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Logic Pro X: Track or Region Based

Automation? by Darren Burgos April 13, 2015

Logic Pro X 10.1 has a new button for selecting track-based or region-based
automation. But which one should you be using and why? Darren Burgos tells
you the way it is and shares tips along the way.
In this article, well look at Logic 10.1s new golden button for selecting either
Track or Region based automation, and why you should use either one. Although
this is a new way to access these options, this is not actually new the ability to
embed automation into your regions has existed in Logic for years, but was
somewhat hiddenand definitely underused by most. Its not surprising that
this button is now prominently displayed on all your tracks. Apple understands
that automation is no longer strictly a mixing thing. In todays EDM
productions, its commonplace to use automation creatively while producing,
composing and designing sounds. So what is the difference between these two
types, and how do you utilize them in your songs? Read on, Ill describe them
both, and show a few new 10.1 automation features along the way.

Track-Based Automation

Open an existing song, and press the letter A to toggle the automation view.
Youll notice a new gold colored button on all of your tracks. When you click the
button, it toggles the view between the familiar track-based automation and the
lesser-known region-based options. Track automation is the default, and can be
thought of like a transparency; like a layer sitting above the regions below it.
This default mode is great for mixing and mastering since it allows you to take
control over everything on the track as a whole. You can either draw in
automation, or record it by choosing either Touch or Latch mode, or by using key

Trim and Relative Modes with Track Automation

Below and to the left of the new 10.1 Track/Region Automation select button, is
the Automation mode button (where Touch and Latch mode are selected). There
are two new 10.1 features here. Say youve written some pretty extensive volume
automation over a track in your song, but youve realized you may have overdone
it at certain points. In addition to choosing either Touch or Latch from the
automation modes menu, you can also check off Trim or Relative. Now you
can play the track and make live adjustments that raise or lower the overall value

without losing your original peaks and valleys. Its like automation for
automation! When Trim is chosen it directly adjusts the existing data, and when
Relative is chosen a new layer/automation lane is added that can be directly
adjusted itself.

Region-Based Automation
Click the gold selection button so it reads Region now. Wether youre creating
movement by adjusting a synths parameters, alternating the speed of an LFO, or
adding width by panning a sound rhythmically, region-based automation is the
way to go for this. Unlike track-based automation, the data is within the region
itself. This allows for easy looping, moving and re-arrangement of your regions
without worrying wether the automation has come with it. When you loop the
region, the automation loops with it.

Embed Region Automation into Loops Live

Ever created a cool sounding automation shape and wished you could just loop it
(as you loop the region)? With track-based automation this is possible by
copy/pasting the automation, but the process to do this can put a halt on your
creative flow. This is where region-based automation shines. Try this simple and
fun little trick. Go to a looping region in one of your songs and set a cycle around
it that includes several of the loops themselves in addition to the original region.
Click the track/region selection button to change it to Region automation. Start
playback first, then begin to automate various parameters. In my example image,
I automated an AutoFilters Cutoff and Resonance. Watch what happens when
you do this the automation is only recorded when the timeline crosses over the
original region and ignores all other movements over the loops. The automation
is embedded into the original region and is looped right along with the region

Track and Region Automation Work Simultaneously?

Its important to understand that you can use both track- and region-based
automation on the same track by toggling between them; its not an either/or
situation. However theres one exception when data exists (of the same
parameter) in both region- and track-based automation, Region data takes
precedence until the timeline moves over an area that no region data exists on.
For example, if volume information exists in the region, and you then switch to
track-based automation, and add some points/nodes above the region, your
track-based data is ignored. Even though the gold selection button currently
shows track automation, the region data is what plays back.

Its easy now to mute individual automation parameters. Theres a power
button next to each selected automation parameter (when data exists on it).
When using track-based automation, you have options on how data is handled.
From the Move Track Automation with Regions menu (under the Mix menu),
you can choose wether Logic will always Ask you if youd like to move the data,
always move it, or never at all.

Thanks for reading!