There is simply little or no doubt that
you have heard of Apple's new stunning 2D motion graphics compositor
called Motion. Even
those who were the most unwilling to appreciate Apple's accomplishments
in the non-linear world stood in utter amazement at this year's
National Association of Broadcasters when Apple surprised us
with the announcement of Motion.
Motion is so spectacular that the first
question that rolls off almost everyone's tongue is, "What
are the requirements?" Of course this is because Motion
actually allows us to work in a real-time environment on an ordinary
personal computer. What is so extraordinary about Motion is that
it takes such full advantage of your PowerMac G5's fullest potential.
It is a rare application, and certainly a standard-setting application
in that all the major components of the PowerMac are fully used
in order to afford such outstanding function.
Motion uses the RAM, the video card's
GPU, and of course, the CPU and hard drive extensively to achieve
its real-time performance. Because of this, in order to get the
best performance, one must have a PowerMac that actually operates
with as few deficiencies as possible. That means a PowerMac G5
with dual G5 processors, a Radeon 9800 pro graphics card, and
2GBs of memory are what Apple recommends in order to achieve
the performance we all saw at the live demonstration. Motion
will work with less hardware, but you lose some of the real-time
benefit that had you excited about Motion in the first place.
With all of this excitement, all of us
have been eagerly awaiting as much information as humanly possible
from our base. Our bases are the many companies that create video-based
training, books, forum-based communities, and of course, free
online tutorials and reviews.
It is my distinct pleasure to review
Magnet Media's DVD-based Motion training tutorial. This trainer
is over 4.5 hours of training, broken down into several categories
to really help you get started quickly and easily wherever you
left off on training yourself in the ways of Motion. You'll need
to watch this on a Macintosh with OS X, at least 256 MB of RAM,
and at least 1024 x 768 video. Of course, if you are running
Motion, none of this should be a problem.
First let's quickly go over the topics
2: Interface Tour
3: Audio, Objects, and Animation
5: Filters and Blend Modes
As you can see there is quite a bit of
information to cover in this tutorial. This is because compositing
is the art of combining both video and multiple layers of motion
graphics to create a single output on screen that has the look
you are after. You have no doubt seen movies where the background
looks like another time or space. That's compositing. We have
seen text appear over water, or text disintegrating over water.
That's motion graphics and composting.
Motion graphics and compositing combine
several arts into one. Anyone working with a green or blue screen
compositing, text and text animation over video, or generated
effects over video--are all motion graphics and compositing artists.
They use many tools to create the look they're after. Each of
these tools could easily become their own focus.
Lessons 1 and 2:
Lessons 1 and 2 are meant to describe
Motion to you and give you a concept of where the tools are that
accomplish the tasks I have mentioned above, and more. Before
we can ever begin to composite we'll have to understand how to
collect our assets and how the application will function at least
on a basic level.
This is a very good section and I am
quite impressed with the level of care that went into it. This
is more than a description of what the interface's many functions
are. As the interface is explained, you work with assets provided
on the DVD to experience for yourself first-hand exactly what
the functions are and how the application will react to these
assets given varying conditions.
You'll learn to import audio, images,
image sequences, and more, as you work with all the major areas
of the application's interface. This is where we learn every
button, every hidden panel, and every place a setting is hiding
and of course the most important lesson of all, you learn the
language of Motion. That means you understand what the major
sections and functions are called. This is essential in learning
a new application, because as students we cannot even begin to
ask questions or use references until we understand the vocabulary
of the application itself. Therefore, I highly recommend you
roll up your sleeves and get ready to follow along with the instructor
right at the very beginning of lesson 2.
Lessons 3: Audio, Objects, and Animation:
Lesson 3 is close to hour of instruction
and is quite diverse as well. Motion has right from the start
caught my attention just because of its unique mechanics. As
you start lesson 3, you begin to do things like drag audio into
the canvas and begin to work with the timeline. There are practical
lessons to be learned this early on in the training, such as
making lower thirds, positioning objects in the timeline, and
basic animation with keyframes. Of course, one of the big features
that have many excited about Motion is the whole concept of what
is now known as Behaviors.
Magnet Media has the most wonderful way
of describing what behaviors are. As behaviors are explained,
the very bullet points on screen are changing visuals that make
use of these behaviors, which illustrate the concepts being introduced.
As you hear what behaviors are, you see them in action. It's
quite easy to get a little excited watching this section because
you know you're about to be taught how to do all the neat things
you just saw.
Lesson 4: Particles:
Particle generators have never been so
inexpensive and fun to use. If you're not sure how a particle
system works, the explanation here is nothing short of impressive.
We learn all about two building blocks of the particle system,
which would be the Cell and the Emitter.
We start by learning the basic settings
of the cell using the Dashboard. The Birth Rate, Life, Speed,
Spin, Scale Range, and the optimizations such as using points
or wireframes rather than images as your particle display method.
You learn this section by pulling a specific layer from a Photoshop
layered image containing balloons. I think this is a nice touch
because it shows how you bring in just a single layer as an object
from a multi-layered Photoshop document, and use that layer as
a cell in a particle system. Because you are using an image and
not a pre-packaged particle system that might use a less obvious
graphic, you have the opportunity to really understand exactly
how these settings will actually affect a cell you want to work
As you progress in lesson 4, you learn
to use the property inspector to better fine-tune advanced cell
properties. If you haven't had a chance to really study the particle
system, this is a great way to learn it very quickly.
Lesson 5: Filters and Blend Modes:
This is a great introduction within itself
to more of the features that have so many people so excited about
Motion. We're learning how to create moving textures within text
with live video, and we have behaviors and keyframes at our disposal.
Think about how difficult this is without Motion.
You begin by watching a great composite
you will learn to build step by step. It's chock-full of fun
effects, and in order to accomplish this, you'll learn all about
markers, filters, and adding textures to text and blend modes.
Some of the earlier lessons are reinforced here as well, such
as working with audio, the mini timeline, and the larger, more
Lessons 6 through 10:
Once you have all the basic lessons completed
you move into more advanced functions such as Masking and Keying,
which are covered in lessons 6 and 8, respectively. Though the
keying section is only a mere 15 minutes long, it is more than
thorough enough to give you the basic tools you need to key out
a background and composite a scene. I think you're going to enjoy
this section immensely. Advanced keying lessons will often leave
beginners scratching their heads. This simple lesson will provide
you with all the basic tools and explanations you need to understand
and work through basic keying.
Lesson 7 is a great tutorial on Roundtripping.
This section teaches you how to work with Motion as an integrated
part of Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro. Many of you know these
programs were designed to work well together, but if you didn't
already know that you could import Motion projects directly into
Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro then this section will be of
great interest to you. It can save you lots of time, and expand
the tools you already have in these other applications.
For those among us that use a tablet,
such as the Wacom tablet, you will be most interested in learning
to use the Gestures Motion affords you. Especially those fortunate
enough to be using a Cintiq interactive pen display: You bought
one for a reason, and believe me, you didn't know this was the
reason until now. It's simply amazing, the functionality Gestures
Finally, lesson 10 concludes with tips
to speed up your output and export to various types, such as
DV or MPEG2 via compressor.
Magnet Media has really stepped up their
training series yet again with this new release. I immediately
noticed the much more polished interface and added overlays during
the video. These really help you remember keyboard short cuts
and where you are in the training series. Motion is still a pretty
new application and you might think that these tutorials wouldn't
have the kind of depth the subject deserves, but this is not
the case. Each lesson is well prepared and in sequence so that
you learn in a practical order all the features that Motion has
to offer. Magnet Media also made use of visuals specifically
designed to make these concepts much easier to understand for
those who are new to the world of compositing and motion graphics.
If you're looking for a hands-on approach
to learning Motion that won't take weeks out of your schedule,
you have found it.
lafcpug price: $84.15
in the lafcpug store
©Copyright 2004 Alex Alexzander
All Rights Reserved