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Creating the 'Annoying Orange' Effect In Motion

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Recently someone asked how to achieve the “Annoying Orange” effect in Motion. I had no clue what that was, but when I looked it up, I knew right away this would make a great article. It is actually very simple and builds on my previous article, “Animating Shape Masks In Motion” for details about the techniques I present here. I don’t want to be too redundant, due to the limited space I have in this article. In this article, I’ll cover the basics, but you can get much more complicated using this in other types of projects.

Step 1- Setting Up The Project

The first thing I need to do is shoot my actor. No green screen needed, just be sure it is a close up of the actors face. Then I need an image of an orange or other inanimate object. I’m using a video of myself and a photo of a peach. The peach photo was taken on a solid black background. Both taken with my iPhone and a Glif. Use Pixelmator, Photoshop, or as I did the keyer in Motion to remove the background of the peach. I’ll place the peach in a group called Fruit Group by selecting the layer, right-click, choose Group. The video of my face goes in a group called Face Group. I’ll select both groups and put them inside a Character Group. The Fruit Group must be below the Face Group. Select a Group (or layer) and use Command-left/right bracket to move them. F1 for the Properties tab, resize and rotate the face video layer so the eyes and mouth fit in and align with the inanimate object (peach).

Figure 1

Masking The Face

Inside the Face Group I’ll create a new sub-group called “Shapes”. Select the group and draw a circle (C key) shape around the left eye and rename it Left Eye. Draw another around the right eye, rename it Right Eye. A third around the mouth, rename it Mouth. Then uncheck the visibility checkbox for the Shape group.

Right-click the face movie layer, choose Add Image Mask (Shift-Command-M). Repeat twice so there are three image masks assigned to this movie layer. Rename them Left Eye, Right Eye, Mouth. Drag-and-drop each Shape to its corresponding Image Mask. Poof, now we see a roughed in effect.

Command-2 for the Library, go to the Filters group, to the Blur sub-group, and add a Gaussian Blur to one of the shapes. F3 to the Filters tab and adjust the amount to add a tiny bit of feathering to the shape. When done, hold the Option key while dragging that blur filter onto each of the other two shapes.

Figure 2

Animating The Masks

This is the time consuming part, so get a drink, settle in, and relax. With the playhead at the start of the timeline, select the Mouth shape layer (not the image mask). In the Canvas right-click on the center point of the bounding box, right-click, choose Edit Points. F4 to the Shape tab of the Inspector, go to the Geometry tab, click the keyframe diamond to the right of the Control Points pane title bar. This sets your first keyframe. Adjust the shape points in the canvas to get the mask tight in on the closed mouth. Now use the left arrow key to move frame by frame, adjusting the shape control points as needed. Repeat for each eye shape if desired.

Figure 3

Tips To Improve The Effect

I’m only showing the basics of how to achieve this effect. You can of course add a background, make the groups 3D to add a light source to cast shadows, you can go wild if you wish. One tip I’ll give you is when you video the actors face, make sure they do not move their head, and that their facial expressions are very limited. You could also apply makeup around the eyes and mouth to blend in with your inanimate object better. Also, as I learned the hard way, for male actors, shave. My goatee around my mouth was a bit annoying to work with.


I hope this fun exercise does more than show you how to anthropomorphize inanimate objects, but help you learn masking and compositing in more depth. Go wild with it, be creative, and have fun.

Check out our Motion: Working in 3D course!

Ben Balser

Ben Balser | Articles by this author

Ben Balser studied educational psychology at Loyola University, and after retiring from a 20+ year IT career, now produces, consults, teaches, and rents equipment for media production as a full time job. As an Apple Certified Master Trainer, he ran the Louisiana Cajun Cutters FCP user group for 8 years, taught post-production at Louisiana State University and has lead their annual teen filmmaking bootcamp. He teaches currently for AATC facilities across the USA and for The Orchard Solutions. He has consulted for higher education, government, broadcast and private production facilities.


Mar 26, 2016
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