Apple Motion 5 future: More like iClone than After Effects?

Apple Motion 5 is a real-time motion graphics application. It could be used in workflows in a similar way to tools like Reallusion iClone 7.

In an article by Geoffrey James in Inc. he writes about how non-3D animators can quickly get results from animation systems that can produce results in real time:

With traditional computer animation, it can take hours, even days, to “render” (i.e., build) a single frame of finished film. Since there are at least 30 frames per second in finished video, it takes a lot of time and computer horsepower to do high-quality work.

With real-time animation, however, you can get draft-quality finished video as quickly as you can display it on a screen. Higher quality takes a bit longer, but render times are calculated in seconds per frame, rather than hours per frame.

While those back-end improvements are impressive, the biggest advances have been in the creation phase, which replaces highly wonky, difficult-to-use tools with scene builders and character creators that are as easy to use as word-processing programs.

As well as game engines, specialised tools are used for creating ‘quick and dirty’ animations while creativity is explored. With ever increasing GPU power, these real-time animations are getting less ‘dirty’.

In coming months and years these tools will be more prized for their ease of use than their features. A complex user interface will no longer be a barrier to creative people telling stories with animation.

Motion 5.X – iClone 2D?

Motion 5 is a 2D animation application. It can be used to make full quality real-time animations. I would suggest if Apple decides to start adding new features to Motion 5 that it concentrates on going in the direction of a 2D equivalent of iClone 7.

Right now Motion users can create animations that respond in real time to settings changes – even when the animation isn’t playing. Animators can play while they try things out – instead of setting values of various keyframes and waiting for the application to render each frame in less than real time. Once the interface of your production tool gets out of the way of your creativity, you can spend more of your time telling your story than operating your equipment.

Motion has a mode where settings values changed during playback are recorded as keyframes. That means an animator can ‘ride the faders’ like an audio engineer to change values in response to what happens on screen. This can be done again and again until they are satisfied with their animation ‘performance.’ If they have a MIDI device attached, its keys, sliders and switches can be used to set animation values during playback too. Perhaps Final Cut editors would also like this kind of animation control while using Motion 5-generated plugins during playback of their edit.

Adobe After Effects has become the ‘Avid Media Composer’ of motion graphics generation. It is the default choice of those who make money from 2D animation.

It is time Apple showed how Motion 5 is more of an ‘and’ choice than an ‘or’ choice when it comes to animation – especially as it is at its heart a real-time animation application.

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