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Didn’t You Know You Can Apply a Behavior to a Rig in Apple's Motion?

Simple answer was up until today, no. This late discovery unlocks yet more power in Motion for the building of plugins for Final Cut Pro X.

 

I’ve been using Apple’s Motion for a long time, tinkering even before it was officially born. So I’ve seen it grow from a layered 2D animation & text tool into a fully-fledged 3D motion graphics programs with lights, cameras and er, behaviors. More about those later.

When Motion 5 was released in June 2011, I too started to build plugins trying to get my head around the new rigging tools. It all seemed pretty easy, add a parameter, adjust the settings based on the rigs’ slider, button or pop-up and then publish. Job done, everything appears in FCPX.

But things can get complicated very quickly by building rigs and even rigging rigs. They don’t solve every solution either and they are certainly no replacement for using expressions where the only limit to what you can do is the depth of your algebra and logic knowledge. Past users of Shake are probably nodding reading this.

bevaviour rig 01

Just for some fond memories I had a scan through the now defunct Shake Cookbook. Worth a read for its ironic humour although that got corporately TippExed out in a later version. Just to prove the phrase ‘what goes around comes around’ the author of the book is now writing and selling FCPX plugins!

Back to today and I had a problem with a new plugin where I needed better overall control on a series of drop shadows.

bevaviour rig 02

A group of objects all had their drop shadow opacity controls rigged together and that rig was animated over time with keyframes. Or, put another way, the drop shadows only appear on the objects a certain way into the effect and dissappear before the end.

bevaviour rig 03

Good, but I wanted an ‘master control’ for the opacity. This would enable the opacity changes to happen at either end with the user being able to set the level of opacity the drop shadow achieved.

Think 0-50-50-0 and 0-75-75-0 in keyframe terms.

I thought to myself "What I really need to do is to be able to apply a custom behavior to the rig which would then control the overall opacity, no matter where the opacity of the rigged objects was."

bevaviour rig 04

So in a moment of wishful thinking (or ignorance for not reading the Motion manual from cover to cover on a regular basis) I tried dragging a custom behavior onto the rig.

bevaviour rig 05

It stuck, it worked, I felt as if I’d proved Fermat’s Last Theorem. It also gives me a loose excuse to get a nerdy Star Trek clip in!

Then I felt stupid. Why? Because I should have know about this trick a lot earlier. It opens up many new possibilities to build more exciting and ‘usable’ plugins and also to simplify many of the workarounds in Motion the average plugin writer has to deal with.

A quick check of the Motion manual and yes it does indeed document the possibility of rigs and behaviors, although you might miss the small paragraph if you tend to speed read like me. Doesn’t everybody have bits left after a weekend of un- flatpacking Ikea?

I’m sure there are many experts out there who will scoff at the late discovery of this Motion sorcery, but this technique is really quite powerful.

bevaviour rig 06

On further experimentation, you can add any of the Parameter behaviors. So if you wish to clamp, negate, ramp, randomise, oscillate or even wriggle a Rig, you can now do so with a couple of clicks.

Well, when I say ‘you can’ I really mean ‘I can’ as the feature has been there for over six years, I just didn’t know it!

 

peter wigginsPeter Wiggins is a broadcast freelance editor based in the UK although his work takes him around the world. An early adopter of FCP setting up pioneering broadcasts workflows, his weapon of choice is now Final Cut Pro X.

You can follow him on Twitter as @peterwiggins or as he runs the majority of this site, you can contact him here.

 


Written by
Top Blogger Thought 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.

FCP.co

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!

 

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