February 25, 2008

Ripple Training's 'Deep Dive into 3D' for Motion 3
by Mark Spencer
www.rippletraining.com $129.00

Review by Steve Douglas

Available both online or as a DVD edition, both at the same price, Ripple's latest contribution follows closely on the heels of their 'Motion 3 Fast Forward' tutorial DVD. Should you choose the online download, all media and project files for the DVD will be supplied as well. 'Motion 3 Deep Dive into 3D' is the sequential epilogue to the Fast Forward Motion 3 tutorial guiding you significantly deeper into Motion 3's myriad abilities. That said, if you are not already familiar with Motion, or comfortable using it, you may want to consider first purchasing 'Motion 3 Fast Forward' before you work in the more advanced Deep Dive into 3D' DVD. At the very least, review lesson 5, 'Intro to 3D', lesson 6, 3D Photo Animation, and lesson 7, 3D Camera. These will provide you with a solid foundation from which you will build upon when using the new 'Deep Dive into 3D' tutorial.

Like all the DVD tutorials from Ripple Training, it is best to copy the lessons and media folders over to your hard drive rather than try to play the tutorials off the DVD. You will need roughly 1 gig of hard drive space, and when copied over, your tutorials will play far more smoothly. Twelve lessons covering the gamut of Motion's 3D capabilities including building 3D sets, motion path behaviors, working with lights, 3D text, paint, particle emitters, replicators and a great deal more are part of the lesson's focuses. And, like all the Ripple Training discs, a final tutorial entitled 'The Whole Enchilada' which comprises all twelve tutorials in one movie is included. I usually work with and follow along using the 'Whole Enchilada' but you can play each individual lesson separately or jump from one to the other. 'Motion 3 Deep Dive into 3D' supplies all the project assets for each lesson enabling you to follow along with the QuickTime tutorial. Unfortunately, most of the assets are watermarked. The graphics of most of the chapters were all labeled with the 'istockphoto.com', 'footage courtesy of speedfreaks', and other lessons throughout the disc labeled in a similar manner. In no way does this interfere with your learning, however, I found them to be visually distracting and unappealing while working through a project.

Credits are certainly due but do I need to see them with every supplied graphic? Maybe it would be better to credit them on the disc cover instead.

Don't expect to complete the lessons in one sitting. There are over 4 hours of projects here and it will take some time simply to absorb all that is being taught and explained in any one lesson. Look at it as an extended, advanced college course that you attend over the course of a semester. Moving too quickly may be somewhat overwhelming depending upon your experience level. My advice is to take it slow. I had to.

Just a short view of the Deep Dive into 3D Syllabus.

As would be expected 'Deep Dive Into 3D' begins with lessons on utilizing the camera tools and compass, setting up your 3D layers and animating the camera behaviors.

You begin by building 3 sets of layers including characters, objects and text, each in a different 3D space.
The tutorial is not hard to follow though switching back and forth between the QuickTime and Motion applications can grow tiring.

Mark Spencer's narration is clear and precise, which allows for an easy flow during each individual lesson. What is just as important is that the pacing does not make you feel as if you were in a race to catch up or get done. I have experienced that feeling in the past with some DVD tutorials, but not here. That doesn't mean I did not have to stop and go back from time to time to double check the various steps in order to complete a project. In fact, there were times that I noticed that the default parameter settings of the supplied Motion projects did not match the settings of the tutorials. This was not a problem however; as I simply checked to make sure each was in harmony before moving on.

Bottom line for Motion 3 Deep Dive into 3D allows me to repeat what I have often said in the past when reviewing DVDs from Ripple Training. You will be very hard pressed to find any similar product of equal quality and thoroughness. That said, let me refer back to the first paragraph of this review. 'Motion 3 Deep Dive into 3D' is not aimed at or for the beginner in Motion 3. If you are just starting out in Motion, I can't advise strongly enough that you first work through Ripple Training's 'Motion 3 Fast Forward' DVD. While I bemoan the increase in price relative to previous discs, I still give it two large thumbs up. It really is quite excellent.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, the History channel's MegaDisaster show and other networks. Steve is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Indonesia and the Coco Islands, Costa Rica in 2008, Kenyan safari in Africa and the Red Sea for 2009, and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia for 2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips. www.worldfilmsandtravel.com


copyright © Steve Douglas 2008

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