Make the Most of Your MOGRTs (Motion Graphics Templates)

If you’re already using Motion Graphics Templates (MOGRTs) then you’ll know how they can accelerate your Premiere Pro graphics workflow. But there may be times when things don’t always work the way you expect. So let’s take a look at what to do if you hit a MOGRT problem, and some of the steps you can take to avoid running into MOGRT issues in the first place.

MOGRT organization options

Premiere Pro comes with quite a few built-in MOGRTs. But because they’re designed to appeal to a wide audience, it’s likely that some of them might not appeal to you, or work in your projects. Also, if you have Adobe Premiere Rush installed, you’ll find the Rush templates in your library as well. So it might be time for some pruning.

Remove unwanted MOGRTs

To avoid clutter in my Local Templates folder, I like to delete the MOGRTs I know I won’t use. There’s no harm in doing this—if you change your mind, you can delete the PrMogrtInstall.txt and AEMogrtInstall.txt files to automatically reinstall the factory presets. You’ll find them in these hidden folders:

macOS: username/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common/Motion Graphics Templates
Windows: \Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Common\Motion Graphics Templates

You can remove unwanted MOGRTs by deleting them from the folder, but it’s easier to do it from inside the Essential Graphics panel, as you’ll be able to preview the templates first. (It also helps to maximize the Essential Graphics panel for a clearer view.) Just select the ones you don’t want to keep, and hit Delete.

If you decide to delete your MOGRT files from the templates folder, instead, make sure you don’t delete the PrMogrtInstall.txt and AEMogrtInstall.txt files by mistake. As mentioned earlier, removing these files will reset the templates to default the next time you start Premiere Pro.

You’ll also find that updating Premiere Pro resets the default templates, so you’ll probably have to repeat this process at some point.

Keep your MOGRTs in custom folders

Having your MOGRTs in a hidden folder can make management a bit cumbersome. Particularly if you choose to add subfolders to these hidden folders, which is advice I’ve seen elsewhere. Custom folders are a much better solution.

First, create a folder in your favorite non-hidden location and add some MOGRT files. Then go to the panel menu of the Essential Graphics panel and choose Manage Additional Folders. Click on Add and choose your new MOGRT folder.

This makes installing and uninstalling multiple MOGRTs as easy as adding and deleting files and folders, and adding or removing whole groups of MOGRTs can be done from the panel menu with a few clicks. This is fantastic if, like me, you work for different clients, and only need to see the MOGRTs for one client at a time. It’s also a better way to install whole packages of MOGRTs that you’ve bought.

The folders you add will show in a new dropdown menu in the Essential Graphics panel named Local, along with the old Local Templates folder.

Note: Premiere Pro ignores any content in subfolders.

Keep complex MOGRTs in a separate project

When you drag a MOGRT made in After Effects from the Essential Graphics panel onto the timeline, it’s unzipped into an .aegraphic file. This is then saved to a subfolder within the folder specified under Scratch Disk settings in the Project Settings (or Team Project Settings). The subfolder isn’t intended to be human-readable and is assigned a system-generated name, like this one:

\Smoother MOGRT Workflows\Motion Graphics Template Media\a0e9b737-b4d2-4d2d-af7d-c4fe295a1cb2

For complex MOGRTs, and for MOGRTs with lots of media files inside them, the unzipping of these .aegraphic files can take a while–especially on older systems with limited RAM. To avoid repeatedly un-zipping such MOGRTs, just keep the largest MOGRTs (measured in file size) in a timeline in a separate project, and copy/paste from that timeline to the one you’re editing in.

Since you’re just copying an instance of an already unzipped template, it’s going to be instantly available in the new project.

Another reason to use a separate project is if you’ve downloaded a MOGRT, but usually change the font, colors, etc. every time you use it. You can, of course open it in After Effects, make the necessary changes, and export as a new MOGRT—but if you don’t feel comfortable working in After Effects, you can keep a tweaked version of the MOGRT in timeline in a separate project. When you copy/paste it from that timeline into the new project, all your tweaks will be maintained.

Share MOGRTs using Libraries

The best way to share MOGRTs in a team is to use Libraries. There’s a Libraries panel in both After Effects and Premiere Pro (Window->Libraries) where you can create libraries, and delete, rename, move, and otherwise organize your MOGRTs in each library.

The Creative Cloud Desktop app also offers some basic organization features under Files->My Libraries. You can invite your team members to a shared library, and everyone always has access to the newest version of all the templates—and only the newest ones.

To export a MOGRT to a library, just choose that library when you click the Export Motion Graphics Template button in the Essential Graphics panel in After Effects, or when you save a Motion Graphics Template from Premiere Pro.

MOGRTs for different frame sizes

Premiere Pro will scale MOGRTs when you auto-reframe the sequence. That means your MOGRTs will be smaller in a smaller format. This makes sense, but might not meet your needs if you’re creating lower-resolution variants for similarly-sized devices—like different versions of a mobile phone.

In this case, you might prefer to scale your text and graphics to match the target device screen size, rather than its native resolution. This is especially important for text elements where legibility on smaller screen sizes can be challenging.

For this reason, it’s common practice to design individual MOGRTs for each of your destination targets—a process that Chris Salters highlights in his post on cutting game trailers for social networks—and to use these MOGRTs in each new sequence. But this means you’ll have to re-enter the text via copy/paste or re-typing. We can do better than that.

Instead, I highly recommend making your MOGRTs in After Effects and building in a drop-down menu for each frame size you’ll use. This is super helpful when you’re making different versions of your timelines for different target audiences. Instead of having to re-enter the text in each MOGRT, the user can just change the format in a drop-down menu, and everything falls into place automatically.

Well, automatically for the user, that is. There’s nothing automatic when you’re building such templates in After Effects, as it involves a lot of if/else code. But when you’ve done it once you can re-use that code in new MOGRTs, and these MOGRTs make versioning a breeze for the editor.

When I make bespoke MOGRTs for my customers, I even give them a panel/script that sets all the Format drop-down menus to the same value with just one click. It doesn’t get much easier and faster than that.

Use Adobe Fonts

To quickly browse through fonts in the Essential Graphics panel, just hover the mouse pointer over the name of the current font and start scrolling. You can also click the name of the current font and use the Up and Down cursor keys to move between them.

To limit the list of fonts, make sure to click the star icon to the left of the ones you’re using the most and then click the Show Favorites star icon. I also recommend clicking the Show Fonts from Adobe icon in the same place, to only show your favorite fonts from Adobe Fonts. If you send a template to someone who does not have the right font installed, and it’s an Adobe font, it’ll be installed automatically.

If your company has a custom font, you should probably use that—but what happens when a user does not have the company font installed? A replacement font will be used, and you have no control over which one. Instead, I advise my customers to upload a screenshot of their font to Adobe Fonts to find an almost identical one. There are thousands, so chances are you’ll find a very close match. It’s much better that everyone gets a 99% correct font than some titles defaulting to Comic Sans. The font police will be none the wiser.

To find Adobe fonts, click Graphics & Titles > Add fonts from Adobe fonts (opens web browser).

Tip: If you’re the one making templates in After Effects, do yourself a favor, and link text and text styles between layers that need to be the same. Here’s an example where I have two text layers—one that’s left aligned and one that’s right aligned. This expression on the Source Text parameter for the Name R layer makes it easy to make changes.

style = thisComp.layer("Name L").text.sourceText.getStyleAt(0);
 style.setText(thisComp.layer("Name L").text.sourceText);

Their Opacity is controlled by a drop-down menu, so that’s taken care of. But I don’t want to go into each text layer every time I need to change the font or style. I’m linking one to the other with the expression, so I can change one text, and the other one is automatically changed accordingly.

The same principle applies to the Fill Color of shape layers and other parameters you want to be the same in different places.

To learn more about using expressions to build MOGRTs in After Effects, download the free Making MOGRTs eBook from Adobe.

Make Premiere Pro graphics behave when changing frame size

If you want to build advanced MOGRTs, you should definitely build them in After Effects. But there are some reasons to build them in Premiere Pro—the most obvious being that you don’t know After Effects well enough. An even better reason would be that graphics made in Premiere Pro perform much better in the Premiere Pro timeline than graphics made in After Effects.

There’s a problem with this approach though. Moving the graphic to a sequence with another resolution may cause problems. If it’s the same aspect ratio it works OK, but if it’s got a different aspect ratio, your clever design may very well fail completely—moving text layers and rectangles apart.

Pin it!

The reason for this is that Premiere Pro handles this in a weird way, plus the designer didn’t pay attention to Pinning and Anchor Points. Lower thirds placed in the lower left corner of a 16×9 sequence should of course stay there when reframing the sequence to, say, 4×5. By default, every layer is pinned to the whole video frame. Since the frame size changes when you reframe a sequence, all layers will move. To avoid this, we need to tell each layer in the Graphic clip what to attach to.

This is done with spatial pinning, using the Pin To drop-down menu. A common scenario would be to pin the Name text layer to the lower left corner of the Video Frame, and then pin the Title text layer to the lower left of the Name layer. A rectangle behind them could be pinned to the Name layer vertically, and a logo could be pinned to the upper right corner of the Video Frame.

You must also pay attention to Anchor Points on the layers, and place them where they’re doing what the user will expect—especially when it comes to scaling.

Use groups in the Essential Graphics panel

You can move layers to groups in the Essential Graphics panel, so you can move, scale and rotate them as one unit. Groups also control how masks, effects, and layers affect each other.

A nice way to use groups is to have multiple logos inside a group, with transforms and effect animations added, and just turn them on and off to choose between them.

Still not perfect

But here’s something you’ll need to look out for. Premiere Pro will always scale your layers when you move a Graphics clip to a different size sequence, and there’s no way you can stop this. Notice that I wrote “layers” in that sentence. Yes, it will scale each layer individually, no matter what you do with pinning, groups, and anchor points.

At least, if we pay attention to these, it’s less of a job to clean up. In this example, all I had to do was type a new number for Position under Vector Motion. But if this is likely to be an issue for you, using templates made in After Effects is way easier.

For more information, I recommend watching Paul Murphy’s Adobe MAX 2022 presentation Animate Stunning Graphics Using Only Premiere Pro.

Optimize MOGRT performance

MOGRTs made in Premiere Pro are super-fast, while MOGRTs made in After Effects can be very slow. So this section is about speeding up MOGRTs made in After Effects.

MOGRT dropping frames?

If you’re not sure if you’re dropping frames, use the Dropped Frames indicator to find out. You can turn it on in the Settings menu (wrench icon) in the Program Monitor.

Premiere Pro is caching frames, so scrubbing the playhead back and forth over the MOGRT or just playing that part of the timeline a few times may help. But you want great performance immediately, so here’s how to optimize things.

Optimization tips

The Composition Profiler in After Effects (Snail icon) will let you know which layer, and which effect, or expression is taking long to render. It’s not perfect. For example, changing an expression on a different layer may affect how fast an expression on another layer takes to render. So expect a bit of trial and error before you find out what is the biggest time hog in the mix.

Store code in external files

The preprocessing that After Effects does to ensure compatibility with older ExtendScript expressions can be avoided by putting parts of the code in an external JSX library file, where it will not be preprocessed. This can make a MOGRT quite a bit leaner. It requires a bit of extra work at first, but especially when re-using code on many layers and properties, it’s actually a huge time saver even for the MOGRT creator. This video from Motion Developer explains the process.

To make things easy for yourself while building MOGRTs, you can also store code you use often in a comment in a composition marker. I sometimes use this trick in the main comp almost like an internal expressions library.

To do this, create a null object named Control and add a drop-down menu control on it named Color Choice. Add a marker in the timeline and put your code in the comment field. As an example, here’s some code to let the user choose between three colors.

myColor = thisComp.layer("Control").effect("Color Choice")("Menu");
 if (myColor == 1) a = "#ff0000"; // Red
 else if (myColor == 2) a = "#0000ff"; // Blue
 else if (myColor == 3) a = "#00ff00"; // Green
 else a = "#ff0000"; // Red
 myColor = a.toString();

This just specifies an RGB value. To make this actually do something, use the following expression on the Fill 1 Color in one or more Shape layers. It takes the text from the marker, and uses it as code.

myCode = thisComp.marker.key(1).comment;

If you have no idea what I’m trying to say here, don’t worry. It’s a bit nerdy.

Specify a specific frame for sourceRectAtTime()

Instead of asking After Effects to calculate the source rectangle size for every frame, set your expression to calculate the size at a particular frame instead. For example, use sourceRectAtTime(1) to specify the frame at 1 second.

Keyframe optimization

Convert expressions to keyframes if the properties don’t have to be accessed by the user. Use Hold keyframes instead of standard keyframes when it’s OK to freeze movement. This avoids recalculation in many cases.

Avoid unnecessary rendering of pixels

Render complex animations like backgrounds etc. to video files if they don’t need to be changed by the user. Avoid using unnecessarily high-res still images and videos. Scale them down before importing them if the extra resolution is not used anyway.

Use GPU accelerated effects only

Effects that can be calculated by the GPU run much faster than the ones that need to be calculated on the CPU. GPU accelerated effects have a special “Lego brick” icon that indicates speed.

More tips

Instead of making one big uber-MOGRT, consider splitting it into multiple MOGRTs with fewer layers, fewer expressions, and fewer effects. It’s a fine balancing act between performance and user friendliness, though.

For more tips, read the official MoGRT Optimization Reference from the Adobe MOGRT team.

Use Render and Replace

Some MOGRTs are complex in their very nature, and can’t be optimized enough to play back in real time in Premiere Pro. That’s when we need to render them. I see a lot of trainers teaching people to hit Enter to render a complex MOGRT so they can see a proper preview in the timeline. I do NOT recommend this. Use Render and Replace instead of Render In to Out or Render Sequence.

Using the two latter ones, you’ll have to render again every time you move the MOGRT or edit the video below. Use Render and Replace instead—choosing ProRes 4444 as the codec to maintain transparency—you can move the clip around freely without any re-rendering.

You’ll find Render and Replace in the right-click menu of a MOGRT clip, but I highly recommend making a custom keyboard shortcut for this feature.

If you need to change anything, just use Restore Unrendered and you’ll have access to the MOGRT settings again. You’ll want a keyboard shortcut for that too.

In addition to saving on CPU and GPU resources just like rendering the timeline does, using Render and Replace will also free up RAM. Your system will thank you.

Random tips for MOGRT creation in Premiere Pro

There are many tutorials on building and animating graphics in Premiere Pro, so this is not a tutorial—it’s just a random collection of workflow tips when making graphics in Premiere Pro.

Responsive Design—Time

Protect your in and out animations, and maybe even a short logo animation midway through the MOGRT, with Responsive Design—Time. Set an intro and an outro duration that covers the keyframes in the in and out animations. This way, the user can freely(ish) adjust the length of the graphic clip without messing up the timing of the animations.

MOGRTs made with Responsive Design—Time have the In point set to one hour, and have a Duration of twelve hours. This means you can adjust the In point a maximum of one hour earlier, and the Out point can be dragged until the clip is twelve hours long.

For all practical purposes this should be more than enough for most users, but it can possibly mess with extensions that rely on scripting.

Be a pro. Adjust the kerning

The Kerning option is only available when a single letter is selected, or when the cursor is placed between two letters. Depending on the font, you may want to adjust the kerning of some letter combinations, like V, A, and T together. This is something that’s not possible out of the box with MOGRTs made in After Effects. Choosing Optical kerning in After Effects instead of Metrics will often give a better-looking result without having to adjust the kerning, though.

Think BIG

When working with keyframe ease controls in the Effect Controls panel, use the keyboard shortcut for Maximize Panel (the Accent Grave key) to see the panel in full screen view, and make more room for the animation graphs so they can be taller, making it easier to make accurate adjustments.

Use masks

You can choose to use a shape or a text layer as a mask with Mask with Shape and Mask with Text. Masks affect the layers below them—so nest them with other layers in a group to limit the mask to affect just a few layers.

Use effects in your MOGRTs

Yes, you can add effects to the Essential Graphics panel, and they will be part of your Graphics clip or MOGRT—with keyframes and all. They affect all layers below them (or below them in a group), a bit like an adjustment layer.

You can add effects like Wipes, Blurs, Basic 3D, the Transform effect, Glitch effects etc. and animate them with keyframes. Effects will show up as a layer in the Essential Graphics panel.

Responsive backgrounds

You can easily add a background to your text layers without using an extra shape layer. Just hit the Background checkbox and adjust the size etc. For text with multiple lines you can open the Graphic Properties wrench under Appearance, and choose if the background box adjusts its width to each line individually or to the longest word.

If you always want the Fill Mode to be Per-Line, but it defaults to All lines every time you write a new text, it’s time to change the preference. In the Hamburger menu for the Essential Graphics panel choose Text Layer Preferences and choose what you want as the default behavior.

Stop rolling credits exactly where you want

Creating rolling titles in Premiere Pro is a bit finicky. The option isn’t even available until you deselect all the layers in the graphic clip. If you check Roll, and un-check End Offscreen and add a postroll, the title will probably not stop where you want it to. It stops at the lower edge of the frame, which is unexpected.

A workaround is to temporarily un-check Roll, add an extra rectangle positioned at the lower edge. Set its Opacity to zero, making it invisible, but still forcing the roll to stop at the right height when you re-enable Roll.

Use blending modes with Premiere Pro MOGRTs

Even blending modes are supported in MOGRTs made in Premiere Pro—a feature which is not supported with MOGRTs made in After Effects. Choose the blend mode for the graphic clip under Opacity in the Effect Controls panel before you save it as a MOGRT.

All intrinsic effects on a MOGRT clip can be integrated in the MOGRT, but saving Rotation, Scale etc. as part of a MOGRT isn’t really all that useful.

MOGRT troubleshooting

Sometimes, MOGRTs will be slow, go missing, or feel laggy. Here are some tips that may or may not help.

Slow loading MOGRTs

If MOGRTs take a long time to show up in the timeline when you drag them there, especially in big projects (while in a smaller project, they’re loading fast), chances are you’re running out of RAM. We touched on this back at the beginning of this article, if you can remember back that far.

I’ve seen MOGRTs take more than two minutes to appear. Slimming down the project, making it a Production and separate into smaller projects, made the exact same MOGRTs appear instantly.

Another customer had huge MOGRTs that contained several different video files that could be chosen as the background. The MOGRTs took a long time to “unpack” the first time they were used, no matter how simple the project was. Solution: Add them to a separate project, and copy/paste them from there into the edit sequence in your project. Instant MOGRTs!

Track targeting does not affect graphics placement

It’s common practice to keep versions, alternate takes, rendered fx shots, etc. on tracks well above the tracks you’re working on. Clicking in the Program Monitor with the Type tool will create a new Graphic layer above all the existing tracks, even if there are empty tracks below those extra tracks you’re keeping. That’s probably not what you want.

A workaround is to lock the extra tracks above. This will put the new Graphic clip on the track above the lower—not locked—tracks.

Reset the MOGRT

If you’ve made some changes to a MOGRT made in After Effects, but regret it, you can reset the MOGRT in the Effect Controls panel, but not in the Essential Graphics panel. You can also use Graphics and Text > Reset all Parameters.

Missing MOGRT images in Productions

If you’re using Productions in Premiere Pro you may have experienced images used in Image Replacement MOGRTs with drop zones going offline. To avoid this, import Images to the project before adding them to a MOGRT drop zone. Drag them from the project panel into the Essential Graphics panel drop zone. If they’re coming from a library, right-click and choose Add to Project first.

You can use the same method if you get missing MOGRT images when using the Project Manager to collect your files.

Pay special attention to Scratch Disks in Team Projects

Keep your Motion Graphics Template Scratch Disk folder within the shared storage in Team Projects. This makes things easier when you share, move, backup and store projects.

Jarle Leirpoll

Jarle Leirpoll is a film maker based out of Norway, and author of "The Cool Stuff in Premiere Pro". He runs, where he shares free templates, presets and projects. Jarle has trained people at top broadcasters and media production companies like Disney, BBC, NRK, DR, Swedish TV4, Warner Bros, Discovery Channel and countless others.