Motion 5: Create, Save & Reuse Templates

Posted on by Larry

Whether you purchase a template or create your own, Motion 5 makes it easy to create a visual effect once, then modify and reuse it as many times as you want. This article was suggested by Richard Osso, who wanted to know how to create an open for a series, then modify it for each episode.


There are three types of files that Motion 5 creates:


NOTE: If you purchased a template, skip to the next section.

This is the Project Browser in Motion. Normally, we ignore the sidebar on the left, but it has a special value today: it’s where we can create, access and delete templates.

For now, in the top right corner, set the parameters for the template you want to create, then double-click Motion Project.

NOTE: While you can change parameters after you start creating elements, it’s a pain in the neck. Make sure, before you start, that your settings are correct – ESPECIALLY project duration.

(Click to see a larger image.)

Here, I created a simple template consisting of three Groups:

I like using Groups, though they are not required, because they help keep the Layers panel organized.

Drop zones are elements (Object > New Drop Zone) which are designed to have an image dropped into them later. This allows you to scale, position, and animate a drop zone once, then have those effects applied to whatever image is dropped into that drop zone later. Drop zones are ideal to use when creating templates because it makes switching images later very easy.

Because I’m not illustrating how to create complex motion graphics in this tutorial, let’s pretend this template is perfect and move along.

When you are done creating, you need to save your work. This is the critical step, choose File > Publish Template. NEVER save a template, that only creates a project.

Give the template a name, then, if the category you want to save it in does not exist, click New Category. A category is simply a folder which is displayed in the Project Browser sidebar.

Here, I named the category with the project number.

Finally, click Publish. That’s it. You’ve created a new Motion template.

NOTE: You can store multiple templates in the same category. You only need to create the category once.


(Click to see larger image.)

The new category we just created now shows up in the Compositions section of the sidebar. (Other sections are devoted to templates specifically created for Final Cut Pro X.)

Select the category you want to view. Then, double-click the template you want to use. Motion remembers all the project settings from the original template, which is why it’s so important to get those right when you first create the template.

The new template opens and, best of all, is given the name “Untitled.” This means that you can’t accidentally erase the template if you save the file without renaming it.


To change any text, simply retype it. Formatting, position and animation are retained.

To change the image in a drop zone, drag the image you want to use on TOP of the drop zone in the Layers panel. The old image will be replaced with the new one and the new image will inherit all the parameters associated with that drop zone: size, position, filters and animation. VERY cool!

The key is to drop images into the Layers panel. This allows them to inherit all attributes.


Now, when you click File > Save, you are not saving the template, you are saving the modifications to this template; an all-new Motion project.

To export a master file for Final Cut or any other NLE, choose Share > Export Movie (shortcut: Cmd + E).

Then, choose Apple ProRes 4444 to match the color space of Motion 5. If you have transparency in your Motion project, ProRes 4444 will save it with the file.


And that’s it.


To replace one image with another image, drop the new image on the layer that contains the old image in the LAYERS panel, not the Viewer.

If you’ve added an image that you want to turn into a Drop Zone, select the image in either the Viewer or the Layers panel, then choose Inspector > Image and turn Drop Zone on.

NOTE: You may need to rescale the image and verify that the rest of your settings are correct.

If you’ve created a Motion project that you want to turn into a template, open the project, make any necessary modifications (such as converting images to drop zones), the chose File > Publish Template.

NOTE: Remember, you can’t convert a Motion movie back into a project.

To delete a category you don’t need, select it in the Project Browser, then click the Minus button in the lower left corner. (You can also use the Plus button to create a new category.)

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5 Responses to Motion 5: Create, Save & Reuse Templates

  1. Karsten Espersen says:

    Hello Larry,
    My problem is this: I´ve got version Motion5, and need to move a project, a title, created in that version to another imac and install the title into a Final Cut Pro 10.4.8. How is that possible?
    Best Regards

    • Larry says:


      I just realized I haven’t written about this in more than five years. I’ll add it to my list. There are two ways to do this. The easiest is to save your Motion project as an FCP X title on your current system. By default, it is stored in [Home Directory} > Movies > Motion Templates > Titles.

      Copy the entire folder containing your title from your current machine, then store it in EXACTLY the same location on the new machine. (You may need to create some folders to do so, make SURE they are named the same as your current systems.)

      The next time you start FCP X, you’ll see your title.


    • Larry says:


      Here’s an article that I just wrote specifically to answer your question in more detail:


  2. Rommy says:

    Hi Larry,
    I purchased a few motion templates, but I’d like to adjust more than text and colors. Is there a way to adjust placement of what I think are the masks being used to reveal/hide?


    • Larry says:


      Maybe. Templates from Apple are fully adjustable. Templates from other developers are often locked down due to how they are developed.

      Contact the developer of the template you want to change and ask them.


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