How do I draw in the automation tracks?

Hello, I’m using Ardour 2.0.5 on Ubuntu Studio. I’ve used ProTools and Cubase many times before, but I just started Ardour and know basically nothing, so please be patient with my boneheaded question:

I started a project and imported an audio file to a track. Now, looking at the canvas, I see that I can use the “draw gain automation” tool right on the track, and also I can click the little “a” button to get fader and pan automation tracks to display below it. Now how do I draw on those? I see here that I should be able to draw directly on those tracks, but I’m not sure where to find the tool to do that. Can anyone explain that to me? Thanks so much!

You have to create some automation first, by switching the automation to ‘write’ mode just like in protools on the button that says ‘manual’ which appears on the right when you tell it to show automation. Press play from where you want to start automation and you will see the line begin to be drawn. Move the fader or pan and you will see the line change. Afterwards you can then use the same gain automation tool to move the edit points up and down, shift and right click to remove edit points. Make sure to switch automation to ‘play’ mode before you go back to play or you will write over everything you redid. That’s it!


I have never had to write automation first…hmmm…I’m not at home right now, but I think I just choose ‘write’, and the double click on the automation lane (or whatever it’s called in ardour) to create a point…If I think of it later when I get home, I’ll double check that…

Actually, the more I think of it, I may do it in ‘manual’ mode, not ‘write’, but I’m not 100% sure, so I won’t edit the original text…

OK, so I tested this, and it seems that it doesn’t matter which mode that you have it in (write, manual, play), all you need to do is click in the automation lane and a point will be created. One thing that is a bit confusing (at least to me!) is that you can’t click on the automation line to create a new point, it has to be off the line (by line, I mean the line that you draw in with the automation)…I hope this helps.

Ah, I tested that out and I couldn’t create a new point…so I assumed it had to be written first…but my problem was I was clicking on the line…strange little ‘feature’ =)

Ah, I tested that out and I couldn’t create a new point…so I assumed it had to be written first…but my problem was I was clicking on the line…strange little ‘feature’ =)

you seem to be confusing “track automation” and “region automation”.

“Region automation” can be done as follows :

  • right click on a region
  • make the ‘envelop’ visible’ and ‘active’ (active is by default)
  • use now the upper toolbar of the main editor window to enter the ‘automation drawing mode’
  • change the region envelop as desired (add points, drag up or down the whole curve, whatever)

The cool thing about region automation is that the automation curve will follow the region as you drag it along the timeline AND the volume level will be offset when playing with the track post-fader. Therefore, you keep the region gain curve relatively to the track volume level.

“Track automation” is different : points are fixed in time and affect the track, not the region. You don’t need to be in the ‘drawing automation’ mode, just the normal editing mode (little hand icon in the upper toolbar of the main editor window).

click on ‘a’ (among track buttons), select pan or fader to display the automation track, stay in ‘manual’, draw your points, then change to ‘play’ to activate the track automation. If you’re happy, you can ‘write’ it. While you’re in ‘play’ mode, you can modify the points (move them, remove them, etc) as the transport rolls on :slight_smile: