Logic Pro is a big program. Learning all its features can take a long time and the fact that some are hidden away doesn't help. Here's a list of 10 quick tips showing off some useful features of the program that you might not have used yet!
Tip 1 - Notes
The Notes feature in Logic can be really useful when going back to an unfinished project or when sending a project to somebody else. Very handy for writing mix notes or to do lists. You can write notes for the project or for a track. We'll do a track.
Select the track on the arrange page or in the mixer and click the 'Notes' icon in the top menu bar. Select 'Track'. Simply double click in the text area and write away.
To see the notes in the mixer goto View -> Notes.
Tip 2 - Capture Recording
Ever played something really great along with your track and realized you weren't recording, losing the performance forever. Well, this feature could be the answer to your prayers.
Logic records all your MIDI and stores it in the buffer even when your not recording. Just press the 'Capture Recording' button in the transport and you part magically appears in the Arrange window!!! Phew!
The only rule is you have to do it straight away after stopping. Pressing 'Play' before you do it will wipe the buffer. And then it's gone!
To add this feature to your transport just control click on the transport, press 'Configure Transport' and select 'Capture Recording' from the list.
Tip 3 - Screensets
Although Logic is now a one window concept there's still no substitute for a good screenset. Configuring your screen to suit your workflow at the click of a button and having all the tools open for a job can really save time spent resizing and opening and closing windows.
By default Logic comes with one screenset assigned to '1' on the keyboard. To create another just press '2', get the screen looking like you want and your done. Assign the next one to '3', and so on. Recall the screenset by pressing the desired number.
Tip 4 - Copy Value to all Events
I use this feature on a daily basis and it's a real time saver. It's a bit off the map and doesn't appear in any menu.
Ever played in a drum part over a long number of bars and wanted all the kick drums to have the same velocity?
Instead of having to go through all the hits and change them individually just select the note on the Piano Roll so they're all selected. Double-click the first hit (this is important!). You'll see the notes come up in the event list highlighted blue.
Press [Shift+V]. This copies the first notes velocity value to all preceding selected notes.
To do this with all notes press [Command+A] to 'Select All' and double click the first lowest note. This will be the first note in the event List.
This is great for played in synth parts were velocity is mapped to filter cutoff and you want the same value for all notes.
Tip 5 - Fixed Note Length
A bit of a house cleaning tip. I use this a lot when programming drums. When played in manually your parts may have notes that are unnecessarily long. I clean these up with 'Fixed Note Length' in the Transform menu.
Make sure your part is selected in the Arrange window. Then in the piano roll go to Function -> Transform -> Fixed Note Length.
You'll see the Transform window open. The default length is a 16th note. This is fine for now and you can change it if you like. Press 'Select and Operate'.
Now all your notes are neat and tidy. This works well for all sorts of things and is great time saver. Just one of the transform's many handy functions!
Tip 6 - Marquee Stripe
Over in the top right corner you'll see a note icon. This opens the time display options where you can choose between bars or clock values (or both) for the arrange page.
Also hidden in here is the 'Marquee Stripe'. Click the note icon and choose it from the menu.
This allows you to make block selections between a time range (the Marquee tool will do a similar job but this is easier). Scrub across the distance you want by dragging inside the Stripe.
Holding 'Option' drag the from the selection to another position.
This copies all the data inside the selection to new regions while leaving the original intact. Really handy for copying song sections and works just as well for audio as it does MIDI.
Tip 7 - Slice at Transient Marker
I love this one! I have a loop I've made in the Arrange window. Select the region and open the 'Sample Editor' and enable 'Transient Editing Mode' you should see the button go orange.
You can add or subtract transients with the + and - buttons. You can also double click a transient to delete it. This process is exactly the same as you find in Recycle. It's also the basis of the new 'Flex' feature. If you don't like the results the Flex algorithms give you you can fine tune them using this.
Once your happy with the markers go to the Arrange window and control click the region and select 'Slice at Transient Markers' from the menu.
The region is now split into it's component parts based on the transients.
You can drop various regions onto a new track for adding different effects and so on. This works great for vocals were you only want to add delay to certain words. Cool!
Tip 8 - Add to Apple Loops Library
Once you've added your transients your free to turn the region into an Apple loop. As the transient markers are the same as the ones you would generate inside the 'Apple Loops Utility' this can now all be done directly inside Logic. Awesome!!!
Just 'Control-click' on the region and select 'Add to Apple Loops Library'.
You'll be presented with a dialog box where you can add the loop 'tags' and descriptions. Hit 'Create'.
Go to the 'Loops' browser and refine your search using the tags. Drag the Apple loop you made into the Arrange window. Simple!!!
As you can see when I up the tempo the loop (you can see the Apple Loops icon) stays at two bars long, compared to the original which is now out of sync. This is a great way to amass library of your favorite creations!
Tip 9 - Learn Controller
Mapping hardware controllers to plugin parameters couldn't be easier in Logic. A quick way to access this is the 'Learn Controller' icon. To add this handy shortcut to the toolbar just 'Control-Click' the toolbar at the top of Logic and select 'Customize Toolbar'.
Drag the 'Learn' icon into the toolbar and click 'Done'.
Now press the icon to access the 'Controller Assignments' window.
Open a plugin and adjust a parameter you want to assign. This will show up in the Parameter column.
Adjust the hardware knob or slider you want to map it too.
The two are now connected and your good to go! Just record the moves using Logic's automation features.
Assign as many as you like for total creative freedom!!!
Tip 10 - Lock SMPTE
This last one is for anyone wanting an easy way to spot hit point markers to a movie and keep them synced to the picture regardless of tempo.
Now I'm sure everyone has their own way of setting this up but the one thing you can't not use in the end is the 'Lock SMPTE' feature. Here's how I do it...
Create a new track and assign it to 'No Output'. Now create a region that covers the length of your movie.
Scrub through the movie and find a hit point. With the region selected hit '\' to split the region.
Repeat this for as many hit points as you need. When that's done open the 'Event List'. Make sure you click the arrow in the top left (just above the 'Filter' button) of the Event List or you won't see the region information.
Make all the regions the same length by dragging the length values.
With all the regions selected either control click on one of them and choose SMPTE Lock -> Lock SMPTE Position, or setup the 'Lock/Unlock SMPTE' icon in the toolbar. (See Tip 9)
Lock the regions to their SMPTE positions. You'll see a padlock icon in the region.
In the 'Time Display' options choose 'Bar and Time'.
Select a region and open the 'Event Float' window from Options -> Event Float. As you can see the regions are locked to a time value instead of a beat division and will remain synced to the film regardless of tempo. This is perfect for trying different tempos and knowing exactly where you need to be at a specific time.
Well hope this has been useful and you've learned a few new tricks. Till next time...