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In Motion 4 Essential Training, Ian Robinson shows how to start building outstanding motion graphics and animations for video production. He demonstrates how to build custom text animations with the new Adjust Glyph tool and explores Motion’s amazing real-time 3D tools. Ian highlights working in the 3D space, creating depth with lights and shadows, and using reflections to add realism. He gives practical advice on how to integrate Motion into a professional video workflow, round-tripping with Final Cut Pro and sending a final project to Compressor. Exercise files accompany this course.
Creating text in Motion might make you reconsider the application you used to create your storyboards. The Text tool might look pretty basic, but it's actually got all the tools you'll need. Let's get started by grabbing the Text tool. It's the T button in the Create group in your toolbar. Go ahead and click on that. Just click in the Canvas. Let's type xyz, and press Return, and type space, and press Enter on your keyboard or Escape to set the text. Now, initially we have a problem. Because we can only see the text on the canvas. That's fine, press F7 to open the HUD, and you'll notice you have some pretty straightforward text controls.
If your font doesn't look like this, don't sweat it. That's just because Motion remembers whatever font you used last, and by default it will use that font. So let's change this to impact, so we are all on the same page. And you'll notice as I click and scroll through the menu, we get a real-time preview of all the fonts. Okay, but it's still white on white. So let's go change the color. To change the color, just Ctrl-click in the Color well, and let's change this to a bright red. I'm holding the mouse button down as I Ctrl-click in order to keep the eyedropper in the window open.
When you've got a color you like, just let go. Let's adjust some of the settings. If you click-and-drag in Size, you'll adjust the size of the text. If you hold down Option and click to the left or right of one of the little sliders here, you'll notice it will move it in one point increments. This really only works with sliders in Motion if the values are in whole numbers. Any of the ones that work in fractions, this little technique won't work. We can adjust the Tracking, which is the overall spacing between all the letters in the word, and we can also adjust the Line Spacing, which is how close the two lines are together, otherwise known as Leading.
We can change the alignment from Left, to Center, to Right. Let's change it to Center, and to show you the rest of the text options, let's open the Inspector. Press the little eye button in the upper right corner of the HUD, or just open the Inspector tab. Now, one of other things I want to show you, be aware that text has it's own controls, as well as the individual layer, and that may not make sense, but let me show you what I mean. In the anchor point section under Transform, click-and-drag on the x slider, and you'll notice the text is selected and the anchor point has stayed in its place.
Now, I'll go to the text tab. Down here is the section called Offset. If I click-and-drag, you'll notice I have offset the text right back to where it was. So just kind of keep that in mind that they're actual format controls for text itself, as well as the individual properties that reside on the text layer. So to undo that, I'm just going to press Command+Z twice. All right, so let's make some individual adjustments. Let's reposition the text towards the center of the screen here. So I have my dynamic guides popping up.
If you're not seeing these, go to the View menu and make sure Dynamic Guides is checked, and if you double-click on any text, it will automatically switch to the Text tool, and then you can just click-and-drag around whatever text you would like to change. I would like to make xyz considerably larger, so just click-and-drag over all three letters making sure to hold down the mouse button. Click on the Text tab, and there is a checkbox I want you to select at the bottom called All Caps. This will automatically change whatever you have selected to All Caps. I kind of like this feature.
That way I don't have to worry about it as I'm doing my initial layout. Let's make the Size a little bit larger by clicking and dragging on the slider, and you'll notice up above I still have all the same options to change my fonts, but Motion also has a collection section where it has organized all the different fonts, into different categories. Now, with the text larger, let's go ahead and tweak the Tracking. If you click-and-drag to the left, we'll tighten this text up. Now, with that's been set, let's grab the Select tool to set this section. This is pretty close, but I still like to make some adjustments.
Let's change the color of the word Space. If you press T on your keyboard, that will grab the Text tool, and then you can just immediately click-and-drag and select whatever text you would like to change. With space highlighted, let's go to the Style tab, and we'll cover this more in a later video, but for right now, just go ahead and Ctrl-click right on the Color dropwell to change the text, and I'll change it to this kind of a teal color. Okay, now that we've changed the color, sometimes it's important to actually be able to change the spacing in between the individual letters.
Easy way to do that is just place your cursor by clicking in between two letters. With the cursor flashing, go back to the Format section and let's adjust the Kerning. This is the spacing between individual letters. I'm just clicking and dragging in the Inspector, but you can also use the keyboard short cut. If you move your cursor between two letters, hold down the Ctrl key and Tab left or right to bring them closer or further apart. Also if you press the arrow buttons without holding the Ctrl key, your cursor will move left or right.
So I'm just going to tighten this backup again, and to set this, I'll just press Enter on the keyboard. So, we have done our Kerning and our Line spacing. One last thing, what happens if you want to just change your specific parameter of a letter other than it's kerning? Again, if you grab the Text tool and select the individual letter, if you go back and adjust any of the parameters, that parameter change will be applied to just that individual letter, and notice the baseline will move that letter up and down. So now that we have got the basics down, let's explore some of the other features available in Motion to create some pretty amazing animated text.
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