Adding Media to Your Project

Once you’ve created a new project, the next step is to add media files to your composition. All media types—movie clips, still images, audio files, or other objects appearing in the Motion Library—are added to your project using the same methods.

Note: Layered Photoshop files have additional import options available from the drop menu. For more information, see Adding Layered Photoshop Files to a Project.

The Link Between Motion Layers and Media Files

Prior to learning how to add media to your Motion project, it’s important to understand the correspondence between layers and source media. Every time you add a file to your project, you create a link between the layer you see in the Canvas and its corresponding media file on disk.

Motion is a nondestructive application. This means that any changes you make to media objects in a Motion project aren’t actually applied to the media files to which they’re linked.

Because of this link, whenever you add a file to your project, you need to make sure it remains available on your hard disk for as long as you’re working on that project. If you move, delete, or rename media files that correspond to layers in a Motion project, those objects become “offline.” Offline layers appear as checkered rectangles that occupy the entire bounding box of the object.

Figure. Canvas window showing an object with offline media.

If this happens, it’s easy to reconnect the offline layers in your project with new copies of the media you lost, assuming those files are still available. For more information, see Online Versus Offline Media.

Selecting Files in the File Browser

You can add files to a project using either the File Browser or the Import command in the File menu. In most cases, the File Browser is more convenient, and gives you more control over how the resulting objects appear in your project.

Prior to adding files, you must first select them in the File Browser. You can add files to a project either individually or in groups.

To select files in the File Browser
  1. Open the File Browser.

  2. Select one or more files by doing one of the following:

    • Click a single file.

    • While holding down the Shift or Command key, click each file you want to select.

    • While holding down the Shift or Command key, click any selected file to deselect it.

    • In list view, click to the left of any file’s thumbnail, then drag up or down to select multiple consecutive files.

    • In list view, press Shift and use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to add files to the current selection.

Adding Files to Your Project

The following procedures apply to adding every file type compatible with Motion.

Note: Although iTunes and iPhoto files can be added using the File Browser as described below, it is recommended that you use the Music and Photo categories within the Motion Library. Using the Library allows you to browse for files using the playlist or photo album features available within iTunes and iPhoto. For more information, see Adding iTunes and iPhoto Files from the Library.

To add one or more files to a project in a new group
  1. If the Create Layers At setting in the Project pane of Motion Preferences is set to “Current frame,” move the playhead to the frame in the Timeline where you want the first frame of the file to start.

    Note: If the Create Layers At setting is set to “Start of project,” this step is unnecessary as imported files are always placed at frame 1.

  2. Select one or more objects in the File Browser.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • Drag the selected files into the Canvas, placing them at any position.

    • Click the Import button to add the selected files to the center of the Canvas.

    • Drag the selected files into the blank bottom area of the Layers tab.

    • Drag the selected files into the blank bottom area of the Timeline.

    • Choose File > Import (or press Command-I), select one or more files in the Import Files dialog, then click Open.

      A new group is created at the top of the Layers tab, and all files appear as layers nested within it. Each new layer’s start time in the Timeline is set to the position of the playhead in step 1.

To add one or more files to an existing group
  1. If the Create Layers At setting in the Project pane of Motion Preferences is set to “Current frame,” move the playhead to the frame in the Timeline where you want the first frame of the file to start.

    Note: If the Create Layers At setting is set to “Start of project,” this step is unnecessary as imported files are always placed at frame 1.

  2. Open the File Browser and Layers tab.

  3. Select one or more files in the File Browser.

  4. To nest the selected files underneath an existing group, do one of the following:

    • Drag the selected files on top of any group in the Layers tab.

      The objects appear nested at the top of the group of objects.

    • Drag the selected files between any objects in a group.

      A position indicator shows the new position that the objects occupy when you release the mouse button.

    • Drag the selected files into the Timeline, placing them between any objects that are already nested underneath an existing group.

      Note: For more information on editing objects into the Timeline, see Using the Timeline.

    Once a file has been added to a project, it appears as a layer in the Canvas, Timeline, Layers tab, and Media tab. Each new layer’s start time in the Timeline is set to the position of the playhead in step 1.

You can also add files to your project without having them appear in the composition by dragging a file directly into the Media tab. This allows you to add media objects you might want to use in the future without actually placing them in your composition.

To drag one or more files to a project without using them in the composition
  1. Open the Media tab.

  2. Drag one or more files from the File Browser into the Media tab.

    The resulting media objects don’t appear in the Canvas, Layers tab, or Timeline.

To copy and paste one or more files to a project without using them in the composition
  1. Open the Media tab.

  2. Select the object (or Shift-click to select multiple objects) in the Media tab, choose Edit > Copy.

  3. Click in the Media tab to make it the active window, then choose Edit > Paste.

Adding Layered Photoshop Files to a Project

You can add a layered Photoshop file to your project by dragging it to the Canvas, Layers tab, or Timeline, by using the Import button, or by using the Import command. Using the Import button (in the Preview area) results in all layers of the Photoshop file being collapsed into a single layer, by default. To maintain the layers of the imported file separately, you need to use the drop menu or the File > Import command.

To control how a layered Photoshop file is added to your project using the drop menu
  1. Drag a layered Photoshop file from the File Browser into the Canvas, Layers tab, or Timeline.

  2. Before releasing the mouse button, pause until the Canvas drop menu appears.

    This menu presents different commands for importing the layered file.

  3. Drag the file over the command you want in the drop menu, and when the menu item is highlighted, release the mouse button.

    The layers of the Photoshop file are added using the command you choose:

    • Import Merged Layers: All layers of the Photoshop file are collapsed into a single layer.
    • Import All Layers: A new group is created and nested within the currently selected group. Each layer of the Photoshop file appears as an individual layer nested within this group.

You can also import individual layers from the Photoshop file. Each layer in the selected Photoshop file appears as a separate item in the drop menu. Selecting an individual layer adds only that particular layer to your project, where it appears as a single layer.

Note: When a Photoshop file contains more layers than can be displayed in the drop menu, the Choose Layer option appears in the drop menu. Once Choose Layer is chosen, use the Pick Layer to Import dialog to select which layer to import.

To control how a layered Photoshop file is added to your project using the Import command
  1. Choose File > Import.

  2. Select the file you want to import, then click Import.

    The Pick Layer to Import dialog appears.

  3. Choose a command from the Layer Name pop-up menu:

    • Merged Layers: All layers of the Photoshop file are collapsed into a single layer.
    • All Layers: A new group is created and nested within the currently selected group. Each layer of the Photoshop file appears as an individual object nested within this group.
    • Individual layers: Each layer in the selected Photoshop file appears as a separate item in the drop menu. Selecting an individual layer adds only that particular layer to your project, where it appears as a single object.

      To choose a different Photoshop layer than was originally selected on import, select the Photoshop file in the Layers tab, then choose a layer from the Layer pop-up menu in the Properties tab of the Inspector.

Adding iTunes and iPhoto Files from the Library

You can add files from your iTunes and iPhoto libraries to a project via the Motion Library. This is very convenient, as the iTunes library and playlists and iPhoto albums appear in the Library subcategories.

Note: Although a connected iPod appears in the File Browser as a hard disk, you can only browse for and import iPod files that are stored as data. Music transferred to the iPod via iTunes cannot be imported into Motion.

To add an audio file from iTunes
  1. In the Library, select the Music category.

    The iTunes library and playlists appear. By default, All is selected (the iTunes library).

  2. With All selected or by selecting a playlist, select an audio file from the stack.

    Note: When displayed in list view, the Music category shows information created in iTunes, such as the Name, Artist, Album, Duration, and Size of the file.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • In the Preview area, click Apply.

    • Drag the audio file to the Canvas, Project pane, or audio area of the Timeline (not the Audio Editor).

Note: Rights-protected AAC files cannot be imported into Motion and do not appear in the file stack. This includes non-iTunes Plus music purchased from the iTunes Store.

For more information on working with audio files, see Working with Audio.

To add a file from iPhoto
  1. In the Library, select the Photos category.

    The iPhoto albums appear. By default, All is selected (the iPhoto library).

  2. With All selected or by selecting an album, select a file from the stack.

    Note: When displayed in list view, the Photos category shows information created in iPhoto, such as the Name and Size of the file.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • In the Preview area, click Apply.

    • Drag the file to the Canvas, Layers tab, or Timeline.

Note: When importing large-scale images into Motion, you have the option to import the files as is, to scale the images to the size of the Canvas, or to change the resolution of the image to fit the Canvas. For more information, see Using High-Resolution Still Images.