Tools and Techniques Specific to the Motion Application

As the field of motion graphics design has evolved, the tool sets in the most common applications have grown, but Motion takes a completely fresh approach to the task. It incorporates the cutting edge of software design and takes advantage of the latest powerful Apple hardware. And while it does include the tools and techniques artists have grown accustomed to, it also incorporates a streamlined and new set of tools called behaviors that make previously complex procedures as simple as dragging and dropping. A tool called the replicator creates a customizable pattern from copies of a layer, quickly creating complex design effects that would take hours to build in other applications. Flexible paint and shape tools allow you to add or create shapes that are drawn on the Canvas over time.


The Motion behaviors simplify the most common tasks such as scaling, fading, and moving elements. Behaviors also allow you to create complex 2D or 3D interactions such as Edge Collision (making elements bounce off of designated boundaries) or Attractor effects (giving one element a gravitational pull on surrounding elements). And because text is such a critical element of motion graphics work, Motion includes more than 140 behaviors specifically designed for text elements that treat individual letters uniquely while simultaneously affecting the entire text layer in which they reside.

Heads-Up Display (HUD)

Motion uses a special floating window called the heads-up display, referred to as the HUD, to provide at-your-fingertips access to your most frequently used parameters. The HUD changes dynamically, depending on what is selected. The HUD also provides access to unique visual controls for some of the behaviors.

The HUD also allows you to quickly add behaviors to specific parameters of an object. These Parameter behaviors allow you to affect a single aspect of an object (its position, scale, or opacity, for example) rather than the object as a whole.

Real-Time Feedback

With the right hardware configuration, nearly every effect and adjustment you make can be viewed in real time. This means that you can watch how the various elements of your composition interact as you modify them. Not only does this mean less waiting time while the computer converts your various clicks and drags into a viewable movie, it means that you can interact with your creation in a more fluid and engaging way. Rather than making a set of assumptions and then waiting to see how they turn out, you can immediately see how your ideas work, then make adjustments on the fly.

Real-time feedback turns the act of designing a motion graphics sequence into an act of exploration and discovery, which is the way most artists prefer to create. Motion provides not just a new set of brushes for the motion graphics artist, but a whole new type of work environment.

Mouse and Keyboard Shortcut Considerations

If you have a two- or three-button mouse connected to your computer, you can right-click to access the same controls specified by the Control-click commands in the user documentation (for example, Control-click the Toolbar, then choose Customize Toolbar from the shortcut menu). If you are working on a MacBook or MacBook Pro, keep in mind that some keyboard shortcuts may require you to use the Function key (Fn—next to the Control key) in conjunction with the keys specified in the user documentation. For more information about keyboard shortcuts in Motion, see Keyboard Shortcuts.