How to Use the Pencil in Pro Tools

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The pencil is a critical tool when editing in Pro Tools. With the pencil, you can draw in volume automation, panning automation, and even redraw waveforms. Automation makes mixing a lot more precise and will save you a great deal of time. By redrawing waveforms you can create unusual effects as well as correct minor flaws in your track.

Things You'll Need

  • Pro Tools software
  • Pro Tools hardware
  • computer
  • Create a new session in Pro Tools. Choose File -> New Session from the main menu. An empty session will appear in the Pro Tools edit window.

  • Create a new audio track. Choose File -> New Track from the main menu. A new audio track will appear in the edit window.

  • Record audio. Press record and enter some audio into your new track. You can record a vocal, guitar, anything you like.

  • Click the pencil in the tool palette.

  • Redraw a waveform using the pencil tool. You can make minor or drastic changes to the sound of your audio. This can create some very unusual effects or it can be used to remove an unwanted click or pop from a track. Simply zoom in using the zoom tool at the top of your window until your waveform becomes a single line. This is called viewing a waveform at the sample level. Drag the pencil tool at a point on the waveform to redraw its shape.

  • Enter panning automation using the pencil tool. With the pencil tool still selected, click the track view selector on your audio track. Change the view to "pan." A line will appear in the middle of your track. Drag the line up with the pencil to pan the audio to the left. Drag down to pan the audio to the right.

  • Enter volume automation using the pencil tool. With the pencil tool still selected, click the track view selector on your audio track. Change the view to "volume." A line appears in the middle of the track. Drag the pencil up to increase the volume or drag the pencil down to decrease the volume of your audio. That's it. You now know three powerful ways to utilize the pencil tool in Pro Tools!

Tips & Warnings

  • It is a good idea to create a backup copy of a track before redrawing a waveform. Redrawing will alter your audio forever. Keeping a backup copy makes it possible to go back if you should ever change your mind.

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