Object Media Tab Parameters

When you select an object in the Media tab of the Project pane, the Inspector displays a Media tab that contains the properties defining how the object appears in Motion. This includes parameters such as the type of alpha channel used, pixel aspect ratio, field order, and so on. All of these parameters can be edited, which changes the way that object is displayed and composited in your project.

While Motion makes an effort to correctly interpret how objects you add to your project should appear, sometimes it isn’t possible to correctly identify how a source media file should be treated. Make sure that each object you add to your project has the correct settings in its Media tab so you can successfully mix and match objects with different pixel aspect ratios, alpha channel types, and frame rates.

Because Motion is a nondestructive application, changes made to these parameters are not applied to the source media files on disk. They simply affect how objects are drawn within Motion.

Controls in the Media Tab of the Inspector

The following controls let you modify the objects in the Media tab, which also affects all the instances of the object in the project.

Figure. Inspector showing Media tab.

Separate layers in a Photoshop file do not use the following parameters. These parameters are used only when a PSD file is imported as “Merged.”

Note: PDF files with transparent backgrounds do not have the Alpha Type or Invert Alpha parameters.

  • Invert Alpha: Ordinarily, an alpha channel is a grayscale channel, where white represents areas of 100 percent opacity (solid), gray regions represent partially opaque areas, and black represents 0 percent opacity (transparent). If an alpha channel has been incorrectly generated in reverse, this checkbox inverts it.
  • Frame Rate: Choose a frame rate in frames per second that matches the clip’s native rate. For example, film is 24 fps, PAL video is 25 fps, and NTSC video is 29.97 fps. Additional frame rates are available for different video formats. If the frame rate you require is not listed, you can type a number in the text field to the right of the pop-up menu.

    Note: Project frame rates are determined by the project preset. To edit a preset or to create a new preset, choose Motion > Preferences and use the options in the Presets pane.

    If you change a QuickTime file’s frame rate, you can choose “From file” at the bottom of the Frame Rate pop-up menu to change this parameter to the QuickTime file’s original frame rate.

    Note: While you can freely mix clips using different frame rates, clips playing at a frame rate different from that of the project may not play smoothly.

  • Fixed Width and Fixed Height: Displays the resolution of an image. When Large Stills (in Motion Preferences) is set to Scale to Canvas Size, these values display the resolution of the original file. When Down-Res to Canvas Size is set in the preferences, these values display the new resolution of the imported image.

    When a PDF is selected, these controls set the maximum resolution to which a PDF object can be smoothly scaled. For more information, see Fixing the Resolution of a PDF Object.

  • Crop: A multidimensional parameter that defines a number of pixels to be cropped from each of an object’s four sides, relative to the outer edge of the bounding box that surrounds that object. Cropping an object in the Media tab also crops all instances of that object that appear in your project. A similar Crop parameter appearing for objects in the Layers tab allows you to individually crop each instance of that object. For more information, see Parameters in the Properties Tab.
  • Timing: These parameters control the start, end, and duration of each media object.
    • Start: Sets the In point of the object, in both constant and variable speed modes. Adjusting this parameter always moves the object In point to the specified frame without affecting the duration of the object.
    • End: Sets the Out point of the object, in both constant and variable speed modes. Adjusting this parameter always moves the object Out point to the specified frame without affecting the duration of the object.
    • Duration: Sets the total duration of the object. If Time Remap is set to Constant Speed, adjusting Duration will also affect the Speed and the Out point. If Time Remap is set to Variable Speed (in the Timing controls of the Properties tab of the Inspector), adjusting Duration will not affect variable speed playback.
  • Linked Objects: This list displays all objects that appear in the Layers tab that have a relationship to that object. Two columns display the name of each group containing an instance of the source media, along with the object’s name. Changing an object’s name in the Layers tab automatically updates the name that appears in the corresponding object’s Linked Objects list.
  • Replace Media File button: This button allows you to relink a media object in your project to another source file on disk. This feature is primarily useful for relinking offline objects, but it can also be used to substitute the media used by an object in your project with other media. It also lets you replace one object with another, along with all instances of that object in your project.
  • Summary: A separate pane that lists the properties of the media file on disk that’s linked to the selected object.