Color Controls

Many objects and effects in Motion have attributes that can be set to a specific color (or a range of colors in the form of a gradient). Text objects, shapes, generators, particle and replicator systems, and other types of objects have color settings. Many filters such as borders, glows, keying, and some stylize effects also have user-definable color settings.

Figure. Collapsed Color control in Inspector.

Color controls consist of several related elements, including the color well, pop-up color palette, colors window, eyedropper, and individual sliders for the different color channels.

Color Well

A color well is the small color box you click to open the Colors window to change the color of a selected object, such as text, a shape, or particles. The color well has two parts, a swatch and a disclosure button.

To change the color of an object
  1. Select the object you want to modify.

  2. Click the relevant tab in the Inspector, then do one of the following:

    • Click the color well and pick a color from the Colors window.

    • Click the disclosure button or control-click the color well and pick a color from the pop-up color palette.

    • Click the eyedropper, then in the Canvas, click an object of the desired color.

    • Click the color well’s disclosure triangle and manipulate the individual Red Green Blue, (and when applicable, Opacity) sliders.

Pop-Up Color Palette

When you control-click a color well or click the adjacent pop-up arrow, a temporary color palette appears.

Figure. Pop-up color palette.

The pointer becomes an eyedropper and an info area on the right displays the RGB and HLS values for the current pointer position. A swatch displays the currently saved color alongside the new one.

One advantage to picking colors this way is that as you move the pointer, the Canvas updates dynamically. Click to lock the currently selected color.

The Colors Window

You can also use the Mac OS Colors window within Motion. This gives you access to the familiar color pickers such as the web-safe palette or the crayons picker.

Figure. The Colors window.

The Colors window has four sections: the icons at the top select different picker interfaces; the large color swatch shows the currently selected color; the middle section shows the currently active picker; and at the bottom, the row of boxes can be used to save swatches.

To show the Colors window
Do one of the following:
  • Click a color well.

  • Choose View > Show Colors.

  • Press Command-Shift-C.

To pick a color in the Colors window do one of the following
  • Click the color of your choice from the picker area.

  • Click the magnifying glass, then click anywhere on the screen to choose that color.

Note: If the Colors window was opened by clicking a color well, a color chosen in the Colors window automatically loads into the color well. However if you open the Colors window manually (or leave it open after a color has already been chosen) you must drag the selected color from the swatch in the Colors window to the color well in the Inspector or HUD.

To save a color to the Colors window swatch area
  1. Select a color in the picker or by using the magnifying glass.

  2. Drag the color from the large swatch to one of the white squares at the bottom of the Colors window.

    Colors saved in this area will remain accessible across applications and restarts.

Tip: To add more white squares, drag the bottom of the Colors window down.

Eye Dropper

Beside every color well is an eye dropper control. This allows you to pick a color already in use in the Motion Canvas. By choosing colors from the colors already in your scene you can ensure any new elements remain in the same palette, creating a more cohesive and integrated design.

To pick a color using the eye dropper
  1. In the Inspector, click the eye dropper for the color parameter you want to set.

    The pointer turns into an eyedropper.

  2. Click a color in the Canvas.

    That color is assigned to the color well.

Expanding Color Controls

Sometimes you need precise numerical control over your colors. This can be helpful if you are trying to match two colors exactly, or when you want to adjust one of the color channels independently. It can also be helpful when choosing how a color should be animated, For example, you could keyframe the channels differently.

Figure. Expanded color controls in Inspector.

Every group of color controls has a disclosure triangle, which, when clicked, reveals individual sliders for the component color channels in your selected color. You can choose a color by adjusting these various sliders. For more on using sliders, see Slider Controls.