|Creativecow.net Training Product Review
©2006Alex Alexzander and Creativecow.net. All rights are reserved.
In this article, Creativecow's Alex Alexzander takes a thorough look at Avid Marquee Demystified from artFXual and hosted by Steve Bayes.
There are so many ways to create titles within our projects. Some prefer Adobe's Photoshop, or After Effects, while others love Boris Graffiti, or Red. Some prefer to use simple tools that are built right into Avid, such as the title tool. The title tool is considered basic by pretty much everyone when compared to these other tools, but it does provide a quick and easy way to get titles into the Avid timeline. By now you are aware that there is a new title tool in most of the Avid systems out there. With new tools, features, and capabilities come new complexities, and new concepts to learn and master.
You have likely found yourself stumbling along with Marquee, the new title tool, and are looking for the easiest, fastest way to become more fluent, as quickly as possible. If you can spare an hour or less, Artfxual's Avid Marquee Demystified will shed light, gradients, and even 3D manipulation on the subject.
Artfxual's Avid Marquee Demystified is a simple way to get started in learning how to use both the basic and the intermediate tools offered in this application. The DVD-ROM package contains templates, fonts, useful Python scripts, the video-based instruction, as well as an intermediate course in PDF format that follows the basic overview on video. This course is hosted by Steve Bayes. It is meant to be used as a stand-alone trainer for Avid Marquee, but I think it is the perfect addition to the Digital Media Training Series DVD-ROM also hosted by Steve Bayes.
The video-based installation guide, which in my opinion sets the standard for how to install everything, is the best installation guide I have ever used, period. Everyone should have a brief video that shows users how to install, rather than expecting users to find the appropriate installation instructions between the readme and the install instructions that many lesser training products would normally provide.
In addition, the installation guide goes a little beyond installation, showing off some of the features of the templates and scripts you have installed. So watch the installation guide carefully, as it is also a tutorial unto itself, separate from the main overview and intermediate course.
Tour of Templates
The Tour of Templates is the first stop of this trainer. You'll find 21 ready-made templates arranged for display much the same way a slide show presents images one after the next. Each of these templates contains a title card, two types of lower-thirds, a bullet points template, a credits template, and a quotes templates.
All of these templates are ready-made and available to help you get started with Marquee right away. Each of these can be used, edited, and even modified to your liking for future use.
Avid Marquee Tutorial
The Marquee tutorial is split into two sections:
- The Avid Marquee video overview (25:32)
- The intermediate courseware PDF (39 pages)
We start our tour with the title tool we all know so well already. Avid systems that have Marquee installed will offer an option to use Marquee or the older title tool when you select the title tool.
Your first lesson with the title tool is how to select it, and how to maintain it as the default title tool, or reset the original title tool back to default should you decide Marquee is not for you. You do have the option of converting existing titles created with the title tool to Marquee titles as well. There are a few points to note regarding upgrading titles created with the original title tool, to the new Marquee, so watch this section and gain some insights into upgrading existing titles to Marquee while maintaining the option to change your mind later on.
Next we are taken through an overview of the interface itself. This is an important part of the overview, as some of the tools are much more powerful than they appear to be, and you will realize this as the interface is described, feature by feature.
Some of the elements of Marquee are truly outstanding. You will see that you can add lighting to your text, and manipulate the text in a 3D space. The flexibility that this application affords is outstanding, and learning to use all of the features through the feature overview is a fast and easy way to gain immediate use of the tools you already have.
The title creation is the reason for using Marquee. The tools are exactly what you need to create great-looking titles, with your unique touch to the color, position, tilt, scale, and effect. All of your work can be stylized and reused throughout the timeline. As you watch the examples, you'll gain insights into the potential of the application. Seeing this potential will give you clear insights into the power of Marquee. To get you started, Artfxual gives you plenty of high-quality screen fonts with the trainer.
In addition to the included fonts, you'll learn how to improve the overall quality of the fonts on the timeline, and how to improve reaction speed while determining the best look for your type effects.
The lessons here actually show off techniques to create text with a bevel, and use lighting to create a unique look from the text. There are all kinds of tips and tricks to help make you more creative with the software. It's a good balance of not just learning the interface, but learning to use the application itself by example.
By the time you have started to create text, backgrounds, and stylized scenes, you're ready to save your work as native MQP file. These native Marquee files can be reused later on, as they not only contain all your text, they also contain all your settings. You will learn to save the titles into Avid bins at various resolutions as well.
Rolls and Crawls
The last of the visual overview is how to create and render a title crawl. The section could have been longer, and would have benefited the user more had speed of the crawl been explored. The good news is, even though the video overview lesson has concluded, the lessons have not stopped.
Intermediate Course PDF
The intermediate course steps up the training to cover more advanced training needed to truly cover all of the features Marquee has to offer. One feature you will surely come to love is the ability to key-frame and animate the titles and effects you learn to create in the video overview. The information here is not lost in 600 pages of material. Instead, it's what you need to know to get started. It also does an excellent job of pointing out some of the shortcomings to be expected with gradients in a 4:2:2 system. Specific areas, such as font quality, are raised as well. In short, it's not just about the interface, and what the buttons mean or how to use them. This course will give you a hands-on feel for Marquee. You will use the tools and see what their limitations are. You will have plenty of templates to explore, modify, and save. You will see the more advanced side of Marquee, as you learn to recognize problem areas in the titles and limitations of color space you are working with.
There is one area that might trouble you with this trainer. It is about one half hour for the video overview itself, which doesn't include the training time of the installation, which is a very good guide itself. Though the video-based trainer is short, it does an outstanding job at training you to use the basic Marquee interface. It is a good bet that after about one hour after first opening this trainer, you will likely be creating your own titles, and taking yourself into areas of creativity that will surprise you from a tool you likely thought couldn't hack it.
I have to applaud the intermediate PDF guide as well. It's not only quick and easy to read, it's actually quite informative and useful. If you don't read it, you are missing some excellent information.
The fonts and the built-in templates, which you can install and use, are a great way to get started making your own creations. Something I have learned over the years is that even the best instruction available can benefit by giving customers real additions that they can use and modify to make their own. It allows users to inspect what the trainer has done, and that adds further insights that cannot be covered by the trainer during the lessons. By clicking on any asset in any provided templates for example, you can inspect the settings used to give that object its appearance. It's a great way to reverse engineer, so to speak, what templates have been provided.
Avid Marquee is a niche of an application, normally used by the advanced Avid users of Media Composer or better. This application is now included with Avid Xpress Pro, making it even more mainstream. Artfxual's Avid Marquee Demystified is the fast and easy trainer designed to get you up and running quickly. It explains the interface effectively, and offers more than just suggestion and insight. It actually offers a wealth of templates, each of which has many child components. There is even a Python script that will transform your 16:9 titles to 4:3 and the reverse. In short, the Artfxual Avid Marquee Demystified trainer from Artfxual will elevate you from zero to advanced Marquee designer in about an hour.
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© Copyright 2006 Alex Alexzander and Creative Cow
All Rights Reserved.