Customizing and Creating New Templates

Motion comes with a collection of templates that are ready for you to customize for your own use. In addition, it’s also easy to create your own templates.

Customizing Projects Created with Templates

When you first create a new project file from a template, it’s an exact duplicate of the original template. There’s nothing special about template-based projects, and they can be edited and modified just like any other project. There are a few specific methods you’ll probably use to customize template-based projects.

Keep in mind that most templates, especially ones you create yourself, are intended to simplify the process of creating titles and graphics for recurring projects. Examples include titles and lower thirds for news and interview programs, graphics for magazine shows, and any repeating program that requires titles with a consistent look that must be updated from show to show. Well-designed templates allow you to simply exchange key graphics objects and edit the text to update them for the next show in the series.

Changes you make to new projects created from templates have no effect on the original templates.

Exchanging Objects

The easiest way to customize a template-based project is to exchange the objects used in the template with your own objects, either from the File Browser or the Library. When you exchange an object, the new object appears in your project with the same parameter values used by the previous object. In addition, any filters, masks, behaviors, or keyframed parameters that were applied to the original object remain applied to the exchanged object.

Although there are several groups named “Drop Zone” in various templates, the objects within the groups should be replaced—not the layers themselves.

Note: To quickly find all objects to be replaced in a template, type “Drop Zone” in the Layers tab Search field and press Return. The “Drop Zone” objects are displayed in the Layers tab.

For more information about exchanging objects, see Exchanging Media in a Project.

Drop Zones

Drop zones allow you to quickly replace footage in a project by dropping clips directly onto the Canvas. A drop zone appears as a rectangle with a downward arrow in its center. The drop zone’s layer name appears in the center of the drop zone. Any media item (image or footage) dragged and dropped into the region defined by the drop zone object automatically replaces the drop zone placeholder graphic. When media is dragged over the drop zone, a highlight appears around the drop zone area.

Figure. Canvas window showing a QuickTime movie being dragged onto a drop zone.

Note: If there are multiple overlapping drop zones in the Canvas, the topmost one has priority when something is dragged onto the drop zone. You can force all drop zones to appear by using Motion’s expose feature. For more see Exposing Drop Zones.

Using Drop Zones

Drop zones are a unique element in your arsenal of tools to use when creating a new Motion project and template. While you’re constructing your template, you may want to disable them so you don’t accidentally drop a clip into a drop zone. Then, later when using the template, you’ll want to be sure to turn them back on.

To enable drop zones to accept clips
  • Choose View > Use Drop Zones

    A checkmark appears next to the menu item. Drop zones will accept objects that are dragged to them.

To prevent drop zones from accepting clips
  • Choose View > Use Drop Zones.

    Make sure a checkmark does not appear next to the menu item. Drop zones will ignore objects dragged to them.

Exposing Drop Zones

Motion templates often contain drop zones where you can drag and drop your own image objects. In addition, you can create your own drop zones in any project. You can use Motion’s expose feature while dragging image items from the File Browser or Library into the Canvas and be automatically presented with an exploded view of the valid drop zones in the project.

To expose all drop zones in a project
  1. Use the Library or File Browser to locate an object you wish to import into the project.

  2. While holding down the Command key, drag the object onto the Canvas.

    The object you are dragging to the Canvas is displayed as a thumbnail, and a curved arrow replaces the pointer until you drop the object. Active objects explode and rescale in the Canvas so that you can see them all at once. Moving the pointer over an object reveals its Layers tab name.

    Note: You cannot Command-drag non-image objects (shapes, Motion projects, particles, etc.) to the Canvas.

    Figure. Canvas window showing exposed drop zones.
  3. Drop the object onto its target.

    The object replaces its target, everything moves and rescales back to their original positions, and the playhead moves to the first frame of the dropped object.

Customizing Text Objects

Text objects can be easily updated using the Text tool. Editing a text object does nothing to change the format, style, or layout of the text. Furthermore, simple edits made to text objects have no effect on filters, masks, behaviors, or keyframed parameters that are applied to that object.

For more information on editing text objects, see Adding Text.

Modifying Behaviors and Keyframes

Objects in template-based projects are animated using a combination of behaviors and keyframed parameters. These can be edited at any time to customize the motion of the objects. For more information on modifying behaviors, see Working with Behaviors. For more information on modifying keyframes, see Modifying Keyframes.

Using Objects, Behaviors, and Keyframes from Templates

Occasionally, you may find that you want to use a keyframed parameter or behavior from a template in a project of your own. You can always create a new template-based project, select the keyframes or behaviors you want to use, copy them, and paste them into your own project.

All the graphics objects used by the templates also appear in the Content category of the Library, within the Template Media subcategory. If there’s a particular graphic you want to use, you can find it in the Library.

Creating New Templates

In addition to using and customizing the templates that ship with Motion, you can also build your own templates from scratch. Template files contain everything that ordinary projects do, including media objects, text objects, shapes, generators, behaviors, and filters, in any combination.

You can create custom templates for commonly used shots that you regularly create. For example, if you make titles for a news program, you can create templates for the opening title, interstitial graphics, bumpers, and whatever other repetitious shots you regularly create. Once saved as a template, you can quickly load the necessary template and, instead of having to create a new title from scratch, simply customize it with new dates, title text, and exchanged graphics and movies to reflect the requirements of each new program.

Templates are simply Motion files that are saved in a special way. To create a new template, create the layout you need just like with any other Motion project. In preparation for using the layout as a template, you should keep the following things in mind:

Naming Objects in the Layers Tab

The names you give to the groups and layers in your template should indicate each object’s function. For example, you might name the text objects in a titling template “Main Title,” “Starring,” “Guest Star,” and so on. If you use visual elements in the template’s composition, describe their purpose, such as “Background Texture,” “Divider,” “Main Title Background,” and so on. This way, when someone else wants to customize your template, it’s easy to see what they’re supposed to do with it.

Using Drop Zones

Drop zones provide a way for template users to intuitively and quickly replace footage in a template. There are two ways to create drop zones. The first creates a drop zone from scratch, and the second converts an existing object into a drop zone.

To create a new drop zone
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Object > New Drop Zone (or press Command-Shift-D).

  • Select an existing object in the Canvas, then turn on the Drop Zone checkbox in the Image tab of the Inspector.

The Image tab of the Inspector contains controls to adjust the drop zone:

  • Drop Zone: A checkbox that sets whether an object is a drop zone.
  • Clear: A button that clears the image from the drop zone, replacing it with the default generic placeholder graphic.

Creating Multiple Projects for Each Resolution You Require

If you regularly create projects for a variety of formats, it saves time to create a version of your project for each resolution you need. When you save the project as a template, you can specify its format to help you browse for it later.

Consolidating Media

Unless you selected an alternate installation location when you installed Motion, the built-in templates are stored in the /Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Templates/ folder. Customized templates are saved into the /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Templates/ folder, but any media used by that template remains in its original location on disk. If you move, rename, or delete any media file used by a template, that object goes offline in all projects created with that template.

To avoid this, it is recommended that you move all media files you plan on using to a central folder on disk prior to importing them into the project file you’ll be saving as a template. This helps to ensure that those media files are not lost. Alternatively, you can use the File > Save As command, and use the Collect Media option. For more information, see Collecting Media.

Tip: If you plan to share custom templates with other users, it is recommended that you copy your custom templates folder to that computer’s /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Templates/ folder.

Note: In the General section of Motion Preferences (press Command-Comma), you can direct Motion to the folder on your system or network that contains the content and templates. This also allows multiple users on a network to share a single, centralized folder.

To save a project as a template
  1. Choose File > Save as Template.

    The Save dialog appears.

    Note: It is recommended that you create a new custom theme in which to save your own templates.

  2. If you want to create a new theme to add your new template to, click New Theme, type a name in the New Theme dialog, then click Create.

  3. In the Save dialog, type a name for the template.

  4. In the Theme pop-up menu, choose a theme in which to store your template.

  5. Choose the format that your template conforms to from the Format pop-up menu.

  6. If you want your template to play a preview when it appears in the Template Browser, turn on Create QuickTime Preview.

  7. Click Save.

    Figure. Save Template dialog.

    Your new template is saved into the theme you selected. Customized templates are saved into /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Studio/Motion/Templates/, in a folder that corresponds to the name of the theme you’ve selected.

Organizing Templates in the Template Browser

You can use the Template Browser to select and organize your templates, if necessary. All templates are organized into categories. You can add, delete, and rename categories directly in the Template Browser.

To add a category in the Template Browser
  1. Choose File > Open Template.

    The Template Browser opens.

  2. Click New Theme.

  3. Enter a name for the theme into the dialog at the top of the Template Browser.

  4. Click Create.

    The new category appears in the Theme column at the left.

To delete a category in the Template Browser
  1. Choose File > Open Template.

    The Template Browser opens.

  2. Select a category in the Theme column.

  3. Press Delete.

    An alert dialog prompts you to confirm the deletion.

  4. Click the Delete button.

    The directory on your disk corresponding to that category is placed in the Trash, but not deleted. Any template files in that category’s directory are also placed in the Trash.

To delete individual templates from the Template Browser
  1. Choose File > Open Template.

    The Template Browser opens.

  2. Select a template.

  3. Press Delete.

    An alert dialog prompts you to confirm the deletion.

  4. Click the Delete button.