Project Pane

The Project Preferences pane contains settings for timing, display, and playback options. There are four categories of controls: Default Settings, Time Display, Still Images & Layers, and Playback Control.

Figure. Motion Preferences window showing Project pane.

Default Settings

These controls in the Project Preferences pane determine default values for newly created projects. To change these settings for a specific project, use the Project Properties dialog instead (choose Edit > Project Properties or press Command-J).

Note: These settings only take effect in projects created after the preferences are set. Any currently opened projects are not affected.

  • Project Duration: Sets the default duration for new projects. You can type a number into the value field and choose Frames or Seconds from the pop-up menu.
  • Background Color: A color well that sets the color of the background for any new projects that are created after the color has been changed. This does not change the background color of the current project. To change the background color for a current project, choose Edit > Project Properties (or press Command-J) and use the Background Color controls.

    Note: To render a new background color into your final output, you must choose Solid from the Background pop-up menu in the General tab of the Project Properties dialog (press Command-J).

Time Display

The controls in this section of the Project Preferences pane set how the time counters across the application are displayed.

Still Images & Layers

These settings in the Project Preferences pane control the default duration, placement, and size of still images and imported layers, as well as layers created in Motion, such as text, shapes, and masks.

  • Default Layer Duration: You can specify the duration of still images, generators, and other layers that lack an inherent duration in one of two ways:
    • Use project duration: All layers are the same duration as the project.
    • Use custom duration: Layers are the duration defined in this value field.
  • Duration: If Default Layer Duration is set to “Use custom duration,” enter a value in this field, and use the pop-up menu to set the time to Frames or Seconds.
  • Create Layers At: When you drag layers to the Canvas, the Layers tab, or the Timeline layers list, they can either be added to the project at the current playhead position or they can be added at the first frame of the project. This setting also applies to layers created within Motion, such as text or shapes.
    • Current frame: Creates layers at the current playhead position.
    • Start of project: Creates layers at the first frame of the project.

Playback Control

These settings in the Project Preferences pane control how Motion plays back your project.

  • If Audio Sync Is Lost: Motion always attempts to keep audio and video playback locked in sync, but if the project is too complex to play both audio and video smoothly, one or the other must be compromised. Choose from one of two options:
    • Skip video frames: Audio continues to play, but video frames are skipped to keep up.
    • Pause audio playback: Audio playback is temporarily suspended during playback.
  • Limit playback speed to project frame rate: Motion plays back your project as fast as possible based on the complexity of the effects and the strength of your computer. When this checkbox is selected, playback rate never exceeds the frame rate of your project. This means you can watch your project play back at the same frame rate as your exported movie. When the checkbox is deselected, playback rate is only limited by your processor power and may play much faster than the project frame rate.
  • Loop audio while scrubbing: When this checkbox is selected, the audio for the frames where you drag the playhead repeats. When the checkbox is deselected, the audio for those frames plays only once.