Understand the Interface in Audition CS6
Understanding the Audition interface
Let's begin with a tour around the Audition CS6 interface. This is going to be a brief overview to get us oriented. We'll be getting much more in-depth of all these areas in later movies. So basically, Audition is a single window that's divided into several panels. By default, some panels are displayed and others are hidden, and you can open, close, and rearrange the panels however you like and that will usually be dictated by the type of work you're doing. As with other Adobe products, there are a handful of pre-designed layouts you can start with by clicking the Workspace menu here at the top of the window. I currently have the default workspace selected, but each selection opens a different set of panels and arranges them differently as well.
For example, if I were working on the audio for a video project, I might select edit Audio to Video. Notice that opens among other panels the Video panel, and that puts it in the top left here, so I can monitor the video playback as I'm working. Or if I choose Mastering and Analysis, that opens the Frequency Analysis panel over here on the right and the Properties panel here on the left. Again, we'll get into the specifics of various panels as we go along, but for now just bear in mind that the Workspace menu is here and it can often be a good starting point.
Once you have a workspace chosen, you're free to open and arrange any of the other panels however you like. For example, maybe I use this Diagnostics panel a lot, and I want it over here on the right group with the Frequency Analysis panel. So now I've grouped these two together. And you probably notice that when you drag a panel over another panel you get different areas that highlight. Dragging over the center of the panel means you want to dock these panels together. So if I drag this down to the center of this panel group, it gets docked in that one. You can also drag the panel to the top, bottom, or sides of any other panel group, and that indicates that you want the panel to be on its own instead of group with the other panels.
Now I don't have a lot of screen space to work with here, but you can see that the Diagnostics panel is now on its own over here. So if I place my cursor between them, I can adjust the width of both of panels. Now you can also drag a panel to the very top or bottom of the Audition window if you wanted to take up the entire width of the window. So there it is at the top, and there it is at the bottom. And you can even hold down Command on a Mac, or Ctrl on Windows, and drag any panel to make it a Floating panel. This panel will now float above the Audition window.
Now because of this freedom to move panels around, you can see how easy it can be to really make a mess of things. If you return to the Workspace menu and select one of the defaults here, the panels will be rearranged into the order for that workspace. But notice if I go back to the Mastering and Analysis panel layout, it's still using the last configuration I dragged everything into. To put everything here back into its original position you have to choose Reset, in this case Mastering and Analysis from the Workspace menu, and then click Yes to confirm you want to do that.
Now if and when you land on an arrangement of panels that you find really useful--maybe in my case something like this--you can save that arrangement so you can always call it up again later. Let's go to the Workspace menu again and choose New Workspace. Then name your workspace. I'll just call it My Workspace and click OK. And now I have a new custom workspace available. So I were to switch to another one, I could select My Workspace to switch back. Now whichever preset or custom workspace you come up with you will most likely always be working with a few common panels.
I want to switch back to the default workspace because it uses many of these common panels so we can talk through them. Let's start with the Files panel. This is where you find the files you have imported into Audition during the current session. It's a way to quickly access the files that you have brought in but only while Audition has been opened. After you quit Audition, the Files panel will be empty again when you reopen Audition. We'll get into this more later, but the Files panel is just for selecting which one of your currently open files you want to work with. Now don't confuse that with the Media Browser, which is a panel that lets you browse for and open files anywhere on your computer.
For instance, I might go into my Macintosh Hard Drive, my Users Folder, my Home folder, and my Desktop, and here I can find a file that I have sitting on my desktop. Any files that you open through the Media Browser-- I'm just going to double-click it-- those files get added to the Files panel. We'll talk more about different ways to import content into an upcoming movie, but this is just the one of the ways. The Effects Rack is where you add and combine Effects Filters to your tracks. We'll have in entire chapter on Effects a little later. Another commonly used panel is the Levels panel, which you'll use to monitor your file's volume level, and next to that is the Selection/View panel where you can keep your eye on your file's duration or the duration of any selection you currently have.
I am just going to make this a little bit taller so you can actually see those items. There we go! So you can see looking at this here, I can see that this file is 46 seconds long. In addition to all the panels, you also find playback controls here and various tools at the top of the screen. Now the area of the workspace where you'll be spending the majority of your time is here in the Editor area. It actually can be divided into two sections, but right now I am just looking at one of those sections, and that's called the Waveform Display. There is also the Spectral Frequency Display which I can view by dragging the bottom border up.
So the waveform Display depicts your audio as amplitude measured in dB or decibels here on the right. Basically, it shows your audio file in terms of how loud or soft its volume is throughout the file. The Spectral Display down here shows the exact same file, but displays it in terms of frequency. So higher frequencies appear higher in this graph and lower frequencies appear lower. The higher the amplitude or volume the brighter the spot. So louder portions of the file look brighter and quieter portions looks darker. Both of these ways of looking at your audio files are incredibly useful and we'll be seeing a lot of both of them in action.
Again, you can adjust the size of the two panels by dragging the border between them up and down. You can hide one or the other by dragging the bar completely at the top. So you're just seeing the Spectral Frequency Display or completely down so you're just looking at the Waveform Editor. The scale going across the top of the screen depicts time, and it applies for both the waveform and the Spectral views. The playhead which you see here shows you where you are currently in the file and using this you can drag that around to specific locations. You can also drag your mouse over the time code down here in the lower left-hand corner to go to a specific point.
Generally, any yellow underline display can be dragged over to adjust. You can also click the time to type in any specific time code. Now if your mouse has a scroll wheel, you can use it to zoom in and out of the displays. And that works for both the Waveform Editor and the Spectral Frequency Display. And you often have to do this to get a better look at certain sections of your file. You can also use the zoom buttons down here if you don't have a scroll wheel. The first two buttons let you zoom in and out of the Amplitude waveform, and the next two buttons are for zooming in and out of both displays, and that lets you see smaller increments of time.
The Navigator Area at the top of the editor shows you the entire waveform of the file. Notice this area that highlights the part of the file you're currently looking at. You can drag this area around to look at other areas of the file, and you can also drag its left and right handles in and out to zoom in and out of specific parts of your file. This is useful when you want to take a really close look at a particular section. You can then drag the Navigator around to look at other areas. To zoom all the way back out, click the Zoom Out All button down here or the same button is actually found here next of the Navigator as well.
The other buttons here are for zooming to in and out points, and we'll talk about that a little bit later. And this last button here is for zooming into a selection. You make selections by dragging to select that portion of your file. You can then click Zoom to Selection to zoom in on that selection. Now so far we've been looking at the way form editor which is for editing single tracks of audio. But Audition also supports multitrack editing, meaning you can work with multiple audio track simultaneously. I'm going to click Multitrack over here to switch over to the multitrack editor. Now Audition is asking me to create a New Multitrack Session since I don't currently have one open.
I'm just going to accept the default settings here and click OK, and now I'm looking at a multitrack session. Because I have the file open I see it listed here. I've named in Untitled Session 1, which is the default name. So that's listed here in the Files panel, and what I see here are individual tracks. You can drag files into them so I can actually grab this interview file I was working with, drag that on to a track. Now Audition is telling me the sample rate here is different. We'll get into that a little bit more later. I'm just going to click OK. And you can see now the waveform for that track shows up here.
Audition actually created a copy of that file, and this is one I'm looking at here to conform to the specifications for this particular multitrack session. Now each track has its own set of identical controls, and we'll get to them later. We still have the time display and the Navigator across the top of the window here, but there's no Spectral display in multitrack view. That's only for editing individual tracks. We'll see how easy it is to work between the two main editing views. So there you have an overview of the Audition interface. Again, we'll be getting into much more detail in all of these areas as we continue through this course.
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