Old 09-15-2008, 06:15 PM   #1
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Default Automation - Practical Speedups

This is the first in a series of examples I'll be posted, in this case from Nuendo 4, which has one of the best automation systems of all native/DSP-based DAW.

Loop Fill

What if you could play a loop, tweak your values, and when you stop playback, those values were written to the loop area. Here's what it looks like in Nuendo 4 with its brilliant automation panel.

http://shup.com/Shup/63114/Automation_LoopFill.avi (1.8MB)
It requires the Techsmith codec. If you don't have the codec, grab it or a small custom player from http://techsmith.com. VLC might work too as a player.

I'll be explaining some of the strengths of this automation panel in a forthcoming post.

For now, this method of filling a loop with a single setting of parameters gives you the huge timesaver of actually hearing what you're tweaking and then applying it across an area as large or small as you wish, which is much faster than doing a manual writing pass.

The Suspend Write part of the automation panel(red buttons are active buttons there) lets you pick what automation to overwrite, and what you wish to leave as is.

Images removed in favor of an animated GIF version of the above AVI. See below.

More to come. Comments and questions are very welcome.
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Old 09-17-2008, 02:43 AM   #2
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It demonstrates the functionality of the Loop Fill.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:06 AM   #3
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In this next part I'll demonstrate the use of Trim automation. This is not to be confused with the trim/read mode of Reaper tracks, which is a non-automatable gain stage.



Make minute adjustments without having to redo the entire automation. Combined with the idea above, it would become very easy to change overall volume levels of entire sections or even the entire session with a simple action of a trimming pass and the loop-fill. Simply select a loop around the section or entire session, activate the trim for that automation pass and the loop fill mode, and start your pass. When you stop playback that trim would be applied to the automation across your loop selection.

Quick changes to a complex automation recording becomes possible.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:27 AM   #4
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Default Automation needs LOVE !

Thanks for pushing Airon! Reaper's automation needs LOVE :-)

- just my 2 eurocents; they may be worth slightly more/less in your local currency.
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Old 09-18-2008, 10:13 AM   #5
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Give it up guys we have been asking for decent automation for like 2 years , I don't see it happening any time soon if at all ???
I think they think it's GREAT when it really sucks ??

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Old 09-18-2008, 11:03 AM   #6
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+1 for me on both requests.
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Old 09-18-2008, 12:02 PM   #7
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I can see the value of both of these features, especially the trim mode. The loop automation took me two watches to understand -- it seems like it would be clearer if there were a solid horizontal automation line within the loop selection that raised or lowered as you moved the controls.
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Old 09-18-2008, 12:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwa View Post
it seems like it would be clearer if there were a solid horizontal automation line within the loop selection that raised or lowered as you moved the controls.
I agree. Tracking the envelope points in between is unnecessary and makes for a confusing interface. I can imagine instances where a user arms and does a long automation pass thinking they are recording the movements (based on visual feedback) only to have them suddenly jump to the last recorded position when the transport stops.
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Old 09-18-2008, 05:39 PM   #9
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Yeah, a straight line would help.

Ok, now it's time to talk about arming and displaying automation. The automation panel on display in the videos above shows a good way to do a lot with very little action.

The situation in Reaper isn't funny in this regard. A mixing situation will call for many different actions. You'll want to change volume levels, send levels, plugin parameters and so on. Reaper allows the user to change the activation, arming and display of each and every parameter, and herein lies a problem of efficiency. The user has to handle the setup of each and every parameter one by one, on every single track.

The control panel section headed by the buttons with the labels "Suspend Read", "Suspend Write" and "Show Used" are a simple way to handle readout, arming and display of automation on the tracks session-wide, in a clear and concise manner.

This level of control enables the user to work on specific aspects of a mix, without altering any other.

To illustrate this, here's an example.

Say you've written volume and send level automation across four vocal tracks, and now you've decided to treat each individual track with a different EQ setting, but you're treating other parts of the mix of the tracks with different EQ settings. For this you must use the WRITE mode, as you'll be playing your section in a loop and want to whipe the slate on all parameters of the EQ.

So you protect your existing volume automation and send level automation by clicking on the Volume and Send buttons of the "Suspend Write" section. You could even suspend reading of the parameters you wish to change in the "Suspend Read" section to protect yourself from ugly jumps in the automation that may play back when you intend to change only a single parameter on an EQ or compressor, and work in Latch mode instead of Write mode.

There is another advantage to this panel. It gives you visual feedback on every button you press on it. It is unlike many actions that may show no sign of its work. The ENVELOPE window is usually hidden, and it can stay hidden with control switches like those on the panel.

You'd still need to activate a bunch of parameters in the envelope window sometimes, and surely you could add some controls inside the envelope window to speed that up, like having a checkbox for every plugin and column of checkboxes.

For active mixing, this panel of sections would take the place of tens, if not sometimes hundreds of clicks on checkboxes. This kind of panel can be a good start or an inspiration for an even better way to handle this.

Here's another shot of the panel:
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Old 09-19-2008, 12:30 AM   #10
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Default Please ...

Thanx guys for waving your arms !

Reaper needs help in the automation field.

++1
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:30 PM   #11
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This needed a bump.

Show your support for advanced mixing functionality and more efficient automation handling.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:35 PM   #12
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Keep it on airon. Thanks for the work you did putting those exemples on the forum.
+1 for automation brainstorming and implementation.

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Old 03-30-2009, 10:35 AM   #13
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This is a bump for something we could all use to make automation recording easier.

We already have global overrides.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:31 PM   #14
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+1
i think its a great idea
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:54 AM   #15
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It's about time for another bump in this automation thread.

We're talking small bits of data and fairly simple functions that will deliver significant speedups to mixing workflows, that people have been used to having in Nuendo, Protools and most high-end consoles.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:28 PM   #16
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I'd like to throw in the idea of multiple takes of automation just for fun....
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:59 PM   #17
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really good! Thanks for explain this way of working with automation.

I need most of these features! In my opinion, these are more important than the difference between a behringer bcf2000 and a mackie universal...

I was looking about drawing about preview, capture, filling, and some other things...but I did'nt find them now so i'll post later!
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:19 PM   #18
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Mr. Airon:

If you could demonstrate "Preview Mode" here it would be cool. I saw it in person once. Pretty good.

thanks
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:14 PM   #19
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Wish I could, but I don't have Nuendo 4 here any longer. The key I had was on loan from a shop. At $2000 they let people try this out for a while that way.

The preview mode is basically a recording buffer for automation. You record your pass, or passes, then play them and commit to the one you find the most useful. That's the basic concept. Optimizing the user experience will be the hard part for Cockos.

Perhaps we should collect various concepts that people have come across for this concept. It would improve everyones understanding of the concept and we can discuss which ideas are best suited for an implementation in Reaper as well as come up with new ideas.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:48 AM   #20
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I took some capture about the automation manual of the euphonix S5, wich is powerful and have some nice options. You can see the automation panel in "capture-3"


Some explications:


PREVIEW:
When preview is activated, you can press play and all the automation already written will be played. But if you touch/move some fader or knob, they will stop reading the underlying automation (but this one will be kept safe) and you will hear what you're doing with the fader/knob.

That's a good way to find EQ, compression. When you find them, you can go back at the beginning of the sequence, then press PUNCH PREVIEW and automation will start to be written (overwritten if there were something).

The SUSPEND PREVIEW button allow you to come back listen the originally written automation, for compare.

When elements are in preview mode, they stay in this mode at the last value you've done, even if you press stop, rewind etc...

IMPORTANT THING: there is a button wich is "PREVIEW KNOB ONLY": you write normally on fader and you can still looking for THE good EQ.


CAPTURE:
The capture is almost the same thing. For example, you start the sequence, start doing eq, and -oups- you forgot to go in preview mode, so automation are written your change like +24dB EQing. So you press capture when you're happy, and the buffer will save all fader/knob position at this time. Come back where you want, and press punch capture, to have this EQ good from the start.


JOIN:
The join button is more specific in the euphonix. But that's a really good idea: when you press JOIN, the fader/knob who where writing something at the last pass, will come back in automation for writing. They will come back at the position where they are when you press join.

Imagine you were doing some modification for one sequence, you add reverb on a bird, and you have change his eq a little bit (this mods are not moving during the sequence). You're happy with that, but SHIT, you pressed stop before the end of the sequence! No problem, don't take your mouse: you go back and press join just before you've pressed stop at the lass pass. And your last pass will go back in write, and you can wait until the end of sequence.


FILL possibilities:
There is a huge difference between DAW automation and MIXER automation: when you press stop with a mixer, the last positions of faders/knob will be written till the end if there is nothing after.

In fact, not really written: that's what we call virgin territory, and that's what you have with a DAW when there's a line but there is NO point.
When you're in write/latch mode and press stop, the fader will stay in this position until he find a point.

If you have FILL TO END activated, he will write till the END...but it's like he will write million of point till the end.

Generally, the way to work with a mixer is without the fill to end. But in fact, all parameters write till the end a virgin territory. And because we start working from the beginning of the movie, there's no problem. I hope you understand what I say here: working like that let me stop before the end of the sequence and I will not need to use the JOIN button because that's the first time I write automation here.

There is FILL TO START, too. No need of explication.

FILL TO PUNCH is in a way similar to capture: when you press it, the fader/knob at this position that are in automation will be written from the time you have beginning to tweak them.

FILL REGION is for filling with manually entered values of timecode.


ALL MATCH:
When you press it, all fader/knob in automation come back to their last pass value.
AUTOMATCH:
The goal is to be sure to not erase automation wich is after the moment you press stop.

These options are very useful when you're doing modifications after few days.



That's all!

The "capture-1" is another way to see TRIM function.

"capture" explain "autofill". I did'nt explain this one, but that's a way to understand the difference between virgin territory and filled region.


I hope you understood all of these things: didn't find lot of drawing and so I took time to write all what I know, lot of BLABLA. One more time sorry for my english-speaking.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:56 AM   #21
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CAPTURE:
The capture is almost the same thing. For example, you start the sequence, start doing eq, and -oups- you forgot to go in preview mode, so automation are written your change like +24dB EQing. So you press capture when you're happy, and the buffer will save all fader/knob position at this time. Come back where you want, and press punch capture, to have this EQ good from the start.


To be clear: The buffer will keep only the fader/knob you have tweaking during this pass. In this way, you can't erase the wonderful movement you've already done with another fader.
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Old 06-07-2009, 04:34 PM   #22
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Thank you for those very useful explanations. Are there PDF manuals available at the Euphonix site or could you perhaps send it to us ?
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:21 AM   #23
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hi!
this is the link:
http://connect.euphonix.com/documents/S5_OpMan_v3_0.pdf
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:09 AM   #24
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A most interesting document. Thanks for the link.

I'll need to ask around for a Harrison manual, which should be equally interesting.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:43 PM   #25
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Time to bring this back up I suppose.

We've got a global overide for the automation modes now. No functions to fill a loop area with a setting, or anything else more clever than the basic automation bare bone system.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:45 AM   #26
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We have a global overide, but it would be fine to have (at least) separate global overide for Plugs and Volume/pan/send.

Because I still can't use this global overide without preview for my plugs. We miss something like the cubendo panel.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:00 AM   #27
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Automation ala Cubase/Nuendo is second to none and the devs would be all the better off for taking the time to check it out and adapt its features and 'way it works' directly into REAPER.

At the moment reapers automation is incredibly retatrded, over complicated(like most things reaper. Just cos u got a millions options, customizable this n that, extensions, blah... dont add up to shit if it aint straight up simple, powerful and intuitive)clumsy and annoying.

Ive been an ardent supporter in the past but my taste for Reaps is beginning to wain.

With every update MIDI is overlooked and the slightest of changes ever implemented. The whole MIDI, automation and MIDI automation need a complete overhaul and serious rethink if it ever wants to be taken seriously by serious producers.

Like someone else pointed out. this has been requested for ages(along with MIDI love) and the devs either think its good enough, dont get it or dont give a shit.

The general setup as it stands is fine. Time to pay serious attention to automation and MIDI.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:17 AM   #28
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I'd rather see 'virgin territory' from Nuendo.....
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:12 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strunkdts View Post
Automation ala Cubase/Nuendo is second to none and the devs would be all the better off for taking the time to check it out and adapt its features and 'way it works' directly into REAPER.

At the moment reapers automation is incredibly retatrded, over complicated(like most things reaper. Just cos u got a millions options, customizable this n that, extensions, blah... dont add up to shit if it aint straight up simple, powerful and intuitive)clumsy and annoying.

Ive been an ardent supporter in the past but my taste for Reaps is beginning to wain.

With every update MIDI is overlooked and the slightest of changes ever implemented. The whole MIDI, automation and MIDI automation need a complete overhaul and serious rethink if it ever wants to be taken seriously by serious producers.

Like someone else pointed out. this has been requested for ages(along with MIDI love) and the devs either think its good enough, dont get it or dont give a shit.

The general setup as it stands is fine. Time to pay serious attention to automation and MIDI.
I'm a serious producer/mixing engineer and I can't see your point. These are 'Features' that could be added to reaper, of course, but current automation system in reaper is very usable and serious, tbh I can't see your point.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:20 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strunkdts View Post
Automation ala Cubase/Nuendo is second to none and the devs would be all the better off for taking the time to check it out and adapt its features and 'way it works' directly into REAPER.

At the moment reapers automation is incredibly retartded, over complicated(like most things reaper. Just cos u got a millions options, customizable this n that, extensions, blah... dont add up to shit if it aint straight up simple, powerful and intuitive)clumsy and annoying.

With every update MIDI is overlooked and the slightest of changes ever implemented. The whole MIDI, automation and MIDI automation need a complete overhaul and serious rethink if it ever wants to be taken seriously by serious producers.

The general setup as it stands is fine. Time to pay serious attention to automation and MIDI.
Actually I am mainly a Logic user...and I dont find Cubases automation "second to none" sorry.
I have used Cubase quite a bit (nowhere near as much as Logic...but I prefer Logics automation by far)
I dont find CB's automation that intuitive at all.
But we tend to like what we are conditioned to, so my opinion is not at all absolute, however many others that use both apps agree with this sentiment.
But as far as "serious" users go I think its safe to say that bucketloads of "pro" guys use Logics automation for heavy automated stuff...I myself automate the crap out of all kinds of things with no problem.

Now personally I have only been using Reaper a few months and I find the automation great and very very easy to learn...it seems really good, and not that much different in some respects to Logics.
Logic has a bezier tool and that is nice because you control the power of the curves and its easy to use, that would be nice in Reaper.
But with Reaper you hit v for volume or P for pan and I assigned other keystrokes to toggle all active envelopes, pretty darn easy as far as I can see.
I mean you simply add points, set the curves and you are away...how difficult is that? I dont find that over complicated at all.
Simply latch it and record it in real time then edit it...not all that hard to me.
I am able to do some great stuff with it...I just dont get what you are saying!!
Perhaps you could explain in some detail what your problem with it is...maybe I am missing something!

Last edited by Astro; 11-13-2009 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:37 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strunkdts View Post
Automation ala Cubase/Nuendo is second to none and the devs would be all the better off for taking the time to check it out and adapt its features and 'way it works' directly into REAPER.
AAaargh!!! All, but not that!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by strunkdts View Post
At the moment reapers automation is incredibly retatrded, over complicated(like most things reaper.
Erm.. ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by strunkdts View Post
Just cos u got a millions options, customizable this n that, extensions, blah... dont add up to shit if it aint straight up simple, powerful and intuitive)clumsy and annoying.
But that's IMHO the goal of Reaper. If someone asks "Can I do .... with Reaper?" in - let's say 98% you can, 'cos of its customizability.


Quote:
Originally Posted by strunkdts View Post
Time to pay serious attention to automation and MIDI.

Yes on the MIDI part I'd agree.




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Old 11-13-2009, 01:52 PM   #32
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Automation in Reaper retarded? No, I think it's the other way around

Automating in Reaper is very easy. There are only three things that need to be improved there:

1. AUTOMATION ITEMS (a.k.a. automation clips)
2. TENSION POINT EDITING (this would effectively negate the need for several types of envelope points, similar to Logic)
3. MARQUEE SELECTION OF POINTS IN MULTIPLE ENVELOPES AT ONCE

That's it.

On the other hand, I do agree that MIDI needs an awful lot to be worked upon.
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Old 11-13-2009, 03:56 PM   #33
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2. TENSION POINT EDITING (this would effectively negate the need for several types of envelope points, similar to Logic)
If we are talking about the same thing here...I think a bezier tool (like in Logic)would do the job perfectly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
On the other hand, I do agree that MIDI needs an awful lot to be worked upon.
Yes it does...a Tool box would help a lot there...with assignable buttons, like in the main window with some dedicated tools and functions like a tool for raising the velocity and another for lengthening notes...so you dont have to do it all with the mouse, cause sometimes you may want to stretch a note and instead you push the velocity up (even in zoom).
Doing things with the mouse is good, but sometimes tools are very helpful.

However for some in earlier posts who complained about ..."the midi will never be good or fixed" or up to the standard of Cubase etc..
I would humbly say that ...lets not forget that Steinberg took many years, up until version 5 (latest release) to actually allow users to record midi data on the VSTi's tracks ...so it was all on the same track.
Previously it was a F%%$##G ergonomic layout nightmare of seperate tracks for each single instrument.
This was not a small thing...it was a major thing ...and many "serious" or "pro" users were laughing their asses off that they (the designers of VST) never had this together for so many years.
Even Logic had implemented this properly right from the very beginning, while it was on the PC (many many years ago).
And it took Steingberg up until this latest release to get this together...go figure.
So its good to remember this before trumping about how great Cubases midi is, its had its problems and it took their engineers donkeys years to fix a major issue like this.
So I personally take a wait and see with Reaper...the grass appears always greener elsewhere, but that may not be so.

Last edited by Astro; 11-13-2009 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:07 PM   #34
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If we are talking about the same thing here...I think a bezier tool (like in Logic)would do the job perfectly.
Yes, a combination of Logic's and FL's envelope point editing would be stellar.

https://stash.reaper.fm/v/3710/logic%...0curvetool.gif

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsTn8cI_xvw
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:36 PM   #35
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In this next part I'll demonstrate the use of Trim automation. This is not to be confused with the trim/read mode of Reaper tracks, which is a non-automatable gain stage.

Thanks for the demo Airon.
I have to say personally...I think a bezier tool would be more important.
I guess its down to how you like to work, but I like clean curves with not too many points (probably because I do art and 3d design as well as well...and one of the first things you learn is keep it clean)
To me thats so typically Cubase...you could do that much more cleanly with Bezier tool and manually too...and probably faster with a nicer result.
It makes a nice movie tho, TBH I find a lot of Cubases options unnecessary and the end result is not that great...I for one would not be happy with that...you can do MUCH BETTER with a simple bezier tool that does power curves and linear lines all with the same tool, also you only have to drag on the automation to remove extra points that have been added by the latch mode.
As far as re setting it back to trim...thats also easy you dont need all that to do such a simple thing...again thats so typically Cubase, looks cool I guess but when you have seen other systems, it fails to impress.

Anyway each to their own I guess, maybe you should look at some other apps automation, I dont find that very sublime or great at all...sorry.
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:04 PM   #36
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a trim mode would be very helpful! the capture and punch described above is a great idea. Any enhancements that make it easier to write automation with faders without fearing that you are screwing something up/losing previous passes etc would be great. I think that Airon is making good sense and the doubters may simply not know what they're missing!

yes we need point and curvature automation (all please editable via text fields!). And items (which can host multiple takes and be muted/stretched etc) may solve a lot of problems and open up a lot of possibilities.

But what Airon is on about here is an efficient robust secure workflow for people who like to write and edit automation with faders and controls: REAPER does not quite have that yet, and even worthy FRs like tension points won't do it by themselves.

An automation mode, with panel and and perhaps some other alternative GUI elements, might be an interesting extension of REAPER...
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:06 PM   #37
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@Airon - you might want to break down your wishes here to manageable FR's. Panel - Trim Mode - whatever else - to make each FR a clear, digestible idea and get some of these ideas into the tracker - my $.02
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:45 PM   #38
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Automation in Reaper retarded? No, I think it's the other way around

Automating in Reaper is very easy. There are only three things that need to be improved there:

1. AUTOMATION ITEMS (a.k.a. automation clips)
2. TENSION POINT EDITING (this would effectively negate the need for several types of envelope points, similar to Logic)
3. MARQUEE SELECTION OF POINTS IN MULTIPLE ENVELOPES AT ONCE

That's it.

On the other hand, I do agree that MIDI needs an awful lot to be worked upon.
I'm definitely with you on this, and the whole point of reaper's ui is one tool for all, so we don't need logic's curve tool. The tension point system is much easier
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:58 PM   #39
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Shakey, Logic's "curve tool" would be "one tool" in Reaper At least that's the way I wish it happens.

For example, when driving the double curve to its limits, it could morph into square curve. This way we would have all the currently present curves at our disposal. Add a tension point between two envelope points, we have Bezier heaven!
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:08 PM   #40
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So we don't need logic's curve tool. The tension point system is much easier
I like Reapers system too...I dont have any major complaints yet.
But I think you need to look and actually see what Logics bezier tool can do.
I can assure you it would be a valuable addition to Reaper...with it you can build up really great automation swells and so on very easily, its not at all difficult and its very useful believe me.
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