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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.
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.
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