Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the Utility window, part of Motion 4 Essential Training.
As the Motion interface is divided into two sections, the Canvas and the Utility window, in this video we are going to cover the Utility window. First off, you will notice it's divided into three tabs, the File Browser, the Library and the Inspector. The Inspector has so many features it's divided into four other tabs, which we'll get to in a second. Let's start with the File Browser. The biggest reason I like teaching about the File Browser once I teach you how the File Browser works all those same principles will work to the Library.
So let's start with the File Browser. This is a full featured File Browser just like the Finder on your Desktop and you will notice this is your home folder, your Documents folder and your Desktop, just like you would find them in the Finder, and for that matter, it actually is manipulating the files in your Finder. So you want to make sure as you move the files around in the File Browser of your Utility window, you understand you are actually moving the files around in the Finder on your computer. So if you actually send something to the Trash from your File Browser, you are deleting it off of your computer.
So let's look on our Desktop and you will notice we have an Exercise Files folder. That's where I have copied all the Exercise Files. If we open that folder by double- clicking, you notice we have all the different Chapter folders. Now you can resize the views of these icons just by clicking-and-dragging this Resize slider at the bottom of the screen. As I navigate to the Media folder, if we go in under Image Sequence you will notice there is another button down here that will allow me to see all of the images in the sequence or just represent the entire sequence as one item.
Now, also notice once I have something selected, at the top of the File Browser I'll get a preview of exactly what I have selected. So since this Image Sequence is selected, I'm also getting a Play/Pause button. If I go ahead and click Play, it will actually play through that animation. I'll just stop that for right now. Notice right underneath the preview there is a Path pop-up menu, if you click on that you will see the file path of the file you currently have selected. Let me go right back to my Desktop, right next to the Path pop-up menu we have an option where we can switch between Icon View and List View.
In List View, you will notice you can sort by Date or Size and if you scroll over, there are whole bunch of other fields you can navigate. Lastly, in the File Browser, there is a Search option. If you are having a hard time finding your files you can click in the Search field and start typing the name of the file you are looking for in little pop-up in the bottom of the File Browser. Next let's jump to the Library tab, and notice we have the same options with the pop-up menu and the Search field as well as the preview.
If I click on any specific item I have selected in the bottom of the Library tab, we'll get a preview up here. Right now, I have selected one of the behaviors. Let's just go to Particle Emitters for example, and if I click on Afterburner we'll get a preview. Now, we'll go more in-depth about the Library later, I just wanted you to understand the utility of how its functions. You want to be careful if you are searching for individual things in the Library because if you press the Spacebar, you will notice even though I know there are items in this folder, it will pop-up absolutely nothing because it's looking for items that start with a space.
So it's very important to pay attention when you are searching for items because it will actually get you sometime if you are not paying attention. Let's clear out the Search field by pressing the X on the right-hand side. Notice we can also view items in the Library as icons as well as the list. Now, if you find something you like to apply to your project all you have to do is drag it and drop it and we'll get more into that later. The third and most in-depth tab in the Utility window is the Inspector and the Inspector lets you check out the files you have selected in your project.
So, if I just click in this area right here, you will notice I have selected the edges of this button, and so it's giving me all the properties of that button. For example, it's Position, Rotation, Scale, etcetera. Now, if I had any behaviors applied, I would see those as well as any filters and this tab down there is called the contextual tab, this will change depended upon the type of file you have selected. So if I click over here, you notice I have just selected a layer group, so it's switched to Group.
When I click on this shape, it's now switched back to Shape. You will notice this change as we continue going throughout this course. Not only can you see information about the items you have selected in the Inspector, you can also actually adjust those items. So if I go back to the Properties tab, I can expand the disclosure triangle next to Position. For example, I can adjust the X Position by just clicking-and-dragging in the number slider to move it around on the canvas on its X-axis. I can also click-and-drag on the Y and do much the exact same thing.
Sometimes when you are in the Inspector, you will see a number slider. So if I click on that, you notice I can change it within a specific range. For example, the range of this Scale goes up to 400 and down to 0. Well, what if I wanted to change it to something higher than 400. If you click-and-drag in the number, well next to the slider you can choose values that are actually outside of the range of that slider. And any time you make any changes to any of these values, you can always go back and reset the values just by clicking on the Reset button up here at the top of that specific parameter.
So as you can see the Utility window is the place to go if you want to add things to your composition from the File Browser or add new graphics to your compositions from the library. Or finally make changes and manipulate all the items you have in your project.
- 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
Skill Level Beginner
Q: In Motion 4, is it possible to create an intro with multiple pictures, where some pictures enter from the left side and some from the right side of the frame, with all fading as they approach the center of the canvas?
A: The effect described is a very specific move utilizing 3D space. One effective method is to work in true 3D space, instead of trying to use a behavior, by keyframing the animation. Try these steps:
- Place a camera in the scene and switch the scene to 3D.
- Rotate the first image to an angle that achieves the desired effect, and slide it on the X axis until it is out of the scene on the right of the stage.
- Turn on Auto Keyframing and make sure a keyframe is recorded for the rotation and position.
- Move the playhead down the Timeline and move the picture to it's ending point and adjust the rotation a little for the end.
- To get the image to disappear, adjust the camera's far plane of view, making sure to soften it so it has a smooth transition into oblivion.
Then simply duplicate the picture and change the rotation and position keyframes to the exact opposite values for rotation and position.
Q: When attempting to change views as the instructor demonstrates in the “Viewing a 3D scene in different layouts” video, I only see the text in the Perspective view. When the instructor uses the Top and Bottom screen split, and uses the Top view, my screen does not show the four horizontal lines that represent the four words used in the tutorial.
Are there settings that need to be changes in order to view all the objects as demonstrated in the tutorial?
A: It’s possible that when viewing the project from different?angles, the letters may be sliding way out of the view area.
Here’s how to fix it: Whenever you can't see your objects in the?scene, select at least one of them in the Layers panel and then press?F or Command+F to frame the selected objects in the scene.