January 23, 2007

AE pros on Motion

There was an interesting thread on the AE-List on Tuesday, 23 Jan 2007 called "Does Apple Motion suck?" It'll be interesting to see how the next version of Shake incorporates ideas from Motion and AE.

For background information on Motion see Apple, Mark Spencer's All About Motion, and the DV review of Motion 2.0 by Alex Lindsay, with explanatory movie downloads. Please note that the comments were edited down a bit.

Comment 1

Trying to make Motion work like After Effects (I've seen some video training try to do this, to not very positive ends) will usually lead to frustration. Letting go of the AE paradigm and taking Motion for what it is will yield a faaaaaar more positive experience. I rather like it for quick particle and text animations, for example. Although ultimately, I am a control freak and prefer AE's keyframe paradigm + expressions.

We wrote a few more pieces that touched on Motion - may not help exactly what you're up against, but as long as the subject is on the table:
Comment 2

As an AE user for 10 years now, I'm of the opinion that Motion is stupid, but has enormous potential in kicking significant portions of AE's huge ass, as long at the Motion engineers at Apple pay serious attention to the gripes of professional motion graphics designers, and fix the numerous deficiencies that the product currently has.

I use Final Cut Pro, and love the integration with Motion (but still envy the superior level of integration that Premiere Pro/AE users have), but I've found Motion to have enough serious flaws in it to preclude its use in a professional environment (at least at a finishing level...it's still awesome for doing rough previz stuff with the client looking over your shoulder).

For those playing along at home, those flaws (at least the ones that immediately come to mind) would be:

- An infuriating lack of keyboard shortcuts for some of the most common tasks, such as keyframe interpolation type, zooming in/out of the graph editor, fit timeline to window, etc. It really wreaks havoc on my carpal tunnel problems.

- Antialiasing just plain sucks in Motion. Even when you set the AA quality settings to the highest level, the render quality is more often than not, horrible (I notice it most with text and slow-pan & scans of images) ...nowhere near the level of quality that we take for granted in AE.

- Its reliance on the GPU is great when it works, but when it doesn't it falls down badly. I had problems a few months ago with Motion actually changing the scale of one of my images whenever I enabled
high antialiasing quality for the project. It turned out that the image was too large for the GPU to handle, so it rendered the image incorrectly. The only way I was able to get the image to render at the correct proportions was to disable high quality AA. A pretty unfortunate workaround, if you ask me. To my way of thinking, there should be a software-only render option to avoid problems like this.

There's actually an interesting Wiki site called "The Problem with Motion 2", which documents many of the problems with the product.

All that said, nothing quite rules more than running DVGarage's Conduit plugin within Motion. It's one of the main reasons why I haven't given up on Motion yet :)
The Apple Pro Training book on Motion (by Damien Allen) has an appendix in it which is just what you're looking for (IIRC, it was actually titled "Motion for AE Users"). It does a really good job...

Comment 3

I'm an engineer working on Motion (though I don't speak for Apple, yadda, yadda, yadda). I just want to say thanks to everyone for their kind words on our product. [...]If you have bugs that you actually want us to fix or features you want us to add, the only way that will happen is if you report them as bugs at:

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