Motion 4 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Motion 4 Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

Video: Understanding the Utility window

As the Motion interface is divided into two sections, the Canvas and the Utility window, in this video we are going to cover the Utility window. First off, you will notice it's divided into three tabs, the File Browser, the Library and the Inspector. The Inspector has so many features it's divided into four other tabs, which we'll get to in a second. Let's start with the File Browser. The biggest reason I like teaching about the File Browser once I teach you how the File Browser works all those same principles will work to the Library.
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  1. 6m 51s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Important definitions
      3m 5s
    3. What's new in Motion 4
      1m 51s
    4. Using the exercise files
  2. 45m 36s
    1. Launching Motion for the first time
      2m 19s
    2. Understanding the Motion interface
      4m 43s
    3. Understanding the Utility window
      5m 50s
    4. Understanding the toolbar
      1m 56s
    5. Navigating the Canvas
      4m 37s
    6. Working with layers and layer groups
      4m 52s
    7. Using the Project pane
      2m 42s
    8. Transforming objects
      3m 41s
    9. Controlling the Timeline
      4m 27s
    10. Using the HUD
      1m 27s
    11. Essential preferences
      2m 37s
    12. Customizing the keyboard
      4m 14s
    13. Getting smooth playback with RAM preview
      2m 11s
  3. 28m 51s
    1. Adding assets to Motion
      3m 12s
    2. Adding QuickTime movies to Motion
      3m 30s
    3. Adding still images to Motion
      3m 23s
    4. Adding image sequences
      3m 23s
    5. Adding layered Photoshop files
      2m 39s
    6. Adding Illustrator files
      2m 12s
    7. Using the Library
      3m 14s
    8. Understanding and using blend modes
      5m 39s
    9. Adding text
      1m 39s
  4. 13m 18s
    1. Creating and adjusting shapes
      7m 40s
    2. Creating simple masks
      2m 36s
    3. Creating masks with objects
      3m 2s
  5. 42m 23s
    1. Adding and adjusting behaviors
      5m 50s
    2. Adding parameter behaviors
      4m 2s
    3. Applying behaviors to layers and groups
      5m 15s
    4. Adding multiple behaviors
      7m 39s
    5. Exploring the power of the Link behavior
      5m 2s
    6. Trimming and sliding behaviors
      5m 18s
    7. Saving custom behaviors to animate stills
      4m 23s
    8. Using shape behaviors
      4m 54s
  6. 25m 3s
    1. Adding keyframes manually
      6m 10s
    2. Using the Record button
      6m 38s
    3. Manipulating keyframes with the Keyframe Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Combining keyframes and behaviors
      3m 33s
    5. Working with recording options
      1m 43s
  7. 26m 37s
    1. Adding and formatting text
      5m 35s
    2. Using text styles
      4m 32s
    3. Formatting text with the Adjust Glyph tool
      4m 8s
    4. Animating text with the Adjust Glyph tool
      4m 23s
    5. Creating text on a path
      3m 35s
    6. Using text behaviors
      4m 24s
  8. 22m 4s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      4m 7s
    2. Match moving: Transform
      3m 56s
    3. Match moving: Four-corner pin
      4m 44s
    4. Retiming video in the Inspector
      5m 49s
    5. Using retiming behaviors
      3m 28s
  9. 11m 41s
    1. Applying and adjusting filters
      2m 46s
    2. Applying multiple filters
      8m 55s
  10. 8m 13s
    1. Pulling a luma key
      2m 42s
    2. Pulling a chroma key with Primatte RT
      5m 31s
  11. 11m 28s
    1. Applying and adjusting generators
      3m 25s
    2. Using the text generator
      4m 15s
    3. Generating a background
      3m 48s
  12. 19m 8s
    1. Creating basic particle systems
      10m 58s
    2. Using particle presets
      1m 51s
    3. Creating an advanced particle system
      6m 19s
  13. 13m 24s
    1. Replicating objects
      4m 52s
    2. Animating a replicator
      4m 53s
    3. Replicating a video file
      3m 39s
  14. 49m 46s
    1. Working in 3D space
      5m 11s
    2. Working with cameras
      8m 6s
    3. Viewing a 3D scene in different layouts
      2m 56s
    4. Creating depth with lights and shadows
      8m 22s
    5. Simulating depth of field
      3m 54s
    6. Using camera behaviors
      4m 7s
    7. Animating cameras with camera framing
      6m 8s
    8. Create interest with the Focus behavior
      1m 52s
    9. Using reflections and highlights
      5m 13s
    10. Creating particles in 3D
      3m 57s
  15. 20m 31s
    1. Using the Paint tool
      6m 1s
    2. Using advanced paint tools
      8m 9s
    3. Applying paint presets
      1m 51s
    4. Sequencing paint with the Stroke behavior
      4m 30s
  16. 9m 3s
    1. Adding and adjusting audio
      4m 37s
    2. Animating to music with the Audio Parameter behavior
      4m 26s
  17. 11m 52s
    1. Sharing files
      3m 36s
    2. Exporting files
      3m 15s
    3. Creating an export preset
      3m 0s
    4. Archiving your project
      2m 1s
  18. 15m 30s
    1. Round-tripping between Final Cut Pro and Motion
      4m 24s
    2. Sending your project to Compressor
      1m 59s
    3. Creating drop zones
      3m 0s
    4. Creating templates for Motion and Final Cut
      5m 2s
    5. Importing Motion projects into DVD Studio Pro
      1m 5s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Motion 4 Essential Training
6h 21m Beginner Sep 11, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Motion 4 Essential Training, Ian Robinson shows how to start building outstanding motion graphics and animations for video production. He demonstrates how to build custom text animations with the new Adjust Glyph tool and explores Motion’s amazing real-time 3D tools. Ian highlights working in the 3D space, creating depth with lights and shadows, and using reflections to add realism. He gives practical advice on how to integrate Motion into a professional video workflow, round-tripping with Final Cut Pro and sending a final project to Compressor. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the toolbar and setting the essential preferences to get started
  • Adding .mov files, still images, and Photoshop and Illustrator assets to a project
  • Animating with behaviors and keyframes
  • Creating 3D animations with lighting accents, shadows, and reflections
  • Creating simple and complex particle systems
  • Creating real viewer interest with Focus Behavior and the 3D Camera Framing behavior
Ian Robinson

Understanding the Utility window

As the Motion interface is divided into two sections, the Canvas and the Utility window, in this video we are going to cover the Utility window. First off, you will notice it's divided into three tabs, the File Browser, the Library and the Inspector. The Inspector has so many features it's divided into four other tabs, which we'll get to in a second. Let's start with the File Browser. The biggest reason I like teaching about the File Browser once I teach you how the File Browser works all those same principles will work to the Library.

So let's start with the File Browser. This is a full featured File Browser just like the Finder on your Desktop and you will notice this is your home folder, your Documents folder and your Desktop, just like you would find them in the Finder, and for that matter, it actually is manipulating the files in your Finder. So you want to make sure as you move the files around in the File Browser of your Utility window, you understand you are actually moving the files around in the Finder on your computer. So if you actually send something to the Trash from your File Browser, you are deleting it off of your computer.

So let's look on our Desktop and you will notice we have an Exercise Files folder. That's where I have copied all the Exercise Files. If we open that folder by double- clicking, you notice we have all the different Chapter folders. Now you can resize the views of these icons just by clicking-and-dragging this Resize slider at the bottom of the screen. As I navigate to the Media folder, if we go in under Image Sequence you will notice there is another button down here that will allow me to see all of the images in the sequence or just represent the entire sequence as one item.

Now, also notice once I have something selected, at the top of the File Browser I'll get a preview of exactly what I have selected. So since this Image Sequence is selected, I'm also getting a Play/Pause button. If I go ahead and click Play, it will actually play through that animation. I'll just stop that for right now. Notice right underneath the preview there is a Path pop-up menu, if you click on that you will see the file path of the file you currently have selected. Let me go right back to my Desktop, right next to the Path pop-up menu we have an option where we can switch between Icon View and List View.

In List View, you will notice you can sort by Date or Size and if you scroll over, there are whole bunch of other fields you can navigate. Lastly, in the File Browser, there is a Search option. If you are having a hard time finding your files you can click in the Search field and start typing the name of the file you are looking for in little pop-up in the bottom of the File Browser. Next let's jump to the Library tab, and notice we have the same options with the pop-up menu and the Search field as well as the preview.

If I click on any specific item I have selected in the bottom of the Library tab, we'll get a preview up here. Right now, I have selected one of the behaviors. Let's just go to Particle Emitters for example, and if I click on Afterburner we'll get a preview. Now, we'll go more in-depth about the Library later, I just wanted you to understand the utility of how its functions. You want to be careful if you are searching for individual things in the Library because if you press the Spacebar, you will notice even though I know there are items in this folder, it will pop-up absolutely nothing because it's looking for items that start with a space.

So it's very important to pay attention when you are searching for items because it will actually get you sometime if you are not paying attention. Let's clear out the Search field by pressing the X on the right-hand side. Notice we can also view items in the Library as icons as well as the list. Now, if you find something you like to apply to your project all you have to do is drag it and drop it and we'll get more into that later. The third and most in-depth tab in the Utility window is the Inspector and the Inspector lets you check out the files you have selected in your project.

So, if I just click in this area right here, you will notice I have selected the edges of this button, and so it's giving me all the properties of that button. For example, it's Position, Rotation, Scale, etcetera. Now, if I had any behaviors applied, I would see those as well as any filters and this tab down there is called the contextual tab, this will change depended upon the type of file you have selected. So if I click over here, you notice I have just selected a layer group, so it's switched to Group.

When I click on this shape, it's now switched back to Shape. You will notice this change as we continue going throughout this course. Not only can you see information about the items you have selected in the Inspector, you can also actually adjust those items. So if I go back to the Properties tab, I can expand the disclosure triangle next to Position. For example, I can adjust the X Position by just clicking-and-dragging in the number slider to move it around on the canvas on its X-axis. I can also click-and-drag on the Y and do much the exact same thing.

Sometimes when you are in the Inspector, you will see a number slider. So if I click on that, you notice I can change it within a specific range. For example, the range of this Scale goes up to 400 and down to 0. Well, what if I wanted to change it to something higher than 400. If you click-and-drag in the number, well next to the slider you can choose values that are actually outside of the range of that slider. And any time you make any changes to any of these values, you can always go back and reset the values just by clicking on the Reset button up here at the top of that specific parameter.

So as you can see the Utility window is the place to go if you want to add things to your composition from the File Browser or add new graphics to your compositions from the library. Or finally make changes and manipulate all the items you have in your project.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Motion 4 Essential Training .

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Q: In Motion 4, is it possible to create an intro with multiple pictures, where some pictures enter from the left side and some from the right side of the frame, with all fading as they approach the center of the canvas?
A: The effect described is a very specific move utilizing 3D space.  One effective method is to work in true 3D space, instead of trying to use a behavior, by keyframing the animation. Try these steps:
  1. Place a camera in the scene and switch the scene to 3D. 
  2. Rotate the first image to an angle that achieves the desired effect, and slide it on the X axis until it is out of the scene on the right of the stage. 
  3. Turn on Auto Keyframing and make sure a keyframe is recorded for the rotation and position. 
  4. Move the playhead down the Timeline and move the picture to it's ending point and adjust the rotation a little for the end. 
  5. To get the image to disappear, adjust the camera's far plane of view, making sure to soften it so it has a smooth transition into oblivion. 
    Then simply duplicate the picture and change the rotation and position keyframes to the exact opposite values for rotation and position. 
Q: When attempting to change views as the instructor demonstrates in the “Viewing a 3D scene in different layouts” video, I only see the text in the Perspective view. When the instructor uses the Top and Bottom screen split, and uses the Top view, my screen does not show the four horizontal lines that represent the four words used in the tutorial.
Are there settings that need to be changes in order to view all the objects as demonstrated in the tutorial?
A: It’s possible that when viewing the project from different?angles, the letters may be sliding way out of the view area.
Here’s how to fix it: Whenever you can't see your objects in the?scene, select at least one of them in the Layers panel and then press?F or Command+F to frame the selected objects in the scene.
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