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In Motion: Principles of Motion Graphics, Ian Robinson shares the core concepts and techniques used to create real-world motion graphic elements in Apple Motion. The course starts with finding the initial inspiration for a project and then covers how to bring those ideas to life using the tools in Motion, including type treatments, filters, textures, and lighting. Two projects demonstrating how to animate a title sequence and how to assemble a graphics package are also included. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now, we are in kind of an interesting time within the motion graphics industry. There are a lot of things that have been changing over the last few years as software has gotten faster. Now, particularly, I'll tell you definitely Motion has changed my workflow significantly. But let's talk about the approval process. Traditionally, when it came to motion graphics, most of the time a motion graphics artist would actually never touch a computer until they had an approved storyboard. So let me repeat that: never touch a computer until they had an approved storyboard.
So in the pre-production phase, they would actually sketch or paint their ideas and then float those in front of the client, and then if the client agreed or disagreed, they could make their changes, et cetera, but eventually they would have a finished storyboard. Now, since software is getting faster, a lot of times there are many artists that would just jump directly into the software first and actually create frames right from within the software. Now that has kind of molded itself into what's going on now with faster animation software, but we'll get to that in a second, because that will open up a conversation about animatics.
So let's stick with storyboards for right now. As you can see, a storyboard does a couple of different things, and you notice this one, no sketches. This was created within the software. Now the interesting thing, people who sketch and draw will argue that being inside of software limits your creativity because you're always trying to think within the boundaries of that specific piece of software. Now, software people may actually argue the opposite and say that some of the tools within the applications actually inspire creativity.
Now, I understand that's somewhat controversial, but no matter what side of the fence you're on, this is what's going on: people are sending out storyboards that have much more finished, polished looks to the animations. Now, as you can see, in the storyboard, there are a couple of things going on. Obviously, we have keyframes for our animation, and then it's really important to be descriptive underneath your frames. So as you're trying to sell the client on the design, if they can't visualize what happens between here and here, you want to make sure to verbalize that underneath.
Now, storyboards also do another thing in terms of helping brand your design house. Obviously, when you send it out, you want to make sure your logo is right up there in the corner, and you definitely want to date it because you want documentation as to when you sent the board. Now, it's usually pretty smart to put a title of exactly what the graphic is, and a lot of times clients actually like it if you put their name up here as well. So now that we've seen what a finished storyboard looks like, let's jump back into Motion, so I can show you how to actually export these frames.
Now, it's kind of interesting. As I scrub through this animation here, you can see it's pretty far along. So that begs the question, well, when am I supposed to do the storyboard? And traditionally, I'd say, long before the animation is even remotely finished. But with tools like Motion a lot of times as you're creating graphic elements, you are actually creating animated elements, so this has created this whole gray area is to, well, I'm not exactly sure when I should send the storyboard. My personal answer is as soon as possible, because the faster you get approval, the faster you're not wasting time, because the last thing you want to do is build a bunch of beautiful graphics that the client never approved, much less paid for.
Okay, so I'm just trying to pick keyframe to send to the client. Now, I like this frame with the boxes fading up, so I'll just go ahead and export this. And you want to go up under File and choose Export. Then there will be a pulldown menu here, and usually default, it's set up for QuickTime. Now I am just going to export to the Storyboard-Template folder, which you will find within the chapter 08 folder. Now I am going to go here to Frames for Boards, and as you can see, I have already exported the last four, so we are just going to export the first two. So, here we go.
This will be R&R_Open1, and down here under Export, you don't want QuickTime Movie; you want Current Frame. Now it's good to open up the Options, because in here you can change it from a TIFF file to let's say a JPEG. So check the Output settings. Now, notice by default, Use current project and canvas settings is set up. Let's deselect that. I don't like having to worry about what my current settings are because a lot of times in Motion I'm previewing things at less than full resolution, so this way I can make sure to set my Export as I'm exporting.
So let's go ahead and say Full Color, and we can leave all this other stuff checked. Render Quality Best and we are good to go. So I will click OK, and we can go ahead and export this one frame. There we go, and notice Motion automatically opens it up, so you can see exactly what it looks like before you go into any other application. Now, we need to worry about the second frame, so let's see if we can get one, yeah, kind of right here. That looks nice. So go to File and choose Export, and I will just change this to Open2.
Now the nice thing, once I had my first one set up, notice it remembers the last time I had something set. So if we go ahead and click Export, we are good to go. Now, we need to actually jump into our storyboard-creation software, which I happen to be using InDesign. Now, you can use any application you like to create your storyboards; I just happen to prefer InDesign. All your application has to be able to do is support images and text. That's pretty a loose definition, so I don't think you will have any problems there.
This can go under Place and choose my two frames. There's frame one, and I can actually choose frame two as well. I'll place the first one and the second one. Okay, now from InDesign, in order to save this out, obviously I would want to go ahead and type my descriptions, but from InDesign, I could export a PDF. And I am not going to take you through that process, just because that's tied specifically to InDesign, and we do need to move on to talk about animatics.
So, let's just jump back in Motion here for a second, and I am going to preview this animation. Let's go ahead and check it out. Now, as you can see, it looks pretty polished, but there are definitely some areas where it's a little slow. Now, this is a lot more animation than I would typically get done in the past, but honestly, like I said before, with Motion, since I'm creating animated elements, most of the time I just go ahead and string them out on the Timeline and I end up with something like this for an animatic, which honestly, I think is a little bit more polished than I would usually want for approval.
Let me just put it that way. But let's go ahead and just say File and Export, because now we're going to export a QuickTime. So this time I'm not going to put it in the Storyboards-Template. I will just put it right in my chapter 03 folder here, and we will just call this R&RTitleAnimatic. Now, actually, usually I get rid of any spaces, or I do underscores just so when I send it in e-mail I don't have to worry about other servers.
But here if we go to Export, we can go to QuickTime Movie, and under QuickTime Movie, notice there are a whole bunch of different options. Now, most of the time if I am within a closed environment, like the Design Studio, I will use one of the Apple ProRes codecs. Those are really nice and they're pretty small in terms of the file size. But a lot of times if I'm sending them out for final approval, I will want to use H.264. So let's go ahead and choose Uncompressed 8-bit and go to the Options here.
Now, notice I can choose QuickTime Movie, and under Compressor, when you click, you'll get a whole host of options. And if you look around, there is H.264. So when I export this, it's going to be full size, full res, just H.264 compressed. Now I don't have any audio, so I don't have to worry about that. But if I did, I'd try and make it AAC if I was trying to e-mail it. So here, full Res, Color, Pre-multiplied alpha. Now if you wanted to make it a little smaller, you could make it half res, which it really isn't half res.
It's half size full res. But here let's just leave it back at Full, and I'll show you what that looks like once we export it. So, when you're ready, you can click OK and just click Export and it will go ahead and export. But let me show you one last thing done here. This selection box, Use play range, if you only want to select a smaller area, you want to make sure that that is selected. Now since my play range is the entire length of the comp, this really doesn't matter. So let's go ahead and click Export.
And you notice Motion automatically opens the file, so we can actually check and see what it looks like. So as we watch this, I realize not all of you may be working specifically for a client, so this may not necessarily be too helpful for you if you work by yourself. But most definitely if you're sending it off to a client, the earlier the better, and again, it's your choice whether you want to send them an animatic or a storyboard.
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