Final Cut Pro includes some fairly sophisticated titling tools within the application itself, including the ability to create extruded 3D titles, but LiveType (included with the purchase of Final Cut Pro) takes animated titling to another level entirely. The Media Browser of LiveType includes both titling tools and titling content. The content includes LiveFonts, 32-bit animated fonts that dance and draw themselves onscreen. In addition, LiveType includes a massive library of animated textures (atmospheres, liquids, moving canvases) and objects that range from sparkly Particle Effects to organic flames and inter stellar explosions. One of the most popular features of LiveType is the ability to apply prebaked animated effects (fades, glows, zooms, caricatures) to otherwise lifeless system fonts.
Motion is to LiveType what the jet engine is to air travel. With it, you can take your titles and graphics much further in less time. Like LiveType, Motion includes a library full of compelling content, including some of the LiveFonts and text animations that come with LiveType, but that's where the similarities end. Motion makes full use of Quartz Extreme (the revolutionary composited windowing system in Apple's operating system, Mac OS X) and Apple's ultra-high-bandwidth hardware architecture to provide a level of real-time performance that needs to be seen to be appreciated. Video clips are played back directly from SDRAM (the computer's internal memory). Text, particles, and filter effects are loaded into the VRAM (video memory) of today's state-of-the-art graphics cards. Finally, natural physical simulations or screen behaviors like wind and gravity are applied to objects and particles and calculated in real time by the CPUsdual processors in all current Power Macs. In LiveType, text animations and other motion graphics need to be rendered into RAM to be previewed, whereas in Motion all effects can be viewed and manipulated in real time.
Shake is the preeminent application for visual-effects compositing, a highly specialized craft used to create special effects that, when seamlessly composited, are impossible to distinguish from reality. The primary objective of visual-effects compositing is to take dozens, often hundreds, of separate elementsmatte paintings, computer-generated 3D models and animated characters, live action photography (whether filmed on location or against a green- or bluescreen), and particlesand weave them all into a series of photorealistic images. Media files are often exported and imported between Final Cut Pro and Shake, a process that has been accelerated with the addition of new QuickTime codecs (compression-decompression algorithms) in Shake 3.5. In addition to QuickTime, Shake supports a variety of file formats that are commonly used by visual-effects artists, including those for animation (IFF, RLA) and film (Cineon, DPX)over 20 formats in total.
Let's return to titles, motion graphics, and round-trip production integration. In LiveType, Final Cut Pro projects simply appear as a movie background. Text is superimposed over the video, enhanced (with color, outlines, drop shadows, and so on), positioned, and animated when appropriate. Objects, like simple particle effects, and filters, like blurs and glows, may be added to further enhance the animated titles. With Exposé, which instantly tiles all open windows, the LiveType document can be dragged from its menu bar directly into the Timeline of Final Cut Pro, where it's superimposed over the original video track. There's no longer a need to first render the titles as a movie from LiveType before importing them into the editing environment. Best of all, with round-trip production it's possible to launch the LiveType application directly from within the Final Cut Pro Timeline, should it be necessary to make any last-minute changes. Once the changes are made in LiveType, a simple save of the project is all that's required to automatically update the title in Final Cut Pro. XML is used communicate the revisions between the two applications. No need to render out a new title from LiveType, no need to copy and paste files between applications; a simple save automatically updates the information from one app to another.
The interoperability between Final Cut Pro and Motion works in exactly the same manner. In addition, it's possible to export the Final Cut Pro project directly into Motion with all editing, scaling, cropping, positioning, and keyframe information for all layers retained during the exchange. Graphic designs can be roughed out in Final Cut Pro and fine-tuned in Motion. Some of the most impressive technologies found in Motion are its advanced particle engine and natural physical simulations, both of which are often used in tandem to create stunning designs. Motion also accepts Adobe Photoshop files and imports them with the separate layers intact or merged into one. Photoshop users, even those who have never worked with video, can easily convert their 2D designs and images into visually stunning animated motion graphics.
Once the motion graphic design work is completed in Motion, the project file can be imported directly into Final Cut Pro. Round-trip production functions exactly the same with Motion as with LiveType. When a save command is executed, all project revisions in Motion are automatically communicated directly to Final Cut Pro. To the user, the media in the Timeline goes offline for a moment and then returns reflecting the updates.
In addition to the content creation workflow that defines the look of your video, Apple's professional applications provide an incredible level of interoperability between music and audio as it relates to the visuals. We'll examine this aspect of round-trip production in the next section of this appendix.