Shape Behaviors

Shape behaviors are specifically designed to be applied to shapes created within Motion. After drawing a stroke or other shape, apply a Shape behavior to wriggle, oscillate, or randomize a shape’s control points or to map pen pressure to various paint stroke characteristics.

Apply Pen Pressure

This behavior is designed to be applied to a paint stroke created using a stylus and graphics tablet. Once a stroke is created, this behavior allows you to affect the width, opacity, spacing, angle, or jitter of the paint stroke based on the pressure of your stylus on the tablet when the stroke was created.

Note: These parameters are identical to the Pen Pressure parameters in the Advanced Pane of the inspector. You can choose to use either the Advanced Pane parameters or this shape behavior to apply the pressure data to the paint stroke. A combination of Pen Pressure parameters in the Advanced Pane and Apply Pen Pressure shape behaviors can be used to affect more than one parameter (such as Opacity, Width, or Jitter) of the stroke using the same pressure data.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Min Pressure: Adjusts the minimum threshold of pressure sensitivity. Pressure values below the minimum value are remapped to 0. For Opacity and Width, those remapped values do not appear. For Spacing, Angle, and Jitter, the values will not be modified. If the Min and Max pressure are plotted on a graph, Min Pressure represents the minimum value, or 0. The area of the graph between Min and Max is remapped to the output values.
  • Max Pressure: Adjusts the maximum threshold of pressure sensitivity. Pressure values above the maximum value are remapped to 1. For Opacity, Width, Spacing, Angle, and Jitter, those values will have the greatest effect. If the Min and Max pressures are plotted on a graph, Max Pressure represents the maximum value, or 1. The area of the graph between Min and Max is remapped to the output values.
  • Scale: Determines the magnitude of the effect. Defines the output range for the dabs based on the mapped values between minimum (0) and maximum (1) pressure, multiplied by the value defined in the slider (or value field). This amount is then applied to the parameter (width, opacity, and so on) by multiplying (for width, opacity, spacing, and jitter) or adding (for angle). This control is independent of the Scale parameter in the Stroke pane.
  • Invert: This checkbox inverts the attributes of the stroke created by the behavior. For example, if pen pressure is set to affect the opacity of the stroke, transparent areas of the stroke become more opaque and opaque areas become more transparent when the checkbox is selected.
HUD Controls

The parameters in the HUD are identical to the parameters in the Inspector.

Apply Pen Speed

When using a stylus or mouse to create paint strokes, this behavior allows you to affect the width, opacity, spacing, angle, or jitter of the paint stroke based on the speed of your pen strokes.

Note: A paint stroke created by using a mouse can be affected by the Apply Pen Speed behavior.

The parameters in the HUD are identical to the parameters in the Inspector.

Note: In the Paint Stroke Tool HUD, you can select how the speed of the stylus affects the stroke before the stroke is created. Applying the Pen Speed behavior allows you to affect more than one parameter (such as Opacity, Width, or Jitter) of the stroke using the same pressure data. The Pen Speed parameter also appears in the Advanced pane of the Shape Inspector.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Min Speed: Adjusts the minimum threshold of speed sensitivity. Speed values below the minimum value are remapped to 0. For Opacity and Width, those values do not appear. For Spacing, Angle, and Jitter, the values will not be modified. If the Min and Max speeds are plotted on a graph, Min Speed represents the minimum value, or 0. The area of the graph between Min and Max is remapped to the output values.
  • Max Speed: Adjusts the maximum threshold of speed sensitivity. Speed values above the maximum value are remapped to 1. For Opacity, Width, Spacing, Angle, and Jitter, those values will have the greatest effect. If the Min and Max speeds are plotted on a graph, Max Speed represents the maximum value, or 1. The area of the graph between Min and Max is remapped to the output values.
  • Scale: Determines the magnitude of the effect. Defines the output range for the dabs based on the mapped values between minimum (0) and maximum (1) speed, multiplied by the value defined in the slider (or value field). This amount is then applied to the channel (width, opacity, and so on) by multiplying (for width, opacity, spacing, and jitter) or adding (for angle). This control is independent of the Scale parameter in the Stroke pane.
  • Invert: This checkbox inverts the attributes of the stroke created by the behavior. For example, if pen speed is set to affect the width of the stroke, thin areas of the stroke become wide and wide areas become thin when the checkbox is selected.
HUD Controls

The parameters in the HUD are identical to the parameters in the Inspector.

Apply Pen Tilt

When you are using a stylus to create paint strokes using the paint stroke tool, this behavior allows you to affect the width, opacity, spacing, angle, or jitter of the paint stroke based on the tilt of the pen while creating strokes.

Note: A combination of Apply Pen Tilt shape behaviors can be used to affect more than one parameter (such as Opacity, Width, or Jitter) of the stroke using the same tilt data.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Tilt Axis: A dial and value slider that becomes available when Calculate Tilt is set to Axis. This parameter allows you to define the axis along which the tilt is measured.
  • Min Tilt: Adjusts the minimum threshold of tilt sensitivity. Tilt values below the minimum value are remapped to 0. For Opacity and Width, those remapped values do not appear. For Spacing, Angle, and Jitter, the values will not be modified. If the Min and Max tilt are plotted on a graph, Min Tilt represents the minimum value, or 0. The area of the graph between Min and Max is remapped to the output values.
  • Max Tilt: Adjusts the maximum threshold of tilt sensitivity. Tilt values above the maximum value are remapped to 1. For Opacity, Width, Spacing, Angle, and Jitter, those values will have the greatest effect. If the Min and Max tilt are plotted on a graph, Max Tilt represents the maximum value, or 1. The area of the graph between Min and Max is remapped to the output values.
  • Scale: Determines the magnitude of the effect. Defines the output range for the dabs based on the mapped values between minimum (0) and maximum (1) tilt, multiplied by the value defined in the slider (or value field). This amount is then applied to the parameter (width, opacity, and so on) by multiplying (for width, opacity, spacing, and jitter) or adding (for angle). This control is independent of the Scale parameter in the Stroke pane.
  • Invert: This checkbox inverts the attributes of the stroke created by the behavior. For example, if pen tilt is set to affect the width of the stroke, thin areas of the stroke become wide and wide areas become thin when the checkbox is selected.
HUD Controls

The parameters in the HUD are identical to the parameters in the Inspector.

Oscillate Shape

The Oscillate Shape behavior animates a shape by cycling its control points between two different values. You can customize how wide apart the high and low values are, as well as the number of oscillations per minute. This behavior is useful for creating fluid shape movements (think shape yoga) that would be time-consuming to keyframe.

When the Oscillate Shape behavior is applied to a shape, all control points of the shape are affected by default. When the behavior is selected in the Layers tab, affected control points are highlighted in white on the blue shape behavior spline. To disable one or more control points, click the control points. A disabled point appears blue. Drag to select multiple control points.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Phase: A slider that lets you adjust the point of the specified oscillation at which the behavior starts. This parameter allows you to put multiple shapes with identical Oscillate behaviors out of phase with one another so that they don’t all look the same.
  • Amplitude: A slider that lets you adjust the maximum values that the control points oscillate between. The control point swings between the amplitude value, and the negative of the amplitude value. Higher values result in more extreme swings from the beginning to the ending of each oscillation.
  • Speed: A slider that lets you adjust the speed at which the oscillation occurs, in oscillations per minute. Higher values result in faster oscillations.
  • Alternate Phase: When this checkbox is selected, the motion of each control point is offset by a phase of 180 degrees from its neighboring control point.
HUD Controls

The Oscillate Shape HUD contains the Wave Shape, Phase, Amplitude, Speed, and Alternate Phase parameters.

Figure. HUD showing controls for the Oscillate Shape behavior.

Randomize Shape

The Randomize Shape behavior allows you to animate the control points of a shape by applying a random offset to each point of the shape. This behavior is useful for creating rapid and varied effects on a shape.

When the Randomize Shape behavior is applied to a shape, all control points of the shape are affected by default. When the behavior is selected in the Layers tab, affected control points are highlighted in white on the blue shape behavior spline. To disable one or more control points, click the control points. A disabled point appears blue. Drag to select multiple control points.

Figure. Canvas window showing a shape with the Randomize Shape behavior applied.
Parameters in the Inspector
  • Amount/Multiplier: This parameter is set to Amount when the Apply Mode is set to Add, Subtract, or Add and Subtract; it is set to Multiplier when the Apply Mode is set to Multiply. This parameter defines the maximum value the Randomize behavior will generate.
  • Frequency: A slider that lets you adjust the amount of random variation per second. Higher values generate faster variations, whereas lower values generate slower variations.
  • Noisiness: A slider that adds an additional overlay of random variance to the Frequency you’ve set. Higher Noisiness values result in more erratic variations in the affected parameter.
  • Link: This parameter appears when you apply this behavior to a two-dimensional parameter (such as Shear) or three-dimensional parameter (such as Position or Rotation) that consists of X, Y, and/or Z values. Turn this checkbox on to keep the behavior’s effect on each value proportional.
  • Preserve Angle: When this checkbox is selected, the tangent handles become (or remain) flat, maintaining the continuity of the curves.
  • Random Seed: A button that lets you pick a new random seed number. This number is used to randomly generate new sequences of values, based on the other parameters of this behavior.
HUD Controls

The Randomize Shape HUD contains the Amount, Multiplier, Apply To, Frequency, Noisiness, Link, and Preserve Angle parameters.

Figure. HUD showing controls for the Randomize Shape behavior.

Sequence Paint

The Sequence Paint behavior allows you to animate the individual dabs of a paint stroke in sequence over time. This is the only way to animate the dabs individually—keyframing the stroke parameters or applying other behaviors affects all dabs in the stroke uniformly.

The Sequence Paint behavior is very similar to the Sequence Text and Sequence Replicator behaviors, which allow you to animate the Rotation, Color, Opacity, Scale, and Position parameters in sequence through the characters of a text layer or the elements of a replicator pattern. The Sequence Paint behavior adds Width to that list of parameters, allowing you to create sequenced animation through the dabs of a paint stroke.

Figure. Canvas window showing a line with the Sequence Paint behavior applied.

For an example of using a sequence behavior, see Using the Sequence Replicator Behavior.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Sequence Paint: A checkbox that turns sequencing on or off. Before any sequencing animation can occur, you must explicitly add at least one parameter to the behavior from within the Inspector, and then set a value for that parameter. Until a parameter is added, adjustments in the Inspector or HUD have no effect.
  • Sequence Control: These parameters contain controls that allow you to modify the way the animation moves through the paint stroke, such as changing the direction of the animation.
  • Start: Available when Unit Size is set to Custom, this parameter allows you to specify the starting point for the dabs on the stroke (based on percentage) that is affected by the animation.
  • End: Available when Unit Size is set to Custom, this parameter allows you to specify the ending point for the dabs on the stroke (based on percentage) that is affected by the animation
  • Spread: To create a softer transition between dabs, increase the Spread value using the slider or value slider. (This parameter is not available when Unit Size is set to All.)
  • Loops: Sets the number of times the animation sequences through the paint stroke over its duration.

    Note: Loops is not available when the Traversal parameter is set to Custom.

  • Location: Available only when Custom is selected from the Traversal pop-up menu, this slider defines the location of the stroke where the animation is in effect.

    For more information on using the Custom Traversal option, see Using the Sequence Replicator Custom Traversal Option.

HUD Controls

The Sequence Paint HUD contains the Sequencing, Unit Size, Spread, Traversal, Loops, and End Condition parameters.

Figure. HUD showing controls for the Sequence Paint behavior.

Track Points

This behavior allows you to either track the control points of a shape or mask to a moving clip or animated object, or to apply existing tracking data to a shape or mask. For information on using the Track Points behavior, see Shape Track Points Behavior.

Wriggle Shape

This behavior works similarly to the Randomize behavior, but with a slower effect (think of a shape that’s had one too many espressos before dance class).

Figure. Canvas window showing a shape with the Wriggle Shape behavior applied.

When the Wriggle Shape behavior is applied to a shape, all control points of the shape are affected by default. When the behavior is selected in the Layers tab, affected control points are highlighted in white on the blue shape behavior spline. To disable one or more control points, click the control points. A disabled point appears blue. Drag to select multiple control points.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Amount/Multiplier: This parameter is set to Amount when the Apply Mode is set to Add, Subtract, Add and Subtract; it is set to Multiplier when the Apply Mode is set to Multiply. This slider defines the maximum value the Wriggle behavior generates.
  • Frequency: A slider that lets you adjust the amount of random variation per second. Higher values generate faster variations, whereas lower values generate slower variations.
  • Wriggle Offset: A slider that allows you to offset the sequence of random values when you want to apply the same Wriggle behavior to multiple shapes. By offsetting each shape’s version of the Wriggle behavior, you can prevent them from moving in sync.
  • Noisiness: This slider adds an additional overlay of random variance to the Frequency you’ve set. Higher Noisiness values result in more erratic variations in the affected vertices.
  • Link: This parameter appears when you apply this behavior to a two-dimensional parameter (such as Shear) or three-dimensional parameter (such as Position or Rotation) that consists of X, Y, and/or Z values. Turn this checkbox on to keep the behavior’s effect on each value proportional.
  • Preserve Angle: When this checkbox is selected, the tangent handles become (or remain) flat, maintaining the continuity of the curves.
  • Random Seed: A button that lets you pick a new random seed number. This number is used to randomly generate new sequences of values, based on the other parameters of this behavior.
HUD Controls

The Wriggle Shape HUD contains the Amount, Multiplier, Apply To, Frequency, Wriggle Offset, Noisiness, Link, and Preserve Angle parameters.

Write On

The Write On behavior provides a quick way to draw a paint stroke or outline on the Canvas over time. This allows you to create a handwritten text effect, create the ever-popular old serial travel map effect, create a hand-sketched alpha mask for a transition or reveal, create an animated graph for a business presentation, produce graphics to prevent monitor burn-ins, and so on. The behavior can be automatically applied to a paint stroke created with the Paint Stroke tool or added to an existing shape. You can have the shape draw, erase, draw and erase, draw in reverse, and so on, over time.

When Write On is applied to a filled shape with an outline, only the outline of the shape is drawn.

Note: You can manually animate the First Point Offset and Last Point Offset parameters in the Style pane of the Shape Inspector to achieve the same effect as the Write On behavior.

Parameters in the Inspector
  • Stroke Length: This slider defines the length, as a percentage, of the drawn or erased stroke. A value of 100% uses the entire length of the stroke, bounded by the First Point Offset and Last Point Offset parameters. If Stroke Length is set to 50%, once 50% of the stroke is drawn on, it begins to erase (from the beginning of the stroke) so that only half of the length of the stroke is ever displayed over the duration of the behavior.
  • Stroke Offset: This slider offsets where the stroke begins on the shape. The value is expressed as a percentage of the total length of the shape from the start point defined on the shape.
  • Custom Speed: This parameter becomes available when Speed is set to Custom. You can modify the Custom Speed velocity curve in the Keyframe Editor. For example, you can keyframe custom values to draw a stroke forward to a specific percentage of its path, then backward, then forward, and so on before it reaches the end of the animation.
  • End Offset: This slider offsets the end of the behavior inward from the defined Out point and holds the last value. In other words, it offsets the visible paint stroke from the end of the path of the stroke.
HUD Controls

The Write On HUD contains the Shape Outline, Stroke Length, Stroke Offset, Direction, Speed, and Custom Speed parameters.

Creating Write On Paint Strokes

You can create a paint stroke that appears over the course of several frames by recording the stroke as it is drawn, or you can apply the Write On behavior to an existing shape to draw its outline on over time.

Creating a Write On Paint Stroke Using the Paint Stroke Tool

This section describes creating a “write-on” paint stroke using the Paint Stroke tool in the Toolbar. To create a paint stroke that appears over the course of several frames, select the Write On checkbox in the Paint Stroke Tool HUD. Once the stroke is created, additional parameters become available in the Behaviors tab of the Inspector.

To paint a stroke over time
  1. In the Toolbar, click the Paint Stroke tool (or press P).

    The Paint Stroke Tool HUD appears. If the HUD does not appear, press F7 or D.

  2. In the Tool HUD, select the Write On checkbox and select any other desired stroke settings.

  3. In the Canvas, create your stroke.

  4. Once the stroke is complete, press Esc to exit the paint mode.

    The Paint Stroke Tool HUD is replaced with the Shape HUD. In the Layers tab, a Write On Shape behavior is automatically applied to the stroke. To modify the Write On parameters, select the behavior and use the HUD or the Behaviors tab in the Inspector.

    The speed at which the stroke is “painted” (including the duration it took to draw the stroke) is mapped over the time extent (in frames) of the stroke. The faster a stroke is drawn, the shorter the duration of the Write On behavior.

    Note: If your Motion Project Preferences Create Layers At option is set to Current Frame, the paint stroke is created at the current playhead position. If set to Start of Project, the stroke is created at frame 1.

  5. Play back your project. The stroke is “painted on” as the project plays.

  6. To modify the speed at which the stroke is painted, adjust the duration of the behavior in the Timeline or mini-Timeline.

    You can also modify additional parameters, such as customizing the speed at which the stroke is drawn, drawing on only a percentage of the stroke, offsetting the stroke, or drawing the stroke in reverse. These parameters are available in the Write On behavior, described above.

Creating a Write On Paint Stroke Using an Existing Shape

You can apply the Write On behavior to an existing shape to draw its outline over time. Because the Write On behavior only affects outlines, Outline must be enabled in the Shape parameters.

Figure. Canvas window showing example of the Write On behavior applied to an existing shape.

Note: When a Write On behavior is added to an existing shape, the behavior spans the duration of the shape to which it is applied.

To create a write on stroke using an existing shape
  1. Select the shape you want to use and select its Outline checkbox in the HUD or Shape tab of the Inspector.

    Note: You can leave the Fill checkbox selected, but only the outline is affected by the Write On behavior.

  2. In the Toolbar, click Add Behavior and choose Shape > Write On.

    The Write On behavior appears in the Layers tab. If the playhead is located at the start of the shape, the visual shape disappears and only the path is visible.

  3. Play the project (press the Space bar).

    The outline is drawn over the length of the behavior.

  4. To adjust the speed at which the stroke is painted, adjust the duration of the behavior in the Timeline or mini-Timeline.

  5. To adjust the properties of the stroke, use the Shape tab in the Inspector. For more information, see Shape Parameters.