Installation FAQ - Installing Templates for Final Cut Pro X
Installing templates can be a little daunting the first time you are faced with the task. This FAQ will attempt to enhance your understanding of the environment and of the installation process.
What exactly is a template?
A template is actually and simply a folder that contains the files Final Cut Pro requires to implement an effect. The folder name is the exact name of the template. For example, the template "Simple Border" exists as a folder installed in one of the paths FCPX uses to access templates.
Inside the template folder are located all the files FCPX will use to execute the effect as well as represent it in its browser. There are large.png and small.png images used for thumbnails. There is the Motion project document with the same name as the template folder (with a possible extension like .motn, etc.) and a Media folder which will contain any extra outside media that the Motion project will use if necessary.
Where are the preset templates located?
Templates that come pre-installed for Final Cut Pro are located inside the Application package contents. You don't need to know the exact location because it is not a very good idea to go adding extra content into an application or equally to take anything out of an application (you could break it!)
Are Motion Templates and the Application Package the only places to install templates?
No. There is another. It's location is on the system drive > Library > Application Support > Final Cut Pro > Templates. This is the location you would install templates for ALL users of your system. It is not recommended by Apple and it is not recommended by me. Of the three locations (not counting that ability to move templates into Libraries from inside FCPX), the User > Home > Movies > Motion Templates location is the only recommended location for user installable templates.
What is a Category?
There are four "effects" browsers in Final Cut Pro: Effects and Transitions are down over the right side of the storyline. The Titles and Generators browsers are located up just to the right of the Event/Project Browser. In any of these effects browsers, when selected, there is a column of labels usually representing a "class" of similar types of effects. For example: Bumper/Opener for titles will contain several short animated full screen title effects all fitting the description used by the category label/name.
Categories are an important step to consider in the installation of your templates. The folder you will create to represent a Category in FCPX will be the container of the Template (folder) you install.
I've installed my template and it still doesn't work! (Part 1)
The Motion Templates folder as well as the Effects, Generators, Titles and Transitions folders all must be localized, that is: they must have a specific "file extension" as part of their name.
Simply make sure that each of these folders have the extension '.localized'. You can right click on the folder and choose Get Info from the popup menu and check the Name & Extension text box. If you don't want the extension to show in the Finder, you can also check the option to Hide Extension.
I've installed my template and it still doesn't work! (Part 2)
If you are running an older version of Final Cut Pro, there's a good chance the template you're trying to install is too recent to be compatible. Motion Templates and FCPX run along similar timelines. Older templates going all the way back to FCPX 10.0 will still work! However, the opposite is not true. FCPX checks the version of the template and if it is newer than the corresponding version of FCPX, it will simply put up a Missing Media alert.
The truth is: Motion is more or less the same application it was all the way back to version 3.0. Motion 5 will open and run Motion 1.0 templates. There is no way to make any template made in Motion 4 or before recognizable to FCPX.
The point is: most of everything people can create in Motion is the same as it always was (with a few exceptions). If the template has not used any of the newer updated processes than the older Final Cut Pro will "recognize", then the template can be backdated to run in the older FCPX. You can use our Motion Template Backdater to make a newer template run in an older version of FCPX.
If you need to check your version of FCPX against the template you're trying to install, use our Compatibility Chart!
I've downloaded a template, what are my steps forward?
1) In the Finder, select Go > Home from the menu.
2) Double click on the Movies folder (every Mac has one!)
3) Locate the Motion Templates folder.
If you do not have a Motion Templates folder, create a New Folder (⌘⇧-N) and name it:
"Motion Templates.localized" (case sensitive with spaces).
3) Open Motion Templates and locate the Template "class" folder that corresponds to your template. You will need to know beforehand, what kind of template you are installing: an Effect, a Generator, a Title or a Transition (there are no others).
If you don't have the folder you need for your template, you can create it! This level of folder must also be .localized.
4) Open your template class folder and find a category folder that you feel best exemplifies the template. If there is not one, you can create it and name it anything you like (that will help you remember where you are installing any particular template.) This folder will not need to be localized.
5) Move the Template folder into the Category folder you chose or created.
Your Template will now be ready in FCPX.
*There is special case that makes this instruction list a little different. If your template is "themed", then that is an extra level of folder that needs to be inserted. In general, if the templates you are installing are themed, then each of the templates will already be placed inside a Theme (name) folder and you should have instructions to place the entire Theme folder inside the Category level. Otherwise, it is recommended that you do not use Themes unless you know what you're doing.
Why isn't there an installer for this?!
1) You don't need one.
2) You give up your ability to customize your environment. You can configure your own Categories for FCPX, otherwise you would be stuck with a category *I* would assign (and that might annoy you).
3) Apple charges a ton of money to be able to "sign" installers. I would have to significantly raise my prices to afford one (it's an annual "subscription").