When it comes to organizing complex (and even simple) arrangements in Logic, folders can make your life a lot easier. If you've ever found yourself scrolling and zooming around to find "that" track and feeling like your project is a tangled mess, then folders can potentially save you time and help keep you sane. And let's face it, the last thing anyone wants when creating their next master piece is to spend precious seconds doing anything but creating music!
When recording audio into Logic you'll undoubtedly have become familiar with Take Folders, in which you can store different takes recorded on one track and select and/or comp them to create your ideal performance. Regular folders are different, however, as they allow you to pack multiple tracks (and the regions on those tracks) safely within a Folder track, thus saving you screen real estate by displaying a single track instead of the one's you just packed. This equals a cleaner, less cluttered Arrange area. Genius.
In his latest tutorial for macProVideo.com, David Earl (aka. sflogicninja on YouTube) digs deeper and reveals his production workflows with folders and how to use them effectively to save time and space. But he goes beyond the call of duty in this title by taking you through some arrangement and re-mixing techniques that simply aren't easy to achieve without the use of folders. It's literally packed with tips... Pun intended!
Let's take a look at the basics of working with folders:
Step 1 - Selecting the Regions
Select all the regions on the tracks you wish to pack into a new folder. You can either drag a selection box around the regions or Shift-Click the track header to select all regions on that track.
In this example I've chosen to pack the Drums, Shaker and Bass tracks into a Folder. Notice how I have the top most of those track headers selected (Drums).
Step 2 - Pack It In
Next, Choose Region > Folder > Pack Folder
Check out these useful shortcuts for packing/unpacking folders in the Key Commands window:
- Pack Folder
- Unpack Folder to New Tracks
- Unpack Folder to Existing Tracks
Step 3 - Renaming Folder Tracks
You should see that all the regions from the other tracks disappear from view and a new Track called "Folder" is placed above the track you had selected. The folder track contains a new region with a Folder icon in its top left corner.
Double-click on the Folder track header name to rename the Folder track. I like to name folder tracks so I know what material I'll find inside. e.g. "Drums NLG".
(To create the NLG symbol, hold down Option and hit "f" on your keyboard).
Step 4 - Rid of Me
Unfortunately, the original 3 track headers we packed are still displayed in the Arrange area. We don't actually need these to be displayed as they are now inside the folder's mini-Arrange area. (More on that later).
To remove these tracks you can either select the track header and hit the Delete key or choose: Track > Delete Unused from the Arrange area's local menu.
Again, don't be concerned - your tracks are safe!
Step 5 - In and Out of Folders
It's fun and useful to be able to enter a folder track to see its contents.
Double-Click on the Folder region in the Arrange area and only the 3 tracks, with all regions intact, will be displayed in the Arrange area. The Mixer window (set to "Arrange" view mode) will also update to show just the tracks in the Arrange too - which is a useful way to sub-mix without any extra distractions.
So, how do we return to the 'main' Arrange area? Either Double-click on an empty area of the Arrange background or click on the "Leave Folder" button above the track header list of the Arrange.
We've just scratched the very, very basics of folders in Logic. You can pack folders within folders, record within a folder, mute and solo and edit regions within a folder, cut and paste sections of folders, rearrange them, loop them, create alternate remixes and arrangements... and of course you can unpack a folder to restore your Arrange window to its original state!
If you'd like to delve deeper, I'd highly recommend joining David Earl as he guides you through all the essential folder-based production tips and tricks you'll need to know in Logic 407 : Producing With Folders. Enjoy!