About three years ago I took a class with Kevin (Telly) Monahan,
it was both invaluable and extremely exciting. His enthusiasm
for FCP was truly contagious. When I picked up his new book and
began to read I felt that same excitement I had experienced in
his class. 'Motion Graphics and Effects in Final Cut Pro' is
just what the name implies, a book that teaches how to create
special effects using the tools available in FCP. On the back
jacket of the book it states that this is a book for the 'Intermediate/Advanced'
user. This is correct, but more because what the book teaches
is creative in nature, how to create special effects and as such
you will get more out of the book if you have a general understanding
of FCP. Having said that, a novice can work through the lessons
by using the tutorials provided on the included DVD.
The first chapter introduces us
to the many new feature found in FCP 4; RT Extreme, Keyframe
Editor (in the Timeline), Time Remapping, and other features
that will be used to help create special effects. It also covers
the new applications that now bundle with FCP 4, third party
apps and hardware used with FCP.
In the next few chapters we learn
the workflow for creating special effects, how to 'deconstruct'
effects that you have seen elsewhere, Previsualizing Effects
(Ansel Adams anyone), storyboarding, organizing and importing
media for use in your effects. We then move to the many special
FCP features that are essential in creating special effects,
i.e., displaying and making use the Alpha channel in the Viewer.
By chapter 4 we have worked through
all the tools, windows, features and move into the heart of the
book, starting with 'Motion' which includes the most complete
Keyframing lessons I have ever seen. The book progress with lessons
on 'Layer Fundamentals', Nesting, Matting (Masking), Color effects
(color correction), Rendering/render order, Compositing, Clip
behavior, Ganging and other concepts that are essential to creating
This is not a book that you flip
through when you have a moment. This is a serious book and if
you want to learn how to do professional special effects you
are going to have to sit down and work through the 50 plus effects
building exercises, but they are fun and exciting. Everything
needed is provided on the DVD, you supply the elbow grease. As
you work through the exercises, which are richly illustrated
and detailed in the book, with step by step color graphics, you
learn not just how to create an effect, but more importantly,
you begin to understand the concepts that create illusions on
the screen. As you do the work you will find yourself saying:
"So that's how they do it". This is where this book
excels, it doesn't give you a fish, it teaches you how to fish.
Okay, I am going to cut to the
proverbial 'chase'. Aside from the fact that this book is the
first true 'Motion Graphics and Effects' for FCP, it happens
to be one the best FCP books that I have ever seen. Full color
from cover to cover, excellent art and graphics, coupled with
Kevin's understanding, excitement and love of special effects
really makes this book shine.
One caveat, the DVD that ships with this book which contains the media files and the main project file (called Effects Project-NTSC) has a couple of problems. The Telly's FX plug-ins do not work. The main project file, called Effects Project-NTSC has also caused a couple of readers some trouble. Kevin is aware of this problem and you can download new plug-ins and a new version of the project at www.fcpworld.com/downloads.htm.
As I read through this book, I
learned in more detail, about the new features in FCP 4, found
better ways of working my effects and discovered many new and
exciting techniques that I will be using in the future. This
is one handsome book and is a doorway into the magical word of
special effects. This is exciting stuff!
You can purchase 'Motion Graphics
and Effects in Final Cut Pro ' from the lafcpug
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