Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
akm
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Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by akm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:12 am

I don't really use it that much for my needs, but it surprise me why it was designed to make any automation records "stepped" instead of "sloped", which seems more natural to me?

andresnol
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by andresnol » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:09 am

try holding down shift while drawing or better yet, just use lines and hold down "option" (alt on win?) while dragging the line to make the curve.

fishmonkey
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by fishmonkey » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:28 am

badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

Stromkraft
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:29 am

andresnol wrote:try holding down shift while drawing or better yet, just use lines and hold down "option" (alt on win?) while dragging the line to make the curve.
That's automation entering, not automation recording which akm asks about.
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Stromkraft
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:33 am

akm wrote:I don't really use it that much for my needs, but it surprise me why it was designed to make any automation records "stepped" instead of "sloped", which seems more natural to me?
The reason is likely because at any given point the controller is sending discrete stepped values as resolution is limited, so Live is just being honest here I think.

It could certainly be useful with a function that could interpret the automation and convert it to curves but the question is if this would actually change sound in a meaningful way. I've done that manually sometimes but I haven't analysed the MIDI stream.

As Fishmonkey's link tells us you can get fewer or more steps to play with — Hardly curved automation though — which if more could affect performance at some point.
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akm
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by akm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:31 pm

Stromkraft wrote: The reason is likely because at any given point the controller is sending discrete stepped values as resolution is limited, so Live is just being honest here I think.
As far as I know a midi controller sends only one new value at a time, without repeating the previous one, so naturally in must be "sloped".

Actually I consider it as a serious bug/flaw by design. Although I don't tend to use the automation recording much in my workflow, when I do use it I always end heavily re-editing it removing the "steps".
fishmonkey wrote: maybe you are talking about this?

http://hobo-tech.com/technologies/livet ... -thinning/
Thinning control was not the actual point of this thread but what amazed me is that on a pictures in your link both examples have that exact "sloped" automation. So, how can it be? Different versions, different parameters? I just experiment yesterday with a main mixer volume controls - stepped. Will do some more research and post here if I find something.

akm
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by akm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:41 pm

akm wrote: Actually I consider it as a serious bug/flaw by design. Although I don't tend to use the automation recording much in my workflow, when I do use it I always end heavily re-editing it removing the "steps"
I guess I can understand why it was made this way. Say you stop moving your fader at some point while recording, and then somehow send the new value very ubrubtly - in this case you still want the automation to stay flat, without making the slope.

akm
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by akm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:35 pm

fishmonkey wrote:maybe you are talking about this?

http://hobo-tech.com/technologies/livet ... -thinning/
Surprisingly yes, setting it to somewhat else then 0 make it "sloped" for some fast changes.

ADDED: it said that the default Live value is .45 but as far as I can see the default is 0.

Stromkraft
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:24 pm

akm wrote: As far as I know a midi controller sends only one new value at a time, without repeating the previous one, so naturally in must be "sloped".
That would be why there are steps. If you leave off at "15" then the controller is at "15" until there's a new value. There's no movement in expectation of new values.

I suppose Live could make a curve between fewer values, but what is recorded are discrete steps happening at different times. Even if a curve was created by the data how should it look?

Update:
Actually, with aggressive thinning there are straight paths to the next recorded dot according to the resolution and all data in between is erased. So the lower the value the more detail there is in the automation graph.

A thinned automation is simpler to quickly turn to single-line curved automation. With curved automation it may be easier to see your intent but the data sent to the instrument is still bound to the resolution of the automation protocol and the response resolution of the instrument, so parts of the curve may be meaningless as it's never affecting anything.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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akm
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by akm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:57 pm

:thumb:

Stromkraft
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:22 pm

Stromkraft wrote: I suppose Live could make a curve between fewer values, but what is recorded are discrete steps happening at different times. Even if a curve was created by the data how should it look?
Actually, that's obvious coming to think of it. It should curve the automation data according to the curve of the dense recorded data points before thinning.

What do think about this idea? Anyone knows of this has been requested in the past?
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akm
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by akm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:25 pm

Stromkraft wrote:
Stromkraft wrote: I suppose Live could make a curve between fewer values, but what is recorded are discrete steps happening at different times. Even if a curve was created by the data how should it look?
Actually, that's obvious coming to think of it. It should curve the automation data according to the curve of the dense recorded data points before thinning.

What do think about this idea? Anyone knows of this has been requested in the past?
It is actually what -ThinningAggressiveness does. It leave it stepped if the density of events is low and make a slope if it is high.

Stromkraft
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:40 pm

akm wrote:
It is actually what -ThinningAggressiveness does. It leave it stepped if the density of events is low and make a slope if it is high.
That's not what I mean. I'm talking about curved automation data. Not a straight line until the next data point. Like this (Zoom into that and you'll see there are only 8 data points unlike densely recorded automation with no thinning):

Image

Not like this:

Image
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akm
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by akm » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:54 pm

Ok, I see. It leaves too much space for the software to guess or more preferences-settings, which Ableton try to avoid as much as possible. Now I think that it is really the best way to use this sort of automation as it is now (plus thinning settings) and to later correct it manually (especially using the Shift+Drag option).

Stromkraft
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Re: Why automation recording is "stepped"?

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:00 pm

akm wrote:Ok, I see. It leaves too much space for the software to guess or more preferences-settings, which Ableton try to avoid as much as possible. Now I think that it is really the best way to use this sort of automation as it is now (plus thinning settings) and to later correct it manually (especially using the Shift+Drag option).
No, I disagree. There is no guessing involved. The recorded data is as dense as it is and a curved representation would simply follow the data point curve as closely as possible in a one-off conversion into curved automation. Then you could edit if you want to.

Musically, this may make no difference for the effect heard. It might also mean even more dense automation data being processed, as I said before. That might be the reason this is not working like this already.

So we have now switched positions?
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