Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with layers and layer groups, part of Motion 4 Essential Training.
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As you continue working in Motion, you'll become well acquainted with the Project pane. And one of the key features of the Project pane is the Layers tab. Layers tab contain both groups and layers. To show you that let's open the Project pane. Press the Project button on the top of your toolbar. And you'll notice we have a group and then we have individual layers within that group. The order of the group determines the visual hierarchy. For example, XYZ is on top and that's why it's covering up all the other words underneath.
If you want to change this hierarchy click on the layer and drag directly up or directly down. And you'll notice I see a little line with a circle on the end of it. When I let go now XYZ has been moved to the bottom of the stack. If you'd like to create a new group there are couple of different ways. With a layer selected you can click the Plus button. That will automatically create a group directly above whatever layer you had selected. So if I drag my XYZ layer directly up into Group 1, now XYZ is in Group 1.
If you want to rename a layer or a group, all you have to do is double-click on the text. Let's rename the main group, Group 0 and press Enter on your keyboard to set the type. It's important to understand how the group layer hierarchy works. For example, if I select on Group 1 and go to the Inspector and change the Properties. Let's say we adjusted the rotation just by clicking-and-dragging. Notice since I have XYZ in Group 1, XYZ is moving. Now if we grab Group 0 and drag on its rotation, all of the items are now rotating.
So the group layer hierarchy works visually, but it also works in terms of controlling your objects on the Canvas. Let me just press Command+Z to undo the last couple of commands. If you'd like to move a layer or a group up in the hierarchy, all you have to do is click-and-drag up out of that specific area where it's contained. So once I get up to the top, I'm also going to drag to the left. And we'll get a green plus button, letting me know when I let go of the mouse button now we have moved successfully outside of the Group 0 hierarchy.
So now if you grab Group 0 and dragged on the rotation, notice we no longer have control over Group 1 or XYZ. Press Command+Z to undo that. So each individual layer has its own set of controls so we can change. For example, if I adjust the rotation of the word ANCHOR which is kind of hard to see. So let me undo that. Let's select the word SPACE and adjust its rotation. And now if I grab Group 0 and adjust the rotation, now everything in that group is rotating. Let me undo.
There is also Visibility determined in the Layers tab. For example, the selection checkbox. Notice if we deselect Group 0, we'll no longer be able to see all the other subsequent layers within Group 0. But if I turn Group 0 on and turn off one of the subsequent layers or the other layers within Group 0 still stay on. We turn the Visibility back on. You can also lock layers. For example, if I don't want to accidentally manipulate Group 0, I could lock that. And now you notice that I don't have access to any of the controls, and also there is a red box in the Canvas and slashes in the Mini Timeline.
All letting us know that this has been locked off. This little icon right next to the lock lets you know whether it's a 2D or, if you click on it, a three-dimensional group. Let's leave this two-dimensions for now. If you go to the bottom of the Layers tab and click-and-drag, you'll notice you can resize the layers. Also there are buttons here that would allow you to toggle the visibility of your behaviors, filters and the new masks you might have applied to your different layers. At the top there is a search field, so when you have lots and lots of layers if you want to look for a specific layer such as SPACE.
Notice it'll automatically hide all the other layers except for the one that you started searching for. If you want to clear this field press the X on the right-hand side. You also want to be careful if you press the Space button, because that will make it appear as though they aren't any layers. But notice when you are searching this does not affect the visibility in the Canvas. Let's clear that out. So you'll also notice that the Disclosure triangles right next to the groups. If you click on those that will expand and contract the different layers underneath so you can choose to see them or not.
Now last thing I want to show you is a way to duplicate layers or groups. If you select the layer or group and then press Option on your keyboard and drag, you will automatically create a duplicate of that item. So as you can see the Layers tab, while it appears simple, has quite a lot of options that you can go through and quite a few controls that you can use to manipulate the items in your Canvas.
- 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