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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.
If you want to give your project a slightly more refined or polished look, you might want to consider using reflections and highlights. Now before we use reflections, it's important to go up under the Render pop-up menu and make sure that Reflections is actually enabled. Now there are also Shadows in this scene, but I'm just going to leave them off for speed sake for right now. Press F5 to open the Project pane and let's look at some of the settings. If it's not already opened expand the text in the Floor group so we can see each piece of text and this Floor set at the bottom.
I want you to notice something with the Floor. If we go to the Inspector under the Properties tab, the blend mode has been set to Add, and I did that so this would blend in a little bit more and create this interesting gradiated look. If we switch that back to Normal, I know for now it looks kind of rough, but we'll revisit this in a little bit. Let's change that back to Add. So the easiest way to turn on reflection for all the objects within this group is to just come to the Reflection box and select it. And you notice immediately we get some reflections.
Now there is another setting you should look at for each individual object. Notice Casts Reflection is set to Yes for Motion 4. If I turn that off, notice we no longer see the reflection. You can also just have it only process as a reflection. This will allow you to create some pretty interesting scenes. For right now, let's change that back to Yes. So each of these objects has cast reflection set. That's because the group is controlling reflection for all these objects, and that's overwriting whether or not we want reflections on everything else.
So let's adjust the Reflection Setting for all the objects in this group. Notice we can adjust the Reflectivity just by dragging the slider up and down. We can also adjust the Blur Amount, if you click-and-drag we can blur out the reflection. To get a more realistic view, it helps to enable the Falloff. When you select that checkbox, open the disclosure triangle and you can click-and-drag to adjust the End Distance to see exactly how far the reflection could go before it starts to fall off.
The Begin Distance just sets exactly how quickly the falloff can begin. So if I want this falloff to not start till a little while later, I'll crank up the Begin Distance. Exponent just determines how far away the object can get from the reflection before it stops processing that reflection. So to talk about highlights let's go ahead, and select the word Reflections. Since it's black we should notice it pick up pretty quickly.
Notice we have a Spot Light, and in the Spot Light settings, we do have a pretty narrow angle with a really nice Soft Edge. So if we went in under the Reflections layer in the Proprieties tab, you'll notice we have an option for Lighting, and here we have Highlights. So let's select that checkbox. You notice now I'm getting the highlight of the Spot Light. This slider Shininess will just determine how shiny the object is, whether it's more of a matte reflection or really shinny reflection.
So it's little hard to see what the Spot Light is set with a really Soft Edge. So let's bring the softness down on the edge of that, there we go and we'll go back to Reflections and adjust the Shininess. So here you can kind of see how it processes the highlight. Notice Motion 4 doesn't have its highlights on yet either, so let's go ahead and select that and adjust the Shininess as well. So you can see I can kind of tone it down just a little bit. Now this is a pretty drastic example.
So let me go back to the Spot Light settings and soften that edge there a little bit. Now remember how I brought up the blend mode of the Floor. Well initially like I said since I wanted to create this gradient, I set the Floor blend mode to Add. That way we could still see the shadows, and it would add this nice highlight, as the lights hit the Floor. But let's go into the Properties tab and change the blend mode to Normal. Now you notice with Reflections to me personally that big dark swath isn't nearly as distracting.
It actually kind of adds an interesting sense of depth. Now the last thing I want you to remember specifically about Reflections is this setting here under Project Properties. If you go to the Render Settings, there is the setting for maximum number of bounces. And this setting is set up when you have multiple reflections facing each other. Like if you have ever stood in a clothes booth where they have mirrors on either side of you, and you look in the mirror and it's just an infinite reflection of yourself reflecting a reflection of yourself, reflecting a reflection of yourself.
Well Motion limits that by default, and you can change that setting in the Project Properties, just understand if you try and change this too much, Motion is not going to be very happy with you, and it's going to take a very long time to render whatever it is you are trying to process. So now that we have covered Reflections, I hope you use it, but honestly this is another one of those settings, just because it's there doesn't necessarily mean you always have to use it.
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