Motion 5 Magnifying Glass Effect – part 1

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a Motion magnifying glass effect and publish it to Final Cut Pro. there’s no plug-in required, it’s all made from scratch in Motion 5. Something like this is great for intros, demo videos and anywhere you need to draw attention to a particular area of the screen.

This is the first part of a two part tutorial. Check out Motion 5 Magnifying Glass Effect – part 2, where I’ll show you how to create a 3D version of the magnifying glass. It’s a more realistic design with 3D graphics, metallic texture and environmental lighting. But make sure you follow part 1 here first, as part 2 uses the template you’ll be creating.

When I first tried to create this effect, I assumed it was going to be published as a Generator in Final Cut Pro. But because of the way it’s made, it actually needs to be a Title, even though there isn’t any text. Keep reading to discover why!

Watch the YouTube video of Motion 5 Magnifying Glass Effect – part 1:

Setting up Motion for a Title Template Project

Let’s start by setting up our Motion project.

  • Launch Motion.

If you don’t see the Project Browser window, go to the File menu and choose New from Project Browser.

  • In the Project Browser I’ll select Final Cut Title
  • From the Presets I’ll choose 4K – Ultra HD
  • And from the Frame Rate I’ll choose 24.

I’ve selected 24 fps because it’s the standard cinema frame rate and isn’t specific to any country. It you prefer to use a different timecode, feel free to do so. It won’t make any difference to the project.

  • I’ll make the duration 10 seconds
  • And click Open.

Motion Interface

Here’s a quick look at the Motion interface…

Title Template

Now we’ve created a Title template, you can see the default setup. We have a group with a text layer and the Title Background layer. This Title Background it the reason why we need to make this a Title template rather than a Generator. It provides the magic required to make it work.

Before we go any further, let’s save the template.

  • From the File menu, choose Save As (you can also use the Cmd-S shortcut)
  •  Type in a name for the template, such as ‘Magnifying Glass’.
  • Either choose a category you’ve already made, or click New Category and give it a name.
  • And then click Publish.

 As soon as you publish, the effect becomes available in Final Cut. But of course it doesn’t do anything at the moment.

Interface Setup

Before we continue, let’s setup the Motion interface.

  • From the Window menu choose Window Layout
  • And make sure it’s on Classic.

It’s not a major issue if you prefer to use the Cinema layout, but this article and the YouTube video above were created with the Classic setup.

  • In the Sizing menu above the Canvas, make sure you’re on Fit.

This means we’re looking at the whole composition and it’s not cropped in any way.

  • From the View menu that’s above the Canvas, make sure Dynamic Guides is enabled.

There’s also a View menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen, so it’s possible to confuse them! Using Dynamic Guides will help us align the graphics as we create them.

Because we don’t need any text in the effect:

  • In the Project Pane, select the ‘Type Text Here’ layer and hit Delete or Backspace on your keyboard.
  • Make sure the playhead is at the very beginning of your timeline, so everything you create starts on frame 0.

Creating the Magnifying Glass Graphics

For our Motion magnifying glass effect, the first thing we’ll create is the magnifying glass itself. Below is the graphic we’re going to be creating. Let’s start with the circle for the glass.

Creating the Circle for the Glass

  • Beneath the Canvas, open the Shape tool menu and choose Circle.
  • While holding down the Shift key drag out a circle anywhere in the Canvas.

Holding shift makes it a perfect circle and not an ellipse.

  • On the left of the interface, select the Inspector and then the Properties tab.
  • Hover at the far right of the Position setting and a down arrow for the Animation menu appears
  • Open the Animation menu and choose Reset Parameter.
The Position Animation menu

This places the circle in the centre of the Canvas.

  • Click on the Shape tab in the Inspector and then the Geometry panel.
  • Double-click on the Radius amount and change its value to 400.

If you’re thinking this is too large or too small for you needs, don’t be concerned right now. You’ll see later how easy it is to scale the magnifying glass.

  • Click on the Style panel.
  • Uncheck the Fill and check the Outline.
  • Under Outline, change the Width to 30 pixels.
  • In the Project Pane, double-click the name Circle and change it to ‘Glass’.

Creating the Stem for the Handle

Next we’ll create a handle for the magnifying glass. We’re going to have a stem for the handle, coming straight down from the glass.

  • Select the Rectangle tool and draw a stem that connects the glass to the handle.
  • Under the Canvas, choose the default Transform tool.
  • Drag the handles at the edge of the stem to make it the right size.
  • Drag the rectangle and use the Dynamic Guides to snap it to the horizontal centre of the Canvas.

You want the horizontal centre to line up with the centre of the Canvas and you want the top of the rectangle to snap to the edge of the circle.

  •  In the Project Pane, I’ll double-click the Rectangle name and change it to ‘Stem’.

Creating the Handle

Next we’ll create the handle. Refer to the image above as a guide for how you might want the handle to look.

  • Select the Rectangle tool again.
  • Drag out a rectangle that’s a little bit wider and longer than the stem.
  • Choose the Transform tool and drag the object handles to resize the rectangle.

make sure it’s the right size, a little bit larger than the stem.

  • Drag the rectangle so it lines up with the horizontal centre of the other magnifying glass objects.
  • In the Inspector, make sure the Shape tab is selected and go to the Geometry panel.
  • Set Roundness to around 10 pixels and you can see it’s rounded the corners of the rectangle.
  • You can also expand the Size settings to make fine adjustments to the width and height.
  • And once that’s done, double-click Rectangle in the Project Pane and change the name to ‘Handle’.

Grouping the Magnifying Glass Objects

Now we’ve made the separate bits for the magnifying glass, let’s group them together as one object.

  • Select the Glass layer and while holding down Shift, select the Stem and Handle layers.
  • And then I can right-click or two-finger click on any of these layers and select Group.
  • And I’ll call this group Mag Group.

You can see that Mag Group is already inside another group.

  • Change the name of this outer group to ‘Master’.

So, the Mag Group is inside the Master group.

Change the Anchor Point of the Mag Group

When I use the Motion magnifying glass effect in Final Cut, I want to be able to rotate and scale it. For this to work properly, the anchor point for the Mag Group needs to be in the centre of the glass. The Anchor point looks like a target and has a rotation handle. When you select the Mag Group, you can see the anchor point isn’t where we want it, it’s lower than the centre of the glass.

When we made the circle we positioned it in the centre of the screen, at coordinates 0, 0. I did this deliberately to make it easier to reposition the Anchor point.

  • With Mag Group selected, open the Properties tab in the Inspector.
  • Expand Position so you can see its sliders.
  • Double-click the Y value to make it editable.
  • Use the Command-C shortcut to copy the value.
  • With the Position Y value still selected, type 0 and hit Return.

This places the anchor in the centre of the Canvas, but also moves the magnifying glass up. So, we’re not quite there yet.

  •  in the Inspector identify the Anchor Point parameters and expand it so you can see the sliders.
  • Double-click on the Y value of the Anchor Point and use the Command-V shortcut to Paste
  • Then hit Return.

Doing this pastes the Position Y value you copied previously. The magnifying glass still isn’t in the right place. That’s because the value I pasted is negative when it needs to be positive.

  •  Double-click the Anchor Point Y value to make it editable and delete the minus sign.

And finally it’s in the right place. The anchor point and the glass are in the dead centre of the Canvas.

Now if you rotate or scale the Mag Group it all originates from that centre anchor point. And that’s how you want it to behave when it’s in Final Cut Pro.

Resetting Parameters

If you’ve had a go at rotating or scaling the Mag Group, let’s reset those parameters.

  • Open the Animation menu to the right of Rotation and click Reset Parameter.
  • And then do the same with Scale.

The reason why I reset the parameters here and throughout this tutorial is because I want the magnifying glass to be in a central, upright position when it’s used in Final Cut. It’s the default position you’ll see when you edit it onto the Timeline.

Creating the Magnify Effect

Things are progressing nicely with our Motion magnifying glass effect. We have the graphics for the glass and now we need to create the magnifying effect. But before we do that, we need to have the Title Background inside its own Group. The Title Background is the grey area with the big arrow that fills the Canvas. It represents the video clip below the effect when we use it in Final Cut Pro.

  • Right-click or two-finger click on the Title Background and choose Group.
  • Name this new group Magnify.

We’ve done this so we can apply a filter and other effects to the Magnify group and not the Title Background itself. The reason for doing this will become clear later in the tutorial.

  •  Select the Magnify group and from the Filters menu choose Distortion and Sphere.

This applies the Sphere filter which creates a magnifying effect. It’s applied to the group, rather than the Title Background.

Now the Title Background has the effect applied, the appearance of the background behind it depends on the colour channel settings above the Canvas. If it’s set to Color, then the background will be black. If it’s set to Transparent, then you’ll see a checkerboard pattern.

  • Click on the Sphere layer to see its controls in the Filters tab.

If you gave the circle for the magnifying glass a radius of four hundred pixels, then the Sphere effect will fit perfectly. If not adjust the Sphere Radius until the effect fits into the glass.

Let’s see how things are looking with our Motion magnifying glass effect…

  • I’ll choose the Mag Group and make sure I’m using the Transform tool.
  • And I’ll drag on the magnifying glass around the Canvas.

The graphics move but the magnifying effect stays in place. So we need to deal with that next. First, I’ll reset the position of the Mag Group.

  • With Mag Group selected, make sure you’re on the Properties tab in the Inspector.
  • And in the menu to the right of Position, choose Reset Parameter.

Moving the Sphere Effect with the Link Behaviour

When we use the effect in Final Cut, we want the magnifying glass to slide over the clip underneath so you can magnify different areas of the image. So, while the Sphere effect moves, we want the Title Background to stay put. To achieve this, we want the position of the Sphere effect to be linked to the position of the Mag Group. We’ll achieve this with the Link parameter Behaviour.

  • Click on the Sphere layer in the Project Pane.
  • Expand the Center parameter to reveal the sliders.

The Center parameters need to be linked to the Position parameter in the Mag Group. Because Center is a different type of control to Position, we need to link the X and Y parameters separately.

Linking the X Centre of the Sphere Effect

Let’s start by linking the X position…

  • Open the Animation menu to the right of the X slider
  • Go to Add Parameter Behaviour and choose Link.

The Link Behaviour is added and we’re taken to the Behaviours tab in the Inspector.

  • In the Project Pane, double-click the name of the Link layer and change it to ‘Link X’.

In the Behaviours tab, you can see Link X has an empty source well. This is for Mag Group, which will act as the controller.

  • Grab Mag Group and drag it into the source well.

It doesn’t automatically find a matching parameter, so we need to do this manually.

  • In the Behaviours tab under Source Parameter, open the Compatible Parameters menu and navigate to: Properties → Transform → Position → X

Alarmingly the magnify effect seems to have jumped to the far left of the screen. But don’t panic, we can solve this! At the bottom of the Link X Behaviour, there’s a slider called X offset. Its value is currently 0.

  • Double-click the 0, type in 1920 and hit Return.

In theory, that should move the effect into the right position – the centre of the Canvas.

When we first setup the project, I asked you to make it as 4K – Ultra HD. If you used a different resolution, typing 1920 won’t work. That’s because the number you type into the X Offset needs to be half the width of the frame. Half of 4K – Ultra HD is 1920 pixels. So if you’ve used a different resolution, you need to do some simple maths to come up with the correct value.

Link X in the Behaviours tab of the Inspector
Link X Behaviour with the settings described above

Linking the Y Centre of the Sphere Effect

Once you’ve successfully linked the X centre of the Sphere effect to the X position of Mag Group, you need to do the same with the Y centre.

  • Click on the Sphere layer.
  • To the right of the Center Y slider, open the menu, go to Add Parameter Behaviour and choose Link.
  • In the Project Pane rename the Link layer as ‘Link Y’.
  • Drag the Mag Group layer to the source well in the Behaviours tab.
  • Open the Compatible Parameters menu and navigate to: Properties → Transform → Position → Y

Once again the magnify effect moves out of position.

  • In the Y offset at the bottom of the Link Y panel, double-click the 0 value and type 1080.

If you project is 4K – Ultra HD, the Sphere effect should now be in the correct place. This time the number is half the height of the image in pixels.

Let’s test the Links to make sure they work…

  • Select the Mag Group and then select the Transform tool under the Canvas.
  • In the Canvas drag the magnifying glass around the screen.

And you can see the magnifying effect slides across the background as the position of the glass changes, exactly what we want.

Reset Parameters on the Mag Group Position properties to place the magnifying glass back in the centre of the Canvas.

Testing the Magnifying Glass in Final Cut Pro #1

Although this template isn’t finished yet, we can get an idea of how we’re progressing by testing it in Final Cut Pro.

Publish Position Parameters

Before you jump over, publish the Mag Group position settings.

  • Select the Mag Group layer and the Properties tab in the Inspector.
  • Open the menu to the right of the Position settings and from there choose Publish.
  • Then Save the template with the Command-S shortcut.

Applying the Magnifying Glass Effect in Final Cut

In Final Cut, make sure you have a project with clips on the Timeline.

  • Select the Titles & Generators sidebar and expand Titles.
  • Select the category where you saved the template
  • Hover over the Magnifying Glass template to see a quick preview.
  • Drag Magnifying Glass as a Connected Clip over a clip on the Timeline.

Straight away you’ll see an issue. The clip under the effect appears inside the magnifying effect, but the rest of the screen is empty. So, what we’re missing is a normal, non-magnified version of the clip.

This was my biggest challenge when I first created this template. How can I have both the magnified and non-magnified version of the background clip when using the effect? At first I hacked it in Final Cut, duplicating the clip underneath and making a Compound Clip. It worked, but it was awkward. In the end I did solve it! Let’s jump back to Motion and see how it’s done…

Creating an Unaffected Title Background in Motion

What you need is two versions of the Title Background. But if you go to the Object menu in Motion there isn’t the option to create a new Title Background. I tried creating a Drop Zone, but that had its own issues. So, another solution is required.

Create a Clone Layer

What you need is a Clone Layer.

  • Right-click or two-finger click the Title Background and from the menu choose Make Clone Layer.

So, this basically creates a clone of the the Title Background. As the name suggests, clones are exact copies of the original.

  • Right-click or two-finger click on the Clone Layer and choose Group to place it inside its own group.
  • Name this group Background.
  • Drag Background down until you can see a blue bar under all the layers.
  • Drag it left until the blue bar becomes longer and then drop Background.

If I collapse the Master group, you can see the Background group is outside. This is important because we’ll be publishing the Scale parameter of the Master and we don’t want that to affect the cloned Title Background.

So, now we have a version of the Title Background that isn’t effected by the Sphere filter. You can see it’s a flat area that fills the screen.

Earlier in this tutorial we applied effects to the Magnify group instead of the Title Background. And this is the reason why. We wanted to be able to affect the Title Background, without applying the Sphere filter directly. And that’s because we needed the clone to be free of effects.

Set the Background group Blend Mode

  • Select the Background group.
  • In the Inspector, make sure you’re on the Properties tab.
  • From the Blend Mode menu, choose Normal.

If it’s set to Pass Through you can see the normal background through the magnified image in Final Cut. And that’s not what we want.

Testing the Magnifying Glass in Final Cut Pro #2

Now let’s test this latest version in Final Cut.

  • Use the Command-S shortcut to Save.

In Final Cut Pro:

  • Drag on the latest version of the Magnifying Glass title onto the Timeline.

It should now be working exactly as expected.

In the Inspector, make sure you’re in the Title tab. From there you can change the Position parameters and see the magnifying glass slides smoothly over the background.

Refining the Motion Magnifying Glass Effect

Let’s refine the magnifying glass in Motion and publish some more useful parameters for Final Cut.

Creating a Drop Shadow on the Magnifying Glass

Let’s give the magnifying glass a drop shadow.

In Motion:

  • In the Project Pane, select the Mag Group layer.
  • In the Inspector under Properties, enable Drop Shadow by checking its box.
  • To the right of that click Show to reveal all the parameters.
  • Increase the Distance value and crank up the Blur.

In the Canvas you can see the drop shadow on the magnifying glass. Because we applied the Drop Shadow to the group, it behaves as though the individual parts of the magnifying glass are all one object.

Create a Fade In / Fade Out Behaviour

When I publish a template to Final Cut Pro I like to have fade in and fade out transitions built-in. I just drop the effect on the Timeline and the fades are already there. But I make it so the fades can be disabled in case I don’t need them. Let’s start by adding a Fade In / Fade Out Behaviour to the Master group. This will fade everything except the cloned layer in the Background group.

  • Select the Master group.
  • From the Behaviours menu choose Basic Motion, Fade In / Fade Out.

A Fade In / Fade Out Behaviour is added to the Master group. With the Master layer selected, let’s look at the Behaviour tab in the Inspector. The default fade in and fade out time is 20 frames. For this tutorial I’m going to leave them as they are.

Protecting the Fade In and Fade Out Duration

If I was to drop this template on the Timeline in Final Cut and trim it shorter or longer, it would affect the duration of the fades. So, I need to do something to protect the Fade In and Fade Out timings.

  • Position the playhead after the Fade In ends.

The Fade In is 20 frames long. I’ll position the playhead at 1 second, which for me is 24 frames in.

  • Click in an empty part of the Project Pane to make sure no layer is selected.

This is so we can create a project marker rather than a layer marker.

  • From the Mark menu, choose Markers, Add Marker.

A green project marker is created at the position of the playhead.

  • Open the Mark menu again, go to Markers and choose Edit Marker.

This opens the Edit Marker window.

  • From the Type menu choose Build-in Optional and click OK.

The marker becomes a green arrow pointing right. By making it optional we are able to disable the Fade In in Final Cut.

  • Position the playhead before the Fade Out starts.

The Fade Out is 20 frames long. The last frame on my Timeline is 9 seconds 23 frames. So if I position my playhead at nine seconds, it’s 3 frames before the Fade Out starts.

  • Once again, click in an empty part of the Project Pane to make sure no layer is selected.
  • From the Mark menu, choose Markers, Add Marker.

A green project marker is created at nine seconds.

  • Open the Mark menu again and choose Markers, Edit Marker.
  • From the Type menu choose Build-out Optional and click OK.

On the Timeline the Build-in and Build-out markers are arrows pointing inwards. The dotted orange line between them shows the part of the template that isn’t protected. So if you trim the template on the Final Cut timeline, this area will grow and shrink. But the Fade In and Fade Out durations won’t be affected. These markers are automatically published to Final Cut, so all we need to do now is save.

Publish Magnifying Glass Parameters for Final Cut Pro

Next we are going to publish the Motion settings we want to make available in Final Cut. This is always a case of finding the right balance between flexibility and simplicity. You might be tempted to publish every conceivable setting, but I don’t recommend it. Publish what you think you’ll need and you can always change it later.

Publishing the Master Scale

I’ll start by publishing the Scale on the Master group.

  • Select the Master group
  • And in the Inspector, choose the Properties tab.
  • Make sure Scale is expanded.

The top slider controls all the axes. Although in this case only the X and Y are active, because we’re working with 2D objects.

  • To the right of the main Scale slider, open the menu and choose Publish.

Publishing the Mag Group Rotation

I want to publish the rotation settings, but I’m going to do that on the Mag Group. If I did it on the Master, then the Title Background in the Magnify group would also rotate, ruining the effect.

  • Select the Mag Group
  • In the Inspector, make sure you’re on the Properties tab.

With Rotation we only need to publish the Z axis.

  • Expand Rotation by clicking the arrow
  • And from the menu for the Z axis, choose Publish.

Checking the Published Parameters

Before we go any further, let’s see how these parameters will look in Final Cut Pro. We don’t actually need to jump into Final Cut to do that.

  • In the Project Pane, select the Project layer at the top
  • And in the Inspector select the Project tab.

You can see we’ve got our parameters for Position, Scale and the Z Rotation. We also have the Build In and Build Out check boxes from when we created the Markers. If you want to rename parameters, simply double-click the name and type in a new one.

Save this project, so the settings update in Final Cut.

Actually, one last thing before we take a look at the finished template in Final Cut Pro. It would be useful to be able to change the magnifying glass colour. It’s made of three separate shapes, but we can apply a filter to the Mag Group to affect all of them at once.

  • Select the Mag Group.
  • From the Filters menu, choose Color and then Colorize.

The Colorise filter is applied and the magnifying glass turns peach.

With the Colorize layer selected, you can see it’s settings in the Filters tab of the Inspector. The peach colour comes from the Remap White To parameter. Anything that’s white is changed it to a different colour. There’s also a setting to remap black, but it’s obviously not relevant in this case.

  • Click on the Remap White colour chip.

The floating Colors window appears.

  • From the tabs at the top, select the Sliders.
  • And from the menu, make sure you’re on HSB Sliders.
  • Drop the Saturation to 0
  • And bring down the Brightness until the magnifying glass is light grey.
  • Close the floating window

And for good measure, publish the Remap White To setting. The name of Remap White To is confusing, so you might want to change it now it’s published.

  • In the Project Pane, select the Project layer
  • and then the Project tab.
  • Double-click the Remap White To text and change it to Colour.

Make sure you Save and then we’re ready to take a look in Final Cut.

Final Test in Final Cut Pro

Now, let’s take a look at the finished effect.

  • Apply the latest version of Magnifying Glass to the Timeline.

In the Title Inspector, you can see you’ve got the settings you published. You can move, scale and rotate. You can change the colour. You’re also able to animate any of the settings with keyframes.

The Build-In and Build-Out check boxes represent the fade in and fade out. When checked, the template automatically fades. If you uncheck fade in, you’re straight into the effect with no transition. You could obviously add a different transition if you wanted.

If you want to add or remove settings, right-click or two-finger click on the template and choose Open in Motion. Make the changes in Motion and hit Save to update the template in Final Cut.

Saving Custom Templates to the FCP Library

When you’re using custom templates, it’s good practice to always save them into your Final Cut Library. That way, if you modify the template, it won’t screw up your older projects.

  • Select the Library.
  • In the Inspector click on Modify Settings
  • For Motion Content choose In Library and click OK.
  • Under Motion Content click Consolidate and make sure you consolidate files if you need to.

If you modify the settings when you first create your Library, you won’t need to consolidate.

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