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Adding and Animating Text in Motion 3

The ability to move from my Final Cut Pro work to add animations in Motion 3 is becoming a quick and painless workflow option By David Basulto

The more I use Apple’s Motion 3 the more I enjoy its powers. I just completed a Motion 3 project that required some information displayed in text. With a few clicks I was able to produce some really fun animations. From the customization ability Motion 3 offers to the application’s constant dynamic updating make this one program to look into for amazing text animations.

Entering Motion 3 from Final Cut
Going from Final Cut Pro to Motion 3 is a breeze. Simply select the item you want to add text to then go to File > Send To > Motion Project. The footage you want to work with will be there awaiting your creative hands. If you want to start from scratch in Motion 3 simply open the application up, pick your preset project size (or create your own custom size) and start importing your footage.

Adding text
To add text to your project press “t” on your keyboard to activate the text tool. You can also click on the “T” in the toolbar on top. When you are done click “Esc” (escape) to exit the text tool and return to the selection tool. You now have added text in Motion 3.

In the “HUD” (heads-up-display) you can change your text’s size, font, color, blend mode, opacity, tracking, line spacing, and alignment. For even more options and control go to the Inspector panel to customize the text properties. It is here that you will modify any text behaviors and filters too.

Making text animate
To make your text move in Motion 3 is quite simple. Below the canvas are the usual play, rewind, fast forward controls. There is, however, one special control: the record button. When you are ready to make things move, fade, grow, etc., click on the record button. You will see the properties now have a red tint to them. This tells you record is on and any changes you make will cause an effect. To move your text from one side of the canvas to the other, for example, just move the text where you want to begin, click on record, them move the time marker another point in time and move the text there. Click on record again to turn it off and shazamm, you are now an animator of text.

Of course there are even easier and more powerful ways to animate text via behaviors. With behaviors you can add preset scripts that will animate your text in extremely cool ways. Let’s say you wanted to flip the letters off screen one by one or even randomly. That would most likely take a few moments to do. Why not click on Add Behavior, above the canvas, and choose the House of Cards preset. Your text will now fall one by one and disappear. You can of course completely customize all the parameters and even add more animations.

Sequence Text behavior
The father of all text animations is the Sequence Text behavior. All of the other text animations most likely started with a simple Sequence Text behavior. By adding this behavior to your text you now have the foundation to create your own customized creations and save them to the favorites area for future use or even to share. The Sequence Text area lets you add Format, Face, Outline, Glow, and Drop Shadow parameters. Anything you can dream up can be done in this behavior. Explore its possibilities, it’s a blast.

Great plug in
Industrial Revolution has some great text plug-in filters for Motion 3. Although I will be doing a review of FX Factory 2 ( ), of which the plug-in is a part of, I am really enjoying using the Volumetrix 1 and 2 plug-ins. The plug-ins do some great glows and zooms to your text. Check out for more info and demos.

Final Thoughts
The more I get into working with Motion 3 the more I enjoy the freedom it gives me to be less techy and more creative. I really look forward to discovering more and more of Motion 3’s powers. The ability to move from my Final Cut Pro work to add animations in Motion 3 is becoming a quick and painless workflow option for me.

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David Basulto is an independent filmmaker in Los Angeles. After 17 plus years, David is well versed in all aspects of filmmaking from development to distribution. He produces, directs, edits, and now is addicted to motion graphics and 3d. His last film, Death Clique is in Blockbusters nationwide. David is also the host of the In his spare time David is an avid gamer and can be found slaying monsters in the world of Vanguard. For more info visit
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  • Adding and Animating Text in Motion 3 by DMN Editorial at Nov. 28, 2007 1:41 am gmt (Rec'd 3)

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