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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.
Before we get into the intricacies of working with our cameras and all their different settings, it's important to understand that cameras in Motion are literally a virtual representation of a real world camera. So, if you have had any experience directing shoots or working with photo and video cameras, you've already got a head start. Let's start by looking at the Camera settings and options. Press F5 and open the Project pane to select the camera, and let's open the HUD and go to the Inspector. Make sure you are on the Camera tab in the Inspector.
Let's go through some of these different options. First off you notice in the HUD, we have a couple of different visual controls that we don't have in the Inspector. But I also find it interesting if there are certain settings in the HUD that are not in the Inspector. This is kind of rare in Motion. So, a lot of times when I work with cameras, it makes sense to have both the Inspector and the HUD open. Let's get started by looking at Near Plane and Far Plane. What this allows you to do is setup objects that are really close to your camera in the scene, and far away from your camera in the scene, and if you adjust the Near Plane and Far Plane settings, you can tell Motion to render those specific areas.
Notice as I'm dragging the Far Plane to the left, the edge of the 3D Grid starts creeping up. That's because Motion is not going to render anything past is Far Plane. So, if I crank the Near Plane up, you'll notice eventually, objects on the canvas start disappearing. Now, this is kind of a harsh disappearance, but you can smooth that out by adjusting the Fade settings. So, since this is the Near Plane that's making these objects disappear, let's drag the Near Fade slider, so we can make that transition a little more soft.
This is a neat way to actually make objects appear and disappear as you're moving your camera through the scene in Z space. Now, let's check out the Camera Type, so we can better understand what's going on as we make these changes. Let's go to the pulldown menu in the upper left side of the canvas, and choose Perspective. Let's pane and zoom out just a little bit more so we can see the entire camera. So, with the Camera Type Framing, you'll notice the 3D controls for that camera are actually on the camera's focal plane.
So, as I click-and-drag on the Y axis here, you'll notice the changes are all tied to the camera's focal plane. But if we change the Camera Type to Viewpoint, you'll notice the handles are now on the camera directly itself. So as I make adjustments, some of these adjustments are a little more drastic in terms of what the camera is actually viewing, and if you are not seeing this window pop-up in the lower right corner of your canvas, go up to your View options and make sure Show 3D Overlays is selected, and that all the different options underneath are also selected.
So, as we make adjustments that pop-up window will actually show us the view from that specific camera we're manipulating. Now that we understand Camera Type, let's look at Angle Of View. If I drag this up, you'll notice the Focal Length is changing. So as I drag to the right, the focal length is getting really small, and that's making the lens act more like a wide-angle lens. So, if I drag the Angle Of View further to the left, you'll notice the Focal Length is acting much more like a telephoto.
Now as we continue manipulating the camera, it's important to understand this Adjust Around pop-up menu. By default things are set to Local Axis. To better show you the point, let's switch the camera back to Framing. Right now, with Adjust Around set to Local Axis, as I orbit around the scene, you'll notice the blue axis handle is always pointing directly at the camera. But if we switch the Adjust Around to the World Axis, notice now the camera handles have changed to be perfectly aligned with Z and X in the canvas.
What's great about this, as I make adjustments to this camera, I'm not changing the overall angle of that camera's view. Let me switch to an angle, so you can see it a little bit better. So, that's World Axis. It will always make the axis snap to the World Axes. Under View Axis notice the Z-axis will switch to point at you, the user. So, let's switch back to World Axis just for a second and orbit around, so this is a lot more noticeable.
Now switch to View Axis and you'll notice that axis has switched. So now, if I drag on the camera's X, it's really moving in Z space throughout the scene. Let's change Adjust Around back to the Local Axis and quickly reset some options. Let's close the HUD here, and if you are ever in a view like this where things just look kind of strange, if you double-click the Pan tool, it will automatically reset your view to the default view. Now, a little bit of a problem with this.
The camera is still kind of out of whack. So, if you click on the pulldown menu and choose the Camera, you can double-click that again, and it resets the position of the camera itself. Let me orbit and pan, just to get a better angle there. Another way to switch quickly between views is this button right here. So, as we click on this pulldown, go ahead and click on that and change it to Left. And you notice we've snapped to the Left View, I'm just going to pan, so I can see some objects in the scene.
Now, if we just click this button next to the camera, it will automatically switch back to the Camera view. Notice there is a toggle button. So, if I click it again, it's going to switch back to the Left View. So, if I toggle back to the camera and now switch to the Top View, if I click that button again, it's going to click back to the camera and then toggle to the top. There are similar buttons on objects within your scene. For example, if I select the word Pivots, you'll see the icon, if you click on it, it has automatically isolated that word so I can easily grab the Text tool, and make edits if I had any changes.
I'm not going to make any changes, but you get the idea. If you click on that button again, it just takes you back to your previous view. Now that we have kind of switched our views around really quickly, let me show you another way to move your camera around the scene very quickly. If you select the camera itself, there is a tool in your View section of the toolbar, called the Walk Camera. It allows you to use your Arrow keys on your keyboard to zoom in, and move left and right. The last thing I want to talk about is the fact Motion supports more than one camera in your scene.
So, for example, if I wanted to cut from this view to a different view, I could easily do that just by adding a new camera in the scene. So, let's make sure we have camera 1 selected, and just click on the button right here to make it active and let's orbit around somewhere at a lower angle. Let's switch back to the original camera just by clicking on the button, and now we can trim from one camera to another. The higher camera takes priority. So, we are actually going to have to switch back to camera 1 if we want to trim, so we can cut from one camera to the other.
So, drag your playhead down to around frame 145, and press I on your keyboard to trim the in point. And now, I could go back and switch to the original camera and trim that out, but I don't have to because like I said, whichever camera is higher in the Layers palette will actually take priority, and that's known as the active camera. When you go to export your Motion project with multiple cameras, the active camera will always be the one that exports. Let's move the playhead back in the Timeline a little bit, go up to your pulldown menu and make sure Active Camera is selected.
Now press Play and you notice Motion will cut from the original camera to camera 1. With all these options we just went over, I want you to ponder something. Imagine just how amazing your projects could look, if you keyframe these parameters.
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