Nudging Regions

When it comes to fine tuning the placement of audio and MIDI regions in Pro Tools use the Nudge feature. In this quick tutorial you’ll learn how to set a specific Nudge value and move regions around using the Plus and Minus keys on the numeric keypad.

Pro Tools Nudge Feature

What is Nudging?

Nudging is a feature in Pro Tools that helps you move audio or MIDI regions around in your session.

When You Would Use Nudging

For musicians and producers this is a great tool to use when you want to play with the feel of a certain part. Maybe to make a drum part feel more laid back by nudging the hihat forward (“late”) by a few ticks.

For post production engineers nudging is a quick and easy way to line up audio to picture by nudging using frame and subframe increments.

Nudge Value Options

The Nudge feature lets you set the value of the increments that you use when nudging a region backward or forward in the timeline.

You can set your nudge values using any Pro Tools timebase: musical note values, samples, minutes and seconds, or feet and frames 1.

Say you’ve set a Nudge Value of 1/16th note. Then you just select a region and then tap the Plus key once, you’ll have moved that region forward by one sixteenth note. Simple, eh?

Tutorial

Three Steps to Using Nudge

  1. You set a Nudge Value
  2. You select a region.
  3. You press the Plus and Minus keys on the numeric keypad to nudge a region back or forth in the session by the nudge value.

Set the Nudge Value

The first thing you need to do when you want to start nudging regions is to set a Nudge Value. This will determine the value of each nudge increment.

  1. Click on the Nudge Value Menu (the little disclosure triangle)
  2. Select a Timebase from the bottom portion of the drop down menu
  3. Click on the Nudge Value Menu again and select the Nudge Value
Figure 1: The Nudge Value menu is located in the Toolbar to the right of the Main Counter and just below the Grid Value menu.

Figure 1: The Nudge Value menu is located in the Toolbar to the right of the Main Counter and just below the Grid Value menu.

In Figure 1 (above) the Nudge Value Timebase is set to Bars | Beats. So it reveals a drop-down menu of Bar | Beat values, shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Nudge Value drop-down menu showing Bar | Beat values.

Figure 2: Nudge Value drop-down menu showing Bar | Beat values.

If you select a different timebase, for example Min:Secs, the drop down menu will display values accordingly.

Figure 3: Select the Timebase you want to work with. In this case Min:Secs is being selected.

Figure 3: Select the Timebase you want to work with. In this case Min:Secs is being selected.

Figure 4: The Nudge Values will update to show values in Milliseconds and Seconds. (Or Samples, Bars | Beats, etc. depending on the timebase you select).

Figure 4: The Nudge Values will update to show values in Milliseconds and Seconds. (Or Samples, Bars | Beats, etc. depending on the timebase you select).

Select a Region

You can use any selection method you want to select an entire region. Clicking once on a region with the Grabber tool is the quickest and easiest way to do it. Or you could double-click with the Selector Tool on the region.

Figure 5: Select a Region to Nudge. In this image the Grabber Tool is being used to click on and select the region.

Figure 5: Select a Region to Nudge. In this image the Grabber Tools is being used to click on and select the region.

Nudge the Region

Press the Plus or Minus key to nudge the region.

Figure 6: This is the region from Figure 5 after pressing the Plus key two times with the nudge value set to 1 Second.

Figure 6: This is the region from Fiigure 5 after pressing + two times with the nudge value set to 1 Second.

Nudging without a Numeric Keypad

If you’re on a laptop or any other computer that is missing a numeric keypad don’t worry. You can still access the Nudge Feature.

Press Start+Period (.) (Windows) or Control+Period (.) (Mac) to nudge the region forward.
Press Start+Comma (,) (Windows) or Control+Comma (,) (Mac) to nudge region back by the Nudge value.

  1. Feet and Frames timebase is available in Pro Tools HD or the DV Toolkit Option for LE

Comments

  1. Nice, faster then using the shift feature some times!!

  2. Don Stewart says:

    A very large THANK YOU! You’ve once again made life a bit easier with your tutorials.

    Don

  3. Joe Statler says:

    Had to use laptop shortcut but still doesn’t work. The grey stuff above the edit window moves like a champ but the selected region sits still. Am I missing something?

  4. Stefan Schpace says:

    Select the region with your Grabber Tool. Then activate the “a-z” (Command Focus) Mode. Now you can move the region only with “.” and “,” . (Tip: “n” and “m” doubles the nudge length).

    Cheers

  5. Damn, you’re a great tutor. I’ve learned in every one of your tutorials. You give meaning of everything and its just awesome! Thanks