Automation is a technique that helps create dynamism in your productions. In Ableton Live, nearly all parameters can be automated, and this is done via automation lanes.
You will need the automation lanes view to ‘show’ for creating automations and you’ll have to ‘hide’ them once you are done. There are two ways to create automation, each having different techniques to hide and show automation lanes:
- Arrangement view: this will be the main way to show and hide automation lanes. You can do this via a shortcut or manually. It is best for creating short, medium and long automation.
- Sample editor: this is a less common technique to create automation lanes, but still has its utility. It is best for creating automation on individual sample clips.
Let us analyze this technique in these two modes, and how you can implement them into your productions.
The arrangement view is where you will be creating most of your automation. This is because once you have a basic song arrangement, you will find yourself needing to create automation to insert dynamics into your songs. Hiding and showing automation lanes in this view is very simple and there are two ways to do this:
You will first need to be in the arrangement view tab. Go here by pressing ‘Tab’ or clicking on the mix/arrangement view toggle:
First Technique – Use the shortcut ‘Function (fn) + A on Windows and Mac to hide or show automation lanes.
Second Technique – Click on the hide/show automation toggle button. Then this button is highlighted in blue, and the automation lanes will be visible, and you can create automation.
This automation technique is rather static when it comes to showing or hiding automation lanes. You cannot quickly toggle between both clip view tabs with a shortcut. These tabs will grant you access to sample edit controls and automation controls. This is excellent when creating automation for individual samples, and micro-automation, and can be used in the mix or arrangement view.
Step 1: Double-click on your sample to open the sample editor:
Step 2: Select the automation tab to show the automation lanes. Toggle between these two tabs to hide/show the automation lanes.
Note: The only shortcuts available to show and hide automation lanes are Alt + Cmd + L on Mac, Ctrl + Alt + L on Windows, or Shift + Tab on both Windows and Mac. You will notice that these shortcuts only hide the sample editor but do not switch between automation and editor view.
Hiding and showing automation is easy, and always one click away. Both methods of creating automation have their use cases, as well as ways to hide and show automation lanes. Depending on how you want to create automation in Ableton, explore both ways, see what works in your productions, and have fun!