Highlighter – Photo


This is an Effects Preset that requires Highlighter Effect. Requires FCPX 10.4.6 or higher.

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Highlighter Photo Effects Preset

For use with Highlighter Effect.

Provided as a tutorial in the use of Highlighter Effects.

The feature image displays the use of Highlighter – Photo on a single clip. It is generally recommended that the clip is placed over another clip or graphic as in the following:

Highlighter Photo feature 2


Not included in this effects preset is the use of Grid (effect) to layout the original shapes center screen and evenly spaced dimension. Once the shapes were drawn, Grid was deleted from the list of effects added to the video clip.

The first Highlighter 2 instance creates a slight yellow (daylight) color cast to simulate an old film camera photo.

The second effect is a Highlighter – Transforms. It is used to scale the clip to 53% and Pan the image left.

The third effect is a Highlighter 2 instance. It is used to create the image mask for the “photo”. Its blend mode is set to Stencil Alpha to make the cutout.

The fourth effect is another Highlighter 2 is used to create the photo border with the blend mode set to Behind.

The fifth effect is another Highlighter 2 is used to create the strip of tape. Basic, straightforward rectangle colored white, normal blend mode, some feathering to create an “edge” and the fill opacity is set to less than 1% and the outline opacity set to about 31%.

The last effect is a Highlighter – Transforms is used to place the effect in the Viewer’s upper right side. Use this effect to position/animate the movement of the effect.

More About Effects Presets in Final Cut Pro

Effects Presets are not like most other Mac … “things” — they are hard-coded to find the Effects they use from specific Effects Categories. If those effects are moved from those locations, effects presets fail! In order to use our Highlighter Effects Presets in Final Cut Pro, you must either install the Highlighter effects in a Category named: FCPXTemplates (case sensitive) or use the following method to change its dependence on the Highlighter installation location to the category that you chose to install them into:


  • Open the Highlighter – (name).effectsPreset file in TextWrangler or BBEdit (TextEdit is not suitable for this task!)
  • Type Command-F to open the Find/Replace dialog
  • In Find, type FCPXTemplates
  • In Replace, type the name of the category you placed the Highlighter effects in (case sensitive)
  • Click the Replace All button
  • Save


TextWrangler has been abandoned, although it still works if you have it. BBEdit is available as a Free Download from BareBones.com (or the App Store) and you can use it for free forever as long as  you don’t sign up for the in-app purchases. It’s good to have around, especially if you need to dig into FCPX/Motion files.


Effects Presets from others

The Effects Presets you get from here will be set up to point to FCPXTemplates (unless otherwise specified) as the Category. If you have not been given specific instructions the following instructions will guide you to customizing your installation:

Open the *.effectsPreset file in BBEdit/TextWrangler. A shortcut, if you’re using BBEdit/TextWrangler would be to right click on the *.effectsPreset file and in the contextual menu, go to the very bottom to Services. You should find: Open in BBEdit or Open in TextWrangler from that menu. If not, you can Open With either text editor.

Type Command-F to open the Find dialog. Search for Effects.localized. Since Effects Presets can be complex combinations of effects, you will need to pay attention to which effects are actually used and note how you have those effects installed on your System. For example, everybody has the built-in Stylize > Drop Shadow effect. This effect is internally installed in FCPX and you would not want to change the category for this particular effect. Only change the Categories of those effectsPreset effects that you know you have installed.

With that in mind, keep advancing the Find results until you find the Effect whose category you need to change. Once you find an Effect you have installed, double click on the Category name, making sure that it is completely selected (you may need to extend the selection over spaces and some other characters) and type Command – E (Use Selection for Find).

Then type in the name of the Category to be used by replacement.

Click the Replace All button and Save.

You only need to change the Category names in the effectsPreset for the Effects that are not installed in the same location as indicated in the effectsPreset file. Once you have the categories synchronized, the Effects Preset will work just as if you had created it yourself.

Installing Effects Presets:

The path to install an Effects Preset is the same for *all* presets:

YourSystemDrive/Users/yourHomeFolder/Library/Application Support/ProApps/Effects Presets/

— no categories to mess with 😉

Highlighter User Guide: Highlighter 2 Effects bundle for FCPX

A Graphics Engine for FCPX


Keep up to date with Sight-Creations on Twitter and Facebook.

A good place to see all of my effects as well as several tutorials and other demonstrations in use is on my YouTube channel.

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