I’ve been working on a couple of tracks in FL Studio’s Performance Mode with automation to add some interest and variation to my patterns. I like to automate some parameters for both audio snippets and midi files and there are two ways to do this, which are a matter of preference:
1. Create a separate automation clip that you can activate by triggering in performance mode; or
2. Having the automation data within the midi pattern/audio file.
Recording Your Automation
The method I prefer using is to record in Pattern Mode, with wait and countdown in the Start Option. Depending on the control I’m using, sometimes I’ll set the Quantization snap, but usually the fine control of automation is better with Quantization off. The loop record is something that you can turn on or off. If it is off in pattern mode it will continue to record automation data beyond the last bar containing note data. If the loop record is on, then the recording will only take place over the region containing note data already. If no note data exists, the default length is only one bar if loop record is on.
When you are done recording your automation, the automation will appear as an event in the piano roll (notice that the Quantization on at 1/4 beat created a jagged envelope with a point every 1/4 beat where there was a change in the value). To view the automation in the piano roll select the drop down menu at the top (which is default at “velocity”) and select the automation data (usually under “Pattern controls”).
Setting Up Your Automation Data
You can create Automation Clips from the automation (Event) that is internal to your pattern clip or audio clip while in Performance Mode.
Once you hit “Turn into automation clip” the following windows appear and the automation clip is on top of the original clip:
However, once you turn the controller event that is internal to the pattern into an automation clip there is not a way of reinserting the data back into the pattern, unless you record the automation again or attempt to re-plot the points manually. My rule of thumb is that I typically keep the automation internal as an event, unless I am going to have the automation controlling more than one plug-in, especially in performance mode, where several automation clips will quickly eat up your slots on your MIDI Controller (e.g., Launchpad, APC40) if you don’t like to scroll through clips on your controller.
Grouping Automation Clip Tracks with Pattern Clip/Audio Tracks
If you choose to go with separate automation clips, then you can group them with other automation clips or patterns. You can do this by placing the automation clip track right below the pattern/audio clip track that the automation clip modifies, and then either left clicking (if you are in pencil mode) and bringing up the menu option “Group with above track”, or dragging the track size in the left column up until the automation clip track is indented underneath the pattern/audio clip track. However, grouping does not mean that the automation clip (i.e., the Child clip) will play automatically when the audio/pattern clip (i.e., the Parent clip) is launched. The Child clip track(s) still need to be launched independently of the Parent or through launching scenes.