July 30, 2007

Motion 3 Fast Forward
By Mark Spencer
Motion 3 Fast Forward

DVD-ROM and Online set - both for $99.00
The online version is currently available for download.
The DVD-ROM version will ship mid-August.

Review by Ken Stone

Apple recently shipped the Final Cut Studio 2 suite of Professional apps. Motion 3 is one of the applications that received a great deal of attention in this upgrade. A number of new features have been added; 3D, Retiming, Motion Tracking, Painting and Stabilization to name a few. In addition, the Library has been greatly expanded with several new sections, Shape and Text Styles and thousands of new items added to the other categories, all excellent.

As I wanted to learn about these new features, plus the fact that I have not worked much in Motion of late, I needed a tutorial that would teach me both the new aspects of Motion 3 and also act as a refresher course so I could get back up to speed.

Ripple Training is now shipping 'Motion 3 Fast Forward' as both a DVD based tutorial as well as an online version (1.37 Gigs) with a run time of 2 hours and 45 minutes. The online version includes all the same files that are found on the DVD; 12 individual chapter lessons and one complete movie of all 12 chapters called 'The Whole Enchilada'. The Project files and attending tutorial media are included so that you can work through the lessons in Motion while watching the movies, and ... as a sign of things to come, Ripple Training has included the entire 12 lesson set in the new 'Apple TV' format. I have already transfered the lessons to ATV and watch them on my TV, what a great way to take a class.

In the past, Ripple Training tutorials have always been of the highest quality with excellent production values, this tutorial is no exception. It ships on a DVD-ROM with full size 1280 x 800 QuickTime movies running at 30 fps. Using DVD-ROM provides additional functionality allowing you to stop and replay sections as you need. In the lower right hand corner of the window is a complete chapter selection menu that allows you to revisit any chapter or sub chapter with a click of the mouse.

Do you remember that old TV ad, 'Where's the Beef'? Well, I found it. It's all on this DVD. This tutorial is jammed with information, not a single scrap of fluff to be found anywhere. Motion 3 is a multifaceted application with numerous different capabilities and, as such, there is a great deal of ground to cover. So who is this tutorial for? 'Motion 3 Fast Forward' effectively covers the range from beginner through intermediate and advanced. The first 2 chapters cover the basics of Motion, its interface, controls and keyboard shortcuts and, while these chapters are aimed at the beginner, I would suggest that even those familiar with Motion view these chapters as there is information, like workflow and keyboard shortcuts that you might not be aware of. These chapters are a great review.

Our instructor for this tutorial, Mark Spencer, displays a deep knowledge and affection for Motion. His delivery is fast and succinct and the tutorial is laid out where each chapter tackles one of Motion's features by working through real world scenarios and tasks that we would encounter on a day to day basis. Mark also has the ability to clearly state the objectives of each lesson and provides excellent overviews of each subject handled. Included in the 12 chapters are features that were included in earlier versions of Motion; Compositing, Particle Emitters, Replicators, Keying, working with Text, Masks, Behaviors, etc.

    After applying a garbage matte and the Primate RT keying filter, we are taught how to apply and track a 'Holdout Matte' to the key.

Of particular interest to me are the new features; 3D, Retiming (Optical Flow from Shake), Motion Tracking, Painting and Stabilization (Optical Flow). While I had played with these new features, I found that with a few, like 3D, 3D Photo and Camera Animation, I was lost and in dire need of instruction. I was also not getting the results I wanted from Retiming but after doing the Retiming lesson I learned several different workflow's that now do it for me. I would not have figured some of this out on my own. One chapter, 3D Photo Animation, came as a complete surprise. This chapter covers using a still image from Photoshop and creating a type of pseudo 3D visual in Motion, exciting stuff. As I am a newbie when it comes to 3D I plan to spend a good amount of time with the 3D chapters, there is so much to learn.

    Working with the Camera in 3D space.

As you view 'Motion 3 Fast Forward' it quickly becomes very obvious that there is an almost overwhelming amount of information on this DVD. The information comes at you at a rapid pace, moving very quickly. I mentioned earlier that there is no fluff in this tutorial and this is certainly true, it's all informational and I think that most people will find that they will need to replay some lessons over again several times to absorb what's there. This is understandable given the complexity of Motion 3 and the depth and sophistication of it's features. However, the pacing of the tutorial could be slower, giving the viewer a chance to digest what is being presented. One new feature of Motion 3, 'Painting' does not get the attention it deserves; I would have liked Mark to spend more time on this feature. The only other issue (a small annoyance) I have is that Mark is forever opening and closing windows, the Inspector, Project and Timing panes, etc. Maybe he works on a laptop, I'm on a desktop Mac and leave all of these windows open.

Even though this tutorial is rapid fire, the situation is workable given the ease with which you can revisit or replay any lessons. The quality of the visuals and information is outstanding, Mark does seem able to demystify complex processes enabling the viewer to work through the process and then utilize what has been learned with their own projects. Another thing that I like about this tutorial is that Mark is a bit like a 'drill instructor' using repetition to drum in fundamentals and I promise that after you watch this tutorial you are going to know most of the critical keyboard shortcuts and workflow's almost instinctively.

For me, 'Motion 3 Fast Forward' by Mark Spencer, is an indispensable learning tool, the quality is what I have come to expect from Ripple Training and while it can be an intense 2 hours and 45 minutes, the lessons are so well done that this is probably one of the best tutorials I have seen.




copyright © www.kenstone.net 2007

© 2000 -2007 Ken Stone. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Final Cut Pro, Macintosh and Power Mac
are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

All screen captures, images, and textual references are the property and trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.