Advanced Replicator Controls

When a replicator is created from a source layer, the default replicator parameters are used, resulting in a rectangular pattern consisting of five rows and five columns of elements. Although the HUD provides a fast way to modify the basic replicator parameters, the Replicator tab in the Inspector gives you total control over every aspect of that pattern. This includes individual parameters for the replicator cell (for replicators with a single cell).

To open the Replicator tab
  1. Select a replicator.

  2. In the Inspector, click the Replicator tab.

    The replicator parameters appear.

The contents of the Replicator tab are dynamic, and different parameters appear depending on the option you choose in the Shape pop-up menu. Also, different parameters appear depending on the option you choose in the Arrangement pop-up menu.

The Difference Between Replicator and Replicator Cell Parameters

The replicator and replicator cell parameters, though closely related, serve different purposes. Replicator parameters control the overall shape, arrangement, offset, stacking order, build order, and number of elements in the replicator pattern.

Replicator cell parameters control the behavior and appearance of the elements within the replicator pattern. For more information, see Displaying Replicator Cell Parameters.

For a replicator with only one cell (one source layer), the replicator and replicator cell controls appear in the same Replicator tab. In this case, you can control every aspect of the replicator directly from this single tab, which saves you from having to go back and forth between the Replicator and Replicator Cell tabs. For a replicator with multiple cells, the replicator parameters remain in the Replicator tab. The source wells for the layers used as cells are listed in the lower portion of the tab.

Figure. Replicator tab showing parameters for replicators with a single cell, or multiple cells.

Each cell has its own Replicator Cell tab that contains all parameters for that cell. To access the cell-specific parameters, you must select a cell in the Layers tab or Timeline layers list.

Figure. Layers tab and Replicator Cell tab showing cell-specific parameters.

Replicator Controls in the Inspector

The controls in the Replicator tab give you complete control over every aspect of the pattern created by the selected replicator. This includes the shape upon which the pattern is built and the shape’s related parameters, such as the size of the pattern, how the elements are arranged in the pattern, and so on.

  • Shape Source: This parameter is available only when Shape is set to Geometry. Allows you to load a shape object as the source for the replicator pattern. To set the shape source for the replicator, drag a shape from the Layers tab or Timeline layers list to the Shape Source well.
  • Image Source: This parameter, which becomes available when the Shape parameter is set to Image, allows you load an image object as the source for the replicator shape. To set the image source, drag an image from the Layers tab or Timeline layers list to the Image Source well.
  • Emission Alpha Cutoff: When the Image Source object contains an alpha channel, this slider defines the minimum opacity value that is necessary to create an element at that point on the source image. For example, when set to 25%, elements only appear at points where the alpha value of the image is equal to or greater than 25% opacity. The lower the Emission Alpha Cutoff value, the more cells appear. In order for this parameter to be effective, the alpha channel needs to have areas of varying transparency.
    Figure. Canvas window showing how Emission Alpha Cuttoff affects a shape with a feathered edge.
  • Start Point: This parameter is available when Shape is set to Line or Wave. Two sliders define, in X, Y, and Z coordinates, the first point of the line or wave on which the elements are positioned. Click the disclosure triangle to access the Z Start Point value slider. You can adjust these values in the Canvas using the onscreen controls (with the Adjust Item tool).
  • End Point: This parameter is available when Shape is set to Line or Wave. Two sliders define, in X, Y, and Z coordinates, the second point of the line or wave on which the elements are positioned. Click the disclosure triangle to access the Z Start Point value slider. You can adjust these values in the Canvas using the onscreen controls (with the Adjust Item tool).
  • Size: This parameter is available when Shape is set to Rectangle or Box and Arrangement is set to Outline, Tile Fill, or Random Fill. Click the disclosure triangle to display separate Width, Height, and Depth (for the Box shape) parameters. When Circle is the selected shape, this parameter becomes Radius.

    Note: For projects using the default camera settings and a default Z position for the replicator (the replicator has not been transformed in 3D space), the Height is measured in pixels, however, the Width is measured in square pixels. This is done so that a shape that is numerically square appears square when “Correct for Aspect Ratio” is selected in the View pop-up menu in the top-right corner of the Canvas.

  • Amplitude: This parameter is available only when Shape is set to Wave. Defines half the distance from the highest point to the lowest point in the wave. Higher values result in more extreme waves.
  • Frequency: This parameter is available only when Shape is set to Wave. Defines the number of waves. The default is value is 1.
    Figure. Canvas window showing replicator set to a Wave shape, with different frequencies.
  • Phase: This parameter is available only when Shape is set to Wave. A dial that defines the degree of offset of the waves from the start and end points of the path. When set to 0 degrees (default), the wave begins and ends at half the distance from the highest point to the lowest point in the wave. When set to 90 degrees, the wave begins and ends at the highest point in the wave. When set to –90 degrees, the wave begins at the lowest point in the wave. When set to 180 degrees, the waves are the same as 0 degrees, but inverted.
  • Damping: This parameter is available only when Shape is set to Wave. A slider that progressively diminishes the oscillation of the wave. Positive damping values diminish the wave forward (from left to right); negative values diminish the wave backward (from right to left).
    Figure. Canvas window showing replicator set to a Wave shape with a Damping setting.
  • Points: When Shape is set to Rectangle, Circle, Image, Box, or Sphere, and Arrangement is set to Outline or Random Fill, this parameter specifies the number of evenly distributed element points along the edge of the shape.

    When Shape is set to Line or Wave, this parameter defines the number of evenly distributed element points on the line or wave. When the Adjust Item tool is selected, the points are visible in the Canvas.

    When Shape is set to Geometry, this parameter defines the number of evenly distributed element points around the shape.

    Figure. Canvas window showing effect of the number of points.
  • Offset: When Shape is set to Line or Wave, adjusting this value moves the elements along the line or wave.

    When Shape is set to Rectangle, Circle, Image, Box, or Sphere, and Arrangement is set to Outline, adjusting this value moves the elements along the edge of the shape.

    When Shape is set to Geometry, adjusting this value moves the position of the elements along the edge of the shape.

  • Radius: This parameter is available when Shape is set to Burst, Spiral, Circle, or Sphere. Defines the size of the selected shape.
  • Twists: This parameter is available only when Shape is set to Spiral. Defines the number of turns in a spiral. The default value is 0.25. When Number of Arms is set to one, a single spiral is created.
    Figure. Canvas window showing a Spiral replicator with Arms set to .25 and 1.
  • Number of Arms: This parameter is available only when Shape is set to Burst or Spiral. Defines the number of branches on which the elements are positioned. The default value is 3.
  • Points Per Arm: This parameter is available only when Shape is set to Burst or Spiral. Defines the number of element points on each branch of the burst or spiral. When the Adjust Item tool is selected, the points are visible in the Canvas.
  • Columns: This parameter is available when the Shape is set to Rectangle (with Arrangement set to Tile Fill), Circle (with Arrangement set to Tile Fill), Image (with Arrangement set to Tile Fill), Box (with Arrangement set to Outline), or Sphere (with Arrangement set to Outline). Specifies the number of vertical columns (or horizontal element points) on a grid over the selected replicator. In the case of an irregular shape (nonrectangular), points that fall outside of the shape are ignored.

    Note: The default Columns value limit is 20. You can set a higher number in the value field.

  • Rows: Specifies the number of horizontal rows (or vertical element points) on a grid over the selected replicator. In the case of an irregular shape (nonrectangular), points that fall outside of the shape are ignored. This parameter is available when the Arrangement parameter is set to Tile Fill. It is also available for Box and Sphere when Arrangement is set to Outline.

    Note: The default Rows value limit is 20. You can set a higher number in the value field.

  • Ranks: This parameter is available when Shape is set to Box (with Arrangement set to Tile Fill or Outline), or Sphere (with Arrangement set to Tile Fill). When the Box or Sphere shape is selected, specifies the number of points in Z space on a grid over the selected replicator. In the case of an irregular shape (nonrectangular), points that fall outside of the shape are ignored.
  • Tile Offset: This parameter is available when Shape is set to Rectangle, Circle, Image, Box, or Sphere, and Arrangement is set to Tile Fill. Specifies the amount (in percentage points) that the elements are offset from the pattern. Values from 0 to 100% offset the rows toward the right, and values from 0 to –100% offset the rows toward the left. A value of 50 or –50% creates a “brickwork” pattern.
    Figure. Canvas window showing Arrangement set to Tile Fill, and with a Tile Offset value of 20%.
  • Shuffle Order: When enabled, rearranges the order in which the elements appear. When Shuffle Order is selected, the Replicate Seed parameter becomes available.
    Figure. Canvas window showing replicator with Shuffle Order enabled.
  • Replicate Seed: This parameter is available when Shape is set to Rectangle, Circle, Image, Box, or Sphere, and Arrangement is set to Random Fill. Modifies the Random Fill pattern. Although the result of the Random Fill option from the Arrangement pop-up menu seems random, it’s actually deterministic. This means that the random variation in the pattern is created based on the number shown here. Unless this seed number is changed, a replicator with the same parameter settings and source object always appears the same. If you don’t like the current random fill, you can change the seed number by typing a new number or clicking Generate. This changes the random calculations performed for that pattern. This parameter is also used to randomize the Shuffle Order parameter.
  • 3D: When selected, the Box and Sphere shapes become available from the Shape pop-up menu. In addition, if the Face Camera checkbox is selected, the pattern elements actively face the camera when the camera or the replicator is rotated in 3D space.
  • Reverse Stacking: Inverts the order in which the elements are stacked. To see the effect of this parameter, elements must be overlapping.
    Figure. Canvas window showing replicator with Reorder enabled.
  • Face Camera: When this checkbox is selected, the pattern elements actively face the camera when the camera or the replicator is rotated. When Face Camera is deselected, the elements face forward in the replicator pattern and appear flat (unless the source layer or pattern elements are rotated in 3D space). Because Motion only supports 2D objects, this option is key to giving 2D objects the appearance of 3D as the camera is animated.

    Note: Because replicator pattern elements are 2D (flat) objects, the pattern elements are not visible when you use the orthogonal camera views, such as Left, Right, and Top (unless the source layer or pattern elements are rotated in 3D space). This is because orthogonal views are at right angles (perpendicular) to the elements. For more information on using cameras, see Cameras.

    Figure. Canvas window showing replicator with Face Camera turned on.

Displaying Replicator Cell Parameters

The replicator cell parameters modify the individual elements in the onscreen pattern. In a replicator with only a single cell, the cell parameters appear in the Replicator tab, in the Cell Controls group. In a replicator with multiple cells, each cell has its own Replicator Cell tab that contains all parameters for that cell.

To display the Cell Controls for a single-cell replicator
  1. In the Layers tab, Timeline layers list, or Canvas, select a replicator layer.

  2. In the Inspector, click the Replicator tab.

    The cell parameters appear in the Cell Controls group.

    Figure. Replicator tab showing cell parameters.
To display the Cell Controls for a multi-cell replicator
  1. In the Layers tab or Timeline layers, list select a cell (located beneath the replicator layer).

  2. In the Inspector, click the Replicator Cell tab.

    Figure. Inspector inset showing Replicator Cell tab.

Replicator Cell Controls in the Inspector

These controls appear at the bottom of the Replicator tab of the Inspector (for replicators with a single cell) or in the Replicator Cell tab of the Inspector (for replicators with multiple cells).

  • Align Angle: When this checkbox is selected, the replicator elements automatically rotate to match the shape on which they are positioned. This parameter is available for all replicator types except for the following: Rectangle, Circle, Image, Box, and Sphere shapes with Tile Fill or Random Fill and Point.
    Figure. Canvas window showing Spiral replicator with Align Angle enabled.
  • Angle: Specifies (in degrees) the rotation of the replicator elements. When the 3D checkbox is selected, using the default dial or value slider (when the disclosure triangle is closed) modifies the Z angle. To modify the rotation of the pattern elements on all three axes (X, Y, and Z), click the disclosure triangle and adjust the individual X, Y, and Z dials. When the 3D checkbox is selected, this parameter displays the Animate pop-up menu.
    • Animate: A pop-up menu that sets the angle interpolation for keyframed animation of the Angle parameter. There are two menu choices:
      • Use Rotation: The default interpolation method. When the Angle parameter is keyframed, pattern elements rotate from their start rotation to their final rotation. Depending on the animation, the elements may twist this way and that before reaching their final orientation (the last keyframed value). For example, if the X, Y, and Z Angle parameters are animated from 0 degrees to 180 degrees in a project, the elements rotate on all axes before reaching their final orientation.

      • Use Orientation: This alternate interpolation method provides for smoother animation but does not allow multiple revolutions. It interpolates between the pattern elements’ start orientation (first keyframe) to their end orientation (second keyframe).

  • Angle End: Specifies (in degrees) the rotation of the replicator elements at the end of the pattern. The angle value of the elements at the end of the pattern equals the Angle value (start) plus the Angle End value. For example, if Angle is set to 0 degrees and Angle End set to 90 degrees, the elements are not rotated at all at their origin, and are rotated by 90 degrees at the end of the pattern.
    Figure. Canvas window showing Line replicator with Angle End set to a different value than Angle.

    In a 3D project, using the default dial or value slider (when the disclosure triangle is closed), modifies the Z angle. To modify the rotation of the pattern elements on all three axes (X, Y, and Z), click the disclosure triangle and adjust the individual X, Y, and Z dials. When the 3D checkbox is selected, this parameter displays the Animate pop-up menu.

    • Animate: A pop-up menu that sets the angle interpolation for keyframed animation of the Angle parameter. There are two menu choices:
      • Use Rotation: The default interpolation method. When the Angle End parameter is keyframed, pattern elements rotate from their start rotation to their final rotation. Depending on the animation, the elements may twist this way and that before reaching their final orientation (the last keyframed value). For example, if the X, Y, and Z Angle parameters are animated from 0 degrees to 180 degrees in a project, the elements rotate on all axes before reaching their final orientation.

      • Use Orientation: This alternate interpolation method provides for smoother animation but does not allow multiple revolutions. It interpolates between the pattern elements’ start orientation (first keyframe) to their end orientation (second keyframe).

  • Angle Randomness: Defines an amount of variance in the rotation of the replicator elements. A value of 0 results in no variance—all elements have the same rotational value. A value greater than 0 introduces a variance. The angle for an individual element is defined by the Angle and Angle End parameter, plus or minus a random value falling within the Angle Randomness.

    In a 3D project, using the default dial or value slider (when the disclosure triangle is closed), modifies the Z angle. To modify the rotation of the pattern elements on all three axes (X, Y, and Z), click the disclosure triangle and adjust the individual X, Y, and Z dials. When the 3D checkbox is selected, this parameter displays the Animate pop-up menu.

    • Animate: A pop-up menu that sets the angle interpolation for keyframed animation of the Angle Randomness parameter. There are two menu choices:
      • Use Rotation: The default interpolation method. When the Angle Randomness parameter is keyframed, pattern elements rotate from their start rotation to their final rotation. Depending on the animation, the elements may twist this way and that before reaching their final orientation (the last keyframed value). For example, if the X, Y, and Z Angle parameters are animated from 0 degrees to 180 degrees in a project, the elements rotate on all axes before reaching their final orientation.

      • Use Orientation: This alternate interpolation method provides for smoother animation but does not allow multiple revolutions. It interpolates between the pattern elements’ start orientation (first keyframe) to their end orientation (second keyframe).

  • Additive Blend: By default, replicator elements are composited together using the Normal blend mode. Select this checkbox to composite all overlapping elements using the Additive blend mode. This blending occurs in addition to the compositing method set in the Properties tab. The result is that the brightness of overlapping objects is intensified. This applies only to the replicator itself—the blend mode of the replicator layer determines how the result of the pattern is blended into the scene.
  • Color: A color well that becomes available when the Color Mode is set to Colorize. Use it to specify a color to use to tint the replicator elements. You can also alter each element’s opacity. This parameter is unique to the cell object. You can either click the color well to choose a color, or open the disclosure triangle and use the Red, Green, Blue, and Opacity channel sliders or value sliders.
  • Opacity Gradient: This gradient editor appears when Color Mode is set either to Original or Colorize. Use it to change the opacity of the replicator elements over the pattern. This gradient control is limited to grayscale values, which are used to represent varying levels of transparency. White represents solid elements; progressively darker levels of gray represent decreasing opacity; and black represents complete transparency. A simple white to black gradient represents a pattern that is solid at its origin, but which fades out gradually. For more information on using the gradient and opacity gradient controls, see Using the Gradient Editor.
  • Color Repetitions: When Color Mode is set to Over Pattern, this parameter becomes available. Drag the slider to increase the number of times the gradient is repeated over the pattern. For more information on using the gradient controls, see Using the Gradient Editor.
  • Scale: Defines the scale of the replicator elements. Click the disclosure triangle next to the Scale parameter to reveal separate X Scaling and Y Scaling subparameters that can be used to adjust the width and height of the elements separately. By default, Scale is set to 100%—the size of the replicator elements is equal to the size of the source layer.
  • Scale End: Specifies the scale of the replicator elements at the end of the pattern, relative to the Scale value. For example, if Scale is set to 100% and Scale End set to 50%, the elements are 100% at their origin, and half of their size at the end of the pattern.
  • Scale Randomness: Defines an amount of variance in the scale of the replicator elements. A value of 0 results in no variance—all elements in the pattern are the same size. A value greater than 0 introduces a variance. The scale for an individual element is defined by the Scale parameter, plus or minus a random value falling within the Scale and the Scale End. The disclosure triangle of the Scale Randomness parameter reveals separate X and Y subparameters that can be used to set the width and height values separately.
    Figure. Canvas window showing replicator with different Scale and Scale End values, and with Scale Randomness set to 75.
  • Play Frames: This checkbox appears if you create a replicator pattern using a QuickTime object as the source for a cell. When this checkbox is selected, playback of the animation or movie clip used for each element will loop. If this checkbox is deselected, animation or clip will be frozen at the still frame specified by either the Random Start Frame parameter or the Source Start Frame parameter.
  • Random Start Frame: This checkbox appears if you create a replicator pattern using a QuickTime object as the source for a cell. Use this control to introduce variation into elements using QuickTime animation or movies as their source objects. When this checkbox is selected, each element in the pattern begins at a different frame of the clip. Stills are chosen randomly if Play Frames is deselected.
  • Source Start Frame: This slider appears if you create a replicator pattern using a QuickTime object as the source for a cell. The value selected in the slider designates the start frame of the clip (when the Play Frames checkbox is selected) or the still frame to display (when Play Frames is deselected). This parameter appears only if Random Start Frame is deselected.
  • Source Start Frame Offset: This slider appears if you create a replicator pattern using a QuickTime object as the source for a cell, and if Random Start Frame is deselected. Offsets the start frame chosen in the Source Start Frame parameter over the pattern. At their origin, the elements play the animation from the frame specified in the Source Start Frame parameter. Each step away from the origin advances the start frame by the offset amount.
    Figure. Canvas window showing replicator with Source Start Frame Offset applied.
  • Hold Frames: This slider appears if you create a replicator pattern using a QuickTime object as the source for a cell. Sets the number of times each frame of the source movie is repeated during playback. The larger the Hold Frames value, the slower your playback.
  • Hold Frames Randomness: This slider appears if you create a replicator pattern using a QuickTime object as the source for a cell. Varies the number of frames to “hold.”
  • Random Seed: Although the result of adjusting the Angle Randomness, Scale Randomness, Pick From Color Range, Random Start Frame, or Hold Frame Randomness parameters seems random, it’s actually deterministic. This means that the random variation in the pattern is created based on the number shown in the Random Seed field. Unless this seed number is changed, a replicator with the same parameter settings always appears the same. If you don’t like the current random scale or angle, you can change the seed number by typing a new number the field or by clicking Generate.
  • Object Source: The cells of a replicator are listed at the bottom of both the Replicator tab and the Replicator Cell tab. Each cell appears in an image well, and a checkbox allows you to enable or disable that cell (if the replicator has multiple cells).