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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.
One of the hardest things about any type of design, whether it's motion design or still graphic design, you still end up starting with this kind of intimidating blank canvas, and sometimes it gets even worse when you are talking about motion design, because you have so many options, from moving video to still images, you can adjust timing, colors, composition. You can sync things to audio. You get the general idea. Now one of the things that generators are actually great for is giving you a starting point.
So to show you some of the generators, go to the Library section. And again, much like filters, you'll see there are two different sections. There are Generators which have a color bar icon and an Image Units which have the color bar icon. They're both Generators; it's just the Image Unit ones are built off of the core animation technology built into Mac OS X. Okay. So let's go to Generators here, and I'll just show you some of the basic things that you can create with a generator.
One of the most basic things out there is a color solid. Rather than having to go to Shape tool and zooming out in your canvas and trying to click perfectly right on the edge to create a shape that matches the size of the comp, if you just choose Color Solid and click Apply, boom, you've just created a solid layer that, if you go to the Inspector, you'll notice matches perfectly the size of the composition. Now by all means, we can adjust the scale of that solid, and we can keyframe that adjustment, and we can even adjust the color and keyframe the adjustments of the color. But as you see here a generator just creates a graphic.
Now, Color Solid is probably the most basic generator. If we go back to our Library here, another one that's very common is Gradient. It's just like the solid except you also have grading controls. Now, I'm not going to show you that, because that's kind of boring based on some of the other things that we could create. If you look at Cellular, this is probably one of my favorite generators out there. If you go ahead and click Apply, that will add it to the scene. Now open up your Inspector, and let's look at some of the options. And it looks kind of boring so far.
All we have are the Height, Width, Aspect Ratio, the Size, but we do have a Speed option and there is an option for adjusting the gradient. Well, press Shift+Z so we can see things a little better here, and let's hide our Layers panel by pressing F5 and press the spacebar so we can see our animation. Now it looks a little boring just because of these little marching ants, but we can definitely stylize list by adjusting the gradient.
Now I am just going to choose a preset gradient by clicking under Save Gradient, and let's choose this Desert Sun Gradient option. You notice it's a transition from orange to yellow. Now I know you are thinking to yourself, well, how am I going to use this and what is this going to do for me? Yeah, you can layer it in and adjust the blend modes to try and mix it into the background, but really you can get some pretty interesting effects with a generator if you just sort of play with it a bit. So to do that let's adjust the width of this by clicking in the Width slider and dragging it down to around 45 points.
Now since we've adjusted the width of the Generator, I am going to go back to the Properties for this layer as a whole, And under Scale I'm going to just X Scale out just by clicking and dragging. Now, all of a sudden you notice this is taking on a slightly different look, don't you think? If I press the spacebar here, now you will notice I am getting this kind of cool flowing effect, and this was created out of nothing, just by using a generator.
So I am going to stop playback for second to jump back to the Library. I want you to look at some of the other options that are in here, and you can see that you can create all different kinds of effects just by choosing different generators. Personally, one of my favorites is this Concentric Shape one, if you click Apply here. If we go to the Inspector, you notice we have a lot of different controls here and all of these are fully animatable with keyframes. So if I want to send somebody into a trance or create kind of a funky Batman-style transition, I could just keyframe the animation of this specific generator.
But as you can see, when it comes to creating graphics out of nothing generators are always a good place to start.
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