Pro Tips, Tutorials

How to Make Responsive Templates for Vertical and Square Videos


The social media platforms and mobile devices we use have been resizing and reshaping the way we interact with video. We live in a digital landscape where no one video format can fit all social platforms, and we now need to create video that can be flexible, literally. Luckily, video editing software is also adapting to make this easier. Read on to find out how you can make a text transition auto-adapt to landscape (16:9), square (1:1), and vertical (9:16) video aspect ratios in Premiere Pro CC.

We’ll be using Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019 below. It’s important to note that you’ll need at least Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018 or above to make responsive motion graphics templates (.mogrt) as it requires the new updates to the Essential Graphics Panel in Premiere Pro CC.

Step 1. Create Three Different Sequences

To make a flexible and auto-adaptive motion graphics template, you’ll need to create three sequences in your timeline:

1. Landscape (16:9) 1920 x 1080 px. This is the standard for Full High Definition (FHD) video. Premiere Pro CC comes built with several FHD sequence presets that you can choose from.
2. Square (1:1) 1080 x 1080 px. (Learn how to make a square sequence here)
3. Vertical (9:16) 540 x 960 px (Learn how to make a vertical sequence here)

Step 2. Add Shapes and Text

To create motion graphics templates with ease, make sure you’re in Premiere Pro’s “Graphics” workspace (located at the top bar of the user interface). This workspace includes the Essential Graphics Panel, which allows you to manipulate and customize shapes and text.

Next, using the toolbar, select the rectangle tool to draw two differently colored rectangles that fill up the frame of your program panel. You can choose any colors you like using the Appearance Fill tool in the Essential Graphics Panel.

After you make the rectangular shapes, they’ll appear as layers in the Essential Graphics Panel. From here, you can rename them as Rectangle 1 and Rectangle 2.

Next, make a smaller, centered rectangle that will act as the background to the text we will create.

To create your text, select the type tool and click on the program window to type it out. Be sure to also center align the text and then use the Align and Transform controls to center it in the frame. Drag the text background layer to center it behind the text.

Step 3. Set Your Pins

Pinning is an essential part of creating responsive motion graphics templates, because it enables you to make certain layers automatically adapt to others.

The first thing that we’ll pin is the background text to the text layer. Simply select the Text Background layer, then under “Responsive Design – Position,” select the “Pin To” dropdown and select the text layer. Finally, select the center pin so the Text Background layer will auto-adapt to the text when you change it.

Since we also need the shapes to adapt to vertical and square aspect ratios, you’ll have to pin both the Rectangle 1 and Rectangle 2 layers on all sides of the video frame. See how this is done in the video below.

Lastly, pin the text layer to Rectangle 1 layer, but only pin it on the right side. Pinning the text layer to the right side only will enable it to move automatically with the Rectangle layer when you animate the rectangle left to right (see the keyframing section below).

Step 4. Make It Responsive

Before we animate, it’s important to set the graphics layer to be responsive to any changes in duration.

To do this, select your graphics layer in the timeline. This graphics layer contains all the layers we created in the Essential Graphics Panel. Once it’s selected, a new control will appear in the Essential Graphics Panel called Responsive Design – Time.

Here, you can choose the intro and outro durations of your animation. Since my sequence is 30fps (frames per second), I’ll type in 30 frames for both the intro and outro durations to make the duration last one second.

After you do this, in the timeline on the graphics layer, you’ll see one-second handles at the beginning and end of the graphics layer. These handles will contain the intro and outro animations you create. If you need to change the duration of the graphics layer, these one-second handles will not change, so the animation will stay the same and not get messed up! This is called Responsive Time.

Step 5. Keyframe and Animate the Layers

Use the Effect Controls panel to keyframe and animate your layer. Inside the panel, you’ll find all your layers from the Essential Graphics Panel. Start with Rectangle 1 by first moving the horizontal position over to the left to bring it off frame completely.

Now hit the Toggle Animation stopwatch to enable keyframes, and it will set a start keyframe. Move the playhead forward to the point where you want the rectangle to return on frame, then move the horizontal position over until Rectangle 1 is centered. It will animate from left to right onto the frame.

Did you notice that the text moved with it also? This is because the text layer is pinned to the right side of Rectangle 1.

Next, Rectangle 2: do the same thing as outlined above and follow the steps in the video below for assistance.

To make the animation smoother, be sure to lasso and select all the keyframes and choose “Bezier.”

Step 6. Adjust the Opacity

This is completely optional, but I want to be able to see the video behind the layers I created. To do this, I selected Rectangle 2 and reduced the opacity to around 30% using the Opacity slider in the Essential Graphics Panel.

Then, for Rectangle 1, I reduced the Opacity to around 65%. When we add video to the timeline, you’ll see the video behind these transparent layers.

Step 7. Add the Outro Animation

Now the animation is looking good, but it only animates in. We need to reverse the animation so that the layers move offscreen as well. Just like before, from the Effect Controls panel, move the playhead to inside the very start of the outro handle. Hit the “Add Keyframe” diamond button, then move the playhead forward and pull the horizontal position until Rectangle 1 is completely offscreen on the right.

Next is the Rectangle 2 outro animation. Follow the video above!

Step 8. Test the Responsive Design

Now that our motion design is complete, it’s time to move on to testing to see if the graphic works in your square and vertical sequences. To do this, copy the graphic and paste it (CMD+V on Mac or CTRL+V on PC) into your square sequence first, then your vertical sequence.

Scrub through your sequence to verify that everything has transformed correctly.

Step 9. Add Your Videos

Now you can drag and drop your video footage in and realign the graphics layer on top of the video. I chose these two video clips from Pond5 to use:

Aerial View Of Shoreline Coast Cliff by tattoostock

Aerial View Of Coastal Shoreline Beach Landscape by tattoostock

This type of graphic makes it particularly useful for introducing topics or captions on your video so that they’re easy to see.

Step 10. Export as a Motion Graphics Template

If you want to reuse and repurpose these templates in multiple videos, simply right click on the graphics layer and select “Export as Motion Graphics template” and you can choose to export it to your Local Templates folder, which will save it in your Essential Graphics Panel.

You will then be able to search for that template from the browse tab in your Premiere Pro EGP in every future project. Simply drag and drop your template into your timeline and use it again.

And the best part is that you can type and replace your template text and the shapes will adapt!

If you have any questions about this post, let us know in the comments below! You can also check out more tips on working with Adobe Premiere Pro on the Pond5 Blog and YouTube channel, and on my own Premiere Gal YouTube channel.