Apply motion to artwork

Learn how to add motion to your artwork using the frame-by-frame or motion path techniques in Fresco.

You can apply motion to elements in your artwork to create compelling visual narratives. You can then export the final artwork in MP4, GIF, or PNG files.

Apply motion to artwork

Techniques to apply motion

You can use the frame-by-frame or motion path techniques, or a mix of both to animate your artwork or its elements.


Artwork in each frame differs slightly from the previous frame, and when played in succession, creates an illusion of motion. Used when object properties or movement change with each frame.

Motion path

Traces objects and follows a defined path. Used to move elements or artwork across the stage in a looping motion without changes to their appearance.

Before you begin

Before you begin your animation journey, get familiar with these concepts and limitations: 

  • When using motion on complex artwork that requires changes to several objects or their properties, we suggest creating objects on separate layers. This ensures that you have finer control over the editing of each object in your artwork.
  • The layer timeline is displayed when you click on an object or artwork containing frames. The timeline, by default, includes all objects in the selected layer and displays the total number of frames created and the frame on which you are currently working. For example, a reading of 2/13 indicates that you are working on the second frame out of a total of 13 frames.
Layer timeline

Layer timeline

To open the layer timeline:

  1.  Select the layer that includes the object that you want to animate.
  2. Tap on Motion  .
  3. Tap the Motion   to exit the layer timeline.

Animate using frame-by-frame or motion path techniques

Based on the complexity of the changes in each frame, use the frame-by-frame or motion path technique to apply motion to artwork.

Click the corresponding tab below to learn how to apply these techniques and configure their settings for your design outcome.

Add frame-by-frame motion to artwork using the timeline for the corresponding layer. The incremental changes you make to the artwork in each frame provide an illusion of movement or change during feedback.

Follow these steps to apply frame-by-frame motion:

  1. Select  . The timeline, by default, includes all objects in the selected layer.

  2. To add a new frame, tap the selected frame. Use the options displayed to duplicate, copy, or delete frames.   

    • Duplicate frame: A duplicate frame is created using the selected frame as a reference.
    • Copy and paste frame: Select Copy frame, and then select the frame after which you want to paste the copied frame. A new frame with the copied objects is added.
    • Delete frame: Deletes the frame from the timeline. Select Undo   immediately to retrieve the deleted frame.
  3. To reorder frames, select the frame that you want to shuffle, and drag along the timeline and drop.  Before you edit your artwork in a new layer, enable Onion skin.

  4. Select Play All, to preview the motion that you applied to your artwork. Choose the Playback option from Motion Settings to play the preview on loop, boomerang, or just once. 

  5. Configure Motion settings to adjust the speed, change playback options, adjust opacity and frames of Onion skin, and view the document timeline.      

Apply frame-by-frame motion to artwork

Follow these steps to use the motion path technique to animate objects on a defined path:  

  1. Select the layer containing the object and select motion   above the ruler  .

  2. In the Motion bar at the bottom, select the Path   .

  3. Draw the path that you'd like the object to follow or move along. To recreate a path, delete   and redraw the path.

    Draw using free hand

    Draw using drawing aids

  4. Select effects in the layer timeline or the Layer properties to add the following path effects:

    • Add Multiples: Add multiple objects on the same path and preview in real-time.
    • Scatter: Apply effects to the corresponding objects added and preview them in real-time.
    • Speed: Adjust the playing speed of the motion track.
    • Ease In/Out: Apply these effects to make the objects slowly appear or disappear from the screen.
    • Velocity: You can adjust the velocity of lateral movements.
    • Align to Path: Align objects to the specified path.

    Add multiple and Scatter effects

    Here is a design outcome after applying the align to path effect.

    Align to Path switched off

    Align to Path switched on

  5. Select Play All, to preview the motion you are working on. Select Path   to see the preview with the paths. You can choose a playback option from motion settings to play the preview on loop, boomerang, or just once.

  6. Check Motion settings to adjust the speed, change playback options, adjust opacity and frames of Onion skin, and view the document timeline.

Draw multiple paths

You can draw a single or multiple paths on the selected layer. Drawing multiple paths also automatically duplicates the object or the object motion on the same layer, so you don't have to create multiple objects unless you want to apply different motions to every object.

When working on single or multiple paths, select Settings > Document timeline > Show paths as frames, to enable the path timeline for converting paths as frames. 

Now that you have created your designs, apply these motion settings to your animations: 


Defines the speed of the animation in frames per second (FPS). Increasing or decreasing FPS correspondingly increases or decreases the speed.


Displays the playback and preview options. Types of playback are Loop, Boomerang, and Play once.

Document timeline

Displays all the paths as frames. You can enable another option Show paths as frames to convert a path to a frame timeline.

Onion skin

Provides a reference by displaying contents of the previous and the following frames on display.

The frame under the play-head appears in full color.

Enable and disable the onion skin feature within Motion bar settings:

  • Frames: Adjust the number of frames you want to see before and after the selected frame.
  • Opacity: Adjust the opacity of the onion skin frames to help see the frames better. The frame before looks like a shadow and if there is a frame above, it is shown in color to help you identify the position of frames.

Onion skin helps you preview the drawing on the frame to help you trace or make those little changes precisely. You can also adjust the number of frames you want to keep visible. Watch the video below to learn more.

Apply motion settings to your animations

Share animated artwork

Follow these steps to share your motion artwork in useful formats:

  1. Select Export   and Publish and Export > Motion.

  2. Choose any of the export formats:

    • GIF: used for web graphic motion.
    • MP4: used to store audio and video. Fresco offers two presets for MP4:
      • Automatic: Exports output in the highest resolution. This can also lead to an increase in the file size.
      • Web-ready: Optimizes the size and quality of the output for web displays.
      • PNG set: used for motions with transparent objects. You can export the PNG file for further editing in Adobe After Effects.
  3. To preview the output, select Generate Frames.

  4. Select Export to share or save your artwork.

What's next?

We've got you started with drawing shapes in Fresco. The interface of Fresco is intuitive. We hope you will find it easy to unleash your creativity with layersbrushesmasking, and more.

Share your creations

Ask the community

Drop-in your creations and questions in the Adobe Fresco Community. We'd love to hear from you.

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