written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/21/2010
In Apple's Final Cut Studio 3 they have redefined what it means to provide motion graphics, and Motion 4 is their toolkit for remaining in the game.
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Motion graphics are the industry standard not for just high end special effects houses, but even the most standard video production companies. The ability to put together animated sequences, great credits, compositing, and a whole range of effects is necessary to really put together the look and content of the film or video project you are working on. This industry requirement came largely from the dominance of Adobe's After Effects, which is what lead Apple to include Motion 4 in the most recent incarnation of the Final Cut Studio. With Motion 4 you can do different 2D and 3D graphics that can enhance every project. Motion 4 may be the first sign that Apple is going to maintain their Final Cut Studio as competitive in and of itself.
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Motion, which used to be sold on its own by Apple, is now fully integrated into the Final Cut Studio workflow. What we saw in Motion 3 was a major step forward for allowing the full construction of motion graphics for integration in Final Cut Pro editing jobs, but Motion 4 has taken that to a new level. Motion 4 has some defining features that allows for a more in depth creative experience where the post-production graphics artist is allowed to more fully transcribe their vision. As it comes to 3D effect, Motion 4 has taken a major step forward. 3D shadows are much more involved and you can easily just add these shadows to 3D objects you are working with in your Motion 4 graphics. You can easily assign lighting patterns to the objects that will further dictate the placement of 3D shadows. Motion 4 really lets you alter the camera location as well, which gives you a situation where the 3D world you are dealing with has much more control from you and in terms of the product that is being developed. 3D reflections are added to here as well as you can change the surfaces that are available from your 3D objects ito reflective surfaces. Motion 4 also gives you the ability to really alter these reflections with effects, so they look precisely the way you intended
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The 3D controls of Motion 4 have even been extended to the text objects, which is the purpose of the new Adjust Glyph option. You are given the ability to work with the text in the Motion 4 canvas in a way that really alters its positioning and the way it appears against the other objects and features of your motion graphics.
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Text itself is a major part of Motion 4, especially after Apple discontinued Live Type. You can easily apply a credit roll in Motion 4, really allowing it to fully be a text editor for your film. Motion 4 is now really defined by the fact that credits and titles can be designed here in a completely professional way that is competitive even with Adobe After Effects. Motion 4 will essentially give you all of these standard text options, including very detailed lower thirds, animated text, and everything you need to address every need. There are four new text generators that will help even more as animated text is a major aspect of Motion 4. This is especially true with the behaviors you can apply to Sequence Text where animations are not forced to remain static through a text sequence.
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Motion 4 has really stepped up the games in terms of motion graphics all around the board. Motion 4 includes parameter linking that allows you to address the movement in other objects as inspired by a first. This creates a situation where multiple objects interact simultaneously, really creating a situation where detailed motion graphics can be injected into a sequence. What this really allows for in Motion 4 is for extensive amounts of creativity where the limits of it are only being tested and have not been defined.
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Apple's Motion still has a long way to go before it can match other animated programs, but it is integrating so many features in Motion 4 that for most Final Cut Pro 7 editors this is going to be a must learn program that will have to be integrated into their workflow. This is just a sign to come that Final Cut Studio will become a completely self dependent workflows in the versions to come.