Best Buy
  • Price: 169 . 765

  • Company: Apple

  • 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.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

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.

Forward motion

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.

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All objects and effects can be previewed in a small window in the File Browser before importing into a project by drag-&-drop or clicking the Import button. This places any media elements, such as QuickTime movies or Photoshop files, in the Media Tab, where file information and timing is displayed. 
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Two Timelines are available – the main one resembles the traditional non-linear editing format, while a mini version rests below the Canvas window, showing at a glance where objects fit into the overall project. You can use Motion without using the main Timeline but you’d miss out on the functions it provides. It offers move, trim, and slip features, as well as being able to let you edit In and Out points for elements, lock tracks to prevent changes, add and navigate with markers, hide objects from view and manage relationships between video and audio elements. 
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Different types of objects are colour coded for easy identification and objects can be linked to always remain in sync and to be edited together. 
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