It's all about Effects! (and Mac!)
Effects are a central part of building beautiful animations and videos in Alight Motion. As our library of effects has grown, the original tools we provided in Alight Motion for working with effects became inadequate, and one of our most requested areas for improvement.
Well, we've listened to you! In this version, we completely overhauled the effect browser to make it easier to use, and added a lot of new functionality. We also improved how a lot of effects work to make them more consistent.
This version also brings support for Macs (with Apple Silicon). Alight Motion is no longer just for phones and tablets.
Read on to learn what's new!
Brand New Effect Browser
Here's what's new:
- Better organization! It's just one touch to get to any category: no more swiping through page after page of effects every time you want to get to one near the end!
- Search! You can search for any word in the title or description of an effect. Search works in whatever language your phone is set to, and also in English (to help you find those effects you see in YouTube tutorials).
- Presets! Tapping an effect now opens a card that shows detailed information about the effect, along with common presets to save you time. Many effects have presets now, and more are coming in future updates. Let us know what you'd like to see! Not only can you favorite an effect, you can also favorite a specific preset. Which brings us to...
- Favorites! Effect favorites have been available on Android since the beginning, but iPhone and iPad users have missed out. Well, no more! Favorites are now available to everyone, regardless of the device you use for Alight Motion. Just open the effect card and tap the star next to an effect preset or the star next to "Default Settings" to save a favorite.
- Guide! Learn how to use effects in the new effect guide. Just tap "Guide" from any effect card. About a quarter of the effects are documented at the time these release notes are being written, but we expect to be added more guides rapidly, so be sure to check back if the effect you want isn't listed yet.
Here are some tips for using the effect browser:
- Don't like the extra tap to add an effect after opening the effect card? Just add the effect to your favorites and you can add it with a single touch after that.
- Tapping a favorite or recent effect adds it to the layer immediately, but you can long-press any favorite or recent to open its card instead.
- In the effect browser, swipe left or right when viewing any effect card to see the next or previous card.
- After you've added an effect, you can easily access the effect card again in the ••• overflow menu when you're editing effect properties. This is a convenient way to get to the guide for that effect if you want to learn what a particular setting does.
This version adds two new effects:
- Hexagon Tile Shift
- Hexagon Tile Rotate
Nearly all effects in Alight Motion have been updated in some way. Most of the effects have been updated for consistency. Parameters have been standardized so if two effects have a setting with the same name, it will generally do the same thing now. We understand this might be a little disconcerting in the beginning if you're used to the old setting names, but it should make it much clearer and easier to work with effects moving forward.
We've also given special attention to a few effects:
- Dots — This effect is much more useful now! We've added a blending mode setting, an offset (so you can move the dots side to side or up and down) and more. This makes it much more convenient when using dots to model things like snow flurries, for example. Read all about the Dots effect in the guide: https://guide.alightmotion.com/effects/dots
- Luma Key — The extreme settings for Start and End no longer key out pure black or pure white pixels. This makes it much easier to make a clean Luma Key transition animation.
- Motion Blur — Handling of motion blur for scale animation has been improved significantly.
- Color Tune — This is a big one for the pros: The "Gamma" curve was backwards. We have no excuse. We're very embarrassed about this. If you felt this effect was hard to use before, that might be because it didn't work right. Give it a try now!
- Turbulence — This effect has a blending mode now, too, and a Bias setting. It's much easier than before to make film scratches or film dust now, and in fact, we have presets just for those!
- Solid Matte — We've added a "Punch Out" setting, really handy when you you want to dim just part of the screen, leaving the rest unaffected.
- Checker Dissolve has been renamed to Block Dissolve for consistency with other effect names.
You can get information about photo or video media in a layer: Select the layer, then open the layer overflow menu (the three dots in a circle) and choose Media Info.
Mac (with Apple Silicon) Support
Alight Motion now runs on any Mac with an Apple Silicon (sorry, no Intel support at this time). We've worked hard make sure it works well in this form factor. Keyframe animation, vector drawing, layer multi-select and more work differently on Mac — it's not just the touch interface on a screen.
Mac and iPad Improvements
This is minor but super helpful: If you switch the selection to another layer without de-selecting first, whatever panel you had open (for example, Color & Fill, or Move & Transform) will remain open and switch to reflect the newly selected layer. This is really handy when working with complex projects!
Mac and iPad Keyboard Support
On Mac or iPad, you can now use keyboard shortcuts in Alight Motion. We've started small, with just the essentials, but we'll keep improving this in future versions of Alight Motion.
- ⌘Z Undo
- ⇧⌘Z Redo
- ⌘A Select All
- ⌘D Deselect
- ⌫ Delete selected layer / Backspace
- ← → Scroll timeline by one frame
- ↑ ↓ ← → Nudge layer by 1 pixels (in Move & Transform → Location)
Android Performance Improvements
Have trouble with audio preview glitching in Alight Motion 3.5 on Android? We improved the audio resampling quality significantly in 3.5, but the improvements are more demanding on the CPU and caused some glitching on slower devices. In 3.6, there's now a setting that will help with that. In the side menu when you first start Alight Motion, you can change the audio resampler quality. If you are running into performance problems, we suggest setting to low quality while editing, but back to high quality when you export or share your project.
We've also made countless other small performance improvements. For example, if you hide a video layer on Android, it's no longer needlessly decoded: your hidden layers won't bog down your project.
As usual, this update also comes with numerous bug fixes and performance improvements across the board. We always are working to make Alight Motion more stable and more performant. For anyone still experiencing preview lag after this update anyway, not to worry! Rest assured we have some even bigger performance improvements in the works, so just be patient with us a little bit longer and your requests will be answered!
We have always provided a free version of Alight Motion (with the watermark) and plan to keep doing that moving forward. However, the free version still costs money for us to provide, so to help us cover the costs of that free version, there is some advertising in Alight Motion 3.6. Here are a few important things you should know:
- Ads will only appear in the free version. If you've paid for the app, you will never see ads!
We hope you'll support us in this decision, as it helps us keep providing the free version of Alight Motion. The ads are intended to help us pay for the free version, not to make your life inconvenient or force you to buy a subscription, so although we can't take the ads out (unless you pay!) if anything else about the ad experience is inconvenient, please be sure to reach out and let us know. As always, we take your feedback very seriously!