Introduction to MIDI and Computer Music: Reason: Automating Instrument and Effect Parameters
Automation is the process of changing parameter values — filter cutoffs, LFO frequencies, delay times — during the course of a sequence. The changes can be instantaneous, gradual, or somewhere in between.
In a sequencer, there are two ways to automate a parameter: recording and drawing. In Reason, the process is the same, regardless of whether you’re automating a parameter in an Instrument or an Effect.
To quickly create automation data, it is sometimes easiest to record your knob-turning or slider-dragging action in real time. You can fine-tune this data later. This is a good way of doing it, because you can try out your moves while playing the sequence to hear the effect of the changes before recording them.
The steps below show how to automate a slider in the SubTractor instrument, but the procedure is the same for any control (knob or slider) in any of the Instrument or Effect devices.
This creates, in the SubTractor sequencer track, a lane for the Filter Freq parameter, shown in the image below.
When recording automation, be sure to select the track for the appropriate device, so that your automation changes will go into that track.
Notice that the automation lane has an M button (circled in red below). You can use this to mute automation playback temporarily. If you click the M button so that it turns red and white, the automation will not play back. Every track has a Record Enable Parameter Automation button (circled in blue below). This must be on (red) before you can record automation into the track.
If you simply want to draw some data without recording it, you can do that in the Sequencer.
Remember that holding down the command key lets you switch quickly between the arrow and pencil tools.
Here are some tips for editing automation data in the Sequencer.