Tip #648: Keyframe a 3D Move

… for Apple Motion

Tip #648: Keyframe a 3D Move

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Once you set a keyframe, whenever you change a parameter, a new keyframe is set.

Position and rotation keyframes are set in Inspector > Properties for the selected element.

Topic $TipTopic

Behaviors make it easy to animate text. But, many times, the behavior is just too manic – especially for 3D text. In those situations, keyframes are a better choice. Here’s a quick technique.

Keyframes are set in the Inspector. You can use the Record Keyframe control (the big red circle below the Viewer) but, I find that sets too many keyframes which makes editing harder.

Instead, to animate position or rotation:

  • Position and rotate the element to its starting position.
  • Position the playhead in the mini-timeline where you want to set the first keyframe.
  • Go to Inspector > Properties.
  • Twirl down Position and Rotation to review additional X, Y, and Z axis controls.
  • NOTE: I find Y-axis rotation to be the most effective way to display 3D text.

  • Click one of the gray gray diamonds. Gray diamonds indicate frames without a keyframe. Gold diamonds indlcate a rame with keyframes.
  • Change the position of the playhead (FIRST!) then reposition the element. New keyframes are created automatically.
  • Repeat until the move is complete.


  • Move between keyframes by clicking the left / right arrows in the Properties panel.
  • To change a keyframe, position the playhead on the frame you want to change, then reposition the element. Keyframes are modified automatically.

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