Applying Movement to a Clip

Because moving objects onscreen is so fundamental to motion graphics, Motion makes it especially easy.

To move an object across the screen
  1. Click the Record button (or press A) to turn on keyframe recording.

  2. Place the playhead at the starting frame.

  3. Place the object in a starting position.

    Figure. Canvas window showing object in its starting position.
  4. Move the playhead forward.

  5. Drag the object to the ending position you want.

    Figure. Canvas window showing object at its end position.
  6. Click the Record button (or press A) to turn off keyframe recording.

    If you play back your project, the object flies from position one to position two over the interval you set. You can see the path the object travels by turning on the Animation Path setting in the View pop-up menu above the Canvas.

    Important: When Record is enabled, you can choose to only add keyframes to an object’s parameters that are already animated. This option is available in the Recording Options dialog. For more information, see Recording Keyframes on Animated Parameters Only.

Manipulating Animation Paths in the Canvas

When the animation path is displayed, you can directly manipulate the keyframes to reposition them and change the path that the object follows.

Figure. Canvas window showing a keyframe being repositioned.

When dragging a keyframe in the Canvas, the control point number, as well as the X, Y, and Z position values, are displayed in an info window at the pointer position.

To add keyframes to an animation path
  1. Option-click the path.

    A new keyframe point is added.

  2. Drag the keyframe point to the new position.

You can convert a linear keyframe point into a Bezier keyframe point to create a curved path. This can be done either as you create the keyframe, or after the keyframe has been created.

To add a Bezier keyframe to an animation path
  • Option-click the path, then immediately drag away from the point.

    A point is added and a Bezier handle appears.

To change an existing keyframe into a Bezier point
  • Command-click the keyframe and drag away from the point.

    Handles are added to the keyframe.

    Animation path control points are modified in the same manner as shape or mask Bezier points. For more information on manipulating Bezier splines, see Drawing Masks and Shapes Using Bezier Splines.

Animating with the HUD

To keyframe the parameters that appear in the HUD, you follow the same procedure as keyframing directly in the Canvas. For example, when an object is selected in the Canvas, the HUD gives quick access to the object’s opacity. If you want to make a custom effect such as a temporary dip to black, you would keyframe the opacity parameter.

To animate a clip’s opacity
  1. Click the Record button (or press A) to turn on keyframe recording.

  2. Place the playhead at the frame where you want to begin the fade.

  3. Click the Opacity slider handle in the HUD.

    Figure. HUD showing Opacity set to 75%.

    Even if you don’t change the slider’s value, clicking it sets a keyframe at that point in time. This way the object remains at its previous opacity from the beginning of the clip until that new keyframe, then begins the interpolation toward the next keyframe.

  4. Move the playhead forward to a new time.

  5. Change the Opacity value.

  6. Move the playhead forward again.

  7. Change the Opacity slider again.

  8. Click the Record button (or press A) to turn off keyframe recording.

Keyframes at the Beginning and End of the Curve

When you begin adding keyframes, you instruct Motion to automatically modify the in-between frames to interpolate the effect. But what values are used for the frames before the first keyframe and after the last one?

By default, when you add your first keyframe, that same value is extended forward and backward to the beginning and end of the clip (just the same as if you hadn’t added a keyframe at all).

Once you add a second keyframe, the effect begins to change over time. But the frames before that first keyframe remain at the value of that first keyframe. Similarly, the frames after the last keyframe hold at that last defined value.

You can override this default behavior to create loops and other patterns by using the Before First Keyframe and After Last Keyframe submenus as described in the Extrapolation section later in this chapter.