MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2011

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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REVIEW MOTION COMPOSER FROM AQUAFADAS WORDS BY TREY YANCY Since Apple divested its killer slideshow application of the ability to export Flash and copy-and-paste HTML, thousands of Mac users have been looking for a simple yet capable application for creating basic web animations. One of the newest and most promising is Motion Composer from Aquafadas. Using a slick, intuitive interface that is reminiscent of a variety of animation and video applications, it supplies plenty of tools for creating fairly impressive animations and slide shows. Slides can be created as individual navigable items, and they can be truncated to create a series of linked slides representing states of slide content, each child slide being analogous to an individual multichannel keyframe. While the content limited to images, rectangles and unstyled text content, it comes with a number of animation presets and it provides a browser panel where the user can save their own. Along with standard controls for various attributes they also include canned acceleration curves, timing sliders, etc. Once your animation is complete you can output it to a local folder for testing. If everything looks good, you use the server preferences pane to set up one or more target FTP servers and then click on the upload button at the top of the window to put the related html and JavaScript files on your site. Afterward, you are presented with a window containing iframe code that you can then paste into your web page. Once the web page is uploaded, you are ready to go. Flash is not supported on iOS devices, which stops some competing applications in their tracks, but Motion Composer is well prepared as it simultaneously outputs an HTML5 version that is substituted when your site is viewed by someone using an iPhone, iPad or iTouch. It also works with Safari and Chrome. The application comes with two help files, one being a PDF of the interface and the other being a basic getting started guide. If you choose the latter from the help menu, rather than displaying the file, it takes you to a web page where you can download it. Hands On After creating a range of small motion projects, I created a number of slideshows with captions and hyperlinked navigation buttons. It was a more time consuming than with a presentation application and, due to automatic tweening, you have to experiment a bit in order to avoid surprises, but it did the job. Once I tested a project locally, I tried to upload the Flash/HTML5 version and, despite several seemingly successful uploads, It would repeatedly hang on the "disconnected from server" alert. Checking the server manually, I found a bunch of new folders, but all were empty. I was still able to copy paste the code from the local test folder to my web page and upload the media to my web site via an external FTP app. Aquafadas provided a solution via email tech support and, hopefully, this issue will be resolved shortly. Looking Forward Motion Composer has a lot of potential and it is not bad for a version 1.0.1 release. Misspelled menu and alert text aside, there are a number of areas that are obvious candidates for the next version. For example, it would be nice to have an option to link x and y when resizing numerically, or to use resize content and masks as a unit. Other items on the wish list include the ability to tween content without a the forced insertion of an automatic split motion effect, the ability to rotate a photo without rotating the mask, and the ability to move an object handle without having to move an overlapping the path out of the way. Support for EPS files and system fonts would also be welcome. None of these is a deal killer, but they do leave you looking forward to version 2. Conclusions I like this application. What it does, it does quite well. It works well with Dreamweaver and other web development apps, including table-based WYSIWYG apps such as Freeway. If you are not a multimedia guru but would like to create animated content or interactive slide shows for your website, Motion Composer is an excellent choice. Product Motion Composer From Aquafadas Price $149.00 Pros Outputs Flash and HTML5, nice canned effects Cons Version 1 issues, limited fonts and primitives, no audio support Rating HHH 96 MacDirectory

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