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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 ever struggled to animate your camera in a 3D environment, fret not, because there are things called camera behaviors, and they do nothing less than make your camera actually behave. It's truly amazing. I know I sound completely ridiculous right now, but honestly, if you've ever struggled with moving your camera in a 3D environment this will change how you view things. So let's get started by scrubbing through our project here. And you'll notice I've just got a couple of spheres in 3D space, and as I scrub through here, we've got some letters that are kind of floating up that reveal our title, saying "Everybody Dance Now." Now I could definitely load this up into a RAM Preview, but I just wanted to see if everything was staying relatively the same in terms of where it is within the environment.
The reason I wanted to know that, we're going to fly this camera in towards the scene and then we're going to have it kind of spin around to the left. Now using keyframes we could definitely do this, but you know when you change directions with keyframes sometimes there are some funny things that can happen: keyframe interpolation shifts, all kinds of things. So let's check out how behaviors can handle this. First let's work on the move in. Now since the camera's already relatively close to where I wanted it to be in when we start to spin, I'm going to select the camera and just move it back out.
Now as I'm looking at this, I'm kind of wondering if that orientation is correct for this camera. So let's open up the HUD, and notice it's set up as a Framing camera, that's fine, but ah, okay, here it's set to adjust around the World Axis and I want it to move on a Local Axis, meaning, as I move it back in Z space, I just wanted to move straight out in the direction of the camera. Now if you're having problems with how slow the refresh is on your system, you want to go up to your Render settings and change your Resolution from Full to let's say Half.
And honestly, we don't really need the shadows or the reflections just yet, because all we're working on is the move in. So go ahead and feel free to turn those off, and now we can work on applying our camera behavior. If you go to the Library tab--and let me close my HUD here--go to the Camera section of the Behaviors, you'll see we have Dolly, and this moves the camera forward or backwards in 3D along its Z axis.
Well, as luck would have it, it's definitely pointed to the scene on its Z axis. So let's drag and drop the Dolly behavior right there onto the camera. Now notice when we applied the Dolly behavior it automatically went the length of our comp. Now I don't want this Dolly to go over the entire length of the comp, so I'm just going to drag the right edge of the behavior and drag it back to the left. Now notice as I did that it actually sleet the entire layer, which isn't quite what I want to do. So I'm just going to undo those last two moves, and I'll move my playhead down to around 2 seconds in the Timeline and just press O. That way it trims the out point of that Dolly move.
Now if you scrub through and notice there is no move happening, it's probably because we haven't set a value for this Dolly move. So if we open the HUD, notice, yeah, we have Distance is set to 0 and the Speed is set to Constant. Well, let's make this move in, so we'll drag towards the right in a positive value, and let's place our playhead towards the end of the behavior. That way we can see exactly where it's going to be when it stops. Now one of the nice things about the Dolly behavior, the fact that when it does stop the camera stays exactly where it was at the end of the behavior.
That's a really good thing. So just so our playhead is right at the end of the out, I'm going to press Shift+O, and that will move our playhead right there. Now I'm just going to zoom in a little bit more. So when you have a situation like this where the zoom is kind of moving drastically if you hold down Option and just click on the left or right side, you'll get to move in one-point increments. That's one way of scrubbing a little more slowly. Now this is looking relatively okay, so I'll just leave this alone.
The only other thing, typically speeds set to Constant look very robotic, and that's not what we want. So let's adjust the Speed to Ease Both. So what that's going to do is make it move much more like a car. When you leave a stop light, you accelerate, and then when you hit the next one you just slow back down again or, at least I hope so. All right, so let me close the camera dolly and we can load up a quick RAM Preview here, just to see what we're dealing with. I'm just going to press Command+R, and notice when I press Command+R it's loading up a RAM Preview of my active view, which is this one down here.
So I'm not really going to see what the camera is doing, but that's fine. I'll get to see its overall movement kind of as a third-party viewer. So yeah, that looks pretty neat. Now I want the camera to start spinning around towards its left. Now to do that, in the camera behaviors, we can do a sweep. A sweep rotates a camera around an axis. Well, let's apply it. Drag and drop it right to the camera, and since I want this to actually start towards the end of the dolly, I'll select the Dolly behavior and press Shift+O to move my playhead there, and we can select the Sweep Behavior and press I to trim the in point.
Now I do want there to be a little bit of an overlap, so I'll just drag the sweep back to the left, and notice on the right-hand side of those values. It's letting me know exactly how many frames I'm overlapping here. So our composition is 29.97 frames, so I'll have it have a 15-frame overlap, which will be roughly a half a second. Now notice the sweep is headed in the wrong direction. So we can fix that easily enough by pressing F7 and instead of having it end at 30 degrees, we'll have it end at -30 degrees.
Okay, again with the Speed, we will Ease Both, and as I'm looking at this, I am realizing that we might need to do a little bit of a tweak to our move, but I think so far we're doing okay. Now this time I want to see exactly what the camera is going to see. So let's select the Active Camera and press Command+R to load up a RAM Preview. All right, so now that our RAM Preview is loaded, we can go ahead and check this out and move the mouse here. Well, that's looking kind of interesting.
The only issue, the type is floating out of the scene. Now there are two ways I could fix this. I could sit here and keep tweaking with the camera behaviors, or I could just as easily select the type layers and shift them over to the left. Now since the last set of behaviors worked out so well, why don't we not chicken out and actually apply one more behavior to make sure that we get this animation set up the way that we want? I want to use the Framing behavior, so let's drag and drop that right on top of the camera.
Now, for the framing what I want to do is frame our type layer. So I'm going to drag the type layer by clicking on it in the Layers panel and drop it right down here in the Target well. Now when I do that, that's going to frame my key subject. Now you can set a bunch of different options as far as how it's going to frame its orientation, you can adjust the transition, but let's just see what happens with this default setting. Move our playhead back to the beginning, press Command+R, load up one last RAM Preview and see what our scene actually looks like.
And I think you'll be kind of surprised to see exactly what happens. Now it's kind of given us this funky pop, and the reason it's done that, it's kind of fighting between the different options, and also the Transition is set to Constant. Now if we adjust that, I think we could probably tweak this a little bit more. So let's Ease Both and if we let Motion keep playing back, we'll actually get a little bit of a preview, so we can see exactly what's happening here.
And now you notice, yeah, I still have that pop, but it's not nearly as bad as it used to be. If we just adjust maybe the Position Transition Time, maybe it won't be so bad. So here we go. Cool! Let's adjust the Rotation Transition Time. Let's have it rotate a little later. Okay, and then lastly, we can adjust the ease-out time.
That will be how it eases out of this behavior. Now notice it framed the specific text itself, and as the text is rising, it's making the camera rise. So it's a pretty interesting behavior, but it is something that can definitely be of service when you've got a basic move set up and you want to tweak things just a little bit more. As you can see, when you start working with cameras and behaviors, even if you layer them one right on top of the other, you can definitely get some pretty amazing animation results with just a little bit of drag-and-drop.
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