Motion 4 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Understanding and using blend modes


Motion 4 Essential Training

with Ian Robinson

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Video: Understanding and using blend modes

Don't panic if what you're looking at on the screen doesn't quite exactly match what you have in your comp. This is what the Blend Mode project will look when we are finished. I'm showing you this because I wanted you to see exactly how much you could blend together with the use of blend modes. So let's get started by checking out our project. Press F5 to open the Project pane and you'll see we have an imported Photoshop document with three layers. A group made up of Replicator and then our title, which has text and a color bar underneath of it.
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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 and using blend modes

Don't panic if what you're looking at on the screen doesn't quite exactly match what you have in your comp. This is what the Blend Mode project will look when we are finished. I'm showing you this because I wanted you to see exactly how much you could blend together with the use of blend modes. So let's get started by checking out our project. Press F5 to open the Project pane and you'll see we have an imported Photoshop document with three layers. A group made up of Replicator and then our title, which has text and a color bar underneath of it.

Now I'm just going to turn off these upper layers here until we get down to the last two layers, Sky and this Canyon layer underneath. To be quite honest, I would say a good 98% of designers out there, don't know exactly how each and every blend mode functions, they just operate on the what looks good is good theory. Just so we don't go crazy for the next few hours, I'll give you what I think is the best guide to using blend modes, the designer's guide for blend modes. Now keep in mind these will just be guidelines, not hard and fast rules.

There will always be some exceptions. So now with the Sky layer selected, open the HUD. Typically, I adjust my blend modes in the HUD, because I find it's the fastest. You can also adjust your blend modes in the Properties tab of your Inspector under Blend Mode, or you can Ctrl-click directly on the layer in your Layers tab and choose Blend Modes from there. But to get to the Designers guide, let's go ahead and click on the Blend Mode pop-up menu in the HUD, and you'll notice all the blend modes are divided up into groups.

So for me, I just keep in mind exactly what each group as a whole is designed to do and then click through the options in that group to see exactly which one looks best. So this top group up here darkens things. The next group below it tends to lighten things. The third group works based on the contrast of each of the layers. And the next group here looks at the comparative aspects of each layer, and then compares them and mixes them. These are kind of drastic, so I have to say I rarely use them, and then this last group in the half here works on the compositing functions based on the Luminance information or Alpha Channel information.

Now the reason I said, in the half, the last half works on information based on the Premultiplied Alpha Channel. So now that we have that basic designers got down, let's go ahead and blend these layers together. Making sure the Sky Layer is selected, let's turn of its visibility and look at the layer underneath. What we are going to do is make these rocks a little bit darker by applying a blend mode to this guy. So let's start with the first set of options and just kind of click through, and you notice some of them even though they are changed, don't really have an effect at all or just a tiny amount.

For example, Darken is just affecting this one little upper section of the clouds. You can click through all of them, but I know I want to choose Linear Burn, so let's see what that looks like. Now that may be a little bit dark for what we are trying to do, but let's go ahead and leave it for now. The next layer is this really busy bright glass layer. Let's use this to lighten up the image we just created below. Sometimes when these individual blend modes don't work, I'll just jump right down to the next one so that function off of the contrast.

Typically, Soft Light does a great job of blending everything together. So let's choose Soft Light, and I want you to notice groups have blend modes, but we're not going to jump into that just quite yet, we'll get to that when we get up towards the Title group. Let's select this next group that has a Replicator. See if we can blend it in a little bit. I'll use one of the Alpha Channel options and you'll notice how it cuts out the background. Sometimes no matter which blend mode you choose, it just make sense to leave it at Normal and just drop down the Opacity.

So let's drop that down to around 50%. Now with our Title group selected, let's turn the visibility on and see if we can make some adjustments. Let's make this mix in by trying one of the Contrast options Hard Light. It's looking pretty good, but I think it's really dark over on the right-hand side. So let's dark its Opacity down. Now you notice the text is blended in too much, so let's go ahead and take the Opacity back up, turn off the blend mode, change it to Pass Through and now we can just make that adjustment directly to the GreenLine.

Now the text is nice and bright. Notice if we go back up to the group here and make a change, now it affects everything below. So just kind of keep that in mind as you are working with groups. So this is looking pretty good. Let me just check one last thing with the Glass. I think it still a little bit dark. Let's see if we just can blend it in a little bit more smoothly. I think I like Overlay a little bit better. Now remember I've set the Sky might make things a little too dark. Let's drag the Opacity down on this Sky layer just to brighten up the overall composition.

Let's drag it down to around 20%, and then we are all set. We've gone through all of our blend modes, and you've completed the designer's guide to blend modes. When you start working with blend modes, it's best to think of them in their groups and then click through to see which one works best for you in your goals. If you'd like to learn more about blend modes, go check out the Photoshop CS4 Blend Mode Magic title in the Training Library.

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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