Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating elements with paint strokes, part of Motion: Principles of Motion Graphics.
If you've ever had to paint a room in your house, you know the frustration of taping and preparing the room for painting. Well, in Motion, you have the same freedom of paint, but unlike traditional painting, you can always go back at any time and fix any stroke you've made in error. Color, width, heck, even with your painting, you can change your paint from smooth colors to complex shapes or patterns like vines and ropes. Now in this exercise, we were going to use paint to reveal some type onto the screen. Play back the animation as it exists right now and I want you to see where this type starts animating.
If you drag your playhead back towards the middle of the comp, go ahead and position it relatively close to where the type starts flickering. So around 1:14, that's one we want to have all of our brushstrokes on the page here. Now it will be kind of interesting, because Motion does record the brushstrokes in real-time. So I just kind of wanted to point out the general timing and we'll see what happens once we actually start recording our first brushstrokes in just a second. So move your playhead back to the beginning of the timeline, go up to the Create section in your toolbar, and grab the Paint Stroke tool.
Now I usually don't paint unless I have the HUD opened, so go ahead and press F7 to open the HUD and you notice here in the Paint Stroke Tool section we have a couple different options. Now the first thing I'll usually recommend people to do, go down to the Shapes Style section and this pull down menu right above the brush size here, go ahead click on that. And if you notice we have a bunch of different sections. Now this is specific brushstrokes that we're going to create for energy, so let's go to the Lights section and I'm going to choose Light Streak 02.
I sort of like the coloring and how soft this is. I think it will look really neat. So go ahead and choose Light Streak 02 and notice how we get a preview right down here in the bottom of the Paint Stroke tool. So it is also kind of neat, you can click and drag in the window and it will try and give you another preview when you press the Play button. So the HUD is just the coolest thing. Let's go and adjust the Width before we start painting, bring the Width up to around 25, and now you can see we have the Width of the brush on the end of our cursor here.
Now I want you to click and drag in your canvas kind of quickly. I'm going to start in the lower left and sort of arc up towards the logo and move off to the upper left. So we'll just try that on there. Okay, now I know it doesn't look like anything happened, but if you press F5, it will open the Layers tab and here you'll notice the Light Streak did get drawn into the scene. Now if you press the Play button, you can see there's our brushstroke. I think that's kind of cool. If you press F6, you can open up your timeline and under the Types section here you notice, here you can see Light Streak as well.
Now go back to the HUD for a second and I'm just going to hide my timeline and my Layers panel, F5 and F6 accordingly. I want to increase the width of my paintbrush, but under Pen Pressure we can just change that to nothing, because I'm not using a pen, but you can change the Pens Speed. Let's changed that to Width and then also if you want, you can enable Write On. Let's turn that on and I'm going to grab yet another larger brush, there we go.
This time I'll drag from the right and do the same kind of thing, but I'll be a little bit more violent when I get towards the word Energy, just so we have some kind of speed variance, so here we go. Okay, so I went kind of fast and then when I slowed down, you could see I got that kind of wide option from the pen. let's move our playhead back to the beginning and press Play. So you can continue to paint brushstrokes in real-time if you want and fill out the scene and see exactly what you come up with.
One of the neat things is the fact that you can actually go back and make changes to any of these brushstrokes. So go ahead and draw a couple of different brushstrokes and open up your Layers panel by pressing F5. I'm going to hide the HUD for now and you notice I have a couple different brushstrokes. If we select any of the brushstrokes, I'm not really getting anything to select in the canvas, but if you click and hold on the Selection tool, the third tool up from the bottom will allow you to adjust paths and check it out.
I actually have a path that I can go ahead and adjust. So if I want this brushstroke to actually not intersect these words, I can select multiple points just by holding down Shift as I select each point. Now with all four setup I can let go or Shift and just click on one and now I've actually changed the shape of the path. Now you have to be a little careful when you do things like this because you can make a bumpy path if you're not too careful.
And then let's work on changing the width as well. If you go to the Inspector, notice when we have the brush selected, down here we have Stroke options under the Shape panel. Now the Stroke options are kind of cool. You can adjust the spacing over the stroke and if you're not sure what that looks like, I'm just going to click right here in the middle and drag up. And you notice if I zoom in on the canvas here a little bit, you notice as I increase the spacing, I get that kind of stropping effect, because these brushes are actually airbrushes, so they're tiny little dots that get drawn on one right after the other.
I'm just going to undo that last adjustment there in that last keyframe. The thing that I find I adjust the most is the Brush Scale and the Width Over Stroke. So here if we click and drag right in the middle. Now I'm actually getting a larger width to my brushstroke and if you keep dragging up, notice the graph will dynamically update allowing you to make a ridiculously wide brushstroke. So if you go ahead and right click or Ctrl+Click on any of the keyframes, you can go to Interpolation and change it from Linear to Bezier.
That way you can smooth out the transition from one to the other. Now since I'm not seeing the entire brushstroke, I'm just going to move my playhead back to the beginning here and you can see I'm really getting some different adjustments as I adjust the Width Over Stroke. So I'm just going to keep going and doing some tweaks here, but through the magic of video, I'll pick up a few in just a quick second. So as you can see, I've done a fair amount of work adjusting the width over the stroke, but there are two more things that I want to make sure I share with you.
First one, the Write On behavior. Great thing about Write On, if we scrub through the animation here, you'll notice some of the strokes are actually animating with the same time. So if we, let's say, select this brushstroke right here, you notice it is the top one, if I click on Write On, I can actually make that Write On take a longer time, or I can have it wait and not come in until much later in the timeline. So now when we preview the animation, let's see exactly what happens here. There we go.
So the Write On behavior just allows you to turn around and edit the timing for the brushstroke that you drew, and I want you to select this one path right here in the middle that's going through the words. This path we're going to change into a kind of particle emitter. So if you go to the Shape tab in your Inspector, under the Advanced section, turn on Dynamics. Now with Dynamics on, notice you can see some particles. If we move our playhead back and press play, you should see yeah, that looks pretty darn cool. The only thing that bothers me is the fact that these little dabs aren't fading away.
So believe it or not, these will behave just like particles, so in order to fix this, let's add a behavior built for particles. That's up under Add Behaviors > Particles and choose Scale Over Life. Now we want this to just scale out into nothing, so let's change the Scale At Death down to zero. And if we preview our animation, you'll notice I'm no longer seen any of those little bubbles. That's because we have a zero Scale At Birth as well.
So let's go ahead and prank that up. Now if we move our playhead back to the beginning and preview the animation, you should see we have the stroke and we have our little explosion of dynamics. Now I love painting inside of Motion. It's amazingly fast and delivers high quality results. It's true it's not really recording the strokes in 3-D space, but I can overcome now with dynamics and the precise control over the colors and width of the stroke.
Now, if only I could have the same flexibility the next time I have to paint my house.
- Shortcuts for previewing and setting type
- Using type as a design element
- Creating dynamic transitions
- Creating and using color palettes
- Working with particles to create depth
- Adding details with lighting
- Integrating audio in a project
- Editing techniques
- Animating a lower 3rd
- Animating and styling a map
- Building a storyboard