Using Media in the Library

Motion ships with a collection of media and effects that you can use in your projects. The Library shares many controls and window panes with the File Browser. Both tabs are designed for the navigation of media that you want to add to your project. In general, all the controls work identically to those found in the File Browser, but the organization of listed media is different.

Figure. Sidebar area in the Library.

The Library sidebar consists of a two-column pane. The left column displays all the categories of media and effects that are available in the Library. When you select a category, subcategories appear in the right column. Selecting a subcategory displays all the media or effects objects within the subcategory in the Library stack below.

Library Categories

The Library contains many different types of categories, as described in the next sections.

Behaviors and Filters

Behaviors and filters are applied directly to objects that have already been added to your project. They do not exist on their own. Instead, they must be attached to an object to have an effect. Both behaviors and filters can be customized after they’ve been added to a project, and customized versions can be stored in the Library for future use.

For more information about behaviors, see Using Behaviors. For more information about filters, see Using Filters.

Image Units (Filters)

The Image Units category appears in the Motion Library if you are running Mac OS X 10.5 or later. Motion supports the operating system’s Core Image Units (filters).


Generators are user-customizable computer-generated objects that can be used to create a variety of graphic elements. When you add a generator to your project, it automatically adapts to the frame size and frame rate of the project. Generators also have infinite duration, so they can play as long as necessary.

Generators have all the property parameters belonging to other objects. Properties specific to each generator also appear in the Generator tab of the Inspector whenever a generator is selected. You can also save customized versions of generators in the Library for future use.

For more information about the generators available in Motion, see Working with Generators.

Image Units (Generators)

The Image Units category appears in the Motion Library if you are running Mac OS X 10.5 or later. Motion supports the operating system’s Core Image Units (generators).

Particle Emitters

Several categories of pre-made particle emitters let you quickly add effects ranging from simulations of smoke, fire, and explosives, to animated abstract textures that you can use in different ways. All of Motion’s pre-made particle systems can be customized once you add them to your project.

For more information about using particle systems, see Working with Particles.


Several categories of pre-made replicators let you quickly add background, transitional, or other types of animated patterns. All of Motion’s pre-made replicators can be customized once you add them to your project.

For more information about replicators, see Using the Replicator.


This category contains pre-made shapes that you can use either as visual elements or as image masks. Each shape is a Bezier shape and can be further customized using Motion’s shape editing tools. For more information about editing shapes and masks, see Using Shapes, Masks, and Paint Strokes.


The Gradients category contains gradient presets that you can use in the gradient editor found in particle system emitters and cells, as well as in text objects and shapes. Motion comes with a collection of gradient presets, but you can also save your own custom gradients created with any gradient editor.

Fonts and LiveFonts

Fonts and LiveFonts that are installed on your computer appear in these categories. Fonts are organized into subcategories based on the categories of fonts you define in the Font Book application. For more information about Font Book, see Mac Help in the Finder Help menu.

You can use the font categories to preview the fonts that are available on your computer. You can also drag fonts and LiveFonts onto text objects to change the typeface they use. For more information about using fonts with text objects, see Using the Library Font Preview.

Text Styles

Text styles are presets that can be applied to text objects in your project to instantly change their style parameters. These style parameters include face, outline, glow, and drop shadow parameters. Dragging a text style onto a text object instantly applies that style to the text.

For more information on text styles, see Editing Text Style.

Shape Styles

Shape styles are presets that can be applied to shapes and paint strokes to instantly change their style parameters. Dragging a shape style onto a shape instantly applies that style to the shape.

For more information on shape styles, see Saving Shapes and Shape Styles.

Music and Photos

These categories allow you to browse for and import audio files directly from your iTunes library and image files directly from your iPhoto library. The Music subcategories that appear in the Motion Library are playlists created in iTunes. The Photos subcategories are albums created in iPhoto. The contents of each library, album, or playlist appear in the file stack.

For more information on importing iPhoto or iTunes files, see Adding iTunes and iPhoto Files from the Library.


Motion ships with a collection of pre-made graphics and Motion-generated objects that appear in the Content category. Any of these objects can be dragged into the Canvas and used as design elements for your own project. Some of the subcategories contain objects used to make the templates included with Motion. The one exception is the Particle Images subcategory, which comprises particle cell sources used to generate the particle emitter presets included with Motion.

By default, the content files that ship with Motion are stored in the /Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/ folder when you install Motion. During installation, you can select an alternate location to install the Motion content. Custom Motion-generated objects that you place into the Library are saved in the /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Library/Content/ folder.

Note: Dragging a media object into the Content category leaves its corresponding file on disk in its original location. For this reason, it’s recommended you centralize all media you plan on importing into the Library for future use into a dedicated and predictable location on disk, to prevent accidentally moving, renaming, or deleting those files.

Favorites and the Favorites Menu

It’s easy to customize the behaviors, filters, particle systems, gradients, and generators used in Motion to create your own effects. These customized objects are saved into their corresponding categories. The Favorites category provides a place to put objects—built-in or custom-made—that you frequently use. You can also place frequently used media files into the Favorites, such as PDF or TIFF files. Objects you put in the Favorites category are available to every project you create in Motion.

Objects you place in the Favorites Menu folder appear in the Favorites menu, for even faster access. When you choose an item from the Favorites menu, that item is placed into the currently selected layer, positioned at the center of the Canvas. Objects you put in the Favorites Menu are available to every project in Motion.

Objects that are dragged into the Favorites and Favorites Menu categories are saved into the /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Library/Favorites/ and /Favorites Menu/ directories, respectively.

Note: Objects placed into subcategories that correspond to a folder in the /Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Favorites/ folder are shared among all user accounts on that computer.

Adding Your Own Content to the Library

You can add your own customized versions of generators, filters, behaviors, and gradients to categories in the Library. Furthermore, if you work on one or more programs that frequently recycle the same graphics elements, or if you have a library of graphics that you use regularly, you can add these media files to the Favorites category. It is recommended that you add custom content to the Favorites category. Content you put into the Library is available to every project in Motion.

To add Motion-generated objects to a Content category
  • Drag an object to the Favorites folder in the Library Category list or subcategory list, or directly into the Library stack.

Important: Each category except the Content, Favorites, and Favorites Menu is filtered by the type of object it represents. For example, you can place a user-customized filter in the Filters category, but you cannot put a filter into the Behaviors category.

You can also place media from disk into the Content, Favorites, or Favorites Menu categories.

Using Custom Objects from the Library

When you drag a custom object from the Library to the Canvas, the center of the object is dropped at the location in which you release the mouse button. If you use the Apply button in the Preview area to add the object, the object is added at the center of the Canvas.

When you drag objects to the Canvas that were saved with the “All in one file” drop menu option, the objects are dropped at the location in which you release the mouse button and are positioned according to their arrangement when originally saved to the Library. If you use the Apply button in the Preview area to add the object, the objects are added at the center of the Canvas.

Note: When you drag a custom mask from the Library into a project, the mask retains the position with which it was saved (relative to the image or footage on which it is dropped).

To add a media object to the Favorites category
  • Drag a media object from the Layers tab or Media tab, or from the File Browser, into the Favorites folder in the Library.

When adding your own content, you can create additional folders to add subcategories that appear in the subcategory column.

To create a new subcategory within any category
  1. Open the Library and select a category.

  2. Click the New Folder button (+) at the bottom of the Library.

  3. Rename the new folder to suit your needs.

    This new folder appears in the subcategory column whenever that category is selected.

To remove objects or folders from a Content category
  • Select an object or folder in the Library stack, then do one of the following:

    • Choose Edit > Delete.

    • Press Command-Delete.

When Library Media Becomes Unavailable

As with any other object used in a Motion project, Library media used by a project must be present and installed on the current computer for those objects to appear correctly in Motion. If someone gives you a project file and you don’t have the same filters, fonts, or LiveFonts that they do, a warning appears when you open the project that lists the items that are unavailable.

You can either close the project and install the necessary files on your computer, or go ahead and open the file. The following list outlines what happens when you open a project file without having the necessary media:

  • Missing Content: Missing content is treated like any other missing media object. The objects go offline, and you have the option to reconnect them at any time. For more information about reconnecting media, see Online Versus Offline Media.
  • Missing Filters: When one or more filters are missing, objects in your project that use those filters appear with a placeholder that shows which filter is missing. This gives you the opportunity to reinstall the filter at a later point.
  • Missing Fonts: When fonts are missing, the text objects that use those fonts default to Geneva as a temporary substitute. Missing international fonts substitute the default system font for that language.
  • Missing LiveFonts: When LiveFonts are missing, the previously used LiveFont is replaced by another LiveFont installed on your computer.