With the new Sketch window and app, Pro Tools enters the world of clip launching.
At the end of August, Avid gave us a sneak peek at Pro Tools Sketch, a feature slated for inclusion in the (at the time of writing) upcoming Pro Tools 2023.9 software, scheduled for September. Pro Tools Sketch is a non‑linear creation tool similar to Ableton Live and Bitwig, or the Live Loops feature in Logic Pro. It adds a whole new window to the Pro Tools UI, which isn’t something that happens often. We get additions to the Mix and Edit windows regularly, most recently the tabbed Melodyne ARA view, but the last completely new window I can think of was the MIDI Editor, introduced all the way back in Pro Tools 8.
However, Sketch is more than just a window. It’s also an iPad app, which will eventually support the iPhone and Android platforms too. While the free Avid Control app has been available for some time, that only allows control of mix parameters in Pro Tools, not manipulation of audio and MIDI itself. By contrast, the Sketch app allows musical ideas to be worked on in, and transferred between, an iPad and a computer running Pro Tools.
...the Sketch app allows musical ideas to be worked on in, and transferred between, an iPad and a computer running Pro Tools.
Pro Tools Sketch is featured in all Pro Tools versions, including the free Pro Tools Intro. The working method will be familiar to anyone who has used similar features elsewhere. A grid of cells can be populated with audio or MIDI clips. A library of content is provided, and clips can be previewed in sync with the Sketch from the library before being dragged to one of the cells in the Sketch grid.
Any individual cell can be triggered from any of up to 16 tracks, and playback loops in sync with the Sketch. Horizontal rows of the grid can be triggered as Scenes, which can be sequenced into an arrangement by dragging them to the Arrangement lane at the top of the window.