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Floor Reflections In Apple Motion 5

Check out our Motion: Crafting Final Cut FX Templates course!

When creating custom templates for FCP X or standalone projects in Motion 5, the reflective floor is more and more common. Your media asset has a reflection in an invisible floor that is adjustable. And the best thing is that this effect is super easy to achieve.


Project Setup

I’ll launch Motion and start a new FCP X “Effects” project as 720 HD, 30 fps, 5 seconds long.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1


Shift-Z right away to fit the canvas to the window. Right-click the Group layer and make 3D Group checked. Select the “Effect Source” layer. F1 to the Properties tab and change scale to 70, Position X to -40, Position Y to 40, Rotation Y to 15.

Fig. 2

Fig. 2


Create A Reflecting Floor

Command-minus to zoom out of the Canvas. The R keyboard shortcut selects the rectangle drawing tool. Draw a rectangle larger than the video frame size. Shift-S for the Selection tool. In the Properties tab, set Rotation X to -85, Y to 15, Position Y to -230. F4 to the Shape tab and change Fill Color to black. F1 to the Properties tab, click the button to the left of “Reflection” to turn it blue, and click the “Show” button to its right. Adjust the Reflectivity parameter to 20 and the Blur Amount to 30. Adjust the Position Y parameter if needed.

Fig. 3

Fig. 3


Adjusting The Floor

At this point, I would use Command-minus to zoom out of the Canvas one more time. Select the Rectangle layer, grab the blue adjustment handle of the front edge (closest to you), and pull it way out (towards you) to make it much bigger. Then Shift-Z to fit the Canvas to the window.

Now you can adjust the Rotation X and Position Y parameters to taste. I suggest you click once on a parameter, and use the up and down arrow keys to make adjustments. You’ll want to make small adjustments to tweak it to your liking. Feel free to adjust any of the other Position and Rotation parameters if needed.


Publishing Parameters

In the Reflection section of the Properties tab, right-click on the word “Reflection” and from the pop-up menu chose Publish. Do the same for “Blur Amount”.

Fig. 4

Fig. 4


Select the Project layer and go to the Project tab. These are your published parameters that will be available in FCP X. What you have them set to here when you Save this project will be their default settings. Use Command-S to save this project giving it a name and assigning it a category. I will call mine “Reflective Floor” and put it in my “Ben’s Custom” category. This is how it will be accessed in the Effects browser inside FCP X.


Application In FCP X

Quit out of Motion and launch FCP X, go to a timeline and highlight a clip to try your new template out on. Command-5 to open the Effect Browser. Go to the category you saved your effect to. If you mouse over the effect, you’ll see your selected clip used in the preview. Double-click to apply it to your test clip.

Fig. 5

Fig. 5


Command-4 to pull up the Inspector if necessary and go to the Video section. You’ll see your effect applied and the published parameters. Adjust these to something other than the defaults you set in Motion. Then, click the curly arrow at the top right of the effect section to reset the effect. You’ll see the parameters reset to the defaults you assigned them in Motion.

Fig. 6

Fig. 6


Conclusion

We just created the most basic of effects for FCP X using a reflective floor. Now that you know how to create this very simply effect, I hope you will use this technique to create other more complex effects. There are all sorts of ways to make this more complex and incorporate it into very beautiful effects that will enhance your work a great deal. To see an example of how I used this for a transition download this file. It has installation and usage instructions. I encourage you to open it in Motion and backwards engineer it, customize it, make it your own.


Check out our Motion: Crafting Final Cut FX Templates 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.

Comments

Oct 06, 2013
Gerald
Nice tutorial, but I cannot get the reflection in 3D somehow, it stays in 2D and does not follow the 3D settings from the clip.
Oct 07, 2013
BenB
Verify your Layers pane looks exactly like mine does in Fig. 3 of the article. It must be in the 3D Group, not a separate Group. Then it will work just fine.
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