Damian Allen’s Motion: Revolutionary Motion Graphics is the first book I read from Apple Pro Training Series and I am impressed with the clear, straightforward, and easy to follow instructional approach to learning the software. I am the type that gets impatient easily when it comes to reading and doing exercises at the same time, especially when I get lost. Fortunately, Allen knows how to craft short and concise lessons to retain readers’ attention. He understands that if an exercise is built upon the previous one, readers will get frustrated if they get lost in between. To avoid this problem, he provides projects along the way so that readers can pick up and move forward. It’s a clever teaching technique that keeps readers in tune. Many hands-on training books lose my interest by the time I get to chapter 3 if I get confused and reluctant to advance.
Apple Motion software is an amazing tool for creating motion graphic, but I wouldn’t know its power without the guidance from Allen. The Grand Tour manual that comes with the software does not help much. With Allen’s Motion, I get to understand the way Apple Motion works as Allen carefully walks through the essential features, including Generators, Layers, Objects, Particles, Behaviors, Keying, and Keyframes.
While Adobe After Effects and Macromedia Flash rely heavily on their Timelines for animation, Apple Motion comes with a Timeline, but not necessarily as its main feature. As a Flash veteran, I could not imagine creating motion graphics without a Timeline (except for ActionScript programming), but Allen proves me wrong. Throughout the lessons, I rarely pick up the Timeline and still am able to create animated effects with the “Mini-Timeline,” Behaviors, and Particles. Not having to invest tremendous amount of time to get comfortable with the Timeline is an advantage for beginners. They can jump right in to create dazzling motion design.
Although Motion is 500 plus pages, it takes me about ten hours to complete fourteen chapters. Each lesson is clearly explained with step-by-step instructions along with full color screenshots to complement the exercise. The hands-on trainings progress seamlessly from introducing the fundamental concepts to using templates to producing title sequence and a DVD motion menu. Allen’s sense of humor helps keep the reader moving through the lessons quickly and painlessly. After completing this book, I am ready to leave Flash to pick up Motion for producing web motion graphics and then go back to Flash for interactivities.
The strength of Apple Motion is its ease of use and its professional result. Experimenting is a great way to learn, but understanding the way Apple Motion behaves will save you an enormous amount of time, and that is where Allen’s Motion comes in to play. Read the book, comprehend the basic concepts, and go wild. As for Apple Pro Training Series, I am looking forward to other titles for the well-thought out exercises to learn Apple’s products.