Sunday, October 15, 2006

Transforminating... Part 1

One of Logic's great features is the Transformer.

If you've ever wanted or needed to do things like:

- Delete all controller 11 data in any region in my song
- Thin out volume controller data
- Reverse my keyboard melody
- Play a region backwards
- Select all C1 notes in a region with a velocity of less than 64
- Convert controller 7 volume data into controller 11 expression data
- Randomise the timing, velocity and length a small amount on your notes to sound a little looser
- Increase the velocity of notes on downbeats by a random amount between 5 to 20

...and *many* more applications - then you need to learn how to use Logic's Transformer.

As mentioned, the transformer comes in two forms - one to use to directly process MIDI events in your regions (the Transform window), and a Transformer Object in the environment, which you can cable up in the same way as other environment objects. They both work in a very similar way, albeit with a few differences.

Let's look at the Transform window first.

Opened from the Window menu, the Transform window is what you would use when you want to process MIDI regions to alter their MIDI data destructively. Typically, you need to select the region or regions that you want to modify with the Transform window. If you have no regions selected, the Transform window won't do anything.

Let's take a quick tour through the Transform window first, and then move on to discuss some practical applications.

The first flip menu lets you select any of the factory preset transformer sets. There are presets for things like Humanize, Half Speed, Reverse Pitch, and more. These are "protected" - effectively read-only, so although you can tweak some of the parameters, you can't change or save them directly. We'll have a look at a few of these and see what they are doing a bit later on. The last option at the bottom of the menu is "Create User Set" - this creates a new transform entry in the menu so you can save your own transform settings.

You can rename your transform sets by double-clicking on the name.

Underneath the flip menu is the "Hide unused parameters" check box. When this is ticked, any parameters which are not doing anything are removed from the display, so as to not overwhelm you with unnecessary options.

To the right, we have three grey buttons, and these are the buttons that actually execute whatever transform operation has been selected or set up.

- Select and Operate
- Select Only
- Operate Only

To understand why there are these three options, we need to understand that the Transform window basically does two functions:
- "Select" - Choose which MIDI events we want to do something to
- "Operate" - Tell Logic what we want to do to them

This corresponds to the two main sections that dominate the Transform window - the "Select by Conditions" line, and the "Operations on selected Events" line underneath.

The top line, "Select by Conditions" lets us define which type of MIDI events we want to do something to.

The second line, "Operations on selected Events", lets us tell Logic what we want to do to the events that will be selected by the top line.

So as a simple example, we could say:
- I want to SELECT any MIDI NOTES on MIDI channel 4
- Then I want to those selected notes to be changed to MIDI channel 1

So, we are always SELECTING events for processing them, and then doing the actual OPERATION on them.

Looking back at our big grey buttons, we can now see what they each do. Using the same simple example above, if I'd set the Transform window to the following:
- I want to SELECT any MIDI notes on MIDI channel 4
- Then I want those selected notes to be changed to MIDI channel 1

If we'd clicked on "Select and Operate", Logic would have gone through our MIDI data, selected the MIDI notes on MIDI channel 4, and changed them into MIDI channel 1. Cool.

If we'd just clicked on "Select only" instead, Logic would have selected our MIDI channel 4 notes, but it would not have changed them. This lets you use the Transform window to perform complicated selections, without having to manually select notes in any of Logic's editor windows. Logic will display a message to the right of the buttons to tell you how many events in how many regions have been selected, as a useful guide. Using the Transform window to select notes for editing is a key power-user tip that can *really* help with complicated or time-consuming edit tasks.

If we'd clicked on "Operate only", what do you think would have happened?

In this case - *nothing* would have happened. No MIDI data would have been changed. Why? Because Logic just performs the "Operate" part of the transform, but as no MIDI events are currently selected in our region, no MIDI events would be changed. (You'd see the message "0 Events in 0 Regions found" to let you know what the transform did - or in this case - did not do!)

Why is this "Operate only" mode useful? Well, let's say you had manually selected a number of notes in the Matrix editor. The Operate only lets you modify those notes you have already manually selected - a handy one if you've selected a bunch of notes over 50 bars that you wanted to set the velocity to 73, for example.

Always bear in mind that in Logic, you often work between multiple windows to get the most efficient workflow, so you can use a combination of windows to select MIDI events. You could select a few events in the matrix editor, then use the "Select only" transform command to add all notes between C1 and C2 to the selection (tip: *SHIFT*-click on "Select Only" to *add* to the current selection, rather than replace it), then go back, deselect a few notes, and then finally use the "Operate only" command to modify the final selection of notes.

SHIFT-click on "Select only" to *add* whatever events the Transformer will select to events already selected in your regions.

Remember, the transform window only sees events in selected regions, so make sure you have any regions you want the Transform window to "look at" selected in the arrange window.

"Select and Operate" - use the top line to select MIDI events, then use the bottom line to modify those events.
"Select only" - use the top line to select MIDI events only
"Operate only" - use the bottom line to process any MIDI events already selected

In part two we crack on by looking at the "Select by Conditions" top line parameters in more detail, and examples of setting up various selections. Until next time!


At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW!! a very good boy yet again! tanx!

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Bee Jay said...

You're welcome!

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just stunning. thanks so very much.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good help to us ! Many thanks....but it's possible to
see all tips You have made ?
I can just read the latest.....maybe somewhere a page including all posts ?

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Bee Jay said...

Not really, it's a blog, not a stand alone website, and the default facilities of Blogger are fairly small. Just work backwards or hit the "Archives" link on the right...

See also the "Previous Posts" links on the right.

At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many thanks.....Archive....yes...sorry...


Post a Comment

<< Home