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One of my favorite things to do in Motion is play with still images. With the addition of 3D Space in Motion 3, that really helped open some new creative directions. Now with shadows and reflections in Motion 4 we can really go nuts. But before we start going crazy with our stills, it's important to understand some technical basics about importing still images into Motion. So let's get started by navigating to our Exercise Files, and scrolling down and then open our Media folder and then there you should find a folder called Still_Images.
Now in here, I have five images from trip out West and as I select them, you'll notice they are all rather large in size. Now if you open these images in Photoshop, you'd notice they are 300 dpi. That's really kind of overkill for what we are doing here in Motion because video only supports 72 dpi worth of information. So when I import this image into Motion, it's actually only going to deal with 72 dpi to actually render out in my video. But it is important to pay attention to the actual pixel dimensions, if you want to do some zooming and panning on your images.
So let's go ahead and add this West_ 01.jpg into our canvas by leaving it selected and clicking on the Import button. Now that we have the image in our canvas, let's zoom out to see what's going on. Press Command+Minus on your keyboard to zoom out. And you'll notice the edges of the image have already snapped to the edges of my canvas. Now let's open up the Inspector to actually see what's going on here, and you notice the image is scaled down to 43%. Well, this is a preference that you can actually change.
So move up to your Motion pulldown menu and open your Preferences. Go to the Project settings, and you'll notice there is a whole section for Still Images & Layers, and let's look at this bottom option for Large Stills, by default it's set to Scale to Canvas. Let's click this pop-up menu and look at some of the other options. Let's change this to Do Nothing for right now, and close the Preferences and let's see what happens when we import the next image. Go back to your File Browser, and just drag West_02 directly under canvas.
You'll notice again I'm getting my dynamic guides here, snapping it right to the center. If you let go, now you notice if you zoom out, again Command+Minus, the image is actually really large in comparison to the canvas, and that way by default, you can tell exactly how much space you have to work with while manipulating your image. Let's look at that last setting by opening up the Preferences again, and changing the Large Stills from Do Nothing, to Down-Res to Canvas Size. You want to be careful with this, if you're looking to pan around in your images, because this will actually resize the image and make it a low resolution.
So if you start blowing the image back up again, it's not going to look very nice. So honestly, I rarely use this setting unless you know all the images are just going to be staying stationary on this screen. So let's go ahead and close that and drag this next one out onto the canvas, and you'll notice even before I ever get it on to the canvas, it's already super small in size. And if we open the Inspector here, you'll notice that the Scale is actually at 100%, meaning that it's completely changed the size of this image. Now that we understand some of the technical gotchas of importing Still Images, make sure to change your Preferences back to a setting that you like and have fun.
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