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Chapter 4. Changing Object Properties > Transforming Objects in the Canvas

Transforming Objects in the Canvas

Transforming objects refers to the process of making changes to the values of specific parameters. The parameters of every object that can be transformed are Position, Rotation, Scale, Shear, Anchor Point, Four Corner, and Crop. These parameters can be changed in two different locations in Motion: in the Properties tab of the Inspector (located in the Utility pane) or directly in the Canvas. Because the Canvas is more direct and intuitive, let’s discuss transformations there first.

As we have seen earlier, when you select an object to transform, the bounding box that appears around the object in the Canvas has several control points. You use the control points in combination with a transform mode to change the objects’ parameters. The different transform modes are available in the Toolbar at the top left of the Canvas (Figure 4.4). The appearance of the bounding box changes depending on the current transform mode (Figure 4.5).

Figure 4.4. The transform modes are all available in the toolbar at the top of the Canvas.


Figure 4.5. The bounding box gives you visual clues as to which transform mode is currently active. Here, the Anchor Point mode is selected.


By default, the Select/Transform mode is active; this mode allows you to change the position, scale, and rotation of an object.

To choose a transform mode:

Do one of the following:

  • Click and hold the Select/Transform icon in the Toolbar and choose a transform mode from the drop-down list.

  • Press the Tab key to cycle through the different transform modes. The icon in the Toolbar updates to reflect the currently active mode.

  • Control-click any object in the Canvas and choose a transform mode from the shortcut menu.

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