Design motion paths

Work with a motion path

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In this movie, we’ll focus on creating the motion path for an animation effect, so you can see how to work with a path.

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Video: Create custom animations with motion paths

To cover the basics of motion paths, let’s start with this animation effect: a wheel that rolls back and forth.

In this movie, I’ll focus on creating the motion path for the effect, so that you can see how to work with a path.

In Movie 3, I’ll apply a Spin and other effects to the wheel to complete the rolling effect.

Here is the wheel image, with no effects applied.

To apply the motion path, I select the wheel, and on the ANIMATIONS tab, I open the Effects gallery and scroll down to Motion Paths.

There are these paths, and at the bottom, there is a link to more.

A straight line path is most common, and that is what I want. So, I’ll choose it.

The path effect plays in the AutoPreview, and it is a downward path by default.

On the path, the green circle shows the starting point for the line and the red circle shows the ending point.

This paler image of the wheel shows you where it will end up.

When you see the ghosted image and the start and end points are little circles, you know the path is selected.

When I click anywhere, not on the path, it deselects the path.

When the path isn’t selected, the starting and ending points are a green arrow and a red arrow.

For my wheel animation effect, I want a Right pointing path, not a Down one.

The easiest way to fix that is to first select the path, point to it, look for the four-pointed cursor, and then click. Then, I’ll open Effect Options. And here are more types of straight paths. I’ll choose Right.

The wheel now moves to the right.

And its arrows point to the right.

I want to make this path longer. So, I am going to resize it. First, I select it. Then, I am going to press the Shift key to keep the line horizontal as I drag it.

With the Shift key down, I point to the end of the path, and when I see this two-pointed sizing cursor, I drag the mouse.

I want the wheel to stop about here, so I’ll let up the mouse button and the Shift key.

Now, let’s preview the effect. The path moves the wheel straight to the right, to the end of the bar.

Note that when I am dragging to size the path, I can move it in any direction I want.

Earlier, I could have changed its direction by dragging it, from Down to Right.

It is just a little trickier when you draw to get the line perfectly horizontal.

Up next: We’ll combine this path with other effects to make the wheel roll back and forth.

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