Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Navigating the Canvas, part of Motion 4 Essential Training.
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The Canvas is really where the magic happens in Motion. Motion was designed to work visually, and this is where you cannot only see but also manipulate your work. So basically the canvas is your main work area in Motion. And since the essence of Motion is movement, let's start at the bottom of the canvas in this area here with the buttons. These are called the transport controls. If we click this under Play button, you'll notice playback begins on the Canvas and that automatically toggles to a Pause button. So let me pause right now, and point out the green triangle with the line underneath.
That's the playhead. If you click on it, you can click-and-drag around in this light-gray area called the mini-timeline. Notice even if I click anywhere else in the mini-timeline the Playhead will automatically snap to wherever I click. When you select an object in the canvas the mini-timeline will update showing you the timing of that object. So I know when I select to this rectangle it comes into existence at frame 55. Now you might be asking, how did I know it's frame 55? Down here on the left-hand side we have a Value slider and this Value slider on the left will always show you where your Playhead is.
So when I press Play, notice that Value slider number is moving up. If I stop playback for a second on the right-hand side, you'll notice I have the entire length of this composition, which happens to be 240 frames. To the left of this Value slider, you'll see a clock, and if I click on that it'll switch between Time Code View and Frame View. The time clock on the left side works the exact same way. Now that we have the basics of the time controls down, let me show you these little triangles at the beginning and at the end just above your mini-timeline.
Notice if you click-and-drag on them, we'll get an update window that pops up letting us know exactly what frame we are dragging it to. We are now setting what's called the Playback Range. So the one on the left is the In point and the one on the right is controlling the Out point. If we put the Playhead in between and press Play, now you'll notice Motion will only cycle in the playback range area. Now that we have that set, let's move out to the upper right-hand side of the Canvas. These are the pop-up menus that help control while you are seeing in your project.
For example, this is your Zoom Level pop-up, so if I click 100% notice my Canvas zooms up to show me 100%. Now a quick key command you'll probably be using a lot throughout this course is Shift+Z, which will automatically resize your Canvas no matter what window you have open. This next pop-up menu will show you each individual color channel, just like Photoshop or just the color value itself or just the alpha channel. This render pop-up menu is kind of important.
If you are working with a project that has a lot of graphics and it's very intensive, sometimes you'll have to change the resolution, so Motion can playback in real-time. You can also adjust the quality. Underneath this is where you can control Lighting, Shadows, and Reflections. Also your Motion Blur, Field Rendering, and Frame Blending. The View pop-up menu allows you to control what you see in the Canvas, for example, the Safe Zones. If you are designing graphics for video a lot of times you want to make sure that text is inside the inner safe zone and your graphics are inside the outer safe zone.
Another feature in here you'll probably be adjusting quite a bit is Correct for Aspect Ratio. Notice if I deselect that, my Canvas looks slightly distorted. That's because of the resolution we are working at. Let's make sure to change that back on so we can see what this would look like when it's finally output. This final pop-up menu has to deal with 3D and we'll get to that in the later chapter. So the last things I want to show you on the Canvas are your Project pane. If you press F5 on your keyboard you can open the Project pane, or you can gum up under Window and choose Project pane.
Also the Timing pane, if I press F6 on the keyboard that will open the Timing pane. So another way to open and close these windows is by clicking the buttons in the top of your toolbar. For example, I can close the Project pane and under these arrows I can close the Timing pane. So the Project pane and the Timing pane are so in-depth, we've actually created new videos that you'll see later on in this chapter. Even though we covered the essentials of the Canvas in this video, believe it or not there are even more options when we turn on 3D.
We'll cover those features in an upcoming chapter on 3D, but for now you have the core knowledge to move around in the Canvas. So when we do finally get to 3D you'll already been old pro.
- 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