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Having worked tediously with other types of automation systems on analog mixing boards, I think graphical editing of automation data is one of the best features of Pro Tools. Here I'll show you how to use the Pencil tool to edit or draw new automation data. Any of the top five pencil shapes can be used to draw or edit automation. Let's use the Free Hand tool first. I am going to go down to this bass track, and just click and draw. I am going to draw in a fade out.
Pretty simple. Let's hear what that sounds like. (Music playing.) Let's try out the Line Pencil tool to draw in some automation for a gradual pitch bend on the Drum track. Go back to the beginning of the track, and now let's hear what this Drum track sounds like with a pitch bend going on. (Music playing.) That sounds kind of cool.
Now, let's use the Square tool to create some automation on the acoustic guitar tracks. We'll go to the mute, and I am going to draw in--just by clicking and dragging-- some mute automation. You'll see a lot of lines in here, and they are actually following this grid value of 16th notes. Let me zoom in, and you can see what's going on here. So it's muting every 16th note.
Let's take a listen to what that sounds like. (Music playing.) Let's try something different. Let's go down to the B3 track here, and I am going to create some modulation wheel data. Now, the mod wheel automation actually affects the rotation of the rotary speaker on the organ. And it will affect the slow, brake, and fast settings. So what I am going to do is actually change the Grid value to 1 bar, and then use the Triangle Pencil tool to draw in some triangular-shaped automation by clicking and dragging across the track.
Let's take a listen to that. (Music playing.) You can see this control right here following this modulation data. Now let's try one more thing. I'll come down to the Synth track, and we'll use the Random pencil shape to draw in some panning effects.
So as it set now, it's still on whole note. Now let's go over to the panning of the right side, and I am going to change the grid back to 16ths, and you'll see the random panning being a lot more active. Let's press Play and hear what it sounds like. (Music playing.) So that track is bouncing all over the stereo field. And this effect will be much more noticeable if you are listening in headphones.
Drawing automation with the Pencil tool can be a very creative process. Have fun with it by adding some more motion and life to your mixes.
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