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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 will show you how to use the Pencil tool to edit or draw new automation. Any of the top five pencil shapes can be used to draw automation. Let's start with the Freehand tool. I'm going to go down to the bass track here and draw in a fade-out. So I am just going to click and drag. And let's hear what that sounds like.
(Music Playing) Yep, that's a fade-out. Now let's try the Line Pencil tool and we will draw in some automation for a gradual pitch-bend on a drum track. Pitch-bend on a drum track? Well, why not? So I am going to just click here and drag all the way up, and now let's check out what this sounds like. So I just hit Return and we will go back to the top and press Play. (Music Playing) That sounds kind of cool.
Now let's use the Square shape and draw some automation on the acoustic guitar track for muting it. So I am going to switch to Track View to mute and now I can go in and draw my automation. Now that's a lot of data going on there, so I am going to zoom in so we can see what's actually going on. So it's muting right along with the grid, and it's adding a value of a 16th note that we have set up here in the grid. Let's hear what that sounds like.
(Music Playing) Okay, cool. Let's try something different. I am going to go down to the organ track here, the DB-33 track, and I'm going to create some modulation data. So I am going to open this up, and we are going to take a look at creating some modulation automation to affect the rotation of the rotary speaker, and that's going to affect what we have down here, the Slow and Fast and Break settings.
So what I am going to first do is change the grid value to 1 bar, and then I am going to choose the Triangle pencil shape, and let me zoom out a little bit too. We've already chosen mod wheel as our continuous controller that we want to adjust, so I can just go in here and click and drag and I am creating some automation. Now let's have a listen. (Music Playing) So as you can see down here, the modulation data is affecting the rotation of the speaker.
Now let's try using the Random shape for creating some crazy panning. So I am going to choose Random and go to this synth track, and I am just going to click and drag. So we have got a lot of randomized whole-note panning on panning of the left side of this track. Let me switch the grid up just so this is a little bit more noticeable and then switch over to the panning on the right side, click and drag, and look at all that. It's a lot of random information, and now we will take a listen to what that sounds like.
So I am going to press play and take a listen. (Music Playing) So that Random shape creates panning affects that moves the synth track randomly all over the stereo field here. And hopefully you are listening in headphones, because it will be much more obvious if you are. Now drawing automation with the Pencil tool can be a very creative process as you have seen here. Have fun with it and use it to add some more motion and life to your mixes.
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