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tablet-and-pen.pngMotion 2 introduced support for pen-based Gestures -- meaning that folks with a graphics tablet and pen can perform a wide variety of actions without setting down their pen and switching to a mouse or keyboard.

For a quick overview, have a look at the cheat sheet (PDF) that Apple publishes.

Now, to be fair, most of the gestures have keyboard equivalents, and all of them appear in menus and other places around the interface.  But if you're manipulating objects with the pen, you'll probably enjoy being able to, say, delete or reorder the object you're "holding" just as naturally as you position and resize it.

To set up Gestures, first pull up the Ink control panel in System Preferences, and make sure that Handwriting recognition is on.

Next, open Motion, and go to the Motion Preferences window.  Find the Gestures tab, and turn gestures On.  The Input Trigger drop-down allows you to pick which button you'll hold down on your pen in order to indicate that you're about to draw a gesture.  If you have more than one button on your pen, Button 1 is the lower one and Button 2 is the higher one.


My Intuos2 tablet is 5 or 6 years old now, and I couldn't get Motion to recognize "gestures in the air."  If you have a newer tablet, though, you may find this option helpful -- it's pretty self-explanatory.

Now that you have gestures enabled, open a Motion project and try them out!  I found the object manipulation gestures to be the most intuitive in my workflow.  Try using the pen to drag a marquee and select several objects, then make the signs below to try grouping and ungrouping them.  Then, make the delete sign to erase them all with a flick of your wrist:

motion-gestures-group-delete.pngDon't worry, you can undo that delete command (and redo it, if you'd like) with equally simple flicks:
motion-gestures-undo-redo.pngOther favorite gestures of mine include the Arrow gesture, which takes you out of any editing modes and back to the Arrow tool; and the "Home View" gesture, which zooms the composition to 100% and centers it in the viewport.
motion-gestures-arrow-home.pngI encourage you to use the cheat sheet mentioned earlier to try out all of the different gestures available to you.  Personally, I thought some were more effort than they were worth: the "Copy" and "Paste" gestures, for example, were tough to draw right every time, and I'm used to typing "Cmd+C" and "Cmd+V" all day anyway.

In either case, the power of Gestures is that they give you the ability to do almost anything in Motion without ever touching a keyboard.  Whether or not you choose to do so, you'll almost certainly find a couple of favorite gestures of your own to fit with your pen-based workflow.


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