… for Apple Motion

Tip #1197: Stay Oriented in 3D Space

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The key to 3D space is to stay oriented. Top view, and tracking the grid, help.

These are the nine views when working with cameras. Top is my favorite.

Topic $TipTopic

When I first started learning Motion, I got hopelessly lost when exploring 3D space. (I still remember how frustrated I felt when 3D in Motion did not equate to the 3D in my normal life…)

The 3D world opens up when you assign a camera to a project (Object > New Camera). While explaining how 3D space and cameras work requires at least a chapter in a book, there is a cool orientation tip that helps me stay oriented.

Once you’ve applied a camera, the View menu in the top left corner of the Viewer provides nine different perspectives on how to view your scene.

  • Active camera shows what Motion will output; in other words the finished view.
  • Top, for me, is the best way to create a 3D effect because it emulates an architectural floor plan – and I’ve been looking at set designs all my life.

So I use Top to determine position and movement, then tweak based upon what Active Camera shows the results to be.


In the Standard keyboard command set:

  • Active Camera uses Control + A as it’s shortcut.
  • Top can be assigned a shortcut using Motion > Commands.

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… for Apple Motion

Tip #1196: Replicators Can Use Multiple Shapes

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Replicators duplicate selected objects into geometric shapes, then animate them.

A group of elements, each with different color and movement, all replicated.

Topic $TipTopic

Replicators are a great way to duplicate an element. What you may not know is that replicators can contain multiple elements.

To create a replicator, select it, then click the Replicate button in the top right section of the Motion interface.

Select the Replicator element in the Layers panel, then, adjust it using Inspector > Replicator. Basically, change something and watch what happens.

However, the key point is that a replicator is made from whatever you first select. If you create a group – as I did in this screen shot – then, select the group, all the elements in the group are then replicated.

Plus, each element in the source group can have its own style, position, color, and movement applied to it.

This makes replicators far more versatile than you might at first think.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1195: Create a Watermark That Moves

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Watermarks are like a footnote in a book – used as a reference, not as the subject.

A sample moving watermark in Motion – tucked into the lower-right corner near Title Safe.

Topic $TipTopic

We first looked at watermarks, a logo that’s added to a compressed video, in Tip #1191. Here, I want to explain more about how to create a moving watermark in Motion.

Most watermarks are stationary – a logo that sits quietly in the corner of your video to identify the source. Stationary watermarks are easy to create in Photoshop. But, a moving watermark is more visually interesting and might fit the style of your video better.

  • Create a Motion project at the same size as the video to which you want to apply it. Motion creates all projects with an alpha channel, meaning that any part of the background that’s black is transparent.

NOTE: Apple Compressor allows you to scale the watermark to fit the source file, but this changes its size, position and resolution, which you may not want.

  • Add whatever text and animation you prefer (see screen shot). Don’t add drop shadows or fine detail, watermarks are designed to be semi-transparent. Go for clarity, readability and non-distracting colors.
  • Export the project as a movie, not as a Motion project.
  • Then, following the instructions in Tip #1191, combine it with your video using Apple Compressor.


Keep in mind that, while color is more interesting, be careful to pick colors that don’t clash too severely with your main movie.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #1203: What is OFX?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

OFX: Improve interoperability, reduce support and development time.

The Open Effects Association logo.

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OFX. Many visual effects tools reference this – but what is it?

The OFX Image Effect Plug-in API, is an open standard for 2D visual effects or compositing plug-ins. It allows plug-ins written to the standard to work on any application that supports the standard. It is widely used for visual effects and video processing and is supported by numerous hosts, including Assimilate, Blackmagic Design, Digital Anarchy, FXHOME, NewBlueFX, RE:Vision Effects and more.

Bruno Nicoletti of The Foundry created it in 2004. The OFX API was established because each developer had its own proprietary interface, so developers at different companies couldn’t work together or share code very easily. Developers had to create their own method of porting their plug-ins into each host, which, as you can imagine, can be expensive and time-consuming.

Out of this confusion, the Open Effects Association – and OFX – was born.

Here’s an article from ToolFarm with more details on which software supports it and what plug-ins are available.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #1202: BorisFX Sapphire Tutorials

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Interviews, showcases and tutorials to get you started with BorisFX Sapphire.

(Image courtesy of BorisFX.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

Sapphire plug-ins, published by BorisFX, let you create stunning organic looks unmatched by any host native effect tools. Key features include over 270 effects and 3000+ presets, a powerful Effect and Transition Builder, and integrated tracking and masking with the Academy Award-winning Mocha. Sapphire’s superior image quality, control, and render speed offers massive time-savings.

BorisFX has compiled a series of artist interviews and product tutorials that showcase Sapphire and provide an orientation to how it works.

Here’s the link.

… for Visual Effects

Tip #1201: Get Started with Nuke

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The hardest step is getting started. Here’s a 10-video series that can help.

(Image courtesy of Foundry.com.)

Topic $TipTopic

Nuke is an industry standard compositing, editorial and review tool for single artists to full VFX houses. The hardest part of learning effects software is getting started. Foundry, the makers of Nuke, created the free “Nuke Studio for Beginners.”

This 10 video set takes just over an hour to watch and will get you started with basic editing, compositing and exporting in Nuke Studio. Designed for complete beginners and those new to Nuke, these tutorials describe the steps to make a simple project in Nuke Studio.

Nuke is different from more traditional effects packages found in most NLEs because it is node-based. As such, it takes some effort to shift our thinking into the possibilities that nodes present.

Both the tutorials and a trial version of Nuke are free. Here’s the link.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1187: Using Quick Export

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Quick Export is a fast way to create H.264 versions of your timeline.

Quick Export icon (top), video format settings (middle) and seven compression options.

Topic $TipTopic Quick Export, new with the Nov. 2020 release of Adobe Premiere Pro, is a single-button way to create H.264 versions of the currently open project in your timeline.

  • Click the Quick Export icon in the top right corner of the Premiere interface (screen shot, top red arrow).
  • This displays the Quick Export screen allowing you to change the file name, storage location and compression setting.
  • Click Preset to pick from eight different compression settings: bit rate (top four) and image size (bottom four) for the exported file. (Middle image) The display at the bottom (bottom red arrow) shows the current export configuration.
  • When the settings are the way you like – and most of the time, you probably won’t change them, click Export.

NOTE: All these options create H.264 files.

This quickly configures project exports. The export process remains the same.


For more export options, simply export your project as always and configure it using the Export Settings window.

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1192: What Are Compression Artifacts?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Compression artifacts are blurry rectangles in a compressed image.

A source image (top) compared to an image with severe artifacts.

Topic $TipTopic

Compression artifacts are caused by a compression data rate that is too low. These are most often seen as blurry rectangles that randomly “crawl” around an image.

In this screen shot, the source image is on top. The compressed image, with severe artifacts, is on the bottom.

Look at the lost detail in their hair, the “stair-steppy” edges along both girl’s shoulders and ugly blotches throughout their skin.

Artifacts most often show up in regions of similar color – skin, hair, sky, sand…

These can only be removed by recompressing your video at a higher (faster) bit rate.

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1191: Create Watermarks That Move

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Moving watermarks can be created in Motion, then added using Compressor.

Watermark effects settings (top) and the inserted watermark (bottom)

Topic $TipTopic

We are all used to video watermarks, those small images in the lower right corner of a video that identify the source of the video. But, did you know those watermarks can move? If you use the right watermark, it can.

In Motion, create a project the same size as the video it will be added to. Position the watermark at both the size and position you want. Remember this video will loop so be sure the first and last frame match.

Motion automatically creates motion graphics with alpha channels, which means it will key into any video perfectly.

NOTE: I generally set watermarks to sit right at the lower-right corner of Title Safe.

  • Add a video to Compressor, then apply a compression setting to the clip.
  • Select the compression setting, then scroll to the bottom of the Video Inspector.
  • In the Add Video Effects menu, select Watermark (top red arrow).
  • At the bottom of the Watermark effect, click the Select button (bottom red arrow) and select the moving watermark you just created in Motion.
  • At the top of the Watermark effect, change Position to Center. This matches the framing of the watermark to the video.
  • If the watermark and the video are created at different frame sizes, check Scale to Frame Size to get them to match.
  • Finally, because the video needs to loop for the duration of your video, click Repeat (video only) to create the loop.


Any application that creates video with an alpha channel can be used to create moving watermarks.

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1190: Faster H.264 and HEVC Compression

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Compression is getting faster due to new chips supporting hardware acceleration.

The Encoder type menu option in Apple Compressor 4.5.

Topic $TipTopic

As I was preparing this week’s webinar on media compression in Apple Compressor (link) I learned the following:

The new M1 chip from Apple (part of the three new Macs launched last week) can accelerate encoding of H.264, 8-bit HEVC, and 10-bit HEVC using hardware. This vastly speeds compression of these codecs.

NOTE: HDR media requires using a 10-bit codec, which is why compressing 10-bit HEVC quickly is important.

To enable hardware acceleration, be sure to select Faster for the Encoding type.

As well, recent Intel-based Mac computers can use the T2 chip to hardware accelerate 8-bit HEVC and 10-bit HEVC encoding. Again, the Faster Encoding type option should be selected.

NOTE: Selecting Multi-pass switches to software-based encoding. Given the speed and quality of today’s hardware-accelerated compression, there are very few reasons to use this option.