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Archived - Motion 2: How to improve real time performance

One of the strengths of Motion is that with the right hardware configuration, nearly every effect and adjustment you make can be viewed in real time. This means that you can watch how the various elements of your composition interact as you adjust them.

Not only does this mean less waiting time while the computer converts your various clicks and drags into a watchable movie, it means that you can interact with your creation in a more fluid and engaging way. Rather than making a set of assumptions and then waiting to see how they turn out, you can now see how your ideas work immediately and make adjustments on the fly.

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Here are some settings that can have an effect on realtime performance in Motion.

Resolution

If you have a complex project that is causing your computer to play video at a very low frame rate, you can lower the resolution of the Canvas to reduce the strain on the processor. This frees you from waiting for the image to be rendered at full resolution each time you make an adjustment.

To change the Canvas resolution, choose the amount of image reduction you want from the Resolution pop-up menu as follows:

  • Full: Displays the Canvas at full resolution.
  • Half: Displays the Canvas at half resolution.
  • Third: Displays the Canvas at one-third resolution.
  • Quarter: Displays the Canvas at one-quarter resolution.

Field Rendering

Turning this setting off disables field rendering, which is required for smooth motion playback on a TV monitor. Field rendering nearly doubles rendering time, so disabling this may result in a dramatic performance improvement.

When this setting is turned on and you're using a default export preset (such as DV NTSC Movie), your project is exported with field rendering. This is because export presets are exported with the "Use current project and canvas settings" option turned on by default. When this is on, anything enabled in the View menu is also exported. You can control this in the Export Options dialog.

Preview for Float Bit Depth

When working in float space, turning this setting off drops the preview in the Canvas to 8-bit. Since working in float space drastically increases processing time, turn this setting off to speed your workflow. This setting does not modify the actual output of the project. To override the current project settings for field rendering on export:

  1. Choose File > Export.
  2. Optional: Select a name and location for the saved file.
  3. In the Save As window, click the Options button next to the Kind parameter.
  4. Click the Output tab in the Export Options dialog and deselect the "Use current project and canvas settings" checkbox. The "Use field rendering" and "Use motion blur" checkboxes become available.

If you select the "Use field rendering" checkbox to enable it, the project will be exported with field rendering regardless of the Field Rendering status in the View menu.

Motion Blur

Turning this setting off disables motion blur previewing in the Canvas. This may result in a dramatic performance improvement. When using a default export preset, this setting affects the actual output of your project. All export presets are exported with the current project settings enabled.

When this setting is turned on and you are using a default export preset (such as DV NTSC Movie), your project is exported with motion blur. This is because export presets are exported with the "Use current project and canvas settings" option turned on by default. When this is on, anything enabled in the View menu is also exported. You can control this in the Export Options dialog.

Note: When opening a Motion project in another application such as Final Cut Pro, this setting also controls whether motion blur is applied or not. To override the current project settings for motion blur on export:

  1. Choose File > Export.
  2. Optional: Select a name and location for the saved file.
  3. In the Save As window, click the Options button next to the Kind parameter.
  4. Click the Output tab in the Export Options dialog and deselect the "Use current project and canvas settings" checkbox.
  5. Deselect the "Use motion blur" checkbox.

Output pane of preferences

When using an external monitor, the two checkboxes can affect performance:

Update during playback: Plays the project out to the external video monitor while the project plays back in the Canvas. This option severely degrades performance.

Update dynamically on parameter change: Sends a new video frame out to the external video as you adjust parameters (instead of only after releasing the mouse button). This option may severely degrade performance.

Opening and Closing Projects

You can open one or more previously saved project files either in the Finder or from within Motion. You can have as many projects open at the same time as the amount of RAM in your computer can support. Your computer’s RAM is divided up among the operating system, any other applications that are currently open, and all currently open documents. If, at any point, you notice a decrease in performance because you’ve run out of RAM, simply quit one or more other applications, or close one or more open projects to free up RAM for the remaining open projects.

Filters

Remember that the more filters you use in a project, the more you impact the performance of Motion.

Improving Performance With Filters

When applying filters to several different objects in Motion, it is recommended to apply the filters to the objects’ parent layer. Also, when applying filters to very large layers (such as a layer containing a growing particle system), it is recommended to turn on the Fixed Resolution parameter in the Layer tab of the Inspector. When Fixed Resolution is turned on, objects that are in the layer but are outside of the Canvas are cropped to the size of the layer defined in the parameter. The Layer tab is only available when a layer is the selected object.

Audio

Turning audio off may improve your playback performance.

Note: Motion is hardware dependent. This means that the type of graphics card installed on your system dictates performance and the maximum file size that you can import into Motion. For most recommended cards, the file-size limit is 2 KB. For more information, visit the Motion website. For recommended and minimum system requirements, click here.

Last Modified: Jul 19, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Jul 19, 2013
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