Apple Motion Create Animated Color Line On A Map

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Hey what’s up everybody. My name is Jasper Thayer. I’m an Apple Certified Trainer for Motion and developer of In this tutorial I’m gonna show you how to animate a colored line on a map using Motion 5.1

Let’s start by opening up Motion and creating a new project. Now I’m gonna go to the File Browser and locate a map image I have on my Desktop and drag it to the Motion canvas. I’ll resize the image as necessary. I can hold shift to scale the image proportionally and the image will scale to an anchor point that’s located on the opposite corner from the corner I’m dragging from. Or I can hold Shift and Option while I click and drag a corner to scale the image proportionally towards an anchor point in the center of the image.

Select the bezier tool in the toolbar by clicking this button or pressing “B” on the keyboard. With the bezier tool selected start clicking points on the map to draw the line. Place points along the map where the path shifts.

Once you’ve placed points along the path in the map then right-click the points and select the smooth option to smooth out the line. If the curve handles snap to the grid and you want more freedom with your controls then you can go to the View menu and disable snapping or press “N” on your keyboard. Now you can move the control handles without them snapping to the layout grids on your canvas.

We’ll finish going through all the points on the line and smoothing them out along the path. Click the handles to adjust the curve and drag the control points to adjust their location, if necessary.

Now click outside of the canvas to disable the Bezier Tool and Motion will apply the line to the canvas. A bezier line will now appear in the layers tab. Double-Click the bezier layer and rename it to “Blue Line”. Now go to the Window menu and choose “Show HUD” or press F7 on your keyboard to show and hide the HUD.

From the HUD we’ll drop the width of the blue line down to about 10 pixels.

With the “Blue Line” layer still selected, click the behaviors button in the toolbar and from the Basic Motion behavior options we’ll choose the Fade In/Fade Out Behavior. In the HUD adjust the Fade In time to about 30 frames.

We’ll adjust the Fade Out time here to 0 frames.

This will create an animation that will make the entire blue line appear on the map to show the entire path of the journey. Now we need to create a red line that animates over the blue line to show the progression of the journey.

From the Layers tab right-click the “Blue Line” and duplicate it. Rename the duplicated line to “Red Line” and with the “Red Line” layer selected go to the outline color in the HUD and change it to red. Place the playhead at 1 second and set an in point for the red line layer by pressing “I” on the keyboard. The add a Shape/Write On Behavior to the red line layer.

You can scroll the playhead and see the red line animate onto the map over the blue line. The speed at which the line appears on the map depends on the duration of the write on behavior. We’ll scroll the playhead to 4 seconds and place an out point in the behavior by pressing “O” on the keyboard. That way between 1 and 4 seconds the red line completely animates onto the path because that’s the duration of the Write On Behavior.

Now let’s have the red line fade off at the end. First we’ll place the playhead at 4 seconds and select the blue line layer and press “O” on the keyboard to set an out point for that layer. Since the red line completes its animation at 4 seconds and completely covers the blue line so we don’t need the blue line in our layers after that time. Then we’ll move the playhead to 5 seconds and set an out point for the red line layer. For the Fade In/Fade Out Behavior in the red line layer I’ll change the fade in duration to 0 frames for the red line layer and set the fade out duration to 30 frames so that between 4 and 5 seconds the red line fades out.

Now we have a blue line that appears on the map and then a red line will animate over the blue line’s path over time.

Jasper Thayer is the developer of

He has over 15 Apple Pro Certifications for video editing and special effects including Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and Apple Certified Trainer for Motion 5. is known worldwide for its unmatched excellence in providing top-quality Final Cut Pro X tutorials. Subscribe to our mailing list to remain updated on the latest info about Final Cut Pro X tips, tricks, and tutorials.