Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with layers and groups, part of Motion 5 Essential Training.
Now one of the things I find most interesting about working in Motion is the way that it's actually organized. It's kind of neat that you can see absolutely every layer involved in a composition, including all of the nested elements, without having to go into each individual pre-composition. Now if you're unfamiliar with what I am talking about, don't worry about it. That's where we are going to get to in this video. So if you don't already have this project open, open 02_03_layers and then press F5 to open your Layers panel. In here you'll notice I have a background layer, and to give myself some more viewing area I am just going to press Command+1 to hide my File Browser.
Now we should be able to see the full name of all of the layers and groups. Now, most the time you see a disclosure triangle like this. That usually means that there are other elements underneath of that group. So as you can see, my background video group contains my Stripes_Circles Photoshop document that we imported in the previous video, as well as this B-Roll_Piano QuickTime. Now if I press the spacebar here, you'll see our animation is kind of blah, and really we need to spice it up.
So to do that, I want to start duplicating some of these different graphic elements. I am just going to press the spacebar to stop playback and open up our Stripe_Circles comp here, so we can see what we are dealing. Now I have these three bars. I am going to start by duplicating these bars. Now to do that, I am going to select Bar1, hold down Shift, and select Bar3. Now with all the layers selected, I can go ahead and press Command+D to duplicate these layers.
Notice they have been duplicated in the layer hierarchy. So if I want to actually move these individual objects as a group, what I should do is group them all together in one new group. Now with all three layers selected, it's pretty easy to do; all you have to do is right-click or Ctrl+Click on one of the layers and then go out here and choose Group. Now with that group I've automatically added all three of the elements into the new group, and you notice my bounding box is now around all three elements, rather than three individual elements.
So now if I want to rotate this, I can just click on our rotation handle and as I hold Shift, I can make it snap in 90-degree increments, and now if I just click anywhere inside the bounding box, I can go ahead and just reposition this layer. So now I've got some copies up here. Let's duplicate the circles. Now since the circles already reside in a group, I am going to use key command right here within the Canvas. If you hold down Option and click and drag from within the bounding box, notice I automatically create a copy of that group, and you can see it here in the layer hierarchy.
Now one of the issues I'm running into is the fact that my anchor point is way over here. So if I click on rotation, it's going to spin way off this screen. So I'll just click and hold on my Transform tool to access the Anchor Point tool. Now I can just click the x axis control handle and the y axis control handle to move the anchor point back to the center of these circles. Now, when we grab our Transform tool, now my anchor point, as you can see, is right here in the middle.
Now, since these circles are grouped together, if I wanted to scale this group up, I could just click on any one of the corners and hold down Shift as I drag, but notice if I don't hold down Shift until after I start transforming, there will be a distortion. So make sure to hold down Shift first and then click and drag. Now, look what happens if you expand a layer group and select the individual elements. Okay.
I'm just holding down Shift as I'm clicking, but now watch what happens. If I hold down Shift and click on one of the corners and start scaling, notice they're scaling around the center point of each individual element, not the whole group together. So now I've got kind of these disjointed circles, which isn't quite what was going for, so I will just Undo that command and then move these circles over here to this side. So this is already starting to look a little more interesting, but what I want to do is go ahead and group the Circles copy in my new bar group here.
So I will rename the bar group L_BarGroup, L for left, and then here's my Circles copy. So click on Circles copy and if you hold down Command and click on L_BarGroup, that will allow you to select both groups without selecting the intermediary layers in between. So now if I go ahead and right-click, I can group these groups, and now I can go ahead and move this as a unit. Or if I hold down Option again, I can make copies of this.
So this is starting to look a little more interesting. Now I am going to hold down Shift and click on the corner to scale this down. Again, let's go ahead and move our anchor point. So I think you're probably sensing a theme. Using Option+Drag or Command+D or right- click to group objects, it's very quick and easy to actually group multiple layers into multiple groups.
Now one of the things that also translates as you're moving things around and making copies is the ability to apply filters and behaviors to groups as opposed to individual layers. And we will get to that in a little bit, but for now we've covered a lot of the basics when it comes to dealing with multiple layers and creating groups.
- 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.