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Stay organized by colorizing the tracks in Pro Tools

To help stay organized in Pro Tools, I colorize my tracks, MIDI channels, and sometimes regions. My master fader is always one color, the aux tracks are always a certain color, all the drum tracks are the same color, vocal tracks are all one color, etc. Separate colors can be assigned to audio and MIDI regions, tracks, markers, and groups. Default colors are automatically assigned to tracks, but I always override the default and set my own color scheme.[This is done on pro tools 8] First you have to go to preferences and change the color coding options. To change color coding options choose Setup > Preferences. Click the Display tab. Under Default Track Color Coding I usually select Track Type. But I have also at times selected Tracks and MIDI Channels or Groups, depending on what I was working on and which was easier for my workflow. If you want to change the colors of Regions, you will also do it here. Under Default Region Color Coding choose one of the options listed, such as Track Color, Tracks and MIDI Channels, or Groups for instance.

At the top of this area there are two other Color Coding options which I always leave selected. The first one, Always Display Marker Colors divides the Markers ruler at the top of the edit screen into different colors per section. In other words, if you have gone through the trouble to label the sections of your song Intro, V1, Chorus1, V2, Chorus2, Bridge, etc., each of those sections has it’s own color on the ruler bar. Very cool and it makes it really easy to see your different sections of the song at a quick glance. The other option which I always have selected is MIDI Note Color Shows Velocity. So for those of us who use MIDI (and I use a lot), when you pull up the velocity window underneath a MIDI track, it shows you different colors which tell you how hard (velocity) the notes were struck (played). I can tell at a quick glance if notes are too soft or too hard just by looking at them. **NOW – to change the color of the tracks – go to the mix window, at the very top or the very bottom of each track is a solid horizontal colored bar. Double click this bar and a palette window opens up. This is where you choose which color you want. Check out the drop down menu to select Tracks, Regions in Tracks, Regions in Region List (Very cool!), Groups, and Markers. Play with the Saturation and Brightness sliders and watch what they do! **See pics below Explaining all this sounds complicated, but it is really a very simple process. And in the end this will improve your workflow, and THAT my friends is what it’s all about!! Work smarter – Work better! And as always – Make it a great day!!

** The top pic shows track colors. The 2nd pic shows clip colors. Tim

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