Reflections

In the real world all objects exhibit some degree of reflectivity based on surface shine, brightness, angle of view, and proximity to the reflected objects. Motion simulates this natural effect, equipping every object with a set of parameters to create and control realistic-looking reflections. When Reflections are enabled for an object, all other objects in the scene will be reflected but may only be visible from certain angles and distances.

Figure. Canvas showing an object reflecting other objects.

Reflection Parameters

The Properties tab in the Inspector window includes a Reflection section.

Figure. Inspector showing Reflection parameters.
Reflections Parameters in the Properties Tab:
  • Reflection: This checkbox enables reflections based on the settings of the parameters within the group.
  • Reflectivity: This slider controls how shiny the object’s surface appears. 0% indicates no reflectivity at all, while 100% is perfectly reflective, like a mirror.
  • Blur Amount: Real reflections can appear in sharp focus or quite blurry depending on the surface quality of the reflecting object.
  • Falloff: This checkbox determines whether the reflection fades with distance from the object, producing a more realistic result. There are additional options within the Falloff section once this checkbox has been enabled:
    Figure. Canvas showing effect of reflection falloff settings.
  • Begin Distance: This slider determines the distance (inside the reflection) at which the falloff begins. When the slider is set to 0, falloff starts at the reflection plane.
  • End Distance: This slider determines the distance at which the falloff ends, beyond which the reflection isn’t visible. Adjusting this slider moves the falloff point closer to the reflection plane, which causes less of the reflected image to appear.
  • Exponent: This slider controls how quickly a reflection gets fainter as the reflected object gets further from the reflective surface.
Other Reflection Parameters

Reflections and Groups

In addition to choosing the reflections settings for individual objects, you can adjust the settings for an entire group. Reflections settings for a group override the settings of individual layers within the group. For example, if an individual object in a group was not set to receive reflections, turning that setting on for the whole group will force the individual object to receive them. Turning off the setting for the group allows the individual objects’ settings to act as expected.

The Cast Reflections settings work differently. If the group is set to cast reflections, individual objects’ reflections can still be turned off (or set to Reflections Only). However, if the group is set to not cast reflections at all, individual objects will never cast a reflection, regardless of their setting.

Disabling Reflections

Rendering reflections can significantly impact playback performance, so you may want to temporarily disable all reflections to improve playback speed while working on other aspects of your project.

To disable rendering of reflections

Limiting Recursive Reflections

When a reflective object is itself reflected in another object, the first object can be seen in the reflection, potentially causing an endless repetition of reflections. Motion limits the number of “reflective bounces” that can occur in a scene, preserving performance and preventing the viewer from getting lost in infinity. The number of allowed reflections is set per project.

Figure. Canvas showing recursive reflections.
To set the number of recursive reflections in the current project
  1. Choose Edit > Project Properties

  2. Click the Render Settings tab.

  3. In the Reflections section, adjust the Maximum Bounces slider.