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Professional artists who are familiar with traditional object-oriented drawing programs will find Adobe LiveMotion 1.0 easier to use than Macromedia Flash 5. Many of LiveMotion's functions are presented in familiar, standard Adobe palettes; in fact, our only objection to the interface is the sheer number of palettes, which can clutter the workspace.
To begin, you draw or place objects into the composition window. In addition to geometric primitives, you can create custom shapes using the Bezier pen and path operations such as unite. LiveMotion imports a wide variety of vector and raster formats and handles imported sounds intelligently. Lengthening or shortening an audio object's duration bar either loops or crops the sound track at playback. Objects can contain up to 99 layers each. When used in conjunction with editable properties such as softness or color, layers let you build sophisticated visual elements complete with fuzzy drop-shadows, glows, or beveled edges.
Creating an animation in LiveMotion is efficient—even elegant. LiveMotion automates much of the process. For example, after you activate an object property on the timeline, LiveMotion automatically inserts a keyframe when you modify that property. You can change properties via the myriad palettes or interactively in the drawing space. LiveMotion provides conveniences that Flash 5 doesn't: You can copy animation sequences from one object to another, for example. And LiveMotion is the only program in our roundup that truly uses time values on the timeline. This seemingly small feature lets you change the frame rate of a project (for playback across different bandwidths) without adversely affecting the duration of the final movie.
LiveMotion excels at snazzy effects such as animated distortions or traveling masks, which continuously reveal images. You can also create movies within movies by nesting independent timelines within the main action. In addition to object properties, you can also animate layer properties. The drawback is that those features are not intrinsically supported by the SWF format, so they must be rasterized in the end, which can increase file size significantly.
LiveMotion does not offer any predefined animation sequences, but you can easily reuse a complex formatting scheme or a sophisticated animation sequence that you've created by saving it as a Style or a Library object, respectively. LiveMotion's self-explanatory rollover palette lists each button state and all changes from the default state, including noncontiguous and animated rollovers.
LiveMotion's excellent output options include both JPEG and MP3 compression, and a report page estimates expected download and playback performance. As an alternative to SWF, you can export static images or an HTML page.
By the time you read this review, Adobe will have announced LiveMotion 2.0. A sneak peak revealed some impressive new features, including better integration with other Adobe products and powerful internal scripting functions.
adobe_livemotiontm_1.0.img_.bin (39.59 MiB / 41.51 MB)
Mac OS 8.5 - 8.6 - Mac OS 9 / DiskCopy image, binary encoded, use Stuffit Expander
Emulating this? It should run fine under: SheepShaver