Using the Pro Tools First Smart Tool is a great way to streamline the way you edit your sessions. That’s because the Pro Tools First Smart Tool enables the use of all of Pro Tools First’s edit tools simultaneously. Pro Tools First’s edit tools consist of the grab tool, the select tool and the trim tool. Enabling the Pro Tools First Smart Tool gives you access to all three at once. This means that it’s not necessary to switch between different tools for different parts of your editing. Instead, you can use just one tool which has a very intrinsic way of working which allows you to perform different types of edits very naturally using just one tool.
To get to grips with the Pro Tools First Smart Tool feature, let’s first go over the Pro Tools First edit tools individually.
Pro Tools First Edit Tools:
In the Pro Tools First edit window, you’ll find the edit tools:
By enabling different edit tools, you’ll be able to perform different actions on the regions in your session.
The Trim Tool:
To enable the trim tool, click the first edit tool icon:
With the trim tool enabled, hovering over the beginning or end of a region allows you to drag it forwards or backwards. This allows you to trim part of the region so that it is no longer visible or audible. Or alternatively, you can use it to reveal more of the region than is currently visible and audible.
The Select Tool:
The second icon enables the select tool:
The select tool allows you to highlight an area of a region, which can then be deleted, copied, duplicated etc. This is really useful if you want to select only part of a region, but not all of it.
The Grab Tool:
The third Pro Tools First edit tool is the grab tool:
The grab tool allows you to grab hold of whole regions to move them, duplicate them, clear them etc.
Each of these offer a vital function for editing your regions in Pro Tools First. But during an editing session, the process of having to switch between the different tools can become time consuming. This is where the Pro Tools First Smart Tool comes in. Because with the Pro Tools First Smart Tool, all three edit tools are enabled at once. Let me explain how…
How to use the Pro Tools First Smart Tool:
By enabling the Pro Tools First Smart Tool, the trim, select and grab tools are enabled simultaneously. Which one of them is active at any particular moment is dependent upon where the cursor is placed over a region. So with the Pro Tools First Smart Tool enabled, you simply place your cursor in a specific part of a region and the tool you need will become active.
To enable the Pro Tools First Smart Tool, simply click in the border which surrounds the three edit tools:
This will cause the edit tool icons and the border itself to turn blue, signifying that the smart tool is active. So now, with the Pro Tools First Smart Tool enabled, each of the three edit tools can be used by placing the cursor in the following parts of the regions:
How to select using the Pro Tools First Smart Tool:
By placing your cursor between the middle and top of a region, the select tool will become active. This allows you to select part of the region.
How to grab using the Pro Tools First Smart Tool:
By placing the cursor in the lower portion of the region, the grab tool becomes active. This enables entire regions to be grabbed.
How to trim using the Pro Tools First Smart Tool:
By placing the cursor at the beginning or end of a region between the center and bottom, the trim tool becomes active. This means that you can trim your regions by dragging them backwards or forwards.
So now, with the Pro Tools First Smart Tool enabled, you simply place your cursor in the relevant part of the region to perform the edit that you want to make. This provides a very natural way of working and enables you to really streamline your editing process… But that’s not all, there’s another feature that is of great benefit when using the Pro Tools First Smart Tool.
How to fade using the Pro Tools First Smart Tool:
By placing the cursor at the beginning or end of a region in the upper portion, a fade tool becomes active. This means that by dragging inwards into the region, a ‘fade out’ is created. Or by dragging inwards from the beginning of a region, a ‘fade in’ is created.
Then, with the fade in place, placing the cursor at the beginning of the fade allows you to drag the fade itself forwards or backwards to make it longer or shorter. Also, where ever you have two regions which are butted up against each other, placing the cursor at the point at which the two regions join in the lower half of the region allows you to click and drag to create a cross fade between the two.
So using the Pro Tools First Smart Tool, you have the ability to grab, trim, select and create fades for regions, all using just one tool. This feature really speeds up your workflow during editing! Is this a feature that you think could come in handy in your sessions? I’d love to know if you think that this is a feature that would be useful to you when you edit your recordings. Leave me a comment below.