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Motion Composer

Animation for Flash or HTML5 By Ko Maruyama

MotionComposer is a new way to create and deliver HTML5 or Flash animation.  Designed by French company Aquafadas, the software is available in both Mac and PC versions to allow anyone the ability to start animating right away.  Although Adobe Flash animations have recently been the subject of scrutiny, there are many advantages to using HTML5.  With MotionComposer, you can easily make your content much more engaging.

Adobe's Flash content is a very rich experience.  There is a wide range of interactive animations that you can create using animation tools that develop for Flash player.  However, Flash does require Adobe's Flash player in order to let your audience experience that content.  ENTER: HTML5. 

 

HTML 5 doesn't require a custom player to be installed in order to allow your target market see your animated content.  Although it doesn't perform as robustly as Flash, there are many simple animations that can take advantage of the wider range of platforms that support HTML5 over Flash.

 

 

 

MotionComposer will help you create those simple animations that make your website or web app more engaging.   Not only does this software help you get your animations into an HTML5 format, there are many different types of animation presets and templates to help you create animated work without having to go through difficult characteristic (keyframe) manipulation.  http://www.aquafadas.com/en/motioncomposer/

If you're familiar with Adobe's After Effects, there are several text presets that you may be familiar with.  The presets for text (there are several) are marked with an "fx" icon that will also look familiar to you.  The presets are available in many different parts of the application - including presets for intros, outros, and pre loaders.

 

You'll be able to get started right away, and create impressive, expressive animations very easily.

One of the better features of MotionComposer is the ability to provide both Flash and HTML5 content at the same time.  A simple block of code will determine which version needs to be played.  (Remember, not all devices or browsers will allow users to view Flash content)

 

If you want to include some interactive action similar to what you might find in Flash, you're in luck.  There are some simple scripts/actions that you can use within MotionCompose to define what users can control through buttons.   If you'd like to write your own with javascript, they've allowed you to get in there too.

MotionComposer is made for Mac people. 

This software is really easy to understand.  If you're a fan of Apple iMovie, FinalCutProX, Garageband, you'll have no problem wading in and moving around the interface here.   Many Mac people have the expectation of understanding how to get started immediately when they open the software.  

 

There are many areas within the software (in UX) where this falls apart.  The software requires some awkward navigation.  It is on a great trajectory, but it feels unfinished.  It's definitely in the beta phase of its development, but it is still early.  MotionComposer is setting up to be excellent in later versions.

It's also made for iBook people.

If you're interested in making some rich content for your iBook publication, MotionComposer can help you animate graphics that will let your readers participate in the iPhone or iPad experience.  You can export to Adobe's InDesign to get you heading in the right direction of publishing to iBook.   Unfortunately, the documentation abruptly stops before more of the iBook or complete InDesign process is explained fully.

One of the disappointments with the software is the documentation.  What?  You read the documentation?   Well, if you're the kind who likes to see where all of the bodies are buried, you might wander off to the help docs.  You'll find some auto-translate nonsense there (unless you read French): http://www.aquafadas.eu/documentation/MotionComposer/quickstart_en.pdf  At the time of this article, the quick start documentation doesn't seem to be complete either.  There are chapters missing.  The good part is - the software is relatively easy to figure out without documentation.

PROS:

  • It's relatively cheap for all that it does.  At under $150, this is a professional tool with an affordable price tag.
  • Get started easily right away.  There isn't a lot to understand up front.
  • If you want to dig in deeper, there are options for advanced users as well.
  • Several presets and ability to create user presets as well

 

CONS:

  • The documentation isn't there.  There may be many more ways to get more out of this software, but I didn't see it beyond some simple startup instructions.
  • Interface looks terrible on retina display.  The software looks soft on my macbook pro, making it look as if it doesn't meet expectations of real animators or designers.
  • Some navigation is confusing and sometimes doesn't provide adequate popup help
  • The software isn't really "finished" yet.  It's still only version 1.6, but I definitely see potential here.

There are many features I'd like to see in upcoming versions, but there are enough tools to get you started for now.  Take a look at MotionComposer yourself.  It costs $149, but with all good software, they've allowed you to take it for a test run before you commit to it. 

You may also want to check out their animated banner application called BANNERZEST.  I haven't tried this out, but it seems to have many of the tools you might need if you're just going to make some Flash or HTML5 animated banners.  At only $49, BannerZest is a smaller feature set than the MotionComposer software, but it may be enough for what you're trying to accomplish.  You won't be able to make a custom animation, but the there are many prebuilt themes that let you create some fun animated banners - and there are MANY different parameters that you can modify in those preset themes.

BannerZest is software that any blogger or anyone who maintains their own website should take a good look at.  It's an easy way to attract and keep your audience.

MotionComposer is for anyone who is serious about their website, professionals who want to make Flash or HTML5 animations.  If you're ready for something more than templates, or if you'd like to give your animation some custom interactive characteristics, MotionComposer is for you.   It's lightweight, quick, and easily creates animations for every platform.


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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:MotionComposer, web animation, HTML5 animation, FLASH animation, animation editor

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