Apple Motion – The Gear Video tutorial

OK so we’re gonna start out first by opening up Motion. And we create new project. I’ll go to the custom settings and enter 1280 width by 720, square pixels, 8 Bit, 24fps, 10 second timeline. OK

Very nice. So we have our Motion project setup. I’m gonna set the view to 50% so we have a little area to work with here. And let’s get started!

I’m gonna open up the layers tab by pressing F5 and inside of this first group I’m gonna start creating some shapes. So I’ll come up and hold the mouse button and go to the circle shape tool and then hold shift and click in the canvas to create a circle shape here. From the inspector (command-3) I can uncheck the fill of the shape and just have an outline. Let’s bring the width of this up to about 50. Looks good and from properties tab we’ll set the position to the center.

And now I want to create the crossbars for the gear. From the group, let’s name this “The Gear Mask”, we will create a line. Hold shift, click and drag. From the properties we can center the shape and from the shape outline adjust the width. Change the start and end cap to “none” and then we can right-click and duplicate (or command-D) and from properties adjust rotation 90 degrees.

OK so we have our basic gear here. Let’s add the teeth to the gear. So from the gear mask group we will create rectangle shape. Hold shift. OK looks good. And then shift-S and we’ll line it up here. Now from the shape tab we’ll go to geometry. Let’s bring point 1 here to zero. Let’s see where we’re at with point 2 to zero to create, like, a triangle shape here. Might bring these up to like negative 25 and then perhaps bring the scale of it down a little. There we go so we have one tooth and we’ll put it right in the middle there. Let’s hide the center lines for a moment and we’ll name this rectangle “Tooth” and then this one is “Crossbar1” and “Crossbar2”.

OK so now the tooth we can press L to replicate it, change the shape to a circle and arrangement to outline, adjust the radius. Let’s press command-slash to show our outlines again. And we can adjust this radius here, choose align angle and then adjust the angle. So 180 degrees there. Let’s bring this radius in just a little bit. And we’ll add some points here. Show our crossbars and then we’ll add a little circle mask. Hold shift and we’ll change the mode to subtract and put it right in the center there. There we go. Maybe bring it up a little, down a little; you know.

OK let’s do one more shape: circle and hold shift, make it a little bigger. There we go and we’ll center this. Just like that, see? So now we got a nice gear setup using the shape tools in Motion.

Let’s create a new group and call it “The Gear Reference” and from here now we’ll go to the library tab (command-2) and from content let’s search for some textures. I don’t know… I’m thinking, like, metal. Let’s see wha– yeah, that looks nice! OK so this, um… we’ll drag into The Gear Reference layer. I like this. Now with this metal layer selected we can go to object/add image mask and for the source we can drag The Gear Mask group. And see now we can move the, uh… image around a little. There we go. Looks very nice, this is going to look nice. OK so now we have our gear. Actually let’s just call this “The Gear”. Export “the_gear_infant” still in its infant stage here so we’ll export it as a current frame, TIFF? Yes. Make sure that, uh, Millions of Colors+… very nice. OK. Do Notion, Desktop, export.

Let’s save our Motion project now. “The GEar” collect media in folder, no unused media, save. Now we can hide Motion for now and open gear_infant in Photoshop.

Right now we’re gonna be adding, like, some really cool filters to this gear in Photoshop. So with it selected here let’s just get started and add a bevel to it. And that’ll make it pop out a little bit more. We can select the preview here, turn it on or off. And, uh, change the direction of the lighting if we want. You know, really kind of mess around with this. Find what works for you. I kind of like to give it some depth here and even maybe do chisel hard. Make it more, like, gear-like. That makes a difference right there! You can tell, I mean… just adding that one filter and…

You know what? Here let me show you the difference between why we need something like Photoshop to do that versus the in… you know, the-the setbacks of Motion. If we come back here and we select this-this gear layer in Motion, you know, and then, uh-uh, tried to add like a bevel here… it doesn’t work. See? It, uh… I don’t know and every-every combination you try. See it-it wants to, uh… do the whole thing. So, you can add it here and then it does it, you know, to the image. O-or, um… e-even if you tried to add it to the mask. See but it just doesn’t work no matter what you do. There’s no winning with the bevel phi-filter in, uh… Motion.

So something’s you just, you do. You just have to use other programs. And so, um.. you-an-and this is one of those times. So… you know. Oh ac-actually let me just go back here and re-save this as “The Gear”.

So back in Photoshop you saw it just doesn’t work in Motion. And, uh… let’s go back here and add that again. Bevel and emboss. And what was I? Chisel hard, and we’ll add some depth to it. Oooh… that’s, like, Terminator. You know… find something that works for ya. Soften it up, do whatever. Play around with it. That’s pretty much it. OK, so we’ll add that. Actually, you know what, here let me add another layer here, put it on the bottom, and then I’ll add, like, a-um… black background. Just so we can kind of see what it will look like. Cause then I can add a stroke it it. Kind of do it like a lighter, you know, color. Something. And bring the size down to 1 and the opacity down. Center… that and we’ll bring the… OK so a little bit of a-uh, you know. Actually we can have it kind of like a yellowish. You know, just kind of accent it a little bit, you know, that’s-that’s the goal here. So… and then we can add like a-uh inner glow. It’s what we want. There we go. Add a little noise to it. And you see what it looks like there. It just kind of adds like a little love to it. Loves it up a little bit. So… you know, play around with that. There we go looks good.

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. Jasper is also an AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified Solutions Architect. 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.