… for Apple Motion

Tip #1084: Effects Playground: Time Tunnel

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This is a fun, fast and fascinating effect, with lots of opportunities to play.

The “worm hole” effect described in this article.

Topic $TipTopic

Ever wanted to travel through a worm hole? Now you can – and Motion creates it. (This looks better when it is moving than as a still.)

Here’s how to create this:

  • Drop Generators > Cellular into the Viewer.
  • Select the Cellular element, then, in Inspector > Generator change:
    • Gradient change the color on the right. (You can use any other color scheme you like.)
    • Size: 3
    • Speed: 0.5
  • With the Cellular element selected, apply Filters > Stylize > Slit Tunnel. Then, in Inspector > Filters, change:
    • Speed: 5
    • Perspective: 0.3
    • Glow: 0.02
    • Change the glow color to radioactive green.



  • Position and/or animate the center of the tunnel elsewhere in the frame.
  • Replace Slit Tunnel with Slit Scan and watch what happens.

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1085: What’s a Replicator?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Replicators create patterns from one or more shapes.

A spiral replicator with the Oak color gradient pattern applied.

Topic $TipTopic

A Replicator creates a pattern from a single object or a group of objects. Traditionally, we think of a pattern as a rectangle, but, in Motion, we have a lot more options.

Replicators can be use to repeat a logo to fill the screen as the background for text, or creating interesting patterns, or, well, just about anything, really.

NOTE: A key difference between particles and replicators is that particles have a “life,” the duration that a particular particle is displayed on screen. Replicated objects “live” forever.

Replicators can take different shapes, including:

  • Point
  • Line
  • Rectangle
  • Circle
  • Burst
  • Spiral (see screen shot)
  • Wave
  • Or a custom geometric form

Replicators can also change color across the pattern, as this screen shot illustrates.


Animate Replicators by applying Behaviors > Replicator > Sequence Replicator


… for Apple Motion

Tip #1086: Turn on Motion’s Grid

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Grids don’t export, but they do help you align objects more easily.

Motion’s grid (top) with the preference settings that adjust it.

Topic $TipTopic

Motion has a grid you can use to align elements. Here’s how to turn it on, then configure it for your next project.

To display the grid, choose View > Overlays > Grid (or select it from the View menu in the top right corner of the Viewer.)

To modify the grid, go to Motion > Preferences > Canvas (illustrated in the screen shot) where you can adjust grid spacing and color.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1059: Animate a Line

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Write on animates borders attached to lines, paths and paint strokes.

The Draw and Erase setting applied to a path using the Write On behavior.

Topic $TipTopic

This is a fun and fast way to animate any path, line or paint brush in Motion using the Write On behavior. Even better, you can animate a line to draw, erase, or draw then erase itself. Here’s how this works:

  • Using the Pen or Paint Brush tool, draw a path in Motion.
  • With the path selected, choose a border from the HUD (Option + Cmd + L) or Inspector > Object. The border needs a width greater than 0.

NOTE: Personally, I prefer applying Shape Styles, but these, too, need a wider border value.

  • With the path element still selected in the Layers panel, choose Behaviors > Shape > Write On. This animates the border starting at the beginning of the path.
  • Adjust the Offset value to change where drawing the border starts.

This technique is great at creating animated travel lines for a map, or calling attention to a moving object.


  • Change the duration of the Write on behavior to change it’s speed.
  • Select the Write on behavior, then, in Inspector > Behaviors, change the menu from Draw to Erase. This animates the removal of the border, Or Draw and Erase, which draws it on, then draws it off.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1060: Shape Styles Are Magic

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Shape styles can be applied to any element that allows a border.

The Shape Styles menu in the HUD.

Topic $TipTopic

Any shape, path or element that supports a border can have its boring white border replaced with one of hundreds of much more interesting styles. Here’s how.

  • Select a shape, path, paint stroke or any object that supports a border.
  • Display the HUD (Option + Cmd + L).
  • At the bottom of the HUD, click the Shape Style menu to display over 100 colors, textures, object, lights and fluids that can be applied to the border itself. (See screen shot.)
  • The border width determines the size of these styles.

I have many favorites in lights, textures and abstract.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1061: Create HDR-compatible Projects in Motion

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Motion can easily create HDR projects. You just need to change two settings.

The Color Space menu in File > Share > Settings.

Topic $TipTopic

We can create HDR-compatible projects in Motion by changing only two settings. Here’s what you need to know.

You can choose between two basic color spaces in Motion: Standard and wide gamut HDR.

NOTE: Wide gamut HDR refers to a greater range of colors and color saturation. It does not determine pixel brightness.

To work in a wide gamut HDR color space, also called Rec. 2020, you must first configure two settings. First:

  • Select the Project in the Layers panel.
  • Go to Inspector > Properties and change Color Processing to Wide Gamut HDR.

Next, when the project is complete and you are ready to export:

  • Choose File > Share.
  • In the Settings panel, change the Color Space setting to either Rec. 2020 HLG or Rec. 2020 PQ – depending upon what your distributor requires.
  • NOTE: Don’t use Rec. 2020 – it is an outdated setting.

    This setting determines the color of images you see in the canvas, as well as the color space and appearance of your exported project (the output media file). “Use canvas setting” matches the current project. Instead, set render color space to HDR Rec. 2020 HLG or HDR Rec. 2020 PQ if you intend to export an HDR movie when you complete the project

    The color-processing setting may affect the appearance of your final render. For example, when the project is changed from Standard to Wide Gamut HDR, the effect of some filters or blend modes may change in appearance.


    Remember, we can not use computer monitors to view HDR material. We need to use external, HDR video displays. Computer monitors are not accurate.

    … for Apple Motion

    Tip #1045: Bug Fixes in Two Recent Updates

    Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

    The Motion update is free and available in the Mac App Store.

    Topic $TipTopic

    Two recent updates to Motion 5 fixed a lot of bugs. Here’s what’s fixed in these two updates.

    10.4.10 UPDATE

    • Fixes an issue in which XAVC media from the Sony PXW-FX9 camera is not recognized.

    10.4.9 UPDATE

    In addition to adding 3D Objects and the new Stroke filter, this Motion update:

    • Adds square and vertical presets to the Display Aspect Ratio Snapshots in the Project Inspector.
    • Fixes an issue that prevented image masks from responding to opacity changes made to a source object.
    • Improves performance when working with particle emitters.
    • Fixes an issue with the Align To behavior and scrolling text.
    • Fixes a stability issue after switching to Cinema Layout.
    • Fixes a stability issue during playback with Dynamics turned on in the Advanced Pane of the Shape Inspector.
    • Fixes an issue in which still images might be exported with the incorrect color space.
    • Fixes an issue in which the Spirals Generator rendered incorrectly.

    … for Apple Motion

    Tip #1047: Create a Vertical Video Project

    Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

    Square and vertical video require custom settings in Project > Properties.

    The Inspector > Properties settings you need to change for vertical video.

    Topic $TipTopic

    Since the beginning of television, video used a horizontal aspect ratio. Since the beginning of cell phone photography and video, mobile users shot vertical video.

    Sigh…. Drives all us old-school video people nuts!

    Still, you gotta change with the times. Here’s how to create a vertical video project in Motion.

    • Create a new project using the Motion Project Browser. Since Motion always creates images at the highest possible quality, it doesn’t matter which setting you pick.
    • Once the project opens, select Project in the Layers panel (It’s named “Project.”)
    • Enter the Width and Height values, in pixels, of the new project. (These will generally be 720 x 1280 or 1080 x 1920.
    • Make sure Pixel Aspect Ratio is set to Square.
    • Set the Duration to whatever length you need.


    We can’t save project presets, so you’ll need to do this for each project. However, you can save the entire project as a template: File > Publish Template.

    … for Apple Motion

    Tip #1048: What Does Publishing a Template Do?

    Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

    Publishing a template is a fast way to reuse settings and media between projects.

    A custom template displayed in Project Browser > Categories.

    Topic $TipTopic

    If you find yourself creating similar projects time after time, creating a custom template can save you time. The trick is to know what to save. Templates can include:

    • Project settings
    • Media
    • Behaviors and filters
    • Anything else you save in a “normal” Motion project

    When you choose File > Publish Template, you can assign it a name, pick a category in which to store it, and, if you want to use it in Final Cut, you can publish it as a Final Cut Generator.

    But, if all you want to do is create a file with basic settings and, say, logos or other common graphics:

    • Choose File > Publish Template
    • Give it a name and create a category to store your templates. My custom category is named “Larry” – because it is easy for me to remember.
    • Leave all checkboxes unchecked.

    Now, as you can see in the screen shot, the template shows up in Project Browser > Compositions, but does NOT show up in Final Cut.

    Creating reusable templates is a great way to save time when you are creating similar projects.

    … for Apple Motion

    Tip #1020: Effects Playground: Add Textures

    Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

    Stencil Luma provides the illusion of texture mapping in 3D – provided nothing moves.

    A flower image “mapped” to the Spiral 3D object using Stencil Luma.

    Topic $TipTopic

    While we can’t apply textures to 3D objects in Motion, then move with the object, we can create the illusion of texture mapping, The problem is that we can’t track how the surface of a 3D object moves in Motion. But… if we don’t need an object to move – or move much – we can easily fake it.

    • Add a 3D object to the Layers panel. (A solid white one will work best.)
    • Below it, in the same group, put the texture you want to “map” to the surface.
    • Select the 3D object and choose Inspector > Properties > Blend mode: Stencil Luma.

    This blends the background image into the foreground shape based upon grayscale values. I found Stencil Luma preserves the 3D effect of the shape better than Stencil Alpha.


    Make this even more interesting:

    • Replace the lower image with a video or animated background and watch as it moves inside the shape.
    • SLOWLY rotate the group containing the 3D image. You can’t go far with this because you’ll lose the effect, but a small, slow spin – especially with moving video under it – should work fine.
    • Add a Stylize filter to the underlying image.

    You get the idea – experiment!