Vegas Baby User Guide
A Title for FCPX
The iconic Las Vegas Welcome sign was designed in 1959 by Betty Willis. It is in the style of “Googie Architecture” (FYI). She gave the design as a gift to the City of Las Vegas without copyright. It is in the public domain.
Vegas Baby is a 3D Text title for Final Cut Pro. It requires FCPX 10.3.4 or better, a video card with a minimum of 1GB of vRAM, and the installation of a specialized font (ZZSCVegasBaby-Regular.ttf) responsible for the “neon” letters and the sign shapes (it will be necessary to restart FCPX after installation of the font).
Vegas Baby is a complex effect with flashing lights and special textures (coin faces) and animations on two separate sides. Expect long render times. When dealing with the title in the FCPX storyline, it is best to set the View > Quality to Better Performance. Since Vegas Baby performs “reasonably well” using Better Performance, it was deemed eligible to be released. Please be patient with it!
Vegas Baby features an easily customizable “banner” (circled letters) and drop zone panels on the front and back sides. Separate titling for the front and back panels. Titling and drop zones can be combined. Complex text formatting will need to be handled via imported image/video or by creating compound clips in the storyline. An example would be any text message with more than one font used.
A 3D OSC (on-screen control) has been applied to this effect. For this reason, none of the text in the title is editable in the viewer but text boxes have been added to the Inspector to make text changes. To use the OSC simply single-click on the Vegas Baby panel and wait about 1 second. A Rectangular outline will appear and a 3D directional control will appear near the center of the rectangle region. It’s a hack… but it works. You can use the 3D control to keyframe rotation, but positioning via keyframe will have to be manually done with the parameter values in the Inspector. [Note: the OSC is a text character itself which is editable in FCPX – ignore anything you see in the Text Inspector as it pertains to this character used for the 3D onscreen control. If you accidentally change the character, its default is the character zero (‘0’) and its size is 856.0 if you find you need to manually reset these values.]
The Coin Features (Banner) Section
The neon letters in the circle shapes at the top of the panel are considered the banner. As with the real sign, the front surface of the circular regions have the pattern of a 1922 “Peace” silver dollar. The “coins” are not “regular” and each surface of the original WELCOME sign have different rotational orientations for the coins. This title has a feature to force them to align if you so choose — set the Coin Rot. Variance to 0% and set the Coin Rotation to orient the faces to the same angles across the characters of the banner.
In the Circle Text entry, you can enter anything from deleting the text (to completely remove the circled characters) to whatever you think can fit on a single line and still look good as a sign ;). Whatever you enter will apply the characters (only a-z lowercase [and space] are supported), the coin circles and the rim “ring” lights. A space character will add a small separation between letters.
There is a fundmental “lighting” structure to this 3D model. Sometimes expected colors may seem darker (or lighter) than the values provided in the inspector. Make visual adjustments in the Viewer and don’t rely so heavily on the numerical values. For times when even the “brightest” color is not bright enough: the numerical values of the RGB color can be adjusted to greater and less than the absolutes provided by the corresponding sliders. Click on the individual numerical values for the R, G, and B elements and drag up to go beyond 1.0 and drag down to go below 0 (towards -1).
Due to the design of the template, text is not editable in the viewer. For each panel, there is only an option for one font. If you need more complex textual design (more than one font, or font and graphics) create a compound clip in the storyline from titles and other graphics and add the compound clip to the drop zone for that panel. You can delete the compound clip from the storyline immediately after adding it to the template.
Flashing light animations will be affected by lengthening or shortening the time of the Vegas Baby title. Longer times will slow it down; shorter times will speed it up. Recommended length in storyline is about 5 – 15 seconds (10 is default). Ten seconds is a good length of time to leave this title active to give the viewer time to take in the whole effect.
The rest is fairly typical.
Position — It is possible to position this template in the view with an OSC (described above). However, if you want to keyframe motion, you cannot use the OSC to make position changes. Use these parameters “manually” for keyframing. Another benefit of these parameters: no matter what rotational orientation you have set for the template, these parameters will move it in tradition X, Y & Z axes relative to the Viewer. Using the OSC: rotation changes the XYZ axis orientation as well. Position parameters override that orientation.
Rotation — Unlike Position, Rotation can be keyframed using the OSC. These parameters do not override those set in the Viewer.
Hide Stand — The blue stand can be removed from the scene to reduce the template to the basic sign.
Glow Amount — This is set to 3 by default. In general, this setting is likely the best setting. However, you can raise this value to create more “light halos” or turn it off altogether.
Circle Text — This is where you enter the text for the “banner” section. Only lowercase alphabetic characters (a-z) are used for the effect. Other characters will not provide the correct visual effect.
Text Color — Keep in mind that this is supposed to be a neon-like light. You will want to adjust this color to a value that will be enhanced by the glow effect.
Circle BG Color — By default, this is set to 90% white. You can set this, and all colors in this template to “supercolors” (element values greater than 1.0 or less than 0.0).
Coin Face Intensity — This determines how dark the “marks” are that create the coin “face”. Setting this to 0 will fade the coin face out completely creating a solid color background for the neon characters. Setting this value to maximum intensity will help “punch through” the pattern if you adjust the Coin BG Color somewhat darker.
Coin Rotation — The “real” Las Vegas Welcome sign has 1922 Peace dollars painted on the backgrounds at varying angles of rotation. This is set at 360 (straight up) to help with the Variance (see below). When Variance is set to zero, all the coins are rotated to this value.
Coin Rot. Variance — The variation from one coin to the next for the rotation. When Coin Rotation is 0, this has no effect. When Coin Rotation is non-zero, this parameter will randomize the rotation between 0 and the Coin Rotation value.
Var. Random… — This is the Random Seed generator for the Variance. Click the “circle arrows” to generate a new “seed” value and change how the coins are varied.
Ring Light Color — Each character in the banner also has a “ring light” — another “neon” (or florescent) type light around the rim of the “coin” background. Use this parameter to change its color (default is white).
Emit Intensity — This parameter will change the brightness of the Ring Light color.
FRONT SIDE/BACK SIDE
(each section has identical parameters, both of which will be outlined in this section.
Front (Back) Text — Use this text box to enter the text you want to appear on the sign panel. This can be used in conjunction with a drop zone (always appears on top).
Collection — Font Book “collections” are supported with this template. If you manage your fonts with collections, you can set the collection here. For example, you have a collection of just “script” fonts, you can set this parameter to your scripts collection then search for the script font from that collection you are looking for without having to navigate a font menu that might be hundreds of fonts long.
Font — Same as from the Title Inspector provided here for your convenience.
Size — Same as from the Title Inspector provided here for your convenience.
Color — Same as from the Title Inspector provided here for your convenience.
Weight — This is a feature of 3D text. You can use this parameter to change the thickness of characters, make them more bold or more thin. Best practice: hold the Option key down while dragging the numeric value for more refined alteration.
Line Spacing — Same as from the Title Inspector provided here for your convenience.
Tracking — Same as from the Title Inspector provided here for your convenience.
Baseline — Same as from the Title Inspector provided here for your convenience. Use this parameter to help vertically align the text where you want it to appear.
Drop Zone — Optional. Drop Zones are pre-loaded with a transparent PNG so that the typical drop zone “symbol” does not appear.
Pan — Use the X and Y parameters to adjust the alignment of the image in the panel.
Scale — Use this parameter to size the media to fit within the panel.
Front (Back) Brightness — As mentioned above, this is a 3D model and lighting is affected by things like angle of rotation. You can use this parameter to help override a “too shadowy” look, or tone it down if it’s too bright.