I have always had a love/hate relationship with Apple’s Final Cut Studio program Motion. I felt like it was a cheap and buggy copy of Adobe After Effects. When Motion 4 was released I learned about using behaviors instead of key-framing everything and how easy it was to control camera moves. I also loved how easy it was to make surfaces reflective (Something that is a real pain in After Effects) and thats when it it really grew on me. I started using it as my go-to program for simple compositing and title graphics. Then I started using it to create fake “3D” virtual sets and Keying “Talent” to put in my virtual world.

Motion 5 was released with FCP-X and it really stepped up its game! Before, Motion had potential, but was an uninspiring environment to work in. It felt clunky and it just didn’t have a smooth process or flow.

Motion 4’s layout:

Now in Motion 5, things just feel more thought out. It’s no longer the forgotten step-child of 2.5D (2D objects in 3D space)

Motion 5’s layout:

Monitor #1

Monitor #2

The darker color scheme makes it easier on the eyes and the audio/keyframe controls match up with the timeline. Overall it is a significant upgrade and with it only being $50 in the app store for the full program (not the upgrade) it’s a worth every penny.

With that said, there are some quarks still. If you click on the timeline, and want to zoom in or out, you would think that you could just push Command + or – (it works this way in Final Cut) but NO… that zooms in on the canvas window (Monitor #2) you have to use the slider at the bottom of the timeline. And once you do that, hitting Shift+Z should fix the canvas… right? NO! Shift+Z (Fit to window) works in both the timeline and canvas when selected. This isn’t a major problem but it is definitely annoying.

Overall, Motion 5 is an incredibly powerful tool at a ridiculously low cost. If you use any version of Motion or After Effects currently than you should check out Motion 5 and it’s sleek new interface.

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