Getting to Grips with Motion part 2 The fundamentals

Continuing on with our introduction to Motion, in this Blog I’ll get you using Motion to animate text layers using Behaviors (rather than Keyframes), as Behaviors are the Primary workflow for creating animation when using Motion.

Start by creating a new Motion Project from the Project Browser, To keep things simple choose an SD preset, I’ve chased PAL Broadcast SD. Make the Duration 10 seconds (00:00:10:00) and click open.

For now you won’t need the Project Pane, Video Timeline or HUD. If they are open use the Keyboard Shortcuts to close them (COMMAND-4, COMMAND-7 & F7).

From the Tool Bar select the Text Tool and click anywhere in the Canvas. When you see the flashing cursor type “Animate”. We will use this text as an object to add some basic animation behaviours to.

Lets take a look at the options for formatting the text and how to access them.

Click on the Inspector Tab or press COMMAND-3. In the Inspector select the Tab named Text. 3 buttons are available: Format, to edit the text formatting such as Font, Size, Tracking etc. Style; to edit the Fill and Stroke colours, add shadow, Glow etc of the text. And Layout: to edit more advanced features such as the direction of the text, aligning text to Paths etc.

For now lets keep things simple, use the Format window to adjust the text size to 50 and the Font to Bold. Next use the Style Window to change the Face colour to Yellow. That will do for now.

Lets now have a look at what has happened in the Project Pane now you’ve got some content on screen. Press COMMAND-4

Each project’s content is contained inside a Group, for now this group is fine. More complex projects require more groups and even sub groups. The disclosure arrow next to the group will display and hide the groups content, in this instance you only have a text layer called “Animate”.

Close the Project Pane for now by pressing COMMAND-4 again.

Now lets look at the Mini Timeline, which sits underneath the Canvas Window. Because the text layer is currently selected, the mini timeline shows the position and the duration of this layer in the project. This text layer occupies the full 10 seconds. Take note of this timeline for now, we will need to use it later.

Now lets add the first behaviour to the Text Layer, we will stick with a simple fade in and out.

Open the Library Window (COMMAND-2). Select the Bahaviors category, then select the Theme folder Basic Motion and choose Fade In/Fade Out. A preview of the Behavior appears in the Library. Make sure the Text layer is still selected and click on the Apply button next to the preview.

Play the animation and the text fades in and then fades out as requested.

Open the Project pane again (COMMAND 4) and you will see added to the Group content is the behaviour Fade IN/Fade Out. Select this behaviour, and in the Mini Timeline not that this behaviours timing and position are displayed, also lasting the full 10 seconds. This is how long the behaviour will take to complete the animation, 10 Seconds In and Out.

Lets apply a different behavior. Return to the Library and select Throw, and as before click Apply in the Library Window to apply this behaviour after Fade In/Fade Out.

Lets now utilise the HUD to control this Throw behavior, its by far the simplest method to control this one. Press F7 to open the HUD window, making sure that the Throw behavior is selected in the Layers in the Project Pane. This ensures the HUD is set to control that behavior.

Using the Circular Grid in the HUD, click and drag the arrow in the direction you want the text to animate. Use the Length of the arrow to control the distance, and the angle to control the direction. No Keyframes are required to make behaviours work, they just do, and you amend the parameters settings to control them.

Play the timeline, the Throw behavior, as with the Fade In/Fade Out lasts the full 10 seconds of the timeline. Make the Throw behavior start later and end earlier by trimming the in and out points in the mini timeline. Do this by moving the playhead to 00:00:03:00 and pressing I (in), them move to 00:00:07:00 and press O (out).

Play the timeline again, the Throw behavior now only occurs between seconds 3 and 7.

This is the fundamental way behaviours work, they apply an animation using the properties you set in the Inspector or HUD within the timescale you set in the Timeline. It’s really very simple.

Try adding more behaviors from the Library and adjusting what they do, and when so that you feel more confident with the basics.