Review of Adobe LiveMotion 2

This version of LiveMotion 2 is more sophisticated than the initial version. Not only does LiveMotion 2 come with a User Guide but it also comes with a Scripting Guide and this is just for starters. This new version is geared toward the web designer and developer who needs scripting, debugging, and coding tools to create animations in multiple formats such as Flash and QuickTime. However, LiveMotion 2 can still be used as an excellent and straightforward animation creation program that can build complicated and varied animations without delving into its scripting components.

The requirements for LiveMotion 2 for Windows are:

  • Intel Pentium II or faster processor
  • Microsoft Windows 98, ME, 2000, or XP
  • 64 MB of Ram with 128 recommended
  • 50 MB of available hard disk space
  • 800 x 600 monitor resolution with 1024 x 768 recommended
  • CD-ROM drive

The requirements for the Macintosh are:

  • PowerPC, G3 or faster processor
  • MacOS 9.1, 9.2, or Mac OS X v.10.1
  • 64 MB of RAM with 128 recommended
  • 50 MB of hard disk space available
  • 800 x 600 monitor resolution with 1024 x 768 recommended
  • CD-Rom drive

LiveMotion 2 sells for $199.00 for a new user version with an upgrade price of $99.00 and special discounts for product combinations. For those, see Adobe's website.

The target customers for LiveMotion 2 are Professional Web Designers, Professional Web Developers, and the Part-Time Web Author who works for a small to mid-sized business or nonprofit organization. In other words, the target consumer is a professional one who will make use of LiveMotion's emphasis on scripting, coding, etc.,, and needs the tools to not only build sophisticated flash based content for websites, construct compelling animation, but be able to integrate it with or easily use other products such as Adobe GoLive, After Effects, or Photoshop. While the first version of LiveMotion was mainly a version that relied on the manipulation of "graphics" and the appropriate manual commands with some behaviors (simple scripting options) available, this new version has robust scripting options while maintaining and even building on the graphical strengths of the first. I am reviewing this from the perspective of a graphic artist.

Immediately looking at the interfaces of LiveMotion 1 and 2, one will see the differences and changes that have been made. One could say LiveMotion 1 has grown up. Of course, liveMotion 2 has kept its excellent collection of both vector and raster creation tools that it had in its previous version for those who do not have Photoshop or Illustrator available or just want to make a quick change to an object or create a shape without leaving the program. LiveMotion 2 has been integrated into what I will call the "scripting" revolution complete with its own language guide that will instruct the user on how to write scripts to control behaviors, create and play movie clips, use event handlers, control dynamic data through XML socket communications, write debugging scripts, etc.

Through JavaScript based Automation scripts and Live Tabs which are Automation Scripts with a User Interface attached to it, complex tasks and actions can be easily performed. Adobe will be making these available on its English-language Adobe Xchange Web site of

The Script Editor is a key tool in LiveMotion 2. It allows developers to code both ActionScripts and automation scripts. The following are some of the major functions of this powerful tool according to Adobe. It is a Movie Clip Navigator. It can organize code by States and Handlers which allows developers to view it in easy to edit sections. It can "contains" Built-in Syntax Descriptions of LiveMotion 1.0 Behaviors, ActionScript Syntax, and JavaScript Syntax. It, also, can execute Find and Replace and create Break Points. LiveMotion 2 also contains a Debugger and preview mode in order to see how scripts will execute in the authoring environment. To learn more about the Script Editor, click here.

The screen capture below shows a new item on the top menu "Automation." On the screen capture below, click on the red words to see the Live Tabs that already are part of the LiveMotion 2 CD, and click on the green words to see the Scripts that are included on the CD.

Aside from scripting, Adobe has introduced other elements to make working in LiveMotion 2 faster and easier. Layered Photoshop and Illustrator files can be converted to animation-ready objects, groups,or sequences. Once placed, however, these files can still be edited in their native application. That is a big time saver and a big plus. Illustrator 9 and 10 files complete with transparency can be dragged and dropped into LiveMotion 2 and the files retain their functionality. Both Photoshop and Illustrator files work in similar manners. Raster tools (some similar to filters) that are resident in LiveMotion 2 can be used to change the characteristics of an object either instantaneously or through time. These include distortion, opacity, color, etc. and can be used on an object created in LiveMotion 2 itself or used on an object placed into the program. Illustrator layers, for example, can be turned into scripted buttons, one can jump between LiveMotion and the native graphic program for editing purposes. In addition, LiveMotion 2 recognizes layer names and bounding boxes as well as producing smaller SWF files from Illustrator content than previously.

While SwF and QuickTime are names everyone knows, they aren't the only file formats that LiveMotion 2 delivers. LiveMotion 2 can deploy animated content in CD-ROM interfaces, for Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, wire phones, PDA's, promotional kiosks, etc. LiveMotion 2 can Import and Export: GIF, JEPG, PNG, EPS, TIFF, PICT, PSD, .AI 7.0-10, plus 20 sound formats including MP3, AU, AIFF, and WAV. Below are some examples of export options for some of the choices:

Animated GIF

As with LiveMotion 1, when using the Flash (SWF) export file format, individual objects can be compressed so as to make the actual final file size as small as possible. In addition, the Preview Export Optimization feature indicates if an object will export as a vector or as a bitmap image.

QuickTime Main Screen
Compression Settings
Sound Settings

Added to LiveMotion 2 are new and exciting type effects and easier text handling. Animating text is now a snap! Animated text effects can be saved as styles and used over again; thus, simplifying the work load. There are also many pre-built effects that come with LiveMotion 2. These can be found in the Styles and Library palettes.

As stated earlier, LiveMotion 2 integrates with GoLive and After Effects. Using Using LiveMotion templates, Flash content can be updated site wide in GoLive. In addition, GoLive can connect to LiveMotion through its web workgroup server to manage all site assets and files such as SWF's QuickTime, etc. Other automation between the two programs is also available in this new version of LiveMotion.

The timeline is based on the one found in Adobe After Effects. The timeline in LiveMotion is not based on the traditional one, found in most other animating software, that is based on frames but on one that is based on time-lapse. With this new version, one can speed up or slow down animations by simply dragging the endpoints with a modifier key. LiveMotion distributes the time change proportionally among the frames.

Timelines in both Versions of LiveMotion
LiveMotion 1
LiveMotion 2

Movie Clip Scrubbing is also supported with this timeline and can be viewed when the timeline is scrubbed with a modifier key. Also, supports for multiple states in a movie clip allow for the creation of rollover buttons, navigation schemes and more.

While LiveMotion's timeline is based on that of After Effects, LiveMotion 2 also integrates with features in After Effects such as the ability to import precision motion graphics.

The integration of the scripting with "traditional" animation as per LiveMotion 1 was a lot easier than I had imagined when I first saw this new version. I admit I was a little bit daunted by the scripting. However, once I realized I could combine the old part of LiveMotion which I did not want to relinquish with this new added realm, I really began to see how I could use it creatively and not just as a time saver. The small animation below is an example. It is a simple Photoshop file containing a layer and a background. The text was added in LiveMotion 2 and a simple preset script was applied to it. Then the opacity of the text and the layer was changed to go to 0% simultaneously.

This new version of LiveMotion has added a tremendous amount for the professional web developers and designers, who Adobe states are the target audience, however, the more I used it, the more I realized that it also has added a sizable amount for the artist in terms of its integration with other Adobe products as well as its ample amount of preset scripting that can be used creatively by an individual who does not use scripting in his daily work.