Timbrée is an amazing animated short film that was constructed in Apple Motion. Alain Boisvert takes us through the process of creating the complex animations and why he chose Motion over Adobe's After Effects.



The Idea

When my father passed away, he left me his big stamp collection. It remained in a a chest for a few years and one day I finally opened it. This is when the story for the film Timbrée started.

Timbrée in French means « stamped » but it also means « A bit crazy ».

Looking at all those stamps, which I was familiar with, confirmed that stamp making is quite an art and the graphics are often very interesting.

A story took shape.

I wanted a tourist to visit Canada through the imagery of the stamps. I was also inspired by the crazy ads we find suggesting that we visit a country in 9 or 12 days. We rush through and jump from one city to another. So that was the way my tourist was going to do it. It also stems from the fact that most tourist have no idea how big Canada is, and they want to see everything touristy such as Niagara Falls, Vancouver, Montreal, polar bears etc…in 10 days. 

Touriste MOD
Sketches were done, storyboard created, and then came the question of how do I do this?

The easy decision was to do it all in 2D in a 2D stamp world. Characters would also be 2D, but must have a different aesthetic compared to the stamps. I also wanted to use the stamps textures, paper and varied styles as well as the album as a general design concept.

The tourist and the bird were done with a 2D cut-out design in mind.

All I needed now was software to animate all this. I hadn’t got my head around using Motion. I didn’t know the software well, and I had a hard time getting my bearings on how to use it properly. 


From AE to Motion

I was using Adobe Animate and AE when I started the project.

I tried After Effects. It was a complicated interface, layers were a bit confusing to me and not being able to see live what I was doing frustrated me quite a lot. The need to do reference layers to combine more layers visually was not user-friendly for me. Comps and more comps. It had a lot of bells and whistles. I learned and moved on at a slow paste until one day I just thought there has to be a more fun way to do this. I can’t work if I am frustrated.

AE for me was frustrating in many aspects. 

Timbree IMG 05


I guess this is the time I need to say, AE is just a tool, the same as Motion. Did I master the tool? No. What it fun working with. No. These are my failings. 

Timbree bison


I decided to reshoot what I had done in AE with Motion. Strangely, my labour with AE helped me understand how Motion works and once that… I will call it enlightenment…happened, everything became fun to do. I could watch live what I was animating. I could use masks to make more complex scenes. There was a small learning curve for the mask as I was animating and masking at the same time.

Timbree Labatt


Some masks were animated frame by frame. I was using a bunch of layers nested in other layers. I understood how it works, and I could concentrate on the result, the artistic, the aesthetics and the animation I wanted to do. Animating in Motion was great because I could do frame by frame and really be finicky on what I wanted.

Timbree IMG 06


The character was broken down in to different parts, which were easy to group and animate as a whole or specifically (only the hand). Touriste MOD

I could duplicate the character and have it move from front to back on different sets. This would happen when the Tourist comes out of windows or if certain objects were placed on different planes.

Some scenes were done by simply interpolating. Animating graphical elements was nice since I could add hand drawn lines when needed.

A word about using PDF. My character was entirely made up of PDF files. PDF head, PDF arms, PDF legs etc… That was really great, as I could scale as needed without losing any resolution. The only aspect I had to think of is very small sizes or very big ones. I would do bigger or smaller PDF images as needed, but my character was usable in many sizes.

Timbree chute


I also liked the timeline. Clear and simple. Keyframes were easy to see and when I needed to tweak anything I just worked in the keyframe editor. This is where I had a bit more work to do. At first, I had a hard time getting the keyframes to work like I wanted to. Mostly, the deceleration or speeding up of animation requested more precise placement of handles. To be honest, I did quite a lot of it frame by frame as I controlled a lot better what I wanted to do. 

Timbree jardin


When the scenes were done, it was very simple to export and use them in Final cut. If I needed to alter anything in Motion it would update in FC.

I worked on the project for one year with a Canada Council for the Arts grant.

I am currently preparing another animated project which I will do in Motion. Character design is done in Affinity Designer, but I have also created the characters directly in Motion because the aesthetics and graphic design makes this possible. They are 2D characters with textures.

You can watch the film above or on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/814630416

Music by Sébastien Dufour is pretty good too !


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


Log in to comment

RskikR's Avatar
RskikR replied the topic: #125447 13 May 2023 07:00
Fantastic Effort.
Albo's Avatar
Albo replied the topic: #125452 13 May 2023 18:02
Thank you RskikR.
jim@jimcutler.com's Avatar
jim@jimcutler.com replied the topic: #125715 31 May 2023 22:05
Wonderful concept and method. Way to go.
Albo's Avatar
Albo replied the topic: #125718 01 Jun 2023 00:17
Thank you Jim.
Choosing stamps was a difficult part of it
There are so many interesting ones.
anim8r's Avatar
anim8r replied the topic: #127235 21 Sep 2023 19:13
Very nice! I agree, I used 3D software and After Effects in the past, but when I started using Apple Motion, it just made more sense than AE. It's laid out more like a 3D program with the way things are just parented together. I do wish they would support SVG instead of having to import PDFs.
Albo's Avatar
Albo replied the topic: #127238 21 Sep 2023 23:15
Thank you anim8r,
It would be nice to import SVG's.
PNG's also work well, but they are resolution dependant.

Motion also works well when using green screens.
I also insert objects on different planes while using masks.