Motion 5 Essential Training
Illustration by Maria ReƱdon

Creating and adjusting shapes


Motion 5 Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Creating and adjusting shapes

If you've already gone through the first chapter about creating shapes, some of this may be a little bit of a review, but I am going to show you some different ways that you can stylize the shapes and different ways to create some custom shapes as well. To get started, let's look at our scene here. If you press F5, you will notice we have our background video layer and then we have this graphic build that's built over top of it, and both of those layers are locked off, so we can't mess with them, and we're going to add any new shapes to this new group layer.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 14m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Learning important definitions
      8m 13s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 37s
    4. Relinking missing media
      3m 22s
  2. 49m 41s
    1. Launching Motion for the first time
      4m 3s
    2. Navigating the interface
      9m 27s
    3. Creating and transforming objects in the Canvas
      6m 9s
    4. Controlling the Timing pane
      6m 29s
    5. Setting essential preferences
      6m 41s
    6. Customizing the keyboard
      5m 5s
    7. Using RAM preview and audio controls to get smooth preview playback
      5m 26s
    8. Introducing markers and audio
      6m 21s
  3. 26m 9s
    1. Adding assets to a project
      7m 56s
    2. Using the Library
      6m 4s
    3. Working with layers and groups
      6m 9s
    4. Understanding and using blend modes
      6m 0s
  4. 31m 15s
    1. Adding and adjusting behaviors
      7m 5s
    2. Adding multiple behaviors
      6m 31s
    3. Trimming and sliding behaviors
      8m 40s
    4. Using custom presets to create a slideshow
      8m 59s
  5. 29m 49s
    1. Animating manually using keyframes
      7m 49s
    2. Using the Record button
      6m 28s
    3. Manipulating keyframes with the Keyframe Editor
      10m 9s
    4. Combining keyframes and behaviors
      5m 23s
  6. 52m 33s
    1. Adding and formatting text
      7m 50s
    2. Using text styles
      10m 36s
    3. Formatting with the Transform Glyph tool
      5m 33s
    4. Animating text
      11m 17s
    5. Working with text on a path
      8m 16s
    6. Creating credit rolls
      9m 1s
  7. 31m 19s
    1. Match Move: Four-corner pin
      7m 25s
    2. Match Move: Transform
      11m 27s
    3. Stabilization
      5m 4s
    4. Retiming footage with behaviors
      7m 23s
  8. 16m 42s
    1. Applying and adjusting filters
      4m 18s
    2. Applying multiple filters
      7m 32s
    3. Timing a style with filters
      4m 52s
  9. 33m 35s
    1. Creating and adjusting shapes
      10m 7s
    2. Using shape behaviors
      7m 40s
    3. Creating and adjusting masks
      10m 47s
    4. Creating masks with objects
      5m 1s
  10. 34m 3s
    1. Using the keyer to composite green screen footage
      7m 28s
    2. Refining a key
      11m 6s
    3. Using masks to refine a green screen composite
      7m 54s
    4. Color-correcting elements to match within a green screen composite
      7m 35s
  11. 50m 2s
    1. Understanding generators
      4m 52s
    2. Applying text generators
      5m 41s
    3. Creating particle systems
      5m 49s
    4. Making adjustments to a particle system
      7m 33s
    5. Using particle behaviors
      5m 18s
    6. Creating paint strokes
      6m 58s
    7. Animating paint strokes
      4m 57s
    8. Using the Replicator
      5m 1s
    9. Replicating video
      3m 53s
  12. 47m 28s
    1. Viewing a scene in different layouts
      7m 17s
    2. Working with lights
      8m 12s
    3. Adjusting lighting and reflectivity
      9m 13s
    4. Creating and adjusting shadows
      4m 3s
    5. Creating replicators in 3D
      7m 50s
    6. Creating particles in 3D
      5m 7s
    7. Creating text in 3D
      5m 46s
  13. 42m 14s
    1. Working with cameras
      9m 3s
    2. Creating depth of field in a composition
      4m 55s
    3. Using camera behaviors
      9m 53s
    4. Create interest with the Focus behavior
      7m 26s
    5. Animating cameras with camera framing
      10m 57s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Adding and adjusting audio
      9m 29s
    2. Adding audio markers
      7m 7s
  15. 17m 37s
    1. Sharing files
      6m 58s
    2. Creating a pre-render
      7m 5s
    3. Archiving a project
      3m 34s
  16. 26m 5s
    1. Creating drop zones
      4m 21s
    2. Setting up rigs: Slider rigs
      6m 56s
    3. Setting up rigs: Pop-up rigs
      4m 49s
    4. Making templates for Motion
      4m 3s
    5. Making templates for Final Cut Pro
      5m 56s
  17. 1m 32s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 32s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Motion 5 Essential Training
8h 40m Beginner Aug 05, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Getting started with Motion and setting essential preferences
  • Working with layers, groups, and blend modes
  • Animating and adjusting behaviors
  • Building custom presets to create a slideshow
  • Keyframing animation
  • Animating type along a path
  • Creating credit rolls
  • Understanding generators
  • Adding reflections
  • Controlling and animating cameras
  • Creating depth of field in a composition
  • Adjusting audio
  • Exporting, sharing, and archiving a project
Ian Robinson

Creating and adjusting shapes

If you've already gone through the first chapter about creating shapes, some of this may be a little bit of a review, but I am going to show you some different ways that you can stylize the shapes and different ways to create some custom shapes as well. To get started, let's look at our scene here. If you press F5, you will notice we have our background video layer and then we have this graphic build that's built over top of it, and both of those layers are locked off, so we can't mess with them, and we're going to add any new shapes to this new group layer.

Let's go ahead and rename this group layer Shapes. Now with that set, let's go down to the toolbar and click and hold on the Rectangle tool, and notice I can create rectangles, circles, or lines. I want to create a circle. Let's go ahead and choose Circle there. Now if you go up to View and enable the grid, what you can do is figure out exactly where the center of the composition is. See, I like using this because when I create circles I like things to actually be centered properly.

If you move your cursor right over that center grid and click and drag and hold down Option as well as Shift, you can scale up this circle, and the center of the circle will end up in the center of the composition. Well, in order to see that, I need to grab my Selection tool there, and you can see it's lined up. Now if you want to make doubly sure, go to the Inspector and under the Properties you want to look at the Anchor Point, which it's set to zero, and zero. And if we go to the Shape here, you can also look at the geometry, and in here you can see the different control points are actually on zero.

We have done a pretty good job of lining things up. This circle is actually 158.5 pixels large all the way around. Now we're actually ready to stylize this circle. I am going to go back up under my view and turn off the grid. With the handles visible, obviously, we know what the handles do, so I am just going to go ahead and hide my handles, and I could leave the square up there, just so I know that it's selected.

If you go to Style options for the shape, sure enough these styles look very similar to the text styles. I didn't show you this in the text section, but if you click under Shape Style, there are a whole bunch of presets that you can use if you want to actually use a preset style for your shape. Now many of these are actually set up to use with the paint engine, so I am not going to use this for this right now.

What I am going to do is just fill this with a gradient. When I've chosen Gradient, I want to actually be able to control the start and the stop of the gradient visually, and in order to be able to do that, you need to actually use a different tool, the Adjust Item tool. So click and hold on the Transform tool in the toolbar and go Adjust Item, and sure enough, now I can see the start and the end point for the gradient and adjust them visually.

So first thing, I'll move the end point to the outside of the circle right there on the edge, and just so I can see things a little more clearly, I'll change my magnification to 100%. I can bring the center point right down here to the center of the circle, and I could adjust this accordingly if I wanted to have a linear gradient populate this circle, but it really doesn't matter where I position the second point, as long as it's the edge of the circle. The reason: I want to use not a linear gradient, but I want to actually use a radial gradient.

Expand the options for the Gradient, and go down to Radial, under Type, and in here now you can see I have a pretty neat radius set up for this gradient to inhabit. As I'm looking at this, the edges aren't quite lining up. So if I click and drag, notice I get a snap, and that snap is snapping right to the edge of the shape. So let me see if I can get the same thing for the center of the circle, and sure enough, I can, with those guides. So now I know that this gradient is centered on the shape I've actually created.

Of course, I can tweak how this gradient looks just by clicking and dragging. So in order to blend this into the scene a little bit more, I want to actually adjust the Properties section and change the blend mode of the shape. Now if I choose Multiply, it's going to go ahead and try and knock out any of the white pixels, and then any of the darker pixels will fill in. So you can see, when I've chosen Multiply, I'm getting a slightly different blend to this circle.

So if I deselect just by clicking anywhere in the Layers panel and press Shift+Z, you can see how my new shape is looking in regards to the overall build of this graphic. Creating shapes and filling their properties with different styles is very much like adjusting the different styles for type layers. I can adjust the outline and I can make other adjustments to this shape, but I want to show you how to create a fully custom shape, and the easiest way to do that is by using the Bezier tool.

If I go ahead and click on the Bezier tool, I can click once and click again and click again, and as I just keep clicking and moving, notice I'm getting nice sharp edges to my custom shape. So as I do this, I know I'm going to have a sharp shape. When I move my Bezier tool over the originating point, see how I get that circle? That's letting me know that that's going to close off this shape, and now I get this kind of arrow-looking shape. Once you've created the base geometry for your custom shape, you can go in under the Geometry area and adjust different things like the roundness of the shape within those points, as well as the specific points themselves.

This is really nice, because I can go back in and just make sure that things line up perfectly, precisely by adjusting the mathematics of the overall shape. The last thing I want to show you about creating shapes is the options you get when adjusting a line. So navigate to the Line tool, and if you just click and drag anywhere in the Canvas, if you hold down Shift as you're dragging, it will snap in 45-degree increments, and when I let go, now I have a line in the scene.

And notice, when you choose line, instead of having options for a fill under the Shape Style, you have options for the actual outline itself. So you can adjust different things like points, start caps, end caps, the first point offset, the last point offset. To better illustrate exactly how these joints work, I want to add another point to this line, and to do that, if you go to the Bezier tool--I can just go ahead and just click on that-- when I hover over that line, I should be able to actually add an extra point.

Notice when I click it's not really doing that. So let me undo that. What I need to do is go in under Edit Points. Now with that selected, if I hover over the line, check it out. Now I'm getting the plus symbol, letting me know I can add a point there. So notice as I hover over the line, I am getting the Pen tool, but sometimes it's actually kind of hard to get that. So if that's being problematic, you can increase the magnification. I am going to bump mine up to 100. That way it's a little bit easier to achieve.

Now if you just click on the line, that will add a point, and to be able to see that point, if you go to Geometry, notice now I have three points. I notice I'm not seeing that point. With this tool selected, the Edit Points tool, I should be able to see all the points. So that's a telltale sign that under my View options, I don't have Handles enabled. Now I can actually see the points for that line. And if we use Command+Minus, I can zoom back out, and now I can move this line.

I want to create a rather sharp angle here, and even though the line is overlapping with this other shape, I want to be able to show you exactly what these different taps do, as far as the style of this overall shape. Let's select our Transform tool, so we can get rid of those handles, and I just want to turn off the lines for a second-- here, let's zoom in--so we can get a clear look at this curve. I used the Command+Plus tool to zoom in, and I held the spacebar and clicked and dragged to quickly grab my handle.

So now that we can clearly see this corner, let's look at the Joint options. Let's go to Square. Sure enough, that gives me a stronger point and if we go to Bevel, that sort of cuts off the point a little bit. So we could choose Square and you could do the same thing for the start and the end points as well. Here, let's look back over here. It's a little easier to see with this one. I can turn off my handles again, but I don't want to worry about doing that just yet. Let's go to Square, and you can see that that's cut off. But notice--one last thing--if your adjusting the end cap or the start cap, there is an option to have an arrow added to the shape, and I'll show you how that's really cool a little bit later, but for now I think you get a pretty firm idea as to how to create shapes and go through some of the different options under the Shape Styles.

There are currently no FAQs about Motion 5 Essential Training.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Motion 5 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.