This menu contains all commands for manipulating objects in Motion. This includes their
placement in the layer hierarchy and physical alignment in the Canvas.
• New Group: Adds a new empty group to the project. (Command-Shift-N)
• New Camera: Adds a new camera to the project, and lets you specify whether to use
2D or 3D mode. (Command-Option-C)
• New Light: Adds a new light to the project, and lets you specify whether to use 2D or
3D mode. (Command-Shift-L)
• New Drop Zone: Adds a new drop zone to your project. Drop zones allow you to replace
footage in a project by dropping clips onto the Canvas. A drop zone appears as a large
arrow placeholder graphic. The drop zone’s layer name appears in the center of the
drop zone. Any media item dragged and dropped into the region defined by the drop
zone object replaces the placeholder graphic. When media is dragged over the drop
zone, a highlight appears around the drop zone area. (Command-Shift-D)
• New Rig: Adds a new rig to the project. Rigging allows you to create complex animations
that are easy to modify. This is done by aggregating many separate parameters into a
single control, such as a slider or pop-up menu. For more information, see
• Bring to Front: Moves the selected object to the top of the layers in a group.
• Send to Back: Moves the selected object to the bottom of the layers in a group.
• Bring Forward: Moves the selected object upward in the Layers list by one object.
• Send Backward: Moves the selected object downward in the Layers list by one object.
• Alignment: This submenu contains all commands for aligning and distributing multiple
objects in the Canvas. For more information on arranging objects in the Canvas, see
Using Object Alignment Commands
• Align Left Edges: Moves the selected objects so their left edges line up with the
leftmost edge in the selection.
• Align Right Edges: Moves the selected objects so their right edges line up with the
rightmost edge in the selection.
• Align Top Edges: Moves the selected objects so their top edges line up with the
topmost edge in the selection.
• Align Bottom Edges: Moves the selected objects so their bottom edges line up with
the bottommost edge in the selection.
• Align Far Edges: In 3D mode, aligns the farthest edges of each object along the Z
• Align Near Edges: In 3D mode, aligns the nearest edges of each object along the Z
• Align Horizontal Centers: Lines up the selected objects on their horizontal center
• Align Vertical Centers: Lines up the selected objects on their vertical center points.
• Align Depth Centers: Lines up the selected objects on their Z (depth) center points.
• Distribute Lefts: Spreads the selected objects evenly between the leftmost and
rightmost objects based on their left edges.
• Distribute Rights: Spreads the selected objects evenly between the leftmost and
rightmost objects based on their right edges.
• Distribute Tops: Spreads the selected objects evenly between the topmost and
bottommost objects based on their top edges.
• Distribute Bottoms: Spreads the selected objects evenly between the topmost and
bottommost objects based on their bottom edges.
• Distribute Far: Spreads the selected objects evenly between each object’s farthest
• Distribute Near: Spreads the selected layers evenly between each object’s nearest
• Distribute Horizontal Centers: Spreads the selected objects evenly between the leftmost
and rightmost objects based on their horizontal center points.
• Distribute Vertical Centers: Spreads the selected objects evenly between the topmost
and bottommost objects based on their vertical center points.
• Distribute Depth Centers: Spreads the selected objects evenly between the nearest
and farthest objects, based on their Z (depth) center points.
• Group: Combines the selected objects into a group. (Command-Shift-G)
• Ungroup: Removes the grouping so you can manipulate the objects individually.
• Active: Sets whether an object is active. When an object is not active, it doesn’t appear
in the Canvas and doesn’t appear in the final output. When the selected item is active,
the menu item has a checkmark beside it. (Control-T)
• Solo: Soloing an object hides all other objects in the project. When the selected item
is soloed, the menu item has a checkmark beside it. You cannot solo a camera, light,
or rig. (Control-S)
Note: You can also Control-click an object in the Layers list and choose Solo from the
• Isolate: Isolating an object displays the object in its original orientation. For example,
if you want to apply a mask to or rotoscope a layer that has been transformed in 3D
space, you can isolate the layer so it appears in its original orientation (2D, facing the
front of the project). Isolating an object does not alter its actual position in the project,
but temporarily changes the display so you can see it in the original orientation.
Isolate is only available in projects that contain a camera. When an object can be
isolated, a small Isolate button appears to the right of the object’s name in the Layers
list. Click the button to isolate the object. When you isolate an object, the object name
appears in the Camera menu in the Canvas as the name of your current view. Isolating
a camera activates that camera’s view. You cannot isolate a light or rig.
• Lock: Locking an object prevents any changes from affecting that object. When the
selected item is locked, the menu item has a checkmark beside it. (Control-L)
• Unsolo: This submenu lets you turn a soloed object back to its normal state. There are
three choices: Video Only (Shift-Control-S), Audio Only, or Video and Audio. This menu
item is only available when a soloed object is selected.
• 3D Group: Changes the selected group to a 3D group. Deselecting the menu option
changes the group back to a 2D group (Control-D).
• Blend Mode: This submenu sets the blend mode for the selected layer. An object must
be selected to see the blend mode options. A layer can only have one blend mode set
at a time. The current setting is indicated with a checkmark beside the menu item. For
descriptions and examples of the various blend modes, see
Using Blend Modes
• Add Image Mask: Adds a mask to the selected layer. (Command-Shift-M)
• Add Keyframe: Adds a keyframe to the selected object, based on the last parameter
adjusted. The name change is based on your last action (positioning an object, adjusting
the scale handles, and so on). (Control-K)
• Convert to Keyframes: This command can only be chosen when the selected object or
objects have behaviors applied. All behaviors are reproduced as keyframes on the
parameters that they affect. (Command-K)
• Convert to Mask: This command can only be chosen when the selected object is a shape
in a 2D group or a flattened 3D group. The shape is converted to a mask and applied
to the enclosing group.
For more information on converting shapes to masks, see
Converting Between Shapes
• Make Particles: Uses the selected layer as a cell source for a new particle emitter. (E)
• Replicate: Replicates the selected layer. (L)
• Make Clone Layer: Creates a clone of the selected layer or group. In a motion graphics
project, sometimes it is necessary to reuse an object in other parts of the project multiple
times. Although you can duplicate or cut and paste any object, if you update the original,
none of the changes you make are applied to the copies. Making clone layers instead
of duplicates lets you control all copies by modifying the original and also improves
project playback and rendering performance.
Each cloned item is copied and named “Clone Layer,” “Clone Layer 1,” and so on. When
you clone a layer, the cloned layer is placed in its original group. When you clone a
group, a new group is created that contains the clone. Cloned items are identified in
the Layers list with an icon for a cloned layer and an icon for a cloned group.
For more information, see
Making Clone Layers
• Reveal Source Media: Opens the Media list and highlights the item that corresponds
with the selected object. The Inspector is also updated to reveal the properties of the
source media. (Shift-F)