Alight Motion 4.0 Release Notes

  • Updated

Alight Motion is more dynamic than ever! Version 4.0 introduces a multitude of new features to help you set the scene, rig character joints, pan and zoom, and much more! Read on for all the details.

New Features

Layer Parenting

Layer Parenting allows a parent layer to influence the movements and transformations of a child layer. Use parenting to coordinate sophisticated animations, rig characters, and more!


Using Layer Parenting

To enable Layer Parenting, just select a layer you want to use as a child, tap the Parent Layer button at the top of the screen, then choose the layer you want to use as a parent.


Child layers inherit the Location, Scale, and Rotation of parent layers, and then additionally apply their own location, scale, and rotation. 

Effects with the Layer Parenting tag have been specifically designed to work with Layer Parenting.


Particularly useful effects include Parenting Helper, Bend, Move Along Path. With the exception of Parenting Helper, which applies to child layers, other effects with this tag should be applied to the parent layer, and then influence child layer positions.


Camera Objects

Add camera objects to pan around your scene, zoom in, fly through layers, and more! You can switch between multiple cameras and even link them to other layers via parenting for captivating combinations! 


Using Camera Objects

For detailed information, be sure to check out the quick reference video.

To use cameras, just open the Add Layer menu, navigate to the new Object tab, and tap Camera.


In order to see your project through the camera, you'll need to turn on Active Camera View in the View Options panel.


Active Camera View is just to help you navigate your project. When sharing or exporting, your project is always rendered from the point of view of the camera.

If you have more than one camera on the timeline at the same time, the topmost camera is used.

The bottom-most camera on the timeline is the default camera, and is automatically extended to influence the entire scene from beginning to end, when no other camera is active.

Cameras and Z coordinates

There are two ways to make a camera "bigger" or "smaller".

Adjusting the camera's view angle effectively zooms in without changing perspective. The view angle is what actually changes when you pinch in the preview or try to adjust scale (cameras don't really have scale).

Adjusting the camera's Z coordinate, on the other hand, will move the camera forward or backward, which will change the perspective. This is most effective when other layers in the scene each have their own Z coordinates.

Layer Style Copy & Paste

Do you want to reuse a certain combination of effects and properties you picked out for one layer? Instantly apply it to other layers by copying and pasting the style! You can paste all style properties at once, or pick and choose among position, color, opacity, and so on. Copying and pasting animated properties also preserves any animation.


Null Objects

Null objects are invisible layers that work well with parenting. Parent multiple layers to an animated null object to coordinate their motion, or use an animated null object as a parent for a single layer to create sophisticated motion through the interaction of different sets of keyframes on the same property.  

Preview Pan & Zoom

Use Pan and Zoom to freely navigate your project to edit fine details.

When no layer is selected, use two-finger gestures in the preview to navigate:

  • Pinch apart to zoom in
  • Pinch together to zoom out
  • Drag with two fingers to pan
  • Double-tap with two fingers to re-center and reset the zoom to 100%
  • Double-tap again with two fingers to return to the previous zoom and pan

When a layer is selected, two-finger gestures are used for editing, but you can switch to Pan and Zoom mode any time you want by tapping this icon, located in the top corner of the preview:



You can easily align layers in your project by superimposing a grid of any size.

Layer Solo / Reduced Opacity View

Solo a selected layer for easy editing, or make it see-through so you can reference other layers while you work.

Pixel Preview

Turn on pixel preview to see the individual pixels as they will be exported when you zoom in.

New Effects

This version adds three new effects.

  • Raster Transform: scales, rotates, or offsets the layer, much like Move & Transform, but after rasterization and after applying any preceding effects on the layer, allowing the output of effects to be transformed.

  • Scale Assist: Applies additional layer scale on top of the scale set in Move & Transform.

  • Parenting Helper: Adjusts how the child layer’s scale and rotation react to changes in the parent’s scale and rotation.

Major Changes

Media Browser

We’ve overhauled the media browser. In the full browser you can now set the duration of images or pre-trim videos before adding them to the timeline. You can also select more than one image or video at a time and control whether they are added together or in sequence. This is particularly useful when importing multi-layered illustrations from other apps to animate them in Alight Motion, or for importing multiple images from a hand-drawn animation or stop-motion animation sequence. Last but not least, the mini browser in the Add Layer menu can now be set to show only media in a specific folder or album.

Note: Pre-cropping of images has been removed from the media browser on iPhone/iPad because it did not work reliably. To crop images, please use masking groups.


Groups have been significantly improved in this update.

  • Group Settings: You can change the size of a group and other settings in the new Group Settings menu when editing a group.
  • Empty Groups: The Add menu now provides a convenient way to start with an empty group. This is particularly useful if you want to work in a size that’s very different from your project, such as to create a tall group with many text layers for a scrolling title sequence.
  • Dynamic Resolution: Groups use dynamic resolution rendering so that you can transform a group to make it larger or smaller without the group getting blurry at large sizes or pixelated at small sizes.
  • Convert to Group: Any element can now be converted into a group in the Layer Options menu.
  • Better Trimming: Group re-timing can now be turned off (the default setting for new groups!) which allows you to split them or trim the ends, just as you can with regular layers.

Z Coordinate

In addition to X and Y coordinates, which determine a layer’s horizontal and vertical position, all layers now have a Z coordinate, which determines their depth in the project. You can use this to make layers appear closer or further, moving one layer in front of another dynamically without changing their order on the timeline. This works particularly well with the new Camera Objects to create parallax motion.



To match iPhone and iPad, and make room for the new View Options button, bookmarks have been moved to a new location on Android: You can now set or clear bookmarks by tapping on the current time on the playhead.

In addition, bookmarks have been improved across all platforms: You can now tap a bookmark on the time ruler to jump directly to it.

Updated Effects

  • Auto-Shake: “Speed” has been changed to “frequency” and determines the number of distinct movements per second a layer makes. A new “Z Shake'' property has been added to allow for movement on the Z axis.
  • Random Jitter: Like Auto-Shake, Random Jitter now features properties for “Slack,” which lets it deviate from the angle of movement, and “Z Jitter,” which allows for movement on the Z axis.
  • Oscillate: You can now select one of three available properties, “Angle,” “Depth,” and “Orbit.” Under “Angle,” a layer oscillates along a chosen angle, as normal; for “Depth,” the layer oscillates along its Z axis; “Orbit” combines oscillation along both the angle and the Z axis.

Everything Else

  • Estimated time remaining is now displayed on all platforms when exporting. (Previously, it was only shown on Android devices. Now it also appears on iPhone and iPhone)
  • The audio browser on Android has been updated to match the design on iPhone and iPad, with album and genre navigation in the main view rather than in a side menu.
  • Dynamic resolution rendering improves visual quality and performance, while simultaneously reducing RAM usage. This means less lag and fewer crashes when working with large media or groups.
  • After copying an easing curve, there is now an option to paste the same easing to all keyframes.
  • Some minor interface adjustments have been made to improve clarity:
    • Projects with blank titles now show the text “No title” in the project list to avoid confusion
    • Icons have been updated to make them easier to understand.
    • The “Image & Video” button has been renamed to “Media.”
    • “Fit to Screen,” “Fill Screen,” and “Stretch to Screen” are now called “Fit Composition Area,” “Fill Composition Area,” and “Stretch to Composition Area.”
  • Freehand Drawing performance and stability have been improved.
  • The preview options in freehand drawing on Android have been removed; please use the Reduced Opacity Mode in the view options panel instead.
  • Pixel values in Move & Transform → Scale now show fractions of a pixel for more precise positioning
  • In Move & Transform, scale adjustments now snap to match other layers. (This previously existed on iPhone and iPad, but now Android also includes support)
  • In Color & Fill, Intrinsic is now the default Fill Type for Groups and Freehand Drawings, which displays their original colors. The “none” fill type now hides the layer fill as you would expect.
  • RAM usage has been significantly reduced, eliminating most crashes when working with existing projects with very large images or groups in them.
  • Project Editing Timer: The amount of time you have spent editing a project is now shown at the bottom of Project Settings, on all platforms.

Important Notes

Preview Lag Reduction and Performance Improvements

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.

We have worked very hard to improve rendering performance, and preview lag should be greatly reduced in this update, or for many projects totally eliminated.

However, Alight Motion’s flexibility also means it will always be possible to push the app past the limit where preview lag will start to happen again. Rest assured we are continuously working on ways to improve performance, and lag will improve incrementally with every update!

Limit Free Exporting of Projects with Premium Features

A premium membership is now required to export project containing premium editing features and members-only effects.

Due to an error in the program logic, previous versions of Alight Motion accidentally allowed exporting projects with premium features, if the projects had been imported via a link. The intended functionality was for compatibility purposes and was meant to apply to only older projects, but due to an error, this was available for all projects.

This behavior was causing problems that hindered our ability to build new features in the app, so it has been removed starting with the 4.0 update.

We understand that some users may have come to depend on this to use premium features in the free version of the app. We are unfortunately no longer able to support that, but we understand that this change may be inconvenient. Therefore, we are running a special event for the 4.0 launch where all premium editing features and members-only effects will be free for a month, to give you a chance to finish up any projects you are working on and to export any work that is in progress. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this causes, and appreciate your understanding.

Was this article helpful?



Article is closed for comments.