Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Navigating the interface, part of Motion 5 Essential Training.
Much like sitting in the driver's seat of a well-designed sports car, the interface of Motion is well thought out and most of the important tools and features are easily accessible with just a few clicks or a keystroke. So to show you what I mean, let's look at just how easy it is to learn and, more importantly, remember some of the shortcuts for the interface. Now, since this is a Mac, we want to make sure to enable a feature in our System Preferences. So if you go up under the Apple menu, in System Preferences, go to the Keyboard section, and make sure that you have Use all F1 and F2, etc., keys as standard function keys selected, so that way when you go use the function keys, they don't accidentally use some other feature within the operating system. Okay.
Now, that that's set up, let's look at the interface, and you will notice Motion is primarily divided up into two sections. On the left over here, this used to be known as the Utility window. Now it's just the left side of the interface that contains all of these different options. Now, if you're using Motion from the previous version, you'll notice the interface is all self-contained in one box. It's pretty nice. But all the key commands remain the same. Now, if you're new to Motion, to learn the key commands it's pretty simple. Go up under the Window menu, and down under Show Inspector notice we have F keys mapped, 1, 2, 3, 4, and then we have 5, 6, 7, 8, and sure enough, Command keys, 1-9.
Now the way I like to think of whether I'm going to use an F key or a Command key, typically I use an F key when I want an open section of the project, whereas I use the Command keys to jump directly to one of these different tabs. So let's start with the file browser over here on the left-hand side. Notice this is an integrated File Browser within the Motion application, so anything that I select here, I can navigate those folders down here. The next tab over we have the Library, which we will definitely get more into, but this is basically an area with a bunch of presets that you can use for your projects.
The Inspector is kind of contextual, and basically it works based on whatever you have selected in your project. So here I clicked and selected something that was called a replicator, and notice this tab automatically popped up. Anything that you have selected has properties applied to it and sometimes behaviors, if a behavior was applied, or sometimes filters. Now, to better see the project what you want to do is press F5. This will open the Project panel, and here you'll notice we have Layers, a Media section, and an Audio section.
Now, just to cover our key commands really quickly, let's press Command+1 and you notice that takes us right to the File Browser. If you press Command+2, Library; Command+3, Inspector; Command+4, the Layers panel; 5, the Media tab; 6, Audio. Okay. So it's pretty straightforward. It takes you right across, 1-6. Now, if you press F5, that's what opened the Project panel. If you press F6, that will open the Timing pane, or you can go up under Window and choose Show Timing Pane.
Now, you notice there aren't tabs for the Timeline. It's kind of interesting the way this works. You can see everything in your project as far as its time that it appears in the project based on this Timeline. So the way the Timeline works is from left to right. And this thing that I'm clicking on right here is the playhead. And notice as I click and drag this object up here is also moving. These are the same things. See, the way the interface is designed, we have the Timeline as well as this area here called the Mini Timeline.
See, whatever I have selected down here will also appear in the Mini Timeline. What this allows us to do is actually work in the animation without always having to have the Timeline window open. See, this is important, because Motion is designed to function in real time, and in order to have the most optimum performance, you don't necessarily always want to have the Timeline open. Most of the time when I work, I just have my Project panel open, set to layers, and I have the Timeline hidden by pressing F6. Now, there are other areas within the Timing pane, and those areas are the Keyframe Editor and the Audio Timeline.
Now, if we had audio in the project, you would see it pop up down here in the bottom of the comp. Now that we've covered the panels and the Timing area, I want to show you some of the more intricate things within the interface. So I am just going to press F5 to close my Project panel and F6 to close my Timing pane. This is usually how I work within Motion. See, this way I can see exactly what's happening in the application as far the animation by pressing the spacebar, and you'll notice I get playback down here.
This is called the Timing window. This shows me exactly where my playhead is, and it also shows me the length of the composition, and a couple of other things. If you go to this little arrow in the lower right, if you click on it, notice I have several options: I can view my time as frames; I can view my time as timecode; I can also view the Current Time, which is where the playhead is currently in the Timeline; or the overall Project Duration. So notice this project is only five seconds.
And you can quickly toggle back and forth between Project Duration and the Current Time Indicator just by clicking this button, and you'll notice how the icon changes down here. Now, when you have objects selected in your project, you can either select them through your Layers panel-- I just pressed F5 to open that up-- you can click directly on an object in the layers panel, or you can click directly on that object in the Canvas. Just understand, sometimes when you're clicking in the Canvas, if there's an object that takes up a large amount of space, it may just automatically assume that you are trying to select that larger object, as opposed to something smaller like these individual circles here.
So when you have an object selected in the Layers panel, you can make adjustments in your Inspector. So here when I click on the Inspector, notice under the Properties section I have a property for Position and Rotation, as well as Scale, Sheer--you get the idea. There are a bunch of different parameters. Now, if I want to adjust these parameters--let's say I want to adjust Scale-- I can just click on the slider and drag it to the right to scale this up or drag it to the left to scale it down. Notice if there is a disclosure triangle, you can get to the individual parameters of an object.
So let's say I wanted to make this more of an oval. I could do that just by adjusting the X and the Y. Now, this button over here creates keyframes, which I will definitely show you as we move forwards, but another way of adjusting parameters, as opposed to clicking on one of these sliders, is by clicking directly on the number itself and dragging with your mouse. We just click and drag. Another way, if you just click once to select it, anytime your mouse is over top of that value, if you use your scroll wheel to scroll up and down, that will change that value.
Now, the last thing I want to show you about the interface, and it's kind of important, is the HUD. See, whenever I have an object selected, sometimes I don't necessarily want to have to come over to the Inspector under the Properties. And to open the HUD, you just have to press F7. Notice in the HUD I have some of the different options, like the opacity of the circle. Notice as I make this adjustment, it's adjusting the opacity down here in the Blending section of the interface. Now, I have all of these different options, but obviously if I want more options I can click on this button right here for the I.
If I click on I, it opens up the Inspector, which, as you can see, is already open. So let me go ahead and close the Inspector, and I will do that by pressing Command+3 on my keyboard. I knew that because this is Command+1, Command+2, Command+3. See, whenever you hit the same key command more than once, it toggles the visibility of that area. So with the Inspector closed, if I had the HUD open and I decided I wanted to change some of the parameters, I would click the I button and it would automatically open the Inspector.
Now, in here for each individual object, like I said earlier, there is a Properties area of the Inspector. If you had any behaviors applied, you would see that here--or filters--and then this menu here will change depending upon the object you have selected. So for example, right here I have a shape selected, so it's showing me Shape options. If I selected this text layer here, now it's showing me Text options. If I select a filter here, notice it just gives me the options for the group that this filter was applied to.
Now, if you're unfamiliar with layers or groups, don't sweat it. We're definitely getting to that in the next chapter. But for now we're finished with HUD. Now, rather than pressing F7, I want to show you this one other thing in the interface down here, the toolbar. Right next to the Timing window is this button here, and if I click on this, this will hide and show the HUD. Now, notice there are plenty of other buttons in the toolbar, and we will definitely learn about those as we continue on throughout this course.
- Getting started with Motion and setting essential preferences
- Working with layers, groups, and blend modes
- Animating and adjusting behaviors
- Building custom presets to create a slideshow
- Keyframing animation
- Animating type along a path
- Creating credit rolls
- Understanding generators
- Adding reflections
- Controlling and animating cameras
- Creating depth of field in a composition
- Adjusting audio
- Exporting, sharing, and archiving a project
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 08/27/2015. What changed?
A: We added a brand new chapter, "16. Creating 3D Text," which covers the 3D titles included in Motion 5.2.