Pro Tools | First 12 - How it Works, is the latest book in the “Graphically Enhanced Manuals (GEM)” series by Edgar Rothermich. It is the 1st manual for the free version of Pro Tools, but don't write it off if you use the full version of Pro Tools, as the book's depth and wealth of graphics and diagrams, there is a lot of resources in this book to help any Pro Tools user to get a better understanding of Pro Tools.
The Visual Approach
If you are not familiar with the Graphically Enhanced Manuals (GEM) series, there are 13 titles are available covering Logic Pro X, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro X as well as Pro Tools First.
They claim to be "a new type of manual with the visual approach". Unlike the usual manuals, which can be mainly text-based with the occasional screenshots, Edgar Rothermich creates unique diagrams and graphics in his books to help explain and reinforce the concept and functionality of the application in question, in this case Pro Tools. The adage that a picture paints a 1000 words applies here and many audio engineers will appreciate that it is often easier to understand a mixing console, for example, by following a signal flow diagram than a 100 pages of explanations outlining where the signal goes to.
In this book there are not only signal flow diagrams for Pro Tools, but also graphics that explain concepts like MIDI Real-Time Properties (which we discussed recently on podcast 238), Preset handling, the concept of the Workspace Browser, how Elastic Audio works, to name but a few. Edgar has taken a lot of time and care to explain every topic in great detail with his unique diagrams and illustrations designed to help users understand how it works.
Not Only For Beginners
The free version of Pro Tools - Pro Tools First shares a lot of the functionality from Pro Tools and Pro Tools HD, just with some restrictions and less features. That means that most of what you can learn in this book can be applied to the full versions of Pro Tools, no matter if you use Pro Tools already or plan to upgrade in the future. This style and the unique graphics that are not available in any other books we have seen, and so this book should be helpful for any user of Pro Tools and not just Pro Tools First users.
All books in the Graphically Enhanced Manuals series are available in three formats.
- PDF Files: The PDF files can be purchased directly from Edgar's website as a digital download.
- Interactive Multi-touch iBooks: These Enhanced iBooks versions have the same content as the pdf files but they include a glossary with 600+ terms (also with graphics and diagrams), that are linked throughout the content of the book for a true interactive learning experience. A free Sample Books can be downloaded from Apple’s iBooks Store to try this interactive format.
- Printed Books: The books are also available as printed books on Amazon.
Interactive Multi-Touch iBook
We just wanted to explain a little more about this format. It is the most interactive experience of the three formats, and is also known as Enhanced iBooks. It can be viewed on iPads, iPhones, and even on your Mac using the iBooks app and provides features that are not available for any other standard eBook format. Any book in this format should have a special "Made for iBooks" logo on the iBooks Store.
Not only are all the graphics in high-resolution, a highlight in this Pro Tools book is the 600+ term glossary that is fully linked throughout the entire book. You can click on a highlighted word and a popup window displays the glossary entry (plus graphics) with any related links.
Alternatively you can study Pro Tools just by going through the glossary terms in the separate glossary section.
Edgar tells us that there is no other full-size manual is available in this interactive format because it is very time consuming and labour-intensive to create. But he feels it is worth all the hard work and believes it is the best way to learn Pro Tools, with his unique style designed to make it fast, easy, and comprehensive. You can also bookmark, add notes, search for a topic or word, something that is not possible with standard books. Edgar even provides a 15 page introduction to help you understand how to get the best out of the Enhanced iBooks format.
Examples From Pro Tools First Graphically Enhanced Manual
Edgar has provided us with some example pages from the interactive multi-touch iBooks version to show his unique "visual approach" with his books and how he feels that his Graphically Enhanced Manuals make such a big difference compared to any other text-based manual.
Output Window (Sends): This is one of many examples where the book shows how the GUI (the Pro Tools interface) relates to the actual signal flow, to help you understand what each component does.
Play Selection vs. Edit Selection: The book explains in great detail the difference of those two selections, especially in the context of the new Dynamic Transport Mode.
Internal MIDI Routing: To understand the routing of MIDI signals inside Pro Tools can be challenging, especially when taking into account the fundamental differences between a MIDI Track and an Instrument Track. Edgar has worked hard to help you understand the differences by following the signal flow diagrams in the book.
Elastic Audio: The Elastic Audio feature in Pro Tools is not a magic button. The result is only as good as the care you take to setup the Event Markers and Warp Markers. Edgar has taken care with unique graphics to demonstrate how all the different components work together and how to use them appropriately.
Presets: Pro Tools uses the concept of Presets for its Plugins, but also for Fades. The difference between Settings and Presets, and what is stored where, can be confusing. Edgar spends time working through the architecture and helps you to understand what will be loaded when clicking on a Preset Button, the Compare Button or any of the Menu Commands.
Graphically Enhanced Manuals
As well as the new Pro Tools First manual there are 12 other titles currently available in the Graphically Enhanced Manuals (GEM) series, in addition to a few free books. All the links are available at Ding Dong Music.
Pro Tools First Basics
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