By Michael Burns | on October 18, 2004
Price When Reviewed: 169 . 765
Pros: Real-time behaviors, integrated particle system, large amount of effects and filters, keying plug-in, good text support, and easy to use.
Cons: No 3D, motion tracking or Paint functions, and use of multi-layered projects can slow things down. High system requirements.
Motion is Apple’s much anticipated motion-graphics product, providing real-time manipulation and rendering of motion graphics on the Power Mac G5. Available as a standalone product or as a complementary third of the Apple Production Suite family pack, it has much in common with DVD Studio Pro and Final Cut Pro HD in terms of interface design.
The application is ideal for adding text and digital video effects to editing projects, or for creating motion menus and animated elements when DVD authoring. For example, changes made in Motion are mirrored in imported clips in Final Cut Pro HD, while the contents of Final Cut Pro HD sequences are converted into Motion projects, with each clip placed on its own track in the timeline with any corresponding effects (such as opacity settings) carrying over. Although there is less flexibility on the audio side, Motion integrates so well that you could do without After Effects for many motion graphics tasks.
Motion features a collection of tabbed palettes (File Browser, Object Library and Object Inspector) as well as a large Canvas window. This is where you view your project and its assorted elements, dragging them in from the library or File Browser. Additional Project and Timing panes allow you to view and modify many attributes of the project.
Like any good compositing tool, Motion projects can contain still images, audio, image sequences, movies, shapes, masks, particle emitters, text, and generators – these are collectively known as ‘objects’. Once selected in the project, the object or effect gains a Dashboard – a floating transparent window with which the user can select the editable parameters to be adjusted in real time. This is a great aid to productivity, but if you want to go deeper, the Inspector palette shows a more complete breakdown of properties.
Motion has a great selection of filters, as well as an integrated particle system with over 100 presets – divided into the categories Abstract, Nature, Sci-fi, Smoke, Sparkles and Pyro. Once dragged from the library to the canvas, controls for the particle emitter (the base point from which the particles stream out) and parameters such as particle opacity and colour gradient can be adjusted – the effect is immediately apparent. Text (below) is well supported, and LiveFonts are included.