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motion_icon.pngEditors who are diving into Motion for the first time are often surprised to find that Motion's "Project Settings" are somewhat more flexible than those in Final Cut Pro or their editing platform of choice.  While editing software depends on the idea that most of the footage in a sequence will be basically the same format -- cutting down on "render times" and simplifying final output -- motion graphics software composes each individual frame from scratch. 

Since motion graphics are generally made up of elements like still images, text, and effects systems, none of which necessarily fills a frame perfectly, you can reframe your motion graphics projects on the fly.  This is most commonly useful when you need to produce wide-format HD and 4:3 SD versions of similar assets.

Read on for a step-by-step example...
Step by Step
Please note that the screenshots for this tutorial are taken from Motion 3/FCS1.

  1. To give us a head start, let's open one of Motion's existing HD-format templates.  From the File menu, choose Open Template.  Open the Crowd.HD template from the 3D Text Projects category.  Scrub through the project to see what it does.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose Project Properties.projprops1.png
  3. Adjust the project to the NTSC D1 preset.  Notice that, in addition to changing your pixel dimensions, you've changed the pixel aspect ratio of your project.  Click OK.projprops2.png
  4. Take a moment to look at what's happened to your project.  Motion has automatically re-rendered the scene to accommodate the new pixel aspect ratio, so things don't look "squished" or "stretched."  Also, it's tried to recompose your project as best it can.projprops4.png
  5. There are a few ways to approach refining your recomposed project.  If you're animating using a camera, you'll probably just re-animate your camera's path and field of view.  In this template, though, there's no camera explicitly defined in your project.  So consider clicking on the entire "Crowd" group in your Project or Timing pane, and adjusting its position in the Inspector.  Notice how, when you click the disclosure triangle beside "Position" in the Inspector, you can control each dimension of the entire group's position.projprops3.png


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When to Nest a Single Clip in Final Cut Pro is the next entry in this blog.

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