Using Keyframes on Multiple Parameters and Layers
Because keyframes are so precise and flexible, they are often used to animate multiple layers to move, spin, or blur at a specific point in time. In this exercise, we’ll return to the Rockumentary project and animate all the title elements to fall into place and form the final composition. Motion lets you quickly set keyframes for parameters on multiple layers, and it also lets you choose which keyframes appear for editing in the Keyframe Editor.
Keyframing Multiple Layers
The first step is to add keyframes that will lock in place all the layers that are to be animated.
- Open Motion5_Book_Files > Lessons > Lesson_04 > Rockumentary Keyframes Start. Save it to the Student_Saves folder, and if necessary, open the Project pane.
In previous lessons, you created the second half of this project, the composite image of the title elements with the sequence of photos. You also animated the initial photos and dates “falling” through space. Now we’ll concentrate on the middle part of the project: animating the title elements into position. Unlike the photos and dates that fell away with continuous movement, these layers need to fall and then stop in a specific arrangement, which happens to be a great task for keyframes.
As with many motion graphics projects, it will be easiest to approach this task in reverse. You’ll first set keyframes that lock each layer into its final position, and then set keyframes at the start of the project to spread out the layers in z-space, completely offscreen.
Let’s take a look at the layers we’ll animate.
- In the Layers list, open the Graphics Over and Graphics Under groups, and adjust the layer heights in the Layers list as necessary to fit everything into the view. These layers will start offscreen and then animate onscreen by “falling” into place.
- Set the timing display to Show Timecode, and move the playhead to 5:00.
At 5:00, you want all the layers to have landed in their final positions, so you will set a keyframe here to lock them in place on this frame. Rather than individually setting a position keyframe for each layer, you can set a keyframe for multiple layers at the same time.
- Shift-click the first and last layers in the Graphics Over group to select them all, press F1 to reveal the Properties Inspector, and open the Position parameter.
The value fields for Position x, y, and z contain dashes because you have selected multiple layers, each with a different position value. But you can still set a keyframe for all of them at once.
- From the Animation pop-up menu for the Position Z parameter, choose Add Keyframe. An orange diamond appears in the Animation pop-up menu, indicating that a keyframe exists at the current playhead position.
- In the Layers list, click each layer individually in the Graphics Over group to select just that layer and examine its Position values.
Each layer has a keyframe for Position Z. Now let’s create the same keyframes for the layers in the Graphics Under group, this time using a shortcut.
- Select all the layers in the Graphics Under group; then, in the Properties pane, click the gray diamond with the + (plus) symbol that appears when you move the pointer over the Animation pop-up menu for Position Z. With a single click, you add a keyframe to this parameter for all the selected layers.
With the layers safely locked in place in their final “assembled” positions, you can now go to the beginning of the project and move the layers away in z-space. Because you are setting keyframes manually, you must first set the keyframe, and then change the value for each layer.
- Move the playhead to the start of the project.
- With all the layers in the Graphics Under group still selected, Command-click each of the layers in the Graphics Over group to add them to the selection.
- In the Properties pane, click the gray diamond to the left of the Position Z Animation pop-up menu to add a keyframe to all the selected layers.
Now that a keyframe is set at 0:00, when you change the Z-position of each layer at this frame, it will change only at this frame, and animate back to its final position by the next keyframe at 5:00.
Each layer now has two keyframes; but if you play the project, nothing is animating because the keyframes for each layer have the same value. With the beginning and ending keyframes in place, you can start animating.