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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.
Since there's a lot of control of the lighting in Motion, it makes sense that there are many options to adjusting how shadows are created and received within objects within Motion. So if we select our Point Light here in our composition, you'll notice as I move it around the scene--here let me press Shift+Z to zoom in here a little bit. You'll notice as I move around the scene that I'm adjusting my light, but there are no shadows in the scene.
See, in order to create a shadow in Motion, you need to create a shadow first from the light that you add to the scene. So I'll select the Point Light and in the Inspector, if you go to the Properties section, there's nothing. You need to go to the Lights section. In here are my Light Controls, and at the bottom I have an option for Shadows. So enable shadows by clicking this box on the left-hand side here, and shadows will be created in the scene. As you can see, here they are, and if you move over to the right side of this bar, click on Show, you can see we can make adjustments to these shadows.
So I can adjust the overall opacity of the shadow, as well as the softness of the shadow. If you go to the Render settings in your Composition, you want to make sure Quality is set to Best when you are initially setting your shadows, because you want to make sure that you get those settings just right. You may have noticed the hesitation in my system, because I did have it set to the Best quality. If you click on Normal, you'll notice as you make changes, things should happen a lot more quickly.
Also, you'll notice that my type here is pretty jagged. It's really important to make sure before we go to export that the quality is set to Best or in the Export options we change it to Best. Now there are couple of different options once you've actually determined that a light will create shadows. You need to also check the objects that are set up to receive shadows. But before we do that, I want to show you one more thing: it's this Uniform Softness check box.
What this does, it makes every single piece of the shadow exactly the same in terms of the softness setting. Now since this light is so close and we're creating this crazy distorted kind of shadow, I'd probably want to deselect Uniform Softness before I output this example. The reason, as this shadow moves further away from the light, you want it to actually get softer. So if you deselect Uniform Softness, just understand that that does increase render times exponentially.
Now sometimes when you have objects intersecting and you have them casting shadows, you may notice the shadow appear slightly a little bit in front of the object. Now that's not the case with this type layer just because it's kind of floating a little bit above our floor, but if you ever see that little bit of shadow and you're kind of wondering what's going on, deselect Uniform Softness, change your Render settings up to Best, and see if those things are still there. Like I said, we need to make sure that an object is set up to receive shadows.
So in order to do that I want to open up my Floor group layer and make sure I have my Color Solid generator selected here. And in its Property section you can scroll down, and under Lighting, notice here are the Shadow properties. So I can set it up to cast shadows or receive shadows. Now to speed up the processing, I'm just going to disable Cast Shadows, because it's the Floor; I'm not ever going to be wide enough to where I could see the edge of the floor. So when it comes down to creating shadows, it starts first by enabling shadows with the lights, and then it ends by making sure you have the lighting adjustment for shadows enabled for each object you want to receive the shadows.
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