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Learn how to create stunning motion graphics and animations for video production. Author Ian Robinson explains how to format and animate type with the Transform Glyph tool and explores Motion's real-time 3D tools. The course also covers working in 3D space, creating depth with lights and shadows, keying green screen effects, and working with particle systems. In addition, Ian offers practical advice on integrating Motion into a professional video workflow and explains how to work smarter using rigs and templates.
Do you have one of those friends who seems to just always make friends with everyone? I know it sounds strange, but Motion is just one of those kinds of applications. It plays pretty well with others, but just be aware, it plays well to a point. For example, Motion can import video files like QuickTime, of course, but it can also import layered Photoshop documents and even vector files like Illustrator documents. So let's look how to import these files, and I'm going to show you some tips for getting the most out of each format.
If you navigate in your File Browser to the exercise files, scroll down to the bottom under Media, and in here you should see we have an option for some PSDs and an Illustrator file. Let's start with the PSD, if you just click on the PSD, notice up here in your preview area for File Browser it'll tell you it's a Photoshop document, its millions of colors, and its size. Now I can import this just by clicking on the Import button and the layers will automatically get imported. The problem is, notice it just brought in one layer, and that's not what I'm looking for.
What I want to do is bring in a layered Photoshop document so I can animate all of the layers. Well, to do that, you want to just drag and drop the PSD right into the Canvas. Go ahead and make sure your dynamic guides line up, so you're right in the center of the Canvas there and then if you just stop moving for a second, you will notice I can import merged layers, which is the first option, or I can import all layers. Now I want to import layers, but just so you know, you can choose a specific layer, if you only want to choose one element out of a Photoshop document.
Let's choose Import All Layers. Now under here you'll notice it brought the PSD into my Background_Video group, but it also created the Stripes_Circles comp here, and I have my circles which exist within a group, and I have each individual layer. So let me explain something here. This is really kind of cool. In the previous version of Motion, when you had groups of layers in Photoshop and imported them into the Motion it kind of created these strange blank layers and all kinds of other strange things.
Now when you drag and drop these files right into Motion it just automatically keeps the groups organized. Now, it's kind of hard to see, but there is a glow on these two lines, and these two lines were created with this graphic here called the Center_Bar. I know that that glow was actually a layer style in Photoshop. Now, it did bring in the layer styles as a rasterized graphic element, so I can't really animate that glow, but it did bring in and looks to be correct.
As a matter of fact, if we go to the Inspector with the Center_Bar layer selected, if you go to the Properties section, notice it even transferred the Blend mode. I had Vivid Light selected for that layer, and that was brought in. If we click right on these groups of circles here, you'll notice ,as I click on each circle, I have a different opacity setting. That too was brought over directly from Photoshop. So this is all well and good, but all of these layers are actual bitmap images.
See, if I select one of these circles and I just start scaling the circle up, eventually you'll see those jagged edges, and that's not what we want at all. So this is when you want to actually import an Illustrator file. So to do that, I'm going to jump back to my File Browser and in my navigation here, I'm going to jump back to my Media folder and go to Illustrator and just drag and drop the Illustrator file right into my comp window. Now notice even if I stop moving, it's not going to give me the option to import multiple layers. If I opened this Illustrator document, you would see that each one of these waves existed on its own individual layer, but since Illustrator files aren't supported for multiple layers inside of Motion, it flattened that to one individual layer.
So let's go ahead and click and drag on the corner to scale up our Illustrator file, and you'll notice I'm still getting strange rasterization here. Well, that's not pretty, because I should be seeing things nice and sharp. Well, even when I view it at 100% magnification, I still have jagged edges. Well, let's go to my Render settings here. Yep, I'm set for full resolution. If I set my quality up to Best, no, that still doesn't seem to do anything.
What you need to do is select the layer and if you right-click on the layer, you can choose Reveal Source Media. You can also press Shift+F. And when you say Reveal Source Media, notice it automatically opens up the Media tab ,which is hidden beneath your layers tab here, and notice PDF is selected. Now let's look under the Media section of my Inspector, and you'll notice there's an option for Fixed Resolution, which is on by default.
So if I go ahead and turn that off, check it out: now I have a nice smooth Illustrator file that I imported into Motion. If I go ahead and select that one layer and look at its properties, you can see I've got it 300% magnified and it's still sharp as all get out. Now there is one last thing I want to show you and that has to do with interpreting footage. Sometimes when you bring in QuickTime files or other types of video files, you may have to end up changing exactly how that footage is interpreted within Motion.
So to do that, go and select the file and again just open it in the Media tab, and here I've got my QuickTime file. There we go, you can see it. So with the QuickTime file selected, if you go to the Media section under the Inspector, this is where you can change how the alpha has been interpreted, the pixel aspect ratio, the field order, you get the general idea. You can even swap out the footage if you want by clicking the Replace Media File button right here in the bottom of the Media window.
Now, notice it shows you each individual layer that has been linked back to this specific file. So now that you know how to interpret a QuickTime file, let me just show you that it's just as easy to import the QuickTime file as it is importing Photoshop, Illustrator, any of those other files. So I'm just going to press Shift+Z to reset my magnification back to 100%, and I'll go ahead and turn off my Wave layer because I find it a little bit distracting, and here let's go to the File Browser and navigate back in our media folder here to look for some footage.
Now, I'm going to go ahead and go to the B-roll studio footage, and I want to cut from this grand piano to the railing piece of footage. Notice the second I select the footage it's already playing up here in my Preview window. Now I can import this by clicking the Import button. I can drag and drop it directly to the Canvas. I can even drag and drop it directly in the Timeline. Just be aware, if you drag and drop directly to the Timeline or the Mini Timeline up here, it will actually insert the start point of the media wherever you dropped it.
So notice here, it's telling me right at three seconds, that's where my media is going to go ahead and start. So as you can see, adding QuickTime files as well as adding Photoshop, Illustrator, you name it, Motion is just one of those applications that like to be friendly with just about everything.
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