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Due Date: April 12

FL Studio (Part X): Automation

Often times, when we listen to a song (or “track”, as they are referred to in the music industry) there are changes that occur throughout the listening experience. These changes in sound, pitch, volume, that sweeping sensation that you hear, vocodor and auto tune effect, are all part of “automation” – the automated changes over time. Some of these automations are created by hand. And, some are drawn and inserted into the track. We will explore both methods.

  1. Open your “My First Song Mixed With Effects” file
  2. Make sure the “Song” light is lit on the transport control panel 
  3. Change the Pattern to PAT 9, which should be empty (our Automation will be recorded in Pattern 9 on the step sequencer)
  4. Click on the “Record” button 
  5. In the mixer, lower the Kick Insert volume to “0”
  6. Click on the Play button (the little triangle to the left of the Record button on the transport control panel)
  7. Now, as the song plays, click and drag the “Kick” Insert volume level back to its original position. Make sure it gets to its original position before the counter reaches 4:04
  8. Look at your playlist, it should look something like this:

Pattern 7 is inserted onto Track 3 in the playlist. Does it matter? Not really. The important thing to realize is that it did not record this automation in the tracks with our notes. We want to keep our automation separate from those. However, keeping it named as “Pattern 9” will never do.

  1. Click on the little icon next to the “Pattern 7” name and change the name of Pattern 9 to “Kick Volume Control”
  2. Change the Color to red
  3. Click on the name Track 3 and choose “Rename/Color”
  4. Change the name to “Automation” and make its color “Red”
  5. Change the name of Track 1 to “Drums”
  6. Change the name of Track 2 to “Synths”

Your Playlist should look like this:

By clicking and dragging the right side of the Automation “clip called “Kick Volume Control,” we can stretch it out to make it longer.

This is an example of “Real Time Automation”

Now, we will create “Linked Automation”

  1. Change the Pattern to PAT 10
  2. Go to “Channels” on the menu bar and select “Add one” and choose “Automation Clip”
  3. Go to your playlist window and click on Track 4 (right underneath your “Kick Volume Control” clip). You will see a new clip titled “Auto Clip Envelope”
  4. Rename this clip as “Kick Pan (Left/Right)”
  5. Rename Track 4 as “Linked Automation” and color it “Blue”

Your Play List should look like this (though, your Drum and Synths sections should contain more drum patterns than the one displayed here:

  1. Stretch the clip out so that it extends to the same length as our original Automation
  2. Click on the right side of the little line and drag it out to the length of the clip

Your Play List should now look like this:

Use your right mouse button and click on the line about every two lines so that it looks like the image below (note, on the last part of the automation envelope, drag the far end of the line and drag it so that it touches the bottom of the pattern clip. Then, drag the center circle so that it bends the line):

So, we have an automation clip. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually automate anything…yet. We need to assign this automation to something relevant – something where we can actually hear it working. Since it is already named “Kick Pan (Left/Right),” it would only make sense to apply this to the Pan of the Kick Drum.

Save your file as “My First Song with Effects Automated”

  1. In your Mixer, right click on the “Pan” half circle icon (in the Kick insert” and select “Link to Controller.”
  2. A window will display titled “Remote Control Settings.” This is where automation gets assigned. In the area where it says “Internal Controller,” change “none” to “Kick Pan (Left/Right)”
  3. Click the “Accept” button

Play the song. The Kick drum should bounce from left to right in your speakers. This is how linked automation is accomplished.

Also, notice that the Linked Automation is a smooth line where the Real Time Automation appears rough and irregular.

This is because the human hands, eyes, and ears are less than perfect and it is difficult to achieve a perfect line transition while controlling things manually.

However, it is correctible.

  1. Double click on the Kick Volume Control pattern/clip
  2. Using your right mouse button, click on the highest point of the green area (or red area, depending if it is selected or not - see the image below) and drag to the bottom left hand corner. This will straighten our Real-Time Automation out to a perfect slope

 Save your file