thing that I've shown you here regarding plug-in automation applies to virtual instruments too. Let's take a look at the Edit window here for a second and check out all the automation that I've got going to here, for both a plug-in and a virtual instrument.
You'll notice that the first two automation lines are for the Xpand2 virtual instrument, and then down further I have some parameters for the AIR filter gate. Notice that there is no difference in appearance between the types of automation for a plug-in and a virtual instrument; they're just like what they look like on an audio track. What that means is that we can actually write and edit automation on plug-ins and virtual instruments in just the same way as you've done it for say volume and mute on any other type of track. So let's hear some of this automation data on the plug-in and the virtual instrument, and we'll watch the virtual instrument and the plug-in parameters change as the track plays.
So I am going to open up Xpand, bring this down, and you'll see the plug-in parameters change here in the smart knobs. Then I want to open up this filter gate, and I need to switch this to part A in the Xpand to watch the right parameters change. Here we go. (Audio playing.) Aside from the drum loop, all you heard here in this session was two notes being held on the Xpand to plug-in routed through the filter gate plug-in.
All of the automated parameters changed the sound pretty drastically from the beginning to the end. As you get more familiar with mixing using automation, you'll see how useful each of these automation features are, and how creative you can get with them. The power you have over your music is truly incredible.
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