… for Apple Motion

Tip #894: What is the HUD?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The HUD is a fast way to adjust common settings for selected elements.

The HUD displaying a customized Fade In/Fade Out behavior.

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The HUD, originally called the “Heads-up Display,” is a floating, interactive control panel for whatever you have selected in the Layers panel.

The HUD icon is located in the upper right corner of the Motion interface. You can access it by clicking the icon, choosing Window > Show HUD or using a keyboard shortcut.

Back when Motion was first released, the HUD was assigned F8 as a keyboard shortcut. However, Apple is moving away from F-keys in all it’s apps. While Motion still supports some F-keys, the HUD was recently reassigned to Option+Cmd+L.

The HUD makes it easy to make quick, intuitive changes to selected layers and effects. For instance, in this screen shot, dragging the vertical line for each blue triangle allows altering the duration of a Fade In / Fade Out behavior from the default 20 frames to whatever makes sense for your project.

If you haven’t used the HUD, it is an excellent tool filled with the most common settings you need to tweak for whatever is selected.

If you were wondering why the HUD doesn’t appear when you press F8, now you know.

And, if you use the HUD on a regular basis, consider yourself one of the “smart folks in the know.”

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… for Apple Motion

Tip #895: Add a Curve to a Line

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Curve control points are added by Option-clicking any line.

The cyan line was drawn by the Pen tools, the squiggle by the Paint Brush. Both were modified into curves using Edit Points.

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Whether you draw a line with the Paint Brush or the Pen tool, once you’ve drawn the line, you can still make changes to it. Here’s how.

  • After you’ve drawn a line using either the Paint Brush or Pen tools, select the Edit Points tool.

NOTE: This is in the same menu as the Arrow (Select) tool.

  • Select the line you want to adjust in the Layers panel.
  • Then, Option-click with the Edit Points tool on the line where you want to add a curve and drag.

A curve is added.


  • Drag the white Bezier control dots to change the shape of the curve.
  • Get different curve results by pressing Shift, Control, Option or Command while dragging a control dot.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #896: Don’t Use the Rectangle Tool…

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Formatting options for the Shape tool are limited compared to the Select tool.

Top: Options for the Rectangle tool.
Bottom: Options for the Arrow tool.

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…to change an existing rectangle. Or any geometric shape.

The settings in the HUD for the rectangle tool only apply to the NEXT rectangle you draw. If you want to change an existing rectangle, first select the Select tool (Shortcut: Shift + S).

As the screen shot makes clear, the formatting options for the Rectangle tool are very limited. Especially when compared to after you draw the rectangle, then select the Select tool.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #893: Timeline Mouse Shortcuts

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Changing timeline track heights is easily done using the mouse or keyboard.

Drag the circles on the right to change video (top) and audio (bottom) track heights.

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One of the problems of being a keyboard shortcut junkie is that I can easily overlook interesting mouse shortcuts. Here’s one; well, two, actually.

  • To change the height of a timeline track, drag the horizontal line that separates two tracks (the left arrow in the screen shot).
  • But is it easier to see and drag one of the white circles on the right side of the timeline. The upper circle changes the video track height, the lower circle changes the audio track height.
  • Drag the space between the two circles in the middle to change where the division between audio and video occurs in the timeline.


Just so keyboard folks are not left out:

  • You can change the height of video tracks in the timeline by typing Cmd + [plus] / [minus]

NOTE: Control, for you Windows folks.

  • You can change the height of audio tracks in the timeline by typing Option + [plus] / [minus]

NOTE: Alt, for you Windows folks.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #876: Hiding Keyframes in Motion

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Animation generates a ton of keyframes. This menu helps you see what you need.

A composite of the keyframes section and the Animated/All menu.

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Keyframes are essential for many effects in Motion, because they provide the instructions on how to animate movement or an effects setting.

But, sometimes, there can be just too darn MANY of them. Here’s how to get them under control.

  • After applying keyframes to an element, select the element in the Layers panel.
  • Open the Timeline (Shortcut: F6}.
  • Click the Animated menu on the left, about halfway down.
  • Select the setting with the keyframes you want to examine/modify/delete.
  • Only those keyframes will be shown in the window.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #877: Avoid Problems – Change This Setting

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Changing the default shortcuts for keyframe animation reduces mistakes.

The Command menu in Motion.

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Since it’s first release, Motion has used A to activate keyframe recording. Clearly, the Motion team did not talk with the Final Cut team, because A is the most used keyboard shortcut in Final Cut to select the Arrow tool.

NOTE: Instead, Motion uses Shift+S to select the Arrow tool, which just makes no sense.

You have three options:

  • Leave keyframe recording as A and expect this to screw up most of your projects.
  • Change the Command set from Motion to Final Cut. This removes the shortcut from Record Animation, which forces you to click the red circle itself when you want to record keyframes. However, this change does not affect the shortcut for the Arrow (Selection) tool.
  • Open Motion > Commands > Customize. Search for “Record” and change the shortcut to something safer, such as Control + A.

Pick whichever works best for you. For me, I changed command sets.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #878: Get More Space for Layers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Adjusting Layer height is a simple way to help manage larger projects.

A composite showing the nested rectangle, then, below, the slider it reveals.

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At the bottom of the Layers panel is a nested rectangle shape. Here’s what it does.

Click the nested rectangle (red arrow in screen shot) and a small slider appears.

As you drag the slider, the height of each layer in the Layers panel is scaled vertically.

Click elsewhere to hide this slider.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #858: A Faster Way to Configure a New Project

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

“Import as Project” can be a big time-saver when you need to add effects to a clip.

The “Import as Project” button on the Project Browser screen.

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Hidden in plain sight, “Import as Project” imports a movie file, then configures a project around it. This can be a big time-saver when you need to add effects to a clip. Here’s how it works.

  • Start Motion.
  • Then, from the Project Browser (which is what that opening screen is called), click Import as Project in the lower left corner. (See screen shot.)
  • This opens a standard file picker window, for you to select a file to work on.
  • Motion then imports that file, creates a new project to match the specs of the video file and adds the clip to the Layers panel.

This is a very fast technique when you need to add effects to a clip, such as green screen, motion tracking, or modify its visual look.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #859: What is a Clone Layer?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Clones inherit filters and masks, but not position or behaviors.

A master file, top, and its clone. Filters are inherited, position and rotation are not.

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Control-click any element in Motion’s Viewer and you’ll see the option to “Make a Clone Layer.” What is a clone layer?

Normally, when you duplicate a layer (Shortcut: Cmd + D), there is no relationship between the original and the duplicate.

However, with a clone layer (Shortcut: K), changes made to filters and masks in the source layer propagate to the clones. Creating clone layers improves project playback and rendering performance.

NOTE: Behaviors don’t propagate to clone layers unless the behavior affects a filter or mask in the source layer.

You can create a clone layer using the shortcut, or Control-clicking an element in the Layers or Viewer panels, or choose Object > Make Clone Layer.

A clone layer is created and appears in the canvas on top of the original layer. In the Layers list, the clone layer appears with the default name “Clone Layer.” A clone layer icon appears next to the name.

NOTE: With the exception of Frame Blending, you can modify clone layers independently of the source layer.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #860: Transform vs. Transform 3D

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This menu option is faster than selecting a layer, selecting the tool, then modifying the image.

Control-click any image in Motion’s Viewer to display this menu.

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Control-click an image displayed in Motion’s Viewer and an interesting menu presents itself. The top two choices are: Transform and Transform 3D. What do they do?

Select Transform and position dots appear around the edges of the image. As well, the Arrow (Select) tool is activated.

This option means you can position, scale and rotate an image… in 2D.

Select Transform 3D and not only do the position dots appear, but the 3D controls are displayed in the center of the image, and the 3D Transform tool is selected.

This option means you can position, scale and rotate an image in 3D.

This menu option is faster than selecting a layer, then selecting the tool, then modifying the image.