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Image sequences are commonly used in 3D design as well as film compositing. You might be asking yourself, well, what exactly is an image sequence? Instead of a QuickTime file where all the frames are contained in one file, in an image sequence each frame is saved individually as sequentially numbered files, hence the name Image Sequence. In way back before computers were able to playback video in real-time, this was the only way people could deliver motion graphics. So let's see what we need to think about, when using an image sequence in Motion.
Navigate in your File Browser to the Exercise Files folder, and open the Media folder and you should see a folder called Image_Sequence. Go ahead and open that. You'll see Spin with an underscore and a bunch of numbers on this. Well, if you look up in your Preview window, here it's actually giving you a preview just like a QuickTime file. Go ahead and hit Play and you can preview what this animation looks like. This is just a quick render I did out of Cinema 4D that we are going to texture up, and uses a transition later on in this title. If you are not seeing just one file and you are seeing the whole sequence down here you want to check and make sure this box is actually dark, because if it's light, you'll actually see each and every single frame that I've rendered out of Cinema 4D in this case.
So by default, this button should be on, but like I said if it's not, just go ahead and click it. This way Motion knows to treat it as an actual sequence. Sometimes when you shoot still photography, if you have at least three numbers in a row, Motion will default to thinking that's an image sequence, when in fact you may want to pull out just the image by itself. So again, go down and check to see whether this button is active or not, and that way you'll be able to see all the images available for use in your project. So let's go ahead and import this sequence.
You can drag and drop it directly into the canvas just like a normal file, and if you click-and-hold you'll see the pop -up menu that looks strikingly similar to the pop-up menus in DVD Studio Pro. And what this does, it will let me to choose whether I want to Import an Image Sequence or import them all as individual stills. Well for this case, I want to import them as a Sequence. So make sure that options is orange and let go. Go ahead and hit Play in your Transport Controls, and you'll see roughly four seconds of this animation.
So I'm just going to jump to the end of this animation, Shift+O and reset my Play Range, Command+Option+O, and now when we preview this image sequence, it will just keep looping at its proper length, which is just around four seconds. Now, one other thing to consider about Image Sequences, Motion actually does treat it just like a QuickTime file. So it's always a good idea to Command+ 5 and open up your Media tab and select your Image Sequence to verify what's going on in the Inspector.
So under the Media tab in the Inspector, we want to look at the Alpha Type. Now I rendered this sequence myself, so I know it's a straight Alpha Channel. If you don't remember exactly what an Alpha Channel is, feel free to jump back to the first chapter where I explain the definition. So as you can see in the Inspector, Motion treats an image sequence the exact same way we treat a QuickTime file. And if any of you've tried to import an image sequence directly into Final Cut Pro before, I think you'll understand just how much easier it is to import those sequences into Motion.
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