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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.
The Focus behavior is one of those things that take something that used to be rather tedious and makes it pretty brainless. Honestly, once you've got your depth of field set up with your camera, applying the Focus behavior is literally just a matter of drag-and-drop and just trimming your outpoints. So to show you what I am talking about, let's look at our project here. Now notice I have it set up with a two-view up. I want you to be able to see the overhead view of what's going on in the scene, so you can see the exact depth, as far as the distance each object is away from the camera.
This is the edge of our camera right here. If I zoom back out here, you can see the full range of what the camera is actually seeing. But if we go back and check out our Library, we can find, under Behaviors, under Camera, there is the Focus behavior. Now the definition says it changes the focal distance of a camera to stay focused on an object, and that's pretty much it. So if we drag this Focus behavior and drop it right onto the camera, it's going to take a second to process, but once it processes that behavior then it's going be asking us, which object would we like it to focus on? So if you are unfamiliar with setting up depth of field, you want to definitely look a little earlier in this chapter and look at the video on depth of field because I'll show you how this got set up and how it's all represented, but for now, let's deal with the behavior.
So now that the Behavior is applied, all you have to do is press F7 to open up the HUD and get your drop well. So in here there's a drop on next to the Target. So what's going to be the target? Well, I want this word DANCE in the background to be in focus. So if we open our graphics group and move the HUD down a little bit, you can see there's our DANCE layer. So if we drag it and drop it right over our drop well, you'll see the curved arrow letting us know that it can be dropped in there.
And it will take a second and then figure out, okay, that's what we want to focus on. Just so you can see how the scene is set up, you can see the word DANCE right there in the top section--here let me zoom in just a little bit, so you can see a little better. You can see the word DANCE in there, but if we go and look at our dancer, she's right here. The amount of space between this word and our dancer isn't that much, but when you're talking about a shallow depth of field, it will make a difference.
So, when you have the camera selected, I want you to notice these three planes. These were created by adjusting the focus on the camera. So I am going to close the HUD and just open the Inspector here. And under the Camera options for the Inspector, here we have Focus Offset, Near Focus, Far Focus. The Near Focus is this plane right here; the Far Focus is that plane. This right here in the middle is your Focus frame.
It's exactly what's going to be in focus. If we go ahead and play this animation, it's going to transition the focus from our dancer here to that word. Look at how long the behavior is taking. It's going to take the entire composition. And if we look at the options for the behavior, notice the Transition is set to 50%. What that means is, at 50% of the time it takes to create this entire behavior, that's one that's actually going to be in focus.
So our word DANCE should be in focus about halfway through the length of this behavior. So of we drag our playhead right to the middle of the composition, notice that's when the focus stops moving. If I let go the playhead and just wait for a second, eventually the active camera will refresh and you'll see that our dancer will be out of focus and the word DANCE will be in focus. When you have something that's this blurry, once that blur actually happens, when you have something that's this blurry, you can actually play some games with the scene.
What I mean by that, if we wanted to get a little silly with this animation, we could have it focus back on the word DANCE and then we could literally cut from an animation of one silhouette dancing to about ten silhouettes dancing. And then when we focus back, instead of it being one person dancing, it would be ten people dancing. So it's kind of fun to play with your Focus options when you have stuff like that set up. Since our person is directly in front of the word DANCE, another thing I would like to do is actually just keyframe her opacity here, so when the focus shifts to the word DANCE, she's a little more transparent.
One thing I want to set with our Focus behavior before we check out our RAM Preview here, if you go to Speed options, change it from Constant to Ease Both. This way as it adjusts the focus from the foreground to the background, it's not just going to snap into focus. It will look like a smooth transition to and from a starting and stopping point. To keyframe our opacity, I'll just turn on Automatic Keyframing, move my playhead to the beginning, and select our DANCER layer. And in the Properties area, we will just slide the Opacity up and down.
And then right about here, halfway in our composition, we will bring the Opacity for the dancer down. Now I can turn off my Automatic Keyframing and even though things haven't refreshed in my window, I am just going to move my playhead back to the beginning. Make sure to select the camera and now if we change to a one-up view, we can go ahead and run a RAM Preview and check out exactly what's happening with our Focus behavior.
We've just finished our RAM Preview, so I'm going to deselect our video layer, just so we don't have the control handles, and press the spacebar, so we can see what our rack focus looks like. I think it looks pretty good. Now understand, when you're working with the Focus behavior--I am going to go to the Behaviors section, so you can check this out-- there is the option to control the focus, which makes perfect sense. But in terms of the actual camera blurring the image through the different options for the depth of field, there are settings under the Camera settings under Depth of Field for the Filter.
Now the reason I am bringing this up, when I click on this pulldown there is an option for Gaussian and Defocus. As I'm working with anything that has to do with depth of field, usually I leave this set to Gaussian, but if I were going to export this, I would change this filter from Gaussian to Defocus, So I could get a slightly different bokeh, or blur, to the image, and it just makes it look that much more like a real camera rack-focus.
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