Tag: Motion

Write On finished - Perfect Character Write On

Perfect Character Write On with Motion

Perfect Character Write On with Motion (Mask Tracing Technique)

To create a custom character write on effect that looks as if the typographic strokes appear as if they were painted (or inked) on, all you really need to do is create a Mask consisting of Paint Stroke Tool or Bezier curves that match the curves, then animate the First Point Offset or Last Point Offset within the mask.

Using this technique, you’ve probably run into this problem:

To create a custom character write on effect that looks as if the typographic strokes appear as if they were painted (or inked) on, all you really need to do is create a Mask consisting of Paint Stroke Tool or Bezier curves that match the curves, then animate the First Point Offset or Last Point Offset within the mask.

Using this technique, you’ve probably run into the problem shown in this image:

The effect works well until you have to run across the cross strokes.

first character write on
Write on path with character mask


You probably can’t create a perfect mask for this type of character write on effect for calligraphic characters. You can, however, control how the Bezier line you’re using to write on handles narrow and thicker strokes, which might be a world easier than trying to manage type of masking you’re trying to do.

Look at this image (click to pop up):

pathDetail - perfect character write on with Motion
Path Detail

The actual ‘H’ character (Edwardian Script), which will be used as the mask for the curved line write-ons, is cyan colored. The “curve” (magenta) that will be used to write-on is currently overlaid for this demonstration. See that little onscreen control near the top of the curve? That is a Width Over Stroke “keyframe” setting. You can set the width of a curve at (almost) any point in the curve (see comment about Motion being snotty below). The curve Brush Type must be set to either Airbrush or Image (you can use different shaped “pen tips” with image). When using Airbrush, tighten up the Brush profile somewhat and for either, set the Spacing to 5%.

There is a feature with either of these curve types that becomes available — the Stroke inspector, and the controller you need to deal with is the Width Over Stroke parameter:

Width Over Stroke detail
Width Over Stroke detail

It is often easier to add control points in this “widget” (right click on the graph line and “Add Keyframe”). However, if you want to work directly in the canvas, once the shape is created and exists in the Layers list, you can go to the tool menu and select Adjust Item.

Adjust Item detail

The default setup is a control point at the start and end points. If, while Adjust Item is selected, you double click or Option-click on different points of the line, new control points will be added (Motion can be snotty about this and switch back to Edit Points… that’s why adding points in the Width Over Stroke inspector may be easier). Once control points are added to the line, they can be easily re-positioned on screen (they’ll follow the line without changing it, other than the width)—with the control selected, click-drag the mouse left or right to move it along the line.

To adjust the width, click on one of the end points on the perpendicular lines and drag to control the line width. It is usually easier to start with a line that matches the thinnest parts and use width over stroke to widen later — easier to see the coverage.

Wherever there is a narrow crossing, create two “stop gap” controls on either side of the crossing, then another in between that can resize the width of the line to exactly match the crossing. You only have to be “neat” at the crossing lines — everything else can be larger than necessary.

This video tutorial will help you *optimize* your Bezier line workflow through this technique:

Inside Motion: Mastering Bezier Curves (the Pen Tool—applies to all vector graphics apps) – YouTube

There is no faster or easier way to deal with bezier curves (and the fewer the points used, the smoother the line will look.) However, in this case, once you get the overall bezier line in place, it will be often easier to Add Points on the line to help center them in wider regions where necessary… you’ll see what I mean… and fortunately, when Motion Adds Points, it compensates the control points to match the line already in place (usually) and its “direction”. It’s usually just a matter of adding the extra point and dragging it to line it up — no need to readjust the control points.

If you want this effect to look “perfect”, this is about the only way I know to pull it off. (PS – you can afford to go slightly thinner through the first passing of a crossing – when the line comes back around for the second pass, anything that covers it will fill the difference.)

Notice the bottom loop on the yellow stroke—it is quite convincingly done.

(I didn’t have the time to spread out the write-ons… so they were animated all at once.)

Keep up to date with Sight-Creations on Twitter and Facebook.

Character Write On Technique — Mask Tracing Technique
Liquid Fill Text Animated Texture

Liquid Fill Animated Texture

A Liquid Fill Animated Texture for Titles/Text

Liquid Fill Text Animated Texture

This was a (too long) response for Apple Support Communities, so I posted it here.

Ok – Animated textures are broken for “global” text objects in FCPX, but I saved this project as a Generator and the texture works in FCPX if I load the generator in the Storyline.

You can download the generator here: https://fcpxtemplates.com/ngtopics/LiquidFillAnimatedTexture.zip

If you need help installing it: https://fcpxtemplates.com/installing-plugins-for-fcpx/

You can open it in Motion as a regular project or you can install it as a generator for FCPX and inside FCPX, right click on it an Open in Motion. You might want to make your own modifications.

It’s a small project, so I’ll go over the general points.

I added the Text to an empty project, and went into the Text Format inspector and increased the size to … *large*.

Then I went into the Appearance inspector and turned on 3D Text.

The text added is automatically part of a Group. Select the Group and type Command-Shift-N to create a *New Group* outside the text’s group.

By this point, creating a Camera object makes the rest a little easier, so Object menu > New Camera (or command-option-c) and accept the create 3D whatever… I don’t even look at it anymore — I just click it.

Select the New Group (you might want to rename it — in my project, I named it “water fill”), and in the Group Inspector, set 2D and Fixed Resolution options. This is very important. All materials have to be 2D and Fixed Resolution or all kinds of bizarre behavior (like materials jumping all over the place) can happen.

It took me awhile to figure this next stuff out, but I’ll boil it down.

Textures can be any size. I wanted very large in order to be able to cover an entire screen width of text if necessary. And, there is also a workaround with the filters that needed to be addressed and this takes care of both:

Set the “water fill” Group Fixed Width to 3000 and the Fixed Height to 2400. [You can pick your own ranges if you like — this was completely arbitrary.]

Select the Rectangle tool and draw out a Rectangle shape. Color it Blue (you can fiddle with the color if you like…). Go into the Geometry tab and set the Width to 3000 and the height to 1200.

Add Object > Generators > Clouds. Set the Width to 3000 and the Height to 1200, just like the Rectangle. Set the Horizontal Scale to something like 140 and the Vertical Scale to about 18. Set the Speed to 0 (or up to about 1).

Set the gradient colors to:

left: White (1.0, 1.0, 1.0) and the right: to light gray (0.85, 0.85, 0.85). Set the 1st Layer Strength to 0 and the 3rd Layer Strength to 0.87. Go over to the Properties inspector and set the Blend Mode to Hard Light and the Opacity to about 30%. This should give a kind of layering and lightening to the blue colored rectangle.

Select both the Rectangle and the Clouds Generator and type Command-Shift-G to create another new Group with the two objects enclosed together. The reason for this is so that they can be animated together as a group.

This brings me to the effects. You will be adding Underwater and Wave distortion filters which do all the watery effects for you.

First, the reason this next section has to be done this way is due to how the filters work on the object you place them on. If you place either one of them directly on the Rectangle, the Clouds generator OR the group in which these two objects are in, you will get the edges of the liquid motion cropped to the defined edges of the respective objects. We’ve deliberately placed these objects together in a group to keep them aligned together for animation AND we deliberately made the space they occupy slightly smaller than the parent group (“water fill”). If we add these filters to the larger group that is Fixed Resolution (that is a fixed or static size) then the effects will work on what’s *inside* the larger group and there is no clipping!!

Select the “water fill” group and add a Filters > Distortion > Underwater. The settings I used were:

Size: 1.27

Speed: 0.36

Refraction: 109* (this will be animated downward later)

Repeat Edges: OFF

You can add a Filters > Distortion > Wave filter here too.

Amplitude: 9

Wavelength: 500 (you will have to click on the number value and drag up)

Offset: 500

Vertical: checked

Now for the filling up:

In order to achieve this part of the animation, it will be necessary to animate the Rectangle/Clouds group from below the screen upwards. This should not be too quick.

The parameter settings:

On the first frame of the project: Position Y set and keyframed at -1020 px (give or take a few)

On the last frame of the project: Position Y set to about -25px. (this is a little flexible) *{there will be a note later}

There is one more filter used: I put a Gaussian Blur on the Clouds generator because at certain settings, there is a lot of banding that is obvious. I set the Amount to 162… should be enough to soften everything up.

Still with me?

On to applying our texture to the text.

Select the text object and go into the Text > Appearance inspector.

Go down to the Substance parameter of the Material section.

Set the Surface to Image.

For the Image Source, click and drag the “water fill” *group* into the source well.

Dial down the Placement section.

Set the Wrap Mode to None.

Set the Side Placement to Stretch from Edge

For this project, I set the Scale to 6% * (it’s different than it seems — see below)

I set the Brightness to 218%.

Go back to the top of Material and just under the Facets section you should see Add Layer.

Add Layer > Paint > Reflective Paint

Paint Job > Custom

Diffuse Brightness — 280%

Specular Brightness — about 270%

Shininess — 100%

Face Opacity — about 3%

Edge Opacity — 100%

Fresnel — 7.88

This is a very minor influence on the appearance of the text — it simply shines a little highlight on the edges of the lettering.

Go back to Material and Add Layer > Distress > Custom Bumps

Add the “water fill” group to the Image well.

Set Wrap Mode to None.

Set the Scale to the same value as the Substance (6%).

If you want to have some fun with this, crank up the Bump Map Gain to somewhere around 10,000.

Go back to Material and Add Layer > Finish > Custom Specular

This is going to light up your text enough to give it a glass like appearance (as long as the Paint is turned on)

Now, just because this is the stuff I used, it doesn’t mean that this is the only way to create the effect. You can probably stop at just the Substance stage if the overall look works for you. You can tweak the blue color rectangle and/or the clouds pattern/ colors / opacities, etc. You can add different lighting to bring out the transparent surfaces of the text with specular lighting (reflections/environment). This is literally all kinds of different ways you can approach something like this and if you’re interested in this kind of thing — you should **explore**!!!

If you have any questions, ask!


Installation Instructions.

Keep up to date with Sight-Creations on Twitter and Facebook.

flipping tiles or squares

Flipping Tiles

Flipping Tiles


I liked this video:


I appreciate any work done in 3D in Motion with text. That takes dedication.

I have often said that there is often no “one way” to do things in Motion and I would like to offer an alternative approach to this effect.

First, I’ll offer this font:
[Install the font with Font Book and you will have to restart Motion to use it.]

It was used for a Scrabble effect a few years back, which isn’t important. What is important is that every printable character is a perfect square. The descender and ascender are equal heights and the character has no side bearings so that the characters are perfectly enclosed in the font square. Typing any set of letters creates squares that touch left and right and the mid point of the *center aligned* character is dead center making rotations through the center automatic and not requiring any adjustments to anchor points or baseline values. That means, starting this project is simply a matter of typing any five characters, Return, any five more characters, Return, and finally five more characters. For this alternative demo, I used:




as one single text object. Five characters (tiles) across by three lines.

Flipping Tiles setup

Import two video or image sources. They should both be the exact same size (typically 16:9 aspect dimensions). I set up this project as 1920×1080. Imported two videos into their own 2D Fixed Resolution 1920×1080 group. Fixed Resolution is important when dealing with 3D Text “textures”.

Set the Material to Multiple. You can dress up the inner three surfaces with any material you like.

To create the Front side image/video is simple. Set the 3D Text > Substance to Generic > Image and in the drop well, place the first (front) video. Dial down the Placement and adjust the Scale and Position. All the characters *share* the image as one texture. There is no need to add the image to each individual character and align it! This side is done!

To create the Back side is a little different since the squares are flipping upside down — and by row! One way (because there is more than one way to do this) is to place the second (back) video into another group inside its parent.

Turn the video upside down (Rotate X by 180). Set the Group to 2D Fixed Resolution 1920 by 360 (the middle strip — 360 is 1080 divided by 3). Duplicate the Group twice. For one of the groups, set the Position Y of the video to 360 AND the Position Y of its Group to 360. For the last piece, set the Position Y of the Group and the Video to -360. You should have something like this:

 flip image reverse side 

Select the Group containing the video piece groups and Clone it (type K). Using a Clone is one way to reassemble multiple layers into a single layer object. Turn off the Group containing the upside down thirds. Apply the Clone layer to the Back Substance > Image > Image Options > drop well.

For this stage, it is important that you get the correct Scale of the image and the Position Y to line up the 3-banded setup on the backs of the square characters. [If you use my font, I set the font size to 178: that makes the Scale (with the Scale with Font Size option checked) to 20.0% and the Position Y to -72.8.

Setting up the animation.

To the text object, add a Sequence Text Behavior and Add a Rotation. Set the Sequencing to From Keyframes and Animate Character (without spaces). Set the Spread to 10 or 11 and the end offset to control how fast you want the animation to progress.

Right click on the Rotation X parameter and Add Parameter Behavior > Overshoot. Set the End Value to 180, Ramp Duration to about 20%, Cycles to 3.5, Acceleration to about 50% and the End Offset to the same value as you used for the Sequence Text behavior. (These two behaviors should have the same length as the text object.)

If it all works out right, you should end up with something like:

Play with the Overshoot and Sequence Text behaviors to tailor your effect to your liking…

This technique should save you tons of time if you decide to increase the number of Text Tiles you use. However, if you increase the number of rows, you will need to cut the back side image into the same number of slices as lines of text you use.


Keep up to date with Sight-Creations on Twitter and Facebook.

A good place to see all of my effects as well as several tutorials and other demonstrations in use is on my YouTube channel.

Demo of Trekkie Starship font

Designing Fonts for 3D

Designing fonts for 3D

Making 3D easy

Apple Motion and Final Cut Pro X

Most fonts used for text behave in a specific manner. Each character glyph has its own “metrics”: width, height, position relative to the “base point” (the intersection of the vertical line passing through the insertion point and the baseline reference); there’s a bounding box, and several other aspects (e.g., x-height, m-width, and kerning). These measurements and dimensions have a purpose in placing the glyphs in response to input devices such as a keyboard (real or virtual) and designed to emulate real world typesetting. The most important aspect is that one character is drawn at an insertion point, then the insertion point is advanced by the character’s width for the next character to be added.

Designing fonts for 3D modeling is different. It is no longer important to advance the insertion point by any measurement, and in fact, it is more important that various glyphs stay aligned on a specific point.

Fonts designed for this purpose have zero-width characters. What that means is, you can add a character of a specific shape, then duplicate that character and replace the character with another glyph and it will automatically be exactly aligned with the first character. (This duplication becomes important when the two or more glyphs require different features like color, weight, edges and any other available feature.) No matter how many of these zero-width characters are placed, they are always aligned to each other as a part of the model, or, like a jigsaw puzzle, they all have the exact same center point. Multiple characters can be placed together in a single text object and they will align to create an image.

As an example: the Olympic Rings font. The Olympic Games symbol is five linked rings. In any other font, if you were to take the bullet character (Option-8) as the circle source, you would have to deal with the font metrics of the font you chose. With the Olympic Rings font, you can simply type “34567” and the five separate rings will automatically, perfectly, align to form the logo. Convenient!

Does that mean you can’t or shouldn’t simply use a bullet character? No.

There is a feature in Motion 3D Text you may not be aware of — that of the bounding box. When text is selected and overlays are turned on, Motion draws a box with control points on the corners and midpoints around the text, taking into account the distance from the insertion point, the character’s typographic width, its ascent and descent. When you convert the text to 3D Text, that bounding box snaps to the actual tangent edges of the glyph (or group of glyphs that make up the text). It is possible to use guidelines to find the center of the text by aligning the midpoints of the bounding box (of 3D Text) to any set of guidelines.

Below shows the difference between the characters “34567” typed for Olympic Rings, a font designed for 3D “modeling” where glyphs are designed to a specific point in space and glyph placements are related to each other and a standard typeface where character spacing advances the insertion point of the next glyph. For Olympic Rings, it does not matter which order of characters you type (except if you think about it in terms of “stacking” the characters upon each other!)

Note: not all characters designed in these specialized fonts are zero-width designed to match placements of other related characters. Also note the bounding box of the olympic rings “text” and how the control points line up with the onscreen guides and how the bounding box makes contact with the tangent edges of the character group.

For Olympic Rings: there are two sets of related characters. The first is the linked rings. The other is the Korean P-C symbols with respect to the position of “PyeongChang” text which was designed as a single character for this font.

In most cases, when seeking the glyphs used to build a model, it is best to keep Font Book open with the font in use selected. Set an insertion point in the canvas (or viewer in FCPX) then copy the character from Font Book and paste it to the text object. Both Motion and Final Cut will set the font correctly and apply the pasted character.

In general, it is recommended, when building “models” from fonts, that you center the text in the canvas so that all building occurs around the (0,0) position location. After you have completed assembly of the model, then move the object to its needed location in 3D space.

Zero-width characters make aligning various parts of a model the most simple it can be. The alternative is to manually align each character using either anchor points, or a combination of Center alignment and adjusting the baseline of a character until the bounding box center line control points exactly match a set of guidelines perpendicular to each other.

Previously mentioned was the technique of duplicating characters and pasting new replacement characters to build the model. In some instances, it is desired to “type” several characters  to form a complex shape all with the same 3D features applied across the entire text object. An example would be a video wall. Each character is a rectangle at a different location in the designed space. Adding a texture to the front face of a text object like this allows a drop zone to be used over the entire object, each separate character receiving its own piece of the drop zone without having to do anything more complicated of sophisticated to split up any media applied to the drop zone.


video wall feature
Every character shares the same features of the 3D Text. Object created by typing a "string" of characters.
Olympic Rings Font
Every character uses different features of 3D Text (for example: color). Every character is used individually, duplicated to maintain relative positioning and another, different, solo character pasted into the Text field.
Demo of Trekkie Starship font
Created from a specially designed font for this particular model.
starbase 1 trekkie starship font
This entire model uses a single character from a font designed for 3D (any font with a zero-width circle shape!)

So that’s an overview of the design considerations for creating specialized fonts for use in making 3D “models” in Final Cut Pro and/or Motion. The video wall example is much more conducive to the Final Cut Pro Title text environment – all characters used typed into one title text object. However, in general, it is recommended developing any of these designs in Motion for convenience. It is a much more versatile environment capable of building very complex designs!

Installation Instructions.

Keep up to date with Sight-Creations on Twitter.

A good place to see all of my effects as well as several tutorials and other demonstrations in use is on my YouTube channel.

confetti motion project

Making Confetti – in Motion

Making Confetti: an Apple Motion tutorial

[Note: this is a response I gave a questioner recently on Apple’s Support Communities Motion forum.]

Little bits of paper do not fall in the real world flat, vertically. They “flop”, follow invisible currents and eddies in air flow to push and flip them and create *seemingly* random motion. The problem with emitters is: everything is emitted in exactly the same way… unless…

One of the features of Emitters (and Replicators) is that they can be made to Play video (image sequence) frames with the option to start playing on a random frame in the “sequence”. With that in mind, all we have to do is create ONE shape with the motion animation we need. We will rely on the emitter to start playing that sequence on a random frame within the sequence.

All objects in Motion (with the exception of Camera and Lights) must exist inside a Group. The initial shape you create will automatically be placed within a group… perfect. It often helps (most of the time actually — and this is a good habit to get into) to center the shape in the canvas. Go to Properties > Transform and on the right edge, disclosure mark > select Reset Parameter. That will center the object and reset its Rotation, Scale, Anchor Points etc.

Groups can be 2D (and 2D Fixed Resolution) or 3D (plus other options which are relatively, largely, unimportant… for another time.)

Set the Group to 3D. [Inspector: Group: Group Controls: Type: 3D — or, just click on that little icon on the right side of the Layers List column – 2D groups have 2 side-by-side rectangles with a bar overhead and 3D groups are like a stack of 3 squares rotated in 3D space. Clicking that icon will toggle the state.]

We’re going to use behaviors to control animation because it makes it easier to make alterations to suit our needs at any time.

Start playing your project.

To your shape: start by adding a Behaviors > Basic Motion > Spin behavior. The default spin is around the Z axis. Increase the Spin Rate to 135-180º (come back to these later to tweak these values for the look you’re going for.) Go into Properties and for the Anchor Point, offset the X to say 30 or so, Y to 60 or so, and Z to 150 or so (the actual values will depend somewhat on the original size of your shape). [Your Shape size can be anything – it can ultimately be controlled within the Emitter/Replicator.]  The Anchor Point is the point around which all Transform properties are centered and which animation originates. It is a convenient way to create “orbital” rotations instead of simple spins.

Add another Spin Behavior and set the Axis to Y. Set the Spin Rate to 100º give or take.

Add another Spin Behavior and set the Axis to X. Set the Spin Rate to 135º give or take.

You should get something like:



[The shape I used IS a circle, but I later changed the Shape > Geometry > Curvature to 0 to create the rectangle shape. You can adjust that to anything in between.]

That’s pretty good, but it’s still going to look a little weird when all the pieces are doing that same action and — it’s “too regular”. Let’s move on

Go to the Properties inspector and for each Rotation (XYZ), right click on the parameter and Add Parameter Behavior > Oscillate.

Start with these settings (and experiment afterwards):

For (rotate) X: Speed 16; Phase 13

For Y: Speed 37; Phase 11

For Z: Speed 35

[Leave all other parameters at their default]

At this point you get something much closer to realistic motion (barring gravity):



This animation is not exactly looping – I just cut it this close.

This is the “particle” we will Emit. (What’s the word for one piece of confetti? Confetto?)


Select the Group level of the shape and type K to create a Clone. Clones are like inline image sequences and emitting them will provide us with extra parameters we can exploit [Play Frames and Random Start Frame, etc]. Clones are also somewhat flexible since they are created “in real time” and they are the *entire animation from beginning to end* as one “thing”. With the behaviors animating a shape, the “length” of the existence of the shape is not fixed… so to speak… very difficult to explain, but if you keyframe this kind of animation, you would detect an “animation seam” [start/end difference] but behaviors will progress smoothly even if the “life” of the object has technically ended. [Don’t think about it too hard – just keep it in mind for later projects.]

Turn off the visibility of the Group containing your animated shape [Uncheck the checkbox on the left edge in the Layers List]. It does not need to appear during playback. (You cannot delete the group – any changes you make to the group or anything within it is immediately reflected in the appearance of the Clone! Clones are not a “snapshot” – they are “living, breathing” objects… although a 2D flat projection of its original.)

With the Clone selected, type E to create your emitter. [The Clone layer should automatically deselect visibility].

Set the Shape to Line; Start Point X to -1500; End Point X to 1500 (allows some “wiggle room”).

Check 3D.

Emission Latitude to 270º [downward motion]

Emission Longitude to 0

Emission Range – 90-120 [flexible]


Turn off Face Camera!!


Cell Controls:

Birth Rate 0

Birth Rate Randomness 60 [flexible – go lower]


Life 10 (or the number of seconds that equals the length of your project… or greater.. but not much greater!)

Speed 350

Speed Randomness 150 [Again – flexible values – season to taste]

Color Mode: Pick From Color Range

Choose a Rainbow like gradient from the Color Range (or create your own gradient).

Adjust the Scale and Scale Randomness to give some “depth” to the effect. [Actual values will depend on the size of your original shape.]

Make sure Play Frames and Random Start Frame are selected

As an option, increase Hold Frames Randomness to 2.0

You should end up with something like:


Which looks like fairly convincing confetti (the GIF is a low frame rate). All the particles appear to move in their own random motion due in large part to the random start frame in the original animation and due to the way behaviors affect objects vs. keyframes. There are no apparent “loop points” [end of sequence jumps to beginning of sequence].


Is this the only way to do this effect? No. It is just a method I prefer. Other options might include Random Motion simulation; Wind and Gravity are possibilities;  Randomize or Wriggle Parameter Behaviors on Rotation XYZ params, etc. or simply keyframing an animation and emitting it in this manner (although I wouldn’t recommend it).


FCPX Motion Compatibility Guide

Motion Template Compatibility

FCPX/Motion Template Compatibility Guide

...and how to backdate a template to work in older versions


Whether you need to “backdate” a template to an older version of FCPX, or just curious to see if a template you’re trying to use is compatible with your version of FCPX, the Compatibility Chart below will help you.

People who design templates generally tend to use the latest version of Motion— we have to so we can keep up with all the “latest and greatest” features. What that generally means is that any new template created with the latest version of Motion will only work in the corresponding latest version of Final Cut Pro X.

Always having to use the latest version of Motion is not always convenient since there are plenty of Final Cut users still using older versions for whatever reason like hardware restrictions, project involvement, or even other less honest reasons — I don’t care. I’m not judging. When you’re stuck, you’re stuck and neither Motion nor FCPX has a method of being able to “backdate” templates, even if they are still compatible!

Below is a compatibility guide of all the versions of Final Cut from 10.0 to the current version with all the corresponding versions of Motion, plus some other data which will be covered shortly. You can also see their release dates, although some of the dates are only approximate for Motion as it was not always updated on the same days as FCPX in the past, or, so far.

You can also see there were several subsequent subversions released with no change of the other app, for example, FCPX went through versions 10.0.1, to 10.0.3 without a corresponding update in Motion.

Motion Template project files are just XML files which can be opened in any text editor like TextEdit. The first few lines are always exactly like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE ozxmlscene>
<ozml version="5.5">


with the double space between the ozml and displayversion tags. Note that Motion 5.0 and 5.0.1 do NOT have a displayversion tag and the next tag in the file will start after the blank line following the ozml tag. This is as far into these files as you ever need to go.

The (simple?) Rules:

You cannot backdate a template that uses anything that wasn’t available in the target version of FCPX. For example, if your project uses shapes that use Size: Width and Height parameters, this must be converted to Control Points first if you need to backdate to FCPX before 10.2.0.

If you are using 3D Text, you cannot backdate before FCPX 10.2.0, it has no way of “knowing” what 3D Text is. etc.

And there are a lot of these little gotchas you need to be aware of if you’re going to successfully backdate a “modern” motion project for older versions of FCPX.

That said, the majority of “function” in Motion is the same as it was going all the way back to Motion 2.0 over ten years ago. Your chances of success are fairly good!


There are four types of Motion projects used by Final Cut: Effects, Generators, Titles and Transitions and they have the file extensions of: .moef, .motn, .moti and .motr respectively.

The Motion project files can be found inside the folder with the exact same name in the Motion Template’s folder (by class, then by category folder). You can right-click on the template project file and Open With… and choose Text Edit. Make sure TextEdit is in Text Only mode (rtf will mess things up!) It is highly recommended that you move a copy of the template to a safe location before making any edits to the file.

From the guide below, find your version of Final Cut (or your target version for backdating) and copy the OZML version to the ozml tag value (maintain the quotes!) then copy the DisplayVersion to the displayversion tag (notice the displayversion is exactly the same as the version number of Motion… so far).

You should not change anything else in the file, including the formatting of the XML unless you need to remove the displayversion tag to make Motion 5.0 compatible. Make sure the factory tag moves up to occupy the former displayversion position in the file (one empty line between the ozml tag and the first factory tag).

Save. You’re done. Go into Final Cut and see if it works. If you have a problem, you will probably just end up with a red icon with the Alert badge on it. If that’s the case, delete the template and replace it with your backup (or if you cannot use it, keep it moved out of the Motion Templates location until you upgrade to the current version of Final Cut.)

Apple’s release notes (most major additions will be listed here)

Motion Release Notes
Final Cut Pro X Release Notes

Release DateFCPXMotionOZML vers.Display vers.
06/21/201110.05.05.0no tag
09/09/201110. tag
11/16/201110. tag
01/31/201210. tag

Use our automated backdating tool!

Motion Template Backdater can perform this task for you. Just upload the template, set the version of FCPX you are using and download the backdated version.

Templates uploaded exist only in your browser. They are not saved to the server. This tool is not used to copy uploaded templates.

Apple Watch 3D Model

The Apple Watch 3D Model that wasn’t released


Developed in August 2015 but never released.  Why? Apple never made the San Francisco system font available to other applications (system only) and the fonts are only available to those who have an Apple Developer account. Furthermore, developers could only use it for interface “mock ups” (although this model might qualify).  The Mickey Mouse watch face would have never been included because it  is © (and trademarked) by the Walt Disney Company… probably forever.

This model’s features:
built in clock display (which runs fast – it’s just a demo)
front “glass”
animatable position/rotation parameters
animatable dial/crown rotation
animatable button
drop zone w/Pan and Scale parameters
drop zone position and rotation parameters to animate turn effect
clock position and scale (in case of repairs!)
glass reflection intensity control

I developed a generator to go with this model:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dZ7560xcUc (dated Aug. 29th, 2015)
which is a frame accurate, settable and customizable watch.

The second half of this watch demo (the activity monitor) was another generator I created for the watch drop zone (also not released).

The state of this watch model/Motion template is in limbo.

I may develop the text font for this clock myself when (or if) I have the time as a substitute to the required version of San Francisco used in its making.


Pixar Textures demo

Pixar Textures – a must have for Motion 3D

Pixar Textures - a must have for Motion 3D

PixarTextures-toMotionContent ⬅︎  Download this Zip file and unzip it in the Finder. Original texture files can be found here: https://renderman.pixar.com/pixar-one-twenty-eight (released under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.)


Type command-N to open a new Finder window.
Type command-shift-H to open your Home (user) folder.
Double click the Library folder (it’s available again in El Capitan!)
Navigate to Application Support > Motion > Library > Content.
Drag and drop the Pixar Textures folder into the Content folder. (You can trash the zip file sources.)

Restart Motion. Navigate to the Library tab > Content and you should find the Pixar Textures folder in the right column. Selecting the folder will open the collection, ordered by folder, in the content pane at the bottom.

In the Test folder, you will find the NTSC color bars test pattern, and two Macbeth Color Checkers.

These are some of the finest textures you will find anywhere for use with Motion 3D Text. Each texture pattern comes with an image and a “bmp” (bump map) version as well as a “normal” version (new and improved bump map).  They are licensed under Creative Commons, available for personal or commercial use (attribution to “Pixar Animation Studios” required.) I am even allowed to transform and repackage these textures in this manner for use in Apple Motion.


May 8, 2022

The complete set of Pixar Textures has been made into two effects for Final Cut Pro. Use with Effects Masks > Color Masks and/or Shape Masks to use these textures in your videos without having to go into Motion.

All Texture images are used in these effects can be found in the effect’s Media folder.

All texture images have been converted to JPG format.

[Not included: NTSC Color Bars Test Pattern and the two Macbeth Color Checkers.]

Pixar Textures for Final Cut Pro
Pixar Textures for Final Cut Pro
The complete set of 258 textures in two Effects!
Available Here!


Keep up to date with Sight-Creations on Twitter.

A good place to see all of my effects as well as several tutorials and other demonstrations in use is on my YouTube channel.