It really depends on three things:

  • What is your budget?
  • What do you want to do?
  • What kind of time commitment do you have to learn the tool?

Budget

Motion is cheap. Very cheap! At 50$, it is hard to find an application that does so much for so little money and simply based on this, we could argue that it delivers incredible value.
AE targets mostly people from the FX and movie industry, hence its high price point.
What do you want to do?

If you only desire to create nice looking motion graphics for your video, custom lower thirds and opening sequences, Motion is all you need. It does these tasks ridiculously easily. On top of this you can add some basic post production capabilities such as image stabilization, green screening and color correction.

On the other side, AE is feature rich. Whatever you want to do, chances are that AE can do it. Seriously, it can do everything which is why it is used in all but the most high end post production studios. You can’t go wrong with AE, but you have to wonder if you really need all this power.

Time commitment

While Motion can be learned at a reasonable level in a weekend, AE is the opposite. The lack of consistency between some features means that it is not always obvious how to transfer knowledge between one part of the application and another. What else to expect from an application that can handle anything from complex compositing to key framing vector animation?

Conclusion

While it is tempting to play it safe and tell yourself that it is better to use the most comprehensive software you can find (same thing could be said of people using Photoshop vs Element or Pixelmator), it is rarely a good idea. From what I see on Vimeo, most HDSLR users would do fine with the “limited” features of Motion. Only lean toward AE if you are planning to revolve your career around it, only then will the time investment will pay off.

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planetMitch

chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com — which covers every aspect of HDSLR cameras (and a whole lot of other cameras as well). A lover of photography since his early days, he graduated to selling stock photos to make a little bit of spare cash. It wasn’t much, but it allowed him to upgrade to better cameras as well as computers, and it wasn’t taking money away from feeding his family.
He loves the stories that the still image can tell. In the summer of 2008, he read a story written by Arnold Kim called “I Quit My Job” — Arn is the owner of macrumors.com. He started macrumors in 2000 as a hobby, and by 2008 he was making more money with the site than he was on his day job, so he quit. The surprise to the story is that he was a doctor making more than six figures! Right then and there, planetMitch dreamed about doing the same thing.
September 2008 rolled around, and Canon announced this new version of the incredible 5D — the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. It was the first Canon DSLR to shoot full HD video and the earth moved! (It really was a huge deal in the photography world.) planetMitch knew if there was ever a chance to ride a wave of something he was really passionate about, this was it — and the blog at planet5D.com was born. It is now one of the most popular HDSLR blogs on the planet, and he is making a full-time living from blogging. He couldn’t be happier!
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