Week 7 - Spring 2006


  • DVD Presentations
  • Motion (continued)
  • In-class Motion exercises


Be very clear as to what you are making and what purpose it should serve. If your graphic is a promo for an upcoming show, you need to let viewers know what it is, why they should watch and when it is on. Conveying this information is what it is all about.

Putting the name, purpose & objective on your critique is important.

Basic Compositing & Animation

Compositing is the process of combining multiple media elements into a unified whole.

A standard method of animation uses keyframes to determine an object's parameters over time. You set the keyframes and the software figures out the "tweens"- all the stuff that happens inbetween your keyframes. It takes at least two keyframes to animate an element. For instance if you wanted an element to fade up over a one-second interval you would animate the "opacity" parameter. For the first keyframe you'd set opacity at 0. Then you could travel forward in the timeline 1 second and set another opacity keyframe at 100.

Motion (continued)

Motion Interface

  • Utility window (on left) gives you access to files and the inspector. This is where you can browse files and modify behaviors, filters, and effects. It also give you access to the library, where you can find preset content, and effects.
  • Project pane (F5) displays your media and layers. This is where you can re-order elements and group objects and layers.
  • Canvas - This is the main work area where you see your composition.
  • Timing Pane - Here you can find the Timeline, Keyframe Editor, and AUdio Editor.
  • Toolbar - At the top of the Canvas Window you'll find the Toolbar and buttons that allow you to add behaviors, filters and particles. In addition you can toggle the Dashboard, the Library, the Inspector, Projeect Pane and Timing Pane on and off. Note the following tools:
    • Select
    • Zoom (Apple + and Apple -)
    • Rectangle (R)
    • Shape
    • Text (T)
    • Mask
  • Transport Controls - Most controls are fairly straightforward (pressing spacebar stops and starts your animation) but the Record Button (A) requires some explanation. It doesn't "record" to a tape, but turns on automatic keyframing. This means once you set a single keyframe and move anywhere else in the timeline and adjust the property again, a new keyframe will be created. The Record Button also lets you create a motion sketch animation path by dragging an object in the canvas.

Project Properties (under the edit menu) - This allows you to setup the dimensions of your project, the timing, background color, etc.

Good Motion Shortcuts:

  • F5 - Show Project Pane / layers & used media
  • F6 - Show timing
  • F7 - Toggle dashboard on and off
  • F8 - Full screen mode
  • C - Circle tool
  • R - Rectangle tool
  • T - Text tool
  • B - Bezier tool


  • Setting up a new project (Where will you save your files?)
  • importing Photoshop documents (Don't use the Project Pane - Use Apple - I)
  • Turning layers on and off
  • Blend modes (Similar to Photoshop's)

Useful Tidbits:


  • Can change background color (Black is good though)
  • Good to change Project time display from frames to timecode
  • If you want to perform pan and scans over photos, go to "Large Stills" and uncheck "scale to canvas size"


  • Know how to make a new layer
  • Know how to nest & group layers
  • Know how to hide/reveal layers


  • Moving around:
    • Just like Avid or Final Cut Pro, you can type + followed by ("x" # of frames) then enter to jump forward "x" of frames.
    • Or you can press - ("x" # of frames) then enter to jump backward.
  • Set "work area" a.k.a. range by pressing Apple + Option + i to set the in. Press Apple + Option + o to set the out point
  • Timeline that's green means it's ready to play in real-time
  • RAM preview - To play range press Apple - R

Keyboard shortcuts

' (single quote) - toggle safe zone on and off
A - turns recording on and off

  • Text - text tool
  • Fading to black
  • Nesting comps & Pre-composing
  • Setting a work area
  • Rendering out work area or length of comp
  • Making small, half-sized movies

Audio in Motion

Like After Effects, Motion is not ideally suited for manipulating sound. You should edit your audio in a different application- then import the finished track into Motion.

Also, Motion, After Effects, and FCP do not work very well with compressed audio (eg. MP3s). It is suggested that you make sure all of your audio is in PCM (digital audio) format.

Note: There's a bug in the way Motion (v2.0) handles audio. Keyframes created in the audio layer that can be seen and heard often won't output to the finished movie when rendered. Converting all audio files into the same sample rate *before* importing into Motion seems to help.

Before importing your audio, remember to copy it into your local media folder.

In order to see you audio in Motion's timeline, you need to check the "Show/Hide Audio" button in the bottom left-hand corner of the window.



You can use simple masks to isolate parts of a layer. These can be feathered and animated over time in interesting ways. They are particularly useful for cutting up existing layers (such as those created in Photoshop) so you can animate the elements separately.

You can access masks through the toolbar.

Masks are useful for quick & dirty “text builds.”


  • Animate a TV graphic (demo reel opening, promo, station ID, title etc.) Please make something new - or try a totally different approach to an earlier work.
  • Incorporate at least one animated text element from Motion.
  • Incorporate at least one animated effect from Motion.
  • Incorporate some video
  • Incorporate some audio
  • Render out a 320 x 240 version in a codec that can be viewed on an iPod. IPods support:
    • H.264 video
      • File formats: .m4v, .mp4 and .mov
      • Video: Up to 768 Kbps
      • Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps
    • MPEG-4 video
      • File formats: .m4v, .mp4 and .mov
      • Video: Up to 2.5 Mbps
      • Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps
  • Be sure to fill out a T454 critique form and turn it in with your animation.


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Last Updated: August 24, 2005