Animating on the Fly

Another powerful feature that Motion offers is the ability to create animations while your project is playing back. This is similar to how audio engineers adjust sliders for each of their different audio channels while listening to the mix. The next time it is played back, all of those changes are incorporated.

Because so many of Motion’s effects are displayed in real time, you can perform a sort of “visual mix” and modify the various parameters of your effects while the project is playing back.

For example, it is not until you see the various elements in your project in concert that you can know whether each part is behaving as it should. One object may be fading too slowly and making another element hard to see, or a text element might come and go so quickly that it cannot be read. With keyframing on the fly, you can make adjustments to any slider or parameter in the program while your project is playing. You can also interactively manipulate objects in the Canvas. Then, if you don’t like what you did, rewind and do it again. Each time you alter a parameter, you replace any keyframes previously assigned.

To animate a parameter on the fly using the Inspector or the HUD
  1. Click the Record button (or press A) or choose Mark > Record Animation to turn on keyframe recording.

  2. Click the Play button or press the Space bar to begin playback.

  3. As your project plays, adjust a parameter slider.

  4. Disable Record.

    The changes you made during playback are recorded as keyframes for that parameter. You can view them in the Keyframe Editor.

Figure. Keyframe Editor showing keyframes being created on the fly.

If you don’t like the animation you made, you can delete the keyframes and try again. You can choose Edit > Undo (or press Command-Z) to revert to the state before you began recording your animation, or you can manually delete the keyframes you want to replace.

To delete keyframes
Do one of the following:
  • Select the keyframe, then press Delete.

  • Control-click the keyframe, then choose Delete from the shortcut menu.

  • Select the keyframe, then choose Delete from the Animation menu for that parameter.

    Note: To delete all of the keyframes for a parameter, choose Reset Parameter from the Animation menu in the Keyframe Editor list or Inspector.

Handmade Motion in the Canvas

One of the most common uses for animating on the fly is to create handmade animation paths. Although you can choose from a variety of curve types, it is very difficult to get the semi-random movement except by sketching with your mouse or pen.

To create a handmade animation path in the Canvas
  1. Enable Record (press A).

  2. Click the Play button to begin playback.

  3. Select the object you want to manipulate and drag it in the pattern of your choice.

    Both the position and speed of your movement are recorded and applied to the position keyframes for that object.

    Figure. Canvas window showing animation path for object created by dragging while the Record button was on and the project was playing.

    You can further manipulate the path either by dragging individual keyframes, or re-recording a new animation path for that object.