Working with Envelopes

In the Timeline, each track, bus, and submix has a set of envelopes. The envelopes appear as horizontal lines stretching across the length of the project directly below the track, bus, or submix. You adjust an envelope by adding envelope points and moving the envelope points to new values at different points in the Timeline.

For video editors accustomed to working in Final Cut Pro, envelopes provide the same type of functionality as keyframes. The difference is that you can edit envelopes at a finer level of precision than you can using keyframes, allowing extremely powerful control over automated changes.

Track, Bus, and Submix Envelopes

Each track and bus has envelopes for volume and pan, and each submix has a volume envelope. By default, the envelopes are hidden. When you show the envelopes, they appear in rows below the track, bus, or submix in the Timeline.

Figure. Track displaying volume envelope and pan envelope.

When you add effects to a track, bus, or submix, you can automate the effect parameters by adding an envelope for any parameter to the envelopes for the track, bus, or submix. The envelopes are different for each type of effect. For information on adjusting effect parameters, see Working with Audio Effects.

To show the envelopes for a track, bus, or submix
  • Click the envelope disclosure triangle in the track header.

    Click the disclosure triangle again to hide the envelopes.

Default Stereo Envelopes

The default envelopes for tracks using stereo panners are Volume and Pan. The ranges of Volume and Pan envelopes are equivalent to the ranges of the corresponding track controls:

  • Volume envelopes: The range is from –96 dB to +6 dB.
  • Track pan envelope: The range is from 100% Left to 100% Right pan, with Centered at the midpoint, 0 (zero).

Default Surround Envelopes

The default envelopes for tracks using surround panners are as follows:

  • Volume

  • Surround Pan X

  • Surround Pan Y

  • Rotation

  • Width

  • Collapse

  • Center Bias

  • LFE

  • Left Speaker Disable

  • Center Speaker Disable

  • Right Speaker Disable

  • Left Surround Speaker Disable

  • Right Surround Speaker Disable

For a complete description of each of these surround parameters, see The Surround Panner HUD.

Figure. Track displaying default surround envelopes.

Adding Envelope Points

You create changes to an envelope by adding envelope points to the envelope, and moving them to different values.

To add an envelope point to an envelope
  • Double-click the envelope at the position where you want to add the envelope point.

    You may want to zoom in to work more precisely.

    Figure. Track displaying envelope and envelope point.

When you add envelope points, they snap to the closest Snap To position if snapping is turned on. For information on setting the Snap To value, see Using Snapping.

Selecting Envelope Points

You can select a single envelope point or a group of adjacent or nonadjacent envelope points.

To select an envelope point
  • Click the envelope point.

To select multiple envelope points
Do one of the following:
  • If the envelope points are adjacent, Shift-click the first envelope point, then the last envelope point you want to select.

    All envelope points in between are also selected.

  • Command-click each envelope point you want to select. You can select adjacent or nonadjacent envelope points by Command-clicking.

  • Drag from an area in the automation row before the first envelope point you want to select to an area after the last envelope point you want to select.

    Figure. Track displaying selected envelope points.
To deselect a selected envelope point
Do one of the following:
  • Command-click the selected envelope point.

  • Click in the automation row or somewhere else in the Timeline to deselect all selected envelope points.

Moving Envelope Points

Once you add an envelope point, you can drag it up or down to change its value. As you drag an envelope point up or down, its value appears to the right of the pointer. You can drag an envelope point left or right to change its position in time. You can also select and move multiple envelope points at the same time.

When you move an envelope point, the position of the envelope point snaps to the closest Snap To position if snapping is turned on. For information on setting the Snap To value, see Using Snapping.

To move an envelope point
  • Select the envelope point, then drag it to a new position.

To move an envelope point adjacent to another envelope point
  1. Select the envelope point.

  2. Hold down the Shift key and drag the envelope point to a position near another envelope point.

Each envelope has an envelope point, at the beginning of the Timeline. You can make adjustments by moving this envelope point up or down. If no envelope points have been added, dragging the envelope’s handle adjusts the envelope for the entire project.

If you add more than one envelope point to an envelope, you can move envelope points using the corresponding slider. When you move the slider, the envelope points closest to the playhead (the closest before and the closest after) move by the same amount as the slider.

Selecting and Moving Envelope Points with Clips

By default, when you select or move a clip in the Timeline, the associated envelope points are not selected, and they do not move with the clip. You can set Soundtrack Pro to do the opposite: to select associated envelope points when you select a clip. In this case, if you move the clip, the envelope points move with it.

To select and move clips and envelope points together
  • Click the Select Envelope Points With Clips button at the top of the Timeline.

To select and move clips and envelope points independently of each other
  • Click the Select Only Clips button at the top of the Timeline.

    Figure. Select Only Clips button selected and Select Envelope Points with Clips button.

Note: If you have the Select Envelope Points With Clips mode turned on, and you overlap a clip with envelope points on another clip with envelope points to create a crossfade, the moved clip’s envelope points will overwrite the static clip’s envelope points.

The Timeslice Tool and the Envelope Selection Mode

If Soundtrack Pro is in Select Envelope Points With Clips mode, any Timeslice selection rectangle includes all envelope rows within the selection.

Figure. Track and envelope points selection with Soundtrack Pro in Select Envelope Points With Clips mode.

If Soundtrack Pro is in the Select Only Clips mode, no envelope rows are included in the Timeslice selection.

Figure. Track and envelope points selection with Soundtrack Pro in Select Clips Only mode.

Note: If you change the envelope mode after you have already drawn the Timeslice marquee, the Timeslice will change to match the current setting.

For more information about the Timeslice tool, see Cutting, Copying, Pasting, and Removing Audio Clips.

Viewing and Editing Envelope Point Details

You can also view and edit the value, position, and other details for an envelope point in the Details tab.

To view envelope point details
  1. Click the Details tab.

  2. Select the envelope point for which you want to view details.

The details for the envelope point appear in the Details tab, including its value and position. You can edit the value and position in the Details tab, change the format for the position, and copy the value of the previous or next envelope point (if one exists).

Figure. Details tab for a selected envelope point.
To change the value of an envelope point in the Details tab
  1. With the Details tab active, select the envelope point.

  2. In the Details tab, do one of the following:

    • Click the left arrow in the Value value slider to decrease the value, or click the right arrow to increase the value.

    • Click the center of the value slider, then drag the slider that appears left or right to change the value.

    • Click the text in the value slider to select it, then type a new value.

To change the position of an envelope point in the Details tab
  1. With the Details tab active, select the envelope point.

  2. In the Details tab, do one of the following:

    • In the Position value slider, click the left arrow to move the envelope point back (toward the start of the project) or click the right arrow to move the envelope point forward (toward the end of the project).

    • Click the center of the Position value slider, then drag the slider that appears left or right to change the position.

    • Click the text in the Position value slider, then type a new value.

To change the units shown in the Position value slider
  • Choose the units you want to show from the pop-up menu next to the Position value slider.

To copy the value of the previous envelope point
  1. With the Details tab active, select the envelope point to which you want to copy the value.

  2. In the Details tab, click Copy From Previous Point.

To copy the value of the next envelope point
  1. With the Details tab active, select the envelope point to which you want to copy the value.

  2. In the Details tab, click Copy From Next Point.

Changing the Values of Envelope Points Numerically

You can also change the value of an envelope point numerically.

To change the value of an envelope point numerically
  1. Control-click the envelope point, then choose Set Value from the shortcut menu.

  2. Enter a new value for the envelope point in the dialog that appears.

The envelope point moves to the new value. You can set the envelope point to the same value as the previous or next envelope point on the envelope from the shortcut menu.

Changing the Position of Envelope Points Numerically

You can change the position of an envelope point in the Timeline numerically.

To change the position of an envelope point numerically
  1. Control-click the envelope point, then choose Set Position from the shortcut menu.

  2. In the dialog that appears, click the left or right arrow in the value slider, click the center of the value slider and drag left or right, or double-click the value slider and type a new position.

The envelope point moves to the new position.

For more information about value sliders, see About Changing Values and Timecode Entries.

Nudging Envelope Points

There are several ways in which you can nudge envelope points using the arrow keys.

To move the envelope point to the previous or next gridline
  • Hold down the Command and Option keys and press the Left Arrow or Right Arrow key.

To move the envelope point left or right by the default nudge amount
  • Hold down the Command key and press the Left Arrow or Right Arrow key.

To move the envelope point up or down by one coarse value
  • Hold down the Command key and press the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key.

To move the envelope point up or down by one fine value
  • Hold down the Command and Option keys and press the Up Arrow or Down Arrow key.

Cutting, Copying, and Pasting Envelope Points

You can cut and copy selected envelope points and paste them at a different position in the automation row.

When pasting envelope points, the following conditions apply:

  • Envelope points can only be pasted into an envelope of the same type as the envelope from which they were cut or copied. For example, envelope points from a volume envelope can only be pasted into a volume envelope, not a pan or tempo envelope.

  • Envelope points for an effect parameter can only be pasted into an envelope for exactly the same effect parameter in exactly the same type of effect. You cannot paste envelope points from one effect into another, even if they have parameters with the same name.

To cut envelope points
  • Select the envelope point, then choose Edit > Cut (or press Command-X).

To copy envelope points
  • Select the envelope points, then choose Edit > Copy (or press Command-C).

To paste envelope points
  • Set the playhead to the point where you want to paste the envelope points, then choose Edit > Paste (or press Command-V).

When you paste envelope points into an automation row, the new envelope points replace any existing envelope points, and the automation takes the shape of the cut or copied envelope in the pasted area.

Figure. Automation row with envelope points showing the result of a paste operation.

Deleting Envelope Points

After listening to the results of your edits, you may decide to delete some envelope points.

To delete envelope points
  1. Select the envelope points.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose Edit > Delete (or press Command–X).

    • Press the Delete key.

When you delete envelope points, the envelope adjusts accordingly, moving evenly from the preceding envelope point to the next envelope point. If there are no other envelope points, the envelope becomes horizontal, maintaining its initial value for the entire project.

Automating Effect and Send Parameters

You can automate effect parameters for tracks, busses, and submixes and for audio file projects by adding envelopes for the effect parameters and then adding and adjusting envelope points. You can also automate send parameters for tracks by adding an envelope for the send parameters, then adding and adjusting envelope points.

To add an envelope for an effect or send parameter
  1. Open the Effects tab and select the effect you want to automate.

  2. In the Effect Parameters area, select the Auto checkbox for the parameter.

    Figure. Effect Parameters area of the Effects tab.
To remove an envelope for an effect parameter
  • Deselect the Auto checkbox for the parameter in the Effect Parameters area of the Effects window.

    The range of values for an effect or send parameter envelope is the same as the range for the parameter in the Effects tab.

For detailed information on adjusting effect parameters, see Adjusting Realtime Effect Parameters.

Master Bus

Each project has a Master bus that includes envelopes for volume, transposition, and tempo. By default, only the Volume envelope is visible because Transposition and Tempo are specifically for projects containing only tagged and looping clips.

Figure. Master bus envelopes.
To show or hide the Master bus envelopes
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Master bus disclosure triangle in the Timeline.

  • Choose Master Envelopes from the Show pop-up menu at the upper-right corner of the Timeline.

Repeat the procedure to hide the Master bus envelopes.

To show the Transpose or Tempo envelopes
  • Choose Transpose or Tempo from the Show Envelopes pop-up menu in the Master bus track header.

The ranges of the master envelopes are as follows:

  • Master transpose envelope: Ranges from –12 semitones to +12 semitones.
  • Master tempo envelope: Ranges from 60 bpm to 200 bpm.

For more information about the Master bus, see Using the Master Bus.