Tip #1532: Align: A Cool, Unused Behavior

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1532: Align: A Cool, Unused Behavior

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Align tracks an element closely or loosely with another element.

Behaviors > Basic Motion > Align settings (left), with the effect applied; along with the options in Align and To menus.

Topic $TipTopic

Align is one of those Basic Motion behaviors that you probably never use. Mostly, because Fade In/Out, Spin, Throw and Motion Path are more obvious and clearly useful.

But Align has some very cool traits. Align forces the element to which it is applied, to align itself with whatever element you drag into the “Object Well” (indicated by a blue bean in the screen shot).

We can align objects by:

  • Center
  • Anchor Point
  • Left edge
  • Right edge
  • Top edge
  • Bottom edge
  • Upper Left corner
  • Upper Right corner
  • Lower Left corner
  • Lower Right corner
  • And a custom setting

What makes this effect especially cool is when you apply animation – say a Throw behavior – to the object that is the focus of the alignment AND you change the Transition setting for Align to, say, “Ease In,” the Aligned object will slowly drift toward the focus, then follow after it as it moves.

The more you play with the Transition and Alignment settings, the more fun you’ll have in creating organic movements.


Here’s an example. Let’s say you animate a logo to move across the screen. Using Align, you can have a flock of stars (each with the effect applied) slowly become attracted to the logo and travel with it as it moves.

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