Getting Started with the Replicator

Although you can use the numerous replicator controls to create incredibly complex, intricate animated patterns, replicating a layer in your project can be fast and easy. The next two sections describe how to use pre-made replicators from the Library and how to create a simple replicated pattern of your own.

Using the Replicator Library Presets

The easiest way to add a replicator to your project is to use a replicator preset from the Library. Because the Library replicators are pre-made using Motion content, they are for more generalized usage. If you find one that is close to what you need, you can easily customize its parameters after you add it to your project. Library replicators are added to a project exactly like any other object.

For information on replicating your own objects, see Creating a Simple Custom Replicator Pattern.

To use a replicator from the Library
  1. Select the layer to which you want to add the replicator.

  2. In the Library, select the Replicators category.

    The Replicators category is divided into subcategories, such as Mattes, Transitional, Backgrounds, and so on.

  3. Select a subcategory, then select a replicator object, such as Curved Drops (in the Miscellaneous subcategory).

    A preview appears in the Preview area.

    Figure. Library Preview area showing a selected replicator object.

    Note: If the preview does not automatically start playing, click the Play button in the Preview area.

  4. Once you have selected the replicator preset you want to use, do one of the following:

    • Click Apply in the Preview area to add the replicator to the center of the Canvas.

    • Drag the replicator to the Canvas.

    • Drag the replicator to the desired group in the Layers tab or Timeline.

    • Drag the replicator to the track area of the Timeline. As you drag, a tooltip displays the current frame number.

      The replicator preset appears in the project, composited above any objects below it in the Layers tab.

    Note: When adding items to the Timeline, additional options are available for compositing, inserting, or overwriting layers. For more information, see Adding Objects to the Track Area.

Once you have added a replicator preset from the Library, it acts exactly as it appeared in the Preview area. If necessary, you can edit the replicator parameters in the HUD or in the Replicator tab of the Inspector to suit your project. You can also replace the preset source with one of your own images, clips, shapes, or text layers as the source for the pattern cells.

Note: You can only modify a replicator after it’s been added to a project. Once modified, you can save the replicator in the Library. For information on saving custom replicators to the Library, see Saving Custom Replicators to the Library.

To replace a replicator preset’s source image
  1. In the File Browser or Library, select the file you want to use as the replacement graphic for the replicator preset, then add it to the project.

  2. In the Layers tab, drag the object over the replicator cell you want to replace.

  3. When the pointer becomes a curved arrow, release the mouse button.

    The original source object is replaced with the new object.

Creating a Simple Custom Replicator Pattern

Creating a custom replicator pattern begins by selecting a layer in your project to use as a source for the cells of a new replicator pattern. To replicate an object, select the layer that you want to use as a source, then click the Replicate icon in the Toolbar. By default, a filled rectangular pattern is created from the source. You can then modify the replicator parameters to suit your project needs.

Note: Like all other customized objects in Motion, you can save a replicator to the Library. For more information, see Saving Custom Replicators to the Library.

To create a pattern from a source layer
  1. Place an object that you want to replicate into your project.

    This example uses the “5-sided star” from the Shapes category in the Library. Once added to the project, the star object is scaled to 20%.

    Figure. Canvas window showing a background image and a five-sided star shape.
  2. Select the object, then do one of the following:

    • In the Toolbar, click the Replicate icon.

      Figure. Replicate icon in the Toolbar.
    • Choose Object > Replicate.

    • Press L.

    Once a layer is replicated, the following occurs:

    • The replicator layer (labeled “Replicator”) appears in the Layers tab and is selected.

      Figure. Layers tab showing a replicator layer, the cell within it, and the disabled shape from which it was generated.
    • A duplicate of the original layer (the star shape) becomes the replicator cell.

    • The original source layer (the star shape) is disabled.

      Note: Changes made to the original source layer, such as opacity or shearing, are respected in the pattern after the replicator is created.

    • In the Canvas, the replicator bounding box appears, which can be transformed using the onscreen controls.

      Figure. Canvas showing the replicator bounding box.
    • In the Canvas, the default rectangle pattern appears, centered in the same location as the source object. The pattern’s elements (the multiple stars) are created from the replicator cell.

    • In the Toolbar, the Adjust Item tool is selected so that you can immediately begin using the replicator’s onscreen controls.

      Figure. Adjust Item tool in the Toolbar.

      When the Adjust Item tool is selected, dragging the pattern’s bounding box resizes the replicator. Dragging in the Canvas (not over the bounding box outline) repositions the replicator object as a whole.

    • The Replicator HUD is displayed.

      Note: If you have hidden the HUD, press D.

      By default, the patterns created by the replicator are not animated.

Removing a Replicator

You can remove a replicator from the Layers tab or Timeline layers list.

To remove a replicator
  • Select the replicator, then press Delete.

    The original source layer or layers remain in the project.

Using Multiple Source Layers for the Replicator

When you create a replicator pattern from scratch, you don’t have to restrict yourself to using just one cell source. You can create a pattern that includes different elements by placing multiple cells inside of a single replicator.

You can add as many sources as you want to a single replicator. Each source becomes a cell in the replicator, and each cell has its own set of parameters. The cell parameters govern the elements in the pattern. When you select a replicator cell in the Layers tab or Timeline layers list, its parameters are displayed in the Replicator Cell tab in the Inspector.

Additional cells can be created either by selecting multiple sources when initially creating the replicator, or by dragging sources to the replicator layer in the Layers tab or Timeline layers list.

The following example uses two shapes as source layers for a single replicator.

Figure. Canvas window showing background layer and two shape objects.
To use multiple source layers for a replicator pattern
  1. Shift-click to select the layers you want to replicate.

    This example uses a white circle shape and a red elliptical shape (both created with the Circle tool).

    Figure. Layers tab showing the two shape layers selected.

    Note: Command-click noncontiguous layers that you want to add to the replicator.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In the Toolbar, click the Replicate icon.

    • Choose Object > Replicate (or press L).

    The cells of the default rectangle pattern are created from the source layers.

    Figure. Layers tab showing the replicator, the two cells within it, and the two disabled layers.

    When multiple cells create a replicator pattern, the elements appear at the same points on the pattern. The replicator is positioned at the average of the source’s positions.

    Figure. Canvas window showing the two-source replicator.

    The elements in the pattern are stacked according to the order they appear in the Layers tab and Timeline layers list. To change the stacking order of the layers, move the lower cell above the upper cell.

    Figure. Layers list showing the stacking order of the cells within the replicator.

    Once the cells are reordered in the Layers tab, the red ellipse element appears in front of the white circle element in the pattern.

    Figure. Canvas window showing the replicator with the two cells reversed.
To individually control the opacity of the elements in a replicator with more than one source
Do one of the following:
  • Select the cell in the Layers tab, then adjust the Opacity Gradient control in the Replicator Cell tab (or change Color Mode to Colorize and adjust the Opacity parameter in the Color controls).

  • Select the original source layer—not the replicator cell itself—and change its opacity in its HUD or Properties tab of the Inspector.

Removing a Source Layer from a Replicator

In the Layers tab or Timeline layers list, you can remove a cell from a replicator that contains multiple cells.

To remove a cell from a replicator
  • In the Layers tab or Timeline layers list, select the cell you want to remove, and then press Delete.

    The original source layers remain in the project.