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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.
I like to think of working with the Transform Glyph tool as a kind of hands-on approach to formatting and animating type. If you have always kind of looked at the computer interface and thought, jeez! it would be really nice if I could just reach in there and grab that one element and sort of move it around, with tablets, I know it's getting close, but really, especially when it comes to formatting type, that tactile nature of positioning and moving things around really isn't there, and the Transform Glyph tool is the only thing I've found that really kind of makes that possible.
So to show you what I am talking about, let's look at our Studio project here. If you have been following along, you've seen how we built some of these different elements. And if you try and create playback right now just by pressing the spacebar, depending upon your system, the playback is probably pretty darn slow. As I'm looking at this, I realize exactly where this is laid out on the screen, and really what I want to do is create a different layout for each of these letters for the word Studio, and I want that layout to be completely random, kind of like they were strewn about on a floor, if you will. I am going to have each of the letters sort of flip up and that sort of thing.
We are not going to animate right now. We are just going to get comfortable transforming and moving these letters. But before we can do that, we do need to deal with the fact that playback is relatively slow, and also the background is pretty busy. Just so we can focus on this one layer of type, go ahead and select the STUDIO layer and press Ctrl+S. What that's going to do is solo this one layer. Now, as you are working, you don't want to forget that you did solo the layer, but this is a great way of being able to focus on just one specific layer without having to have everything else going on.
Now to bring up the Transform Glyph tool, all you have to do is press Tab on your keyboard and cycle through until you get these control handles. If I click and hold down here on my Transform tool, well, you'll see the Transform Glyph tool. What this is doing, it's giving me control handles for each individual letter. So it's nice. I can select any letter and use the typical Transform controls that I use for any other layer in the project. If I want to rotate this on the Z axis, if I hover over this circle, I can just rotate this individual letter on the Z axis.
Here I can have it spin forward. That looks pretty neat. Move around. So even though I don't have a camera in my scene, I can still move this around in three-dimensional space. So I am going to tilt this back. You can feel free to distort your letters however you like. Here, let me rotate this around so you can see. If you click on the corner of one of your handles in the bounding box, you can adjust the scale. Now notice as I adjust the scale of this one letter, it is kind of making the rest of the word move around, and that's just because it is trying to keep the same spacing that we had laid out, and that's perfectly fine based on what I am trying to do.
I just want to move this letter S down. As I'm looking at the word here, what if I want to distort two letters the same way? Let's click on the O and then hold the Command key down and click on the U. Now I have two letters selected, so when I start doing the transforms, it's actually adjusting both letters accordingly. Now if you want to see exactly what you're manipulating once you pull up the Transform Glyph tool, open up your HUD, press F7 on your keyboard, and here you'll notice at the bottom we have an option for the Transform Glyph Attribute, and notice it's rotating around the local axis.
I can have it rotate around the world axis or the view axis. If we weren't looking at it from straight on, we could adjust it based on the view. But I will just leave it for Local Axis right now. So once you have these two letters set up the way that you like, let's work on these last three. As we've distorted these letters and repositioned them, I think things are looking kind of interesting, but I think it would be a lot more fun if we could actually move the glow separate from the letters. And yes, with this tool, you can do as well.
If you go down under the Attribute section, under Transform Glyph, go ahead and click on the pulldown, and here you notice I can move the Face, the Outline, the Glow, or even the Drop Shadow. So I know I have a Glow applied. I will go ahead and choose Glow, and here notice how the bounding box changed. This just allows me to actually distort only the glow for this individual letter. So this is kind of neat. We can get a double-layered effect. You can use this background glow to kind of give a 3D perspective to the letter.
Based on the fact that I moved the glow back like this, what I want to do is actually go back and select the glyph itself, and I'm going to spin it forwards. Now notice, even after I've done the one adjustment to the glow, it actually does maintain its distortion in perspective to the rotation. So I will just spin that T down, so that way, as it starts to stand up, the glow moves behind. Now I want you to go through yourself and click on the D and the I and adjust things accordingly to your specific taste, because in the next video we are actually going to cover how to create an animation once you've set all these different distortions.
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