Project Pane

The Project pane contains three tabs, each of which provides access to a different aspect of your project. The Layers tab displays the hierarchy of objects (groups, layers, cameras, lights, behaviors, filters, and so on) in your project. The Media tab shows all the files imported into your project, with an option to show the media whether or not it appears in the Canvas. The Audio tab provides access to, and control of, any audio files in your project. All of these tabs are covered in more detail later in the chapter.

Once you begin building more complex projects, you can view the components of your project in a list. You can view and modify the hierarchy of objects, including grouping layers and changing group order. You can turn certain objects and effects on and off to temporarily simplify your composition. You can view and modify the media files associated with the layers in your project. You can also modify certain attributes of the layers and groups, such as opacity, blend mode, and audio levels.

All of this can be accomplished in the Project pane, which is ordinarily to the left of the Canvas.

Figure. Canvas window showing Project pane.
To display the Project pane
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Project icon in the Toolbar.

    Figure. Project icon.
  • Press F5.

  • Use a horizontal three-finger swipe on a Multi-Touch trackpad.

  • Drag the divider on the left edge of the Canvas.

You can also switch the arrangement of the windows so the Project pane appears on the right side of the Canvas.

Note: When the Project pane is on the right side of the Canvas, and you are using a Multi-Touch trackpad, three-finger swipe in the opposite direction to show and hide the pane.

To switch the sides of the Canvas and Project panes
  • Choose Window > Layouts > Swap Project Pane and Canvas.

The Project pane contains three tabs: Layers, Media, and Audio. Each of these tabs allows you to view the elements of your project in a list view.

Layers Tab

The Layers tab of the Project pane provides an overview of all the layers, effects, and masks currently used in your project. The hierarchy of items in the list illustrates which objects are above or below other objects in the Canvas. All objects, with the exception of cameras and lights, must reside within groups. Masks, behaviors, and effects can be applied to groups or to individual layers. Applied masks, behaviors, and effects are listed beneath the group or layer to which they are applied. The masks, behaviors, and effects appear indented in the list.

The Name and Status columns in the Layers tab display several icons that indicate linked audio, 2D/3D status, or lock status. By default, applied masks, behaviors, and filters also appear in the list. You can turn the display of these objects on or off in the Layers tab.

Figure. Project pane showing Layers tab.
To display the Layers tab
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Project icon in the Toolbar.

    Figure. Project icon.
  • Choose Window > Layers.

  • Press Command-4.

  • If the Project pane is already visible, click the Layers tab at the top of the pane.

    The information is displayed in a column view and there are many controls to let you customize the view while you are working. You can resize or rearrange the columns and you can hide certain columns and display others that are not visible in the default set.

Layers Tab Controls

The Layers tab contains the following columns and controls:

Figure. Layers tab showing Isolate button, link icon, 2D/3D icon and additional columns pop-up menu.
  • On: Contains an activation checkbox to turn the visibility of the object on or off. When the object visibility is turned off, you can still modify the object’s parameters and manipulate its onscreen controls.
  • Preview: Contains a thumbnail of the object. The group thumbnail represents the cumulative result of the composite up to that point in the project.
  • Name: Identifies the object by name. To edit the name, double-click the text area of a selected object, type a new name, then press Return. In projects that contain a camera, the Isolate button appears in the Name column.
  • Isolate button: The Isolate button only appears in projects that contain a camera. Once a camera is added to the project, all groups are converted to 3D (if you choose Switch to 3D in the New Camera dialog). If you choose Keep as 2D in the New Camera dialog, the camera is added to the project, but the groups remain 2D groups. Once a camera is added to the project, the Isolate button appears for any selected group, layer, or camera.

    The button has an active and inactive state. Clicking the Isolate button for a layer or group sets that object to its original face-forward orientation (so you can apply a mask, for example). Clicking the button again returns to the previous view. Clicking the Isolate button for a camera takes you to that camera’s view.

    Note: When a group or layer is isolated, the name of the item replaces the current camera listing in the Camera menu (in the upper-left corner of the Canvas).

  • Status: Contains a number of several possible icons to indicate the status of the object. The lock icon lets you lock an object to prevent any changes from affecting that object. Locking a group prevents changes to all layers and effects within that group. This column may also include a link icon when a layer has a corresponding audio element, such as a multichannel QuickTime file.

    The Status column also contains a 2D/3D icon to switch a group between 2D or 3D mode. The same icon appears immediately to the left of the group name and indicates the 2D/3D status of the group. Individual layers cannot be 2D or 3D—they are always 2D elements within a 2D or 3D group.

    To display additional columns, click the right angle bracket at the right of the column headers. A pop-up menu appears containing three items: Preview, Opacity, and Blend.

    Checkmarks in the pop-up menu identify which columns are currently displayed. By default, only the Preview column is checked. Choose the other items to add them to the Layers tab. Choosing a checked item hides it from view.

    Figure. Layers tab showing additional columns pop-up menu.
  • Opacity: Displays the current opacity (transparency) of the group or layer. You can adjust the slider to change the item’s opacity.

    Note: Opacity can also be adjusted in a HUD or in the Properties tab of the Inspector.

  • Blend Mode: Displays the current blend mode of the layer or group. Click the pop-up menu to choose a new blend mode. For more on blend modes, see Using Blend Modes.

    Note: Blend mode can also be changed by Control-clicking the item in the Layers tab (or Timeline layers list, then choosing a new Blend Mode option from the shortcut menu. Likewise the blend mode of an object can be modified in the object’s HUD, or in the Properties tab of the Inspector.

Working in the Layers Tab

You can customize the Layers tab in a variety of ways to accommodate different working styles and the needs of different projects.

Editing Columns

Any window that contains columns of data can be reorganized to suit your needs. You can change the order in which columns appear as well as the size of the cells. For example, in the Layers tab, you may want the Preview column to appear to the right of the Name column instead of to its left. You can also sort the items in the column by type of file.

To reorder columns
  • Drag the column header left or right to a new position.

    Figure. Column being reordered in the Layers tab.

    Columns can be resized in several ways. You can adjust the width of a column, or you can change the height of all cells in the columns at once, including any icons and text inside the cells.

To adjust column width
  • In the header row, drag a column border to resize the width.

To adjust cell height
  • Position the pointer over any horizontal line and drag up or down to decrease or increase the height of all cells.

    Icons and thumbnails resize themselves as you make the adjustment.

You can also drag the scale slider at the bottom of the window. Drag left to decrease the height of the rows and drag right to increase their height.

Figure. Scale slider in the Layers tab.

Adding and Removing Groups

The Layers tab has controls to add new groups and to remove existing objects from the project.

To create a new group in the Layers tab
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Add button (+) in the upper-left corner of the tab.

  • Choose Object > New Group (or press Command-Shift-N).

    A new empty group is added at the top of the list.

Note: You can also create new groups when dragging files to the Layers tab from the File Browser or Library. For more information, see Adding Files to Your Project.

To remove an object from the Layers tab
Do one of the following:
  • Select the object you want to remove, then click the Delete button (–) in the upper-left corner of the tab.

  • Control-click the object you want to remove, then choose Delete from the shortcut menu.

  • Select the object you want to remove, then choose Edit > Delete (or press Delete).

    The object is removed. This action removes the object from the Canvas as well.

Note: If you delete a media file (an imported image, image sequence, audio file, or QuickTime movie) from the project, the file is also removed from the Media tab unless “Automatically manage unused media” is deselected in the General pane of Motion Preferences. When this setting is turned off, media files are deleted from the Layers tab (and Canvas), but remain in the project in the Media tab. Drag an item from the Media tab into the Canvas to add it to the Layers tab.

Filtering the Layers Tab View

As your project becomes more complex, you may want to temporarily hide certain objects from view. This allows you to focus on one or more objects without the distraction of all the other objects in your list. You can perform this sort of filtering by using the Search field in the upper-right corner of the tab.

Once you begin typing in the Search field, the Layers tab hides any objects that do not contain the text you type. Hidden objects continue to appear in the Canvas.

To filter the Layers tab
  • Type the name of the object or objects you want to view in the Search field. All other objects are temporarily hidden.

    Figure. Layers tab showing Search field.
To stop filtering and return to the complete list
  • Click the Clear button inside the Search field.

    The Search field is cleared and the Layers tab returns to the unfiltered view.

Hiding and Showing Effects

Masks, behaviors, and filters can be turned on and off in the Layers tab by using the buttons at the bottom-right corner of the tab.

Note: Hiding the effect in the Layers tab does not disable it from view in the Canvas nor prevent you from modifying the effect’s parameters or manipulating its onscreen controls.

Figure. Show Masks, Show Filters, and Show Behaviors buttons in the Layers tab.
To turn on and off the display of masks in the Layers tab
  • Click the Show Masks button.

To turn on and off the display of behaviors in the Layers tab
  • Click the Show Behaviors button.

To turn on and off the display of filters in the Layers tab
  • Click the Show Filters button.

Turning Effects On and Off

When certain effects are applied to a layer or group, icons appear in the Name column for that item. This lets you know that such an effect is applied, especially if you have the effects hidden. There are icons for masks, filters, and behaviors. Additionally, these icons let you turn the effects on and off in the Canvas.

Figure. Layers tab showing Masks, Behaviors, and Filters icons.

Note: You can also Control-click the icons in the Layers tab or Timeline layers list to display a list of the applied effects.

To turn masks off for a layer or group
  • Click the Mask icon.

    A red slash appears over the icon and the effect is temporarily turned off.

To turn behaviors off for a layer or group
  • Click the Behavior icon.

    A red slash appears over the icon and the effect is temporarily turned off.

To turn filters off for a layer or group
  • Click the Filter icon.

    A red slash appears over the icon and the effect is temporarily turned off.

For each of these controls, clicking the icon again turns the effect back on.

Additional Options in the Layers Tab

Quite a few additional features are available in the Layers tab and Timeline layers list, which you can find in the shortcut menu that appears when you Control-click layers in the list. These operations apply to the selected item.

  • Cut: Removes the layer and places it on the Clipboard.
  • Copy: Copies the layer to the Clipboard.
  • Paste: Places the contents of the Clipboard in the current location.
  • Duplicate: Creates a new layer identical to the selection.
  • Delete: Removes the selected layer.
  • Group: Places the selected layers into a group. (For more information on working with groups, see Grouping and Ungrouping Layers.)
  • Ungroup: Restores the components to their ungrouped state if the selection contains a group.
  • Active: Turns the layer on or off. This is equivalent to clicking the activation checkbox in the On column.
  • Solo: Soloing a layer hides all other layers in the project. When the selected item is soloed, checkboxes for other layers and groups are dimmed. You can solo multiple layers and groups at a time.
  • Isolate: Available when a project contains a camera, this option isolates the selected layer, group, or camera. For a layer or group, choosing Isolate changes the item back to its original face-forward orientation to allow the application of a mask, for example. Clicking a camera’s Isolate button activates that camera’s view. This is the same as clicking the Isolate icon in the Name column.
  • 3D Group: Switches the group from 2D mode to 3D mode.
  • Blend Mode: Sets the blend mode for the selected layer. This is equivalent to setting a value in the Blend column.
  • Add Image Mask: Adds an image mask to the selected layer. An image mask creates transparency in another object by deriving an alpha channel from another layer, such as a shape, text, movie, or still image. For more information, see Applying Image Masks to a Layer.
  • Make Clone Layer: Clones the selected layer. Like the Duplicate command, Make Clone Layer lets you make copies of a selected layer. However, copies created by the Make Clone Layer command are automatically modified to match certain changes you make to the original layer. For more information on cloning layers, see Making Clone Layers.
  • Reveal Source Media: Opens the Media tab and highlights the media file associated with the selected clip.

Media Tab

The second tab in the Project pane contains a complete list of media in your project. “Media” includes imported audio, image, image sequence, and QuickTime movie files. Unlike the Layers tab, the Media tab may contain items that are not actively used in your project. Also, if you’ve used a single layer repeatedly, the Media tab may only show one version of that layer. Effects (such as filters or masks) and other objects created within Motion (such as masks, shapes, or text) do not appear in the Media tab.

To display the Media tab
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Window > Media.

  • Press Command-5.

  • If the Project pane is already visible, click the Media tab at the top of the pane.

  • To display the additional columns in the Media tab, drag the divider between the Project pane and the Canvas (the vertical bar on the right side of the window).

Figure. Project pane showing Media tab with all columns visible.

Media Tab Column Headers

The Media tab provides a great deal of technical information about the media files in your project.

  • Media Tab Columns: This data is displayed in columns for each file.
    • Preview: Shows a thumbnail of the media file. The thumbnail for an audio file (with no associated image) appears as a speaker icon.
    • Name: Contains the name of the media. Media names are not editable because they refer to the actual names of the files on disk.
    • Kind: Identifies the type of media, including QuickTime movie, still image, QuickTime audio, or PDF. For a list of supported codecs and file types, see Supported File Formats.
    • In Use: When checked, this field indicates that the media is currently being used in your project. When unchecked, it is not used. If “Automatically manage unused media” is selected in the General pane of Motion Preferences, Motion removes unused media from the Media tab automatically. Disable this setting if you prefer to manage the contents of the Media tab manually.
    • Duration: Displays the duration of the media in either frames or timecode.
    • Frame Size: Displays the native size of the image in pixels. The numbers represent width and height. This column remains blank for audio-only files.
    • Compressor: Displays the type of compression used in the clip, if any. This is also sometimes referred to as a codec.
    • Depth: Displays the number of colors (bit depth) of the file. Any item listed as Millions of Colors+ indicates that the media contains an alpha channel in addition to the RGB data.
    • Vid Rate: Clips are displayed the original frames per second of the media. Sequences are listed at the current project frame rate and still images display no Vid Rate.
    • Data Rate: Displays the number of bytes per second at which the media file plays.
    • Aud Rate: Displays the sample rate in the audio track, measured in kilohertz (kHz).
    • Aud Format: Displays the bits per sample (usually 8, 16, or 24) and the number of channels (usually mono, stereo, or multi-channel) of the audio track.
    • File Size: Displays the overall file size of the media on disk.
    • File Created: Displays the creation date of the media.
    • File Modified: Displays the last date on which the media was modified.

Working in the Media Tab

The media tab can be customized to aid in the organization and management of the media in your project.

Hiding Columns

You can choose which of the columns are displayed by clicking the right angle bracket at the right of the column headers, then choosing an option from the pop-up menu.

Figure. Media tab showing column pop-up options.

Items in the list with a checkmark are currently displayed in the Media tab. Items with no checkmark are currently hidden.

To hide a column
  • Click the right angle bracket at the right of the column headers, then choose the item you want to hide from the pop-up menu.

To show a column
  • Click the right angle bracket at the right of the column headers, then choose the item you want to show from the pop-up menu.

    The item is added to the far right of the columns.

Any window that contains columns of data can be reorganized. You can change the order in which columns appear, as well as the size of the cells. For example, in the Media tab, you may want the Frame Size column to appear before the Name column. For specific instructions on how to edit columns, see Editing Columns.

Adding and Removing Media

The Media tab has controls to add new files and to remove existing files from the project.

To add a file to the Media tab
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Add button (+) in the upper-left corner of the tab. In the Import Files dialog, navigate to the file you want to add to your project, select the file, then click Import.

    Note: To import an image sequence, turn on the Image Sequence checkbox. If this checkbox is deselected, only the individual files selected in the Import dialog are imported. To select multiple files, Shift-click the files; to select noncontiguous files, Command-click the files.

  • With the Media tab active, choose File > Import (or press Command-I). In the Import Files dialog, navigate to the file you want to add to your project, select the file, then click Import.

    The file is added to the Media tab.

Important: Files added directly to the Media tab are not added to the Canvas. To add a file to the Canvas, drag the file from the Media tab to the Canvas.

To remove a file from the Media tab
Do one of the following:
  • Select the file you want to remove and click the Delete button (–) in the upper-left corner of the tab.

  • Control-click the file, then choose Delete from the shortcut menu.

  • Select the file you want to remove, then choose Edit > Delete (or press Delete).

    The media is removed. If the media is used in the Canvas, an alert appears asking you to confirm that you want to remove the files.

Filtering the Media Tab

As your project becomes more complex, you may want to temporarily hide certain files from view. This allows you to focus on one or more files without the distraction of all the other files in your list. You can perform this sort of filtering by using the Search field in the upper-right corner of the tab. For instructions on how to filter the Media tab, see Filtering the Layers Tab View.

Additional Options in the Media Tab

Quite a few additional features are available in the Media tab, which you can find in the shortcut menu that appears when you Control-click files in the list. The actions in this menu apply to the selected file or files.

When an item is selected in the tab, the shortcut menu provides the following commands:

  • Open in Viewer: Opens the selected item in the viewer window. This is equivalent to double-clicking a file in the File Browser.
  • Open in QuickTime Player: Opens the selected item in the QuickTime Player application.
  • Reveal in Finder: Switches out of Motion, and opens a Finder window where the Media file resides on disk.
  • Reconnect Media: Opens the Reconnect Media dialog where you can assign a new source file on disk to correspond to the media file in Motion.
  • Cut: Removes the file and places it on the Clipboard.
  • Copy: Copies the file to the Clipboard.
  • Paste: Places the contents of the Clipboard in the current location.
  • Duplicate: Creates a new file identical to the selected file.
  • Delete: Removes the selected file.

When no items are selected in the tab, the shortcut menu provides a different set of commands:

  • Import Media: Imports media into the Media tab, but does not place the media into the Canvas.
  • Reconnect Missing Media: When a media file is moved from where it was stored when it was added to your project, you need to reconnect the media to your project. This command displays a dialog that lets you navigate to the new location of the file.
  • Remove Unused Media: If any media is in your project but is not used, you can choose this command to quickly removed the unused objects from the Media tab.
  • Paste: Pastes any media files on the Clipboard into the Media tab, but does not place the media into the Canvas.
  • Project Properties: Opens the Project Properties dialog, where you can set basic project information such as project width and height, bit depth, aspect ratio, background color, render settings, and much more. For more information on the Project Properties dialog, see Creating Blank Projects from Project Presets.

Sorting Columns in the Media Tab

The following procedures help determine how the items in the Media tab are sorted.

To sort the items in a column by type of file in the Media tab
  • Click the column header.

Figure. Column header in the Media tab.

Note: Sorting does not work in the Layers tab or Timeline layers list.

The layers are sorted in the column and a small arrow appears indicating the direction of the sort.

Figure. Sort arrow in column header of the Media tab.
To reverse the direction of the sort
  • Click the header of the column that contains the small arrow.

    The arrow points in the opposite direction, and the data is sorted in reverse order.

Audio Tab

The Audio tab lists all of the audio files and files that contain audio (such as a multitrack QuickTime movie) in your project. You can modify the levels of the individual files or modify the overall audio level of the project. For more information on working with audio in Motion, see Working with Audio.

Figure. Project pane showing Audio tab.
To display the Audio tab
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Window > Audio.

  • Press Command-6.

  • If the Project pane is already visible, click the Audio tab at the top of the pane.

Columns in the Audio Tab

The Audio tab contains a number of columns with both display and editable information about the audio components of your project:

  • On: Contains an activation checkbox to turn the audio on or off.
  • Name: Identifies the file by name. To edit the name, double-click the text area of a selected file, type a new name, then press Return. This column also contains a slider and value field to control the level (volume) of the file. Numbers in the value field are measured in decibels (dB).
  • Pan: Displays the left-right balance of the sound. You can modify the Pan parameter by dragging the slider to the right or left or by entering a numerical pan value. Negative numbers move panning to the left, positive numbers move panning to the right.
  • Status: Contains Mute and Solo buttons to control audio playback for the file. When the Mute button is active, all sound from that file is removed from the mix. When the button is inactive, audio from the file plays back based on the level slider in the Name column.
    Figure. Mute and Solo buttons in the Audio tab.

    When the Solo button is active, other nonsoloed audio elements do not play. This allows you to temporarily play a single item without hearing the other files in the mix. You can solo more than one file. This allows you to hear just the soloed files rather than the entire mix.

  • Lock: Allows you to lock an audio file to prevent any changes from affecting that file. This column also may include a link icon when a file has a corresponding video element.

Working in the Audio Tab

The Audio tab can be customized to aid you in managing and organizing your audio assets.

Editing Columns in the Audio Tab

You can control which columns are displayed by clicking the right angle bracket to the right of the column headers. Doing so opens a pop-up menu. Items in the list with a checkmark are displayed in the Audio tab. Items without a checkmark are hidden. You can also edit the arrangement and size of the columns. For more on how to hide and show columns, see Hiding Columns. For instructions on how to edit columns, Editing Columns.

Adding and Removing Audio Files

The Audio tab has controls to add new files and to remove existing files from the project.

To add an audio file to the project
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Add button (+) in the upper-left corner of the tab. In the Import Files dialog, navigate to the file you want to import, select the file, then click OK.

  • With the Audio tab active, choose File > Import (or press Command-I). In the Import Files dialog, navigate to the file you want to add to your project, select the file, then click Import.

    The file is added to the project (the Audio and Media tabs).

Note: When importing a QuickTime movie that contains multiple audio tracks, select Mix to Stereo in the Import Files dialog to import the file with a single audio track. Select Import All Tracks to import the file with individual tracks.

To remove a file from the Audio tab
Do one of the following:
  • Select the file you want to remove, then click the Delete button (–) in the upper-left corner of the tab.

  • Control-click the file, then choose Delete from the shortcut menu.

  • Select the file you want to remove, then choose Edit > Delete (or press Delete).

    The file is removed. This action removes the file from the project (from the Audio and Media tabs).

Filtering the Audio Tab

As your project becomes more complex, you may want to temporarily hide certain audio files from view. This allows you to focus on one or more files without the distraction of all the other files in your list. You can perform this sort of filtering by using the Search field in the upper-right corner of the tab. For instructions on how to filter your view, see Filtering the Layers Tab View.

Additional Options in the Audio Tab

Quite a few additional features are available in the Audio tab, accessible through the shortcut menu that appears when you Control-click files in the list:

  • Cut: Removes the file and places it on the Clipboard.
  • Copy: Copies the file to the Clipboard.
  • Paste: Places the contents of the Clipboard in the current location.
  • Duplicate: Creates a new file identical to the original file.
  • Delete: Removes the selected file.
  • Send to Soundtrack Pro: Launches Soundtrack Pro and opens the selected audio clip in Soundtrack Pro for editing.
  • Active: Turns the file on and off. This is equivalent to clicking the activation checkbox in the On column.
  • Mute: Sets the selected item to be muted. This is equivalent to clicking the Mute button in the Status column.
  • Solo: Sets the selected item to Solo. This is equivalent to clicking the Solo button in the Status column.
  • Reveal Source Media: Opens the Media tab and highlights the media file associated with the selected clip.

When no items are selected in the tab, the shortcut menu provides a different set of commands:

  • Import Audio: This option appears when no files are selected in the Audio tab. Opens the Import Files dialog, which you can use to navigate to the audio file you want to import.
  • Paste: This option appears when no files are selected in the Audio tab. Pastes any audio data that is currently in the Clipboard into the Audio tab and Media tab.
  • Project Properties: This option appears when no files are selected in the Audio tab. Opens the Project Properties dialog, where you can set basic project information such as project width and height, bit depth, aspect ratio, background color, render settings, and much more. For more information on the Project Properties dialog, see Creating Blank Projects from Project Presets.