Category: Final Cut Pro

Word Replacement Animation Tutorial

Word replacement animation

Word replacement animation without keyframes!

Creating a word replacement animation in Final Cut Pro is actually easier than creating it in Motion. For one thing, it’s immediate and adaptable!


Let's begin!

Word Replacement in Final Cut Pro X

Starting at the end, this is what this effect looks like in the storyline:


word replace storyline

What you see is 9 Basic Titles. All we need to do is add the appropriate effects!

Start with a Basic Title and type the phrase you want as the “base” phrase. In our example, we’ll be using “For your needs”. However, we will need a large enough space for the largest replacement word to fit, so something like this:

“For your                   needs”



To this title, add the effect Move by Time (part of the Animate by Time effects bundle).

Add a Shape Mask and arrange it so that the left edge is near the ‘r’ in “your” and with a width all the way to the right. (The height only needs to be the height of the text — like a “channel”).

The purpose of the Shape Mask is to limit the region of the clip/title that will be affected by the Move by Time effect. Everything outside the bounds of the mask will stay as is. We only want to move “needs”.


About Move by Time

Move by Time is a precision timed effect. The first two parameters are the Start and End Offsets for the animation time. This effect uses the Start Offset X and Move X parameters. The others are not used (but you might want to experiment with Curvature). The values you see are specific to font size and text placements (width of your text up to the gap). We’ll get to the settings you see later.

Setting up

Count your word replacements. In this tutorial there will be four. Each has a different width. Although the replacements are all the same font, they are a different font from the base text.

If you want to “close the gap” either at the beginning or the end, add that to the number.

Set the length of time of your Basic Title to the length of time you need the words to appear. In General, they will all appear for the same length of time, but varying the times is optional. This tutorial uses exactly 2 second titles.

Duplicate the first title setup for the number of repetitions you need. Lay them out so that they are edge to edge — no gaps.

Adding Shape Mask
shape mask in place2
move by time params

Next, create another Basic Text. Change the text to one of the replacement words, change the font (or variation) and optionally the color, etc.

You can click and drag the text to “fit” next to your base phrase. Add the following effects: two Fade by Time effects and a Move by Time.

For the first (top) Fade effect *and* Move effect, set the Start Offset to 0 and the End Offset to 0.5 (1/2 second).  For the Fade, set the Start Opacity to 0, the End Opacity to 100%. For the Move effect, set the Start Offset Y to -90 (this can be adjusted at any time).

Depending on how long your titles are will determine the times you use. With our 2 second title, our example will use 1.5 and 1.9. The Start Opacity is set to 100% and the End Opacity is set to 0%.

Every replacement word in this example will use exactly the same effects and settings, so Option-drag copies for each word then change each instance to the word you need in sequence.


Finishing up (told you this was easy)

All that’s left is creating the offsets of the end pharse to match the size of the word spacings.

Each base title has one Move by Time effect added. When you set up the first instance, you can set the animation for the same timing as the others, however, in this example, I’ve set the End Offset Sec. parameter to 0.4 so that it animates a little faster than the others — it needs get out of the way!

For the first replacement word, move it into place, then select the base text title, place the playhead at the first frame and adjust the Start Offset X parameter so that the end phrase normalizes in spacing with the first part of the phrase.  Move the playhead to past the animation end (0.4 seconds) and adjust the Move X parameter to line up at the end of the word replacement (observe typographical spacing!)

For the subsequent words, you will need to adjust Start Offset X to line up to where you end the end phrase, then the End Offset X to the end of the replacement word as before. You can line up the end phrase positions in a couple of ways. Overlap the beginning of a following base phrase title over the end of the previous one, then adjust the Start Offset X value so that the words overlap (match), then move the subsequent title back in place. The other way would be to use a grid or a guide effect (also available on this site).


More information

Animate by Time is a collection of related effects: Color Fill (related to fade), Fade, Move, Rotate, Scale All (saves space), Scale by X-Y, and Slant. There is also a utility effect: Clip Time by Time which you can add to any clip, title etc. to show the precise time of the playhead location within the clip (you get decimal and a small “frames” display). [Fractional frame rates are NOT supported! They are OBSOLETE!] You can use Clip Time with fractional frames rates, but it won’t be as accurate (relative time is good enough, generally).

Animate by Time is broken down by functions, use only what you need when you need it.

The Animate by Time effects can be applied to anything (except transitions — fcpx won’t allow it). If applied to video clips there are rules that need to be observed.

Video (that is: everything within the Viewer frame) is cropped if it is moved out of its frame.

Effects that move clips offscreen need to complete their action completely before applying subsequent effects.

Explanation: if you Move by Time a video clip by half the frame, then add another Move by Time to move the clip back into place — half the video clip will have been cropped off, and cannot be replaced.

You can complete animations within one single Effect (start offscreen and move onscreen) and not “damage” the video. (Of course, you may opt to do this on purpose!)

Effects *change* video.  They are not “added on” like adjustment layers or titles.

You can add as many effects as you need to any given clip, compound clip, title or generator. “Compiling” a collection of effects to a clip does not create multiple “tracks” or layers — what you get is a single layer of video. They typically render much more quickly than titles or generators. Their order is Top – Down. The base effect is the first one added and the last one added is the top effect.

The Compositing, Transform, Crop, and Distort controls are actually Top Level effects and supercede all others.


Plan ahead!

Full Demo

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.

Effects used in this tutorial:

Animate by time feature
Animate by Time

Effects bundle

Keyframe-less animations for FCPX
Fractional Frame Rates are obsolete - fix fractional frame rates

About Fractional Frame Rates

About Fractional Frame Rates -

Originally posted on Apple Support Communities Aug. 2, 2021

[Ascending soap box]

I’d like to take this opportunity to make a few comments (RANT) about frame rates:


If your camera shoots fractional, conform it to the nearest whole frame rate project! Cameras are made for idiots that like to conform to “convention”. As soon as everyone pulls their heads out ……….. cameras will be made to shoot whole frame rate footage.

There are no reasons left, whatsoever, to use fractional frame rates. NTSC is dead. The only stations left that are allowed to broadcast analog (NTSC) signals are LPTV (low power television) stations and by next July 13 (2021), they will no longer be allowed to broadcast analog. They must be digital or cease broadcasting. “The last of the buggy whips have been made.” Even if you have an analog television set, you must now also have a digital converter to receive all regular/commercial broadcast stations. There is no legacy!

Unless you are preparing media for an LPTV station, don’t use fractional frame rates. It’s time this dinosaur becomes extinct. It’s been more than 10 years!

People are hanging on to 23.98, 29.97 and 59.94 because they don’t know it’s not needed; they never understood the reason for it and how it came to be in the first place (it was a “hack” people!); other people are still using it and “they must know what they’re doing” or “it’s the conventional frame rate” (really? — grow a pair!); etc. “The devil made me do it” is a better reason.

No reasons left!! Not for broadcast. Not for DVD (also dead – just hasn’t fallen down yet). Not for BD (should be dead.)

PS – we should be done with interlacing too!

Thank you!

[Descending soap box]

Disclaimer: I make precision effects for Final Cut Pro X that will not work correctly in fractional frame rates *without a hack* to fix the hack (like this project: VT Clock). I no longer support fractional frame rates — period. It’s time to get over it. Move on. Don’t worry. Be happy!

I cringe every time I watch a video where somebody selects a fractional frame rate for a Motion project — what a • stupid • thing to do! They don’t know very much about Motion or it’s relationship with FCPX and they’re just mimicking somebody else’s work who also doesn’t understand the relationship. (Sadly, that includes almost everybody). They think frame rate means something in Motion… it really doesn’t. It’s a convenience.

Everybody has to get over the notion that there is some kind of mystical importance to a fractional frame rate — there isn’t. Look it up. The original engineers only had a limited bandwidth to cram all the analog signals into. When all TV sets were B&W, their system was *perfect*. Using the frequency of household current (60Hz) for a clock was ***brilliant***. Adding Color (Chroma) balled everything up. The only reason why 29.97 ever came into being is so the American people who already owned B&W TV sets wouldn’t have to go out an buy another one when color was introduced [back in the late 40s/early 50s, a TV set was considered a piece of furniture and costing hundreds of $, which would be considered *thousands* of $ in today’s currency — think: high end iMac price tag for an analog B&W television set. Nowadays you can get a 720/60p LED set for under $110 … in *today’s* currency or about 11-12 bucks in 1950 currency.]

Here’s an excellent video that explains the NTSC system:

Fox Mahoney


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.

Broadcast VT Clock in 3D - Frame Accurate
VT Clock

3D Precision Clock

Made for broadcast. Last to support 23.98, 29.97 & 59.94 frame rates
Go to product
Boho Chic from Pond5

Still under development…

Cartooner - 8 years along

I deeply appreciate the free clips from Pond5; the quality and variety. They allow me an invaluable resource for effects development — clips I would never have access to otherwise. With each clip I download, I spend time looking at it and asking myself: What else can I get out of this?

This week’s free clip is called “Boho Chic”. It inspired me brush off an old effect I’ve been working on (on and off) since July 2011 (about one month after the release of Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5.) It’s not finished, but I feel I am getting closer. Here’s the result of my latest work:


This effect still needs a decent amount of bandwidth, but this clip was encoded at just under 10Mbps and it turned out relatively decent. If you create a 60fps clip for YouTube, you have up to 12Mbps for your clip before they’ll commandeer your upload and re-encode it with their encoders (and it will look like…)

Underline as Caretand Mixing OSCs with Text in FCPX: annotation marks user guide

Mixing OSCs with Text in FCPX — An Update

OSCs. OnScreen Controls.

Before FCPX 10.0.6 (10/23/2012), using OSCs in a Title with Text was not a problem. As long as there was access to the control point, it could be “grabbed”. After 10.0.6 came out, this changed. Text objects took complete precedence and any OSC within the “bounds” of the text could not be accessed without moving the text out of the way or by changing its position parameter in the Title’s inspector.

You can stay up to date by following Sight-Creations on Twitter and Facebook.

More writings on Motion and FCPX.

Keying "inside and outside" on the same footage

Keying Inside and Outside

You do not need a Motion Template for this effect!

Scene: You have a green screen clip and you want to replace not only the green screen but also the subject with replacement media.

I came across this problem on Apple’s discussion board (FCPX forum) and thought it was an interesting problem. It’s actually quite simple, but there is a catch if you don’t know what to look for.

For this demonstration, I will be using a free sample (practice) green screen clip available from The download is in the Godiva Medium section about halfway down the page. Here’s a frame:

HCW GodivaMedium

This is a relatively awful green screen. The green isn’t “even”. It is very difficult to pull a decent key especially in the area of the sheer fabric. It is, however, a very good clip to learn how to key and if you successfully pull a good key, then you will have learned something useful!

The effect I want is to have our model replaced with fireworks as a silhouette effect and the green background replaced with an icy waterfall (fire and ice 😉 ). Two mattes from one clip.


If this question hadn’t been asked, this is not something I would have thought of by myself… It’s actually rather cool!

How this is accomplished is rather simple:

1) apply they keyer to the green screen footage — invert it! — and overlay it over the fireworks clip.

(When you invert a keyed green screen, you get the original green screen back as everything that is not green is masked!)

2) select the green screen clip and fireworks clip and make a compound clip.

3) apply the Keyer to the compound clip and overlay it over the icy waterfall clip.

Pretty simple provided 1) you get a good key and 2) you know how to get around the non-transparent “white out” where the green screen used to be. This is what it looks like:


This is a WTF moment. It’s supposed to be transparent. So what happened?

It turns out that the provided Keyer effect in Final Cut Pro automatically sets a 46% Spill Level (I don’t even know what this is because it is separate from the Spill Suppression — it seems to be the “primary” spill removal tool; it’s documented that it will fill the green with a light gray color instead of transparency.) The solution at this stage is to simply set the Spill Level parameter to 0% and that will clear out the white-out to transparency again.

When completed, you will end up with a compound clip containing your green screen footage (with inverted key) over the media used to fill your subject, and placed over another clip used to contain the media used to replace the green screen. It will look great! And, you didn’t need to use a special Motion template to accomplish it.

That said 😉 —

If you use SC KeyFX scKey Replace, you only need one clip. “scKey Replace” allows you to select any color (use shift-click and/or drag to include more) very much as you would in a “paint” application like Photoshop. You can stack the effects on a single clip and use the drop zones to fill the parts. There is a feature that will allow you to blend the replacement media with the original media using Blend Modes if you wish. With it, you can pull off an even more interesting effect of lighting up your subject with the filling media.

In the first frame: throughout most of the play through, the subject model is silhouetted. However, when the “flash” is close to her face, you can see the fireworks “light up” her face briefly. It’s really impressive to see!

screplace1Model’s face is silhouetted

screplace2Model’s face shows some color detail. (It is more obvious in playback.)

You cannot get this kind of effect from the basic Keyer effect since the blend modes provided by scKey Replace are not available in Keyer.

See SC KeyFX Tips for more information.

Installing plugins/templates for FCPX

Installing Plugins for FCPX

Installing Plugins for Final Cut Pro X

Effects (also known as Templates or Plugins) need to be “installed” in a very specific location.

Inside the Users folder on your main hard drive is your user folder (with your exact username as the label with a little house icon).

Inside that you will find a folder called Movies.

Inside that you need to have a folder called Motion Templates. If you don’t have it, you can create it. Once created, right click on the folder and Get Info. In the Name & Extensions section, make sure it reads: “Motion Templates.localized” (without the quotes). The case sensitive spelling (including spaces) is very important.

Inside the Motion Templates folder, there should be at least four other folders labelled: Effects, Generators, Titles, and Transitions. If these folders do not exist, you can create them. You must do the same as Motion Templates and go into Get Info and make sure their extensions are .localized. These are the only folders requiring the localized extensions. [Do not add the localized extension from the Finder.]

Determine the type of template you are installing (Effect, Title, Transition, Generator) and open that folder.

You will need to *provide* a category for FCPX by using a folder at this level or by creating a new folder with a name that will be used as the category in FCPX. If the folders already exist, you can choose a category that already exists; otherwise, create a Category folder for your effect type. (A lot of people miss this step…) The Category is the section in which you’ll find the template in FCPX in the corresponding template browser.

Open the Category folder and place the entire template’s folder inside.

Templates in FCPX are actually a “bundle” of files arranged by a parent folder with the same name of the Motion project file name. Inside there will be two thumbnail .png files, the Motion project (ending in .moef, .motn, .moti, or .motr) and a Media folder. All of these files (and folder) need to be present in order for FCPX to properly “read” the effect into the application. Many people may make the mistake of removing the Motion project file from its parent folder when installing (and therefore “break” the effect [temporarily — it’s fixable — just put it back].)

There is technically another “level” that can be used within categories called a Theme, but until you’re comfortable installing templates in the “usual” method, you shouldn’t worry about it.

Video Instructions:



Installation FAQ.

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.

FCPX Motion Compatibility Guide

Template Compatibility

FCPX/Motion Template Compatibility Guide

...and how to backdate a template to work in older versions


Whether you need to “backdate” a template to an older version of FCPX, or just curious to see if a template you’re trying to use is compatible with your version of FCPX, the Compatibility Chart below will help you.

People who design templates generally tend to use the latest version of Motion— we have to so we can keep up with all the “latest and greatest” features. What that generally means is that any new template created with the latest version of Motion will only work in the corresponding latest version of Final Cut Pro X.

Always having to use the latest version of Motion is not always convenient since there are plenty of Final Cut users still using older versions for whatever reason like hardware restrictions, project involvement, or even other less honest reasons — I don’t care. I’m not judging. When you’re stuck, you’re stuck and neither Motion nor FCPX has a method of being able to “backdate” templates, even if they are still compatible!

Below is a compatibility guide of all the versions of Final Cut from 10.0 to 10.4 (and hopefully it will be updated as needed) with all the corresponding versions of Motion, plus some other data which will be covered shortly. You can also see their release dates, although some of the dates are only approximate for Motion as it was not always updated on the same days as FCPX in the past, or, so far.

You can also see there were several subsequent subversions released with no change of the other app, for example, FCPX went through versions 10.0.1, to 10.0.3 without a corresponding update in Motion.

Motion Template project files are just XML files which can be opened in any text editor like TextEdit. The first few lines are always exactly like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE ozxmlscene>
<ozml version="5.5">


with the double space between the ozml and displayversion tags. Note that Motion 5.0 and 5.0.1 do NOT have a displayversion tag and the next tag in the file will start after the blank line following the ozml tag. This is as far into these files as you ever need to go.

The (simple?) Rules:

You cannot backdate a template that uses anything that wasn’t available in the target version of FCPX. For example, if your project uses shapes that use Size: Width and Height parameters, this must be converted to Control Points first if you need to backdate to FCPX before 10.2.0.

If you are using 3D Text, you cannot backdate before FCPX 10.2.0, it has no way of “knowing” what 3D Text is. etc.

And there are a lot of these little gotchas you need to be aware of if you’re going to successfully backdate a “modern” motion project for older versions of FCPX.

That said, the majority of “function” in Motion is the same as it was going all the way back to Motion 2.0 over ten years ago. Your chances of success are fairly good!


There are four types of Motion projects used by Final Cut: Effects, Generators, Titles and Transitions and they have the file extensions of: .moef, .motn, .moti and .motr respectively.

The Motion project files can be found inside the folder with the exact same name in the Motion Template’s folder (by class, then by category folder). You can right-click on the template project file and Open With… and choose Text Edit. Make sure TextEdit is in Text Only mode (rtf will mess things up!) It is highly recommended that you move a copy of the template to a safe location before making any edits to the file.

From the compatibility guide below, find your version of Final Cut (or your target version for backdating) and copy the OZML version to the ozml tag value (maintain the quotes!) then copy the DisplayVersion to the displayversion tag (notice the displayversion is exactly the same as the version number of Motion… so far).

You should not change anything else in the file, including the formatting of the XML unless you need to remove the displayversion tag for Motion 5.0 compatibility. Make sure the factory tag moves up to occupy the former displayversion position in the file (one empty line between the ozml tag and the first factory tag).

Save. You’re done. Go into Final Cut and see if it works. If you have a problem, you will probably just end up with a red icon with the Alert badge on it. If that’s the case, delete the template and replace it with your backup (or if you cannot use it, keep it moved out of the Motion Templates location until you upgrade to the current version of Final Cut.)

Apple’s release notes (most major additions will be listed here)

Motion Release Notes
Final Cut Pro X Release Notes

Release DateFCPXMotionOZML vers.Display vers.
06/21/201110.05.05.0no tag
09/09/201110. tag
11/16/201110. tag
01/31/201210. tag

Use our automated backdating tool!

Motion Template Backdater can perform this task for you. Just upload the template, set the version of FCPX you are using and download the backdated version.

Templates uploaded exist only in your browser. They are not saved to the server. This tool is not used to copy uploaded templates.

chaotica 8

Change Project Frame Rates in FCPX the Easy Way?

Change FCPX project frame rates:
Edit the XML file

I have changed the frame rate of an FCPX project using this method successfully. It started after I learned how to alter a Motion project file (also XML) to change the frame rates of projects. I wondered: if I could do it for Motion, if I could also do it with FCPX. Turns out… I could. All assets are automatically conformed to the new project rate.

This is not a supported method and should be considered experimental. If you attempt to do this – you will be doing so at your own risk. [I’m not going to take any responsibility for it. AFAIK, nobody else has attempted this.]

Follow these instructions exactly, and you should get a working project with the new frame rate. (I imagine you can change the size as well, but you can also do that from within FCPX which would be safer.) No knowledge of FCPXML necessary!

Create an “empty” project with the size and framerate you need. Use Custom Settings and set the specific frame rate you require.


File > Export XML.

Export XML on the project requiring the frame rate change.

Open the two XML files in TextEdit (Text Only – no rich text format! I recommend TextWrangler, but TextEdit wlll do… I think.)

Copy the top <format> tag from the “empty” project and replace the tag in your active project.

Save As a different name.

The format tag looks like this in context [it’s at the very top of the file]:

fcpx xml start
FCPX fcpxml opening lines






Just replace the line that starts with <format and ends with /> (exactly! same indent) with the copy from the empty project.

As a warning – make sure you *respect* the original line spacing and indentation in the file. Change only the contents of the <format> tag exactly where it is. Indents are tabs not spaces and indicates “levels”, etc. Changed formatting will invalidate the file. On the other side of this warning, all of the content of the original project seems to work perfectly (I’ve only done this a couple of times.)

File > Import > XML (to a different Event is recommended) the altered XML back into FCPX… You might be asked if you want to replace assets – I recommend you “Keep Both”. You should end up with two distinct projects, one with the old frame rate and one with the new.

That’s all there is to it. If you already have a project with the frame rate (and size) you want to copy over to the project to change, you can skip creating an empty project. Export XML(s). Copy and paste the contents of one line. Save As and import — you’re done.

Good luck.

— Fox

fonts in fcpx

Fonts available inside Final Cut Pro X

Fonts available inside Final Cut Pro X

There are 72 fonts in 53 families inside the Final Cut Pro X application (and in Motion as well).

These fonts are available simply by installing Final Cut Pro and/or Motion 5:

Banco Heavy.ttf
Bank Gothic Light.ttf
Bank Gothic Medium.ttf
Blair Medium.ttf
Bradley Hand Bold.ttf
Brush Script.ttf
Comic Script Extended.ttf
Comic Script Regular.ttf
Edwardian Script.ttf
Flatbush Bold Oblique.ttf
Flatbush Bold.ttf
Forgotten Futurist Bold Italic.ttf
Forgotten Futurist Bold.ttf

Franklin Gothic Demibold.ttf
Gaz Transport.ttf
Goudy Old Style Bold.ttf
Goudy Old Style.ttf
Handwriting Dakota.ttf
Misadventures Black Italic.ttf
Misadventures Black.ttf
Octin Team Heavy.ttf

Paleographic Thin.ttf
Proxima Nova.ttc
Shabash Pro Regular.ttf
Snell Roundhand.ttc
Superclarendon Bold.ttf
Synchro LET.ttf
Zingende Light.ttf
Zingende Regular.ttf

These fonts reside inside the actual application package in what is referred to as resource files. To find these fonts inside FCPX:

Right click on Final Cut Pro in your Applications folder and select Show Package Contents. In the contents window, open Contents, then open Frameworks, then open Flexo.framework. Navigate through Versions > A > Resources > Fonts.

To make these fonts available in other applications in FCPX, it is possible to copy/duplicate the fonts by selecting all the fonts and right-click-dragging the fonts out to another temporary location. Open Font Book and drag all the fonts into a collection (I recommend creating a new Category and name it FCPX Collection).

If you create a separate collection, that collection (whatever you named it) will be available in Apple Motion which allows you to “shortcut” directly to these fonts when working with text for templates. It’s a great time saver and a missing feature inside Final Cut Pro!

Follow Sight-Creations on Twitter and Facebook.

Boxes and Bows 3D Model

More About Santa and Rudolph

3D models in Apple Motion are essentially text. True 3D is only available to text objects and in order to create a model, the parts must be part of a “font”. Character shapes are simply vector shapes and if you know how to create a font, then character shapes can be whatever you need to assemble the “characters” into whatever you can imagine.  If you purchase one of our 3D model projects, you are essentially purchasing a font with a pre-assembled project (generator or Motion project) to go along with it — something you can use right away!

Our latest 3D model is the somewhat cartoonish Santa and Rudolph:

sleigh and reindeer
Santa and Rudolph generator

Designing a human face is an extremely difficult task and would bring the rendering speed of the project down to its knees, so to speak, so Santa and Rudolph had to be simplified.

The point is: this project is basically a font and this post is to let you know that there is a bit more to the font than used in the project.

There are characters to create boxes and bows:

Font characters included to create boxes with fitted lids, and bows.

And included in the font are 21 snowflake designs:

21 snowflake designs included in the font

Snowflake characters can be used to “dress up” the package wrapping or create a snow emitter effect for FCPX.


The original project was intended to be only the sleigh! And then it became much more ambitious, but as it was being developed (and the font was developed first), it became clear that it would be necessary to keep certain things as simple as possible — nobody needs a generator in FCPX that going to take more than ten minutes to render *just* to be able to “play” without skipping too many frames.  The decision was made to stop at Santa and Rudolph. Santa’s bag was simplified to two characters and no attempt was made to decorate the sleigh beyond what is available as basic 3D Substance options.

That doesn’t keep you, the end user, from developing your own projects with this same font. If you purchased Santa and Rudolph, then it’s in your license to do so. This post is to make you aware of the availability of these extras!

If you purchased Santa and Rudolph, you can download this “extras” bundle containing two Motion 5.3 projects that pre-use the characters. The “packageDev” project is depicted in the “boxes” demo image above and uses the characters for the square and elongated boxes and their tops as well as the character used for the “bow” which is developed using a Replicator. The project demonstrates how to colorize the boxes and create a ribbon effect. The three square boxes have the bow linked to the position and rotation of the top and moving the top in 3D space will keep the bow in position. That task is a little more difficult with the oblong box and these demos have not been fully developed yet. The snowflake demo is set up with a replicator: each character is set up as a single sequential frame within a group which is cloned. The clone is replicated so that the sequence can be played like video. If you change the replicator to an emitter, you can create your own snowstorm with each flake appearing in random order, just like in real life.

Please remember that your use of any of our model fonts have licensing restrictions. You can create whatever you like from them, you just cannot sell or distribute the fonts in any way.

Santa and Rudolph 3D

Free Santa and Rudolph clip

Comic Book SC Effect

Introducing a new FCPX effect: Comic Book SC

Introducing a new FCPX effect

Comic Book SC

Literally years in the making. I’ve been after this effect for a long time. I finally had to build a custom halftoning effect for this template and it turned out very nicely. There’s a video preview demo below; check it out. I have to self host the video because neither YouTube nor Vimeo would handle it and it may have to pause occasionally (it’s a very large file of 356MB at 28mbits/sec). I must have encoded almost a dozen versions! I was able to make a passable version for YouTube, but it requires viewing in 4K format (4K allows up to 45Mbps bit rate for 30p and the encoding worked out fairly well u2014 not great u2014 passable u2014 barely). Not useful for mobile devices or people with slower internet connections. My self-hosted video isn’t that friendly either but at least you can right click on it and download it for viewing locally, or wait for it to load in the player. Once loaded, you can watch it over and over again at full speed (and the player automatically resizes to fit your browser window).

Please don’t buy this effect expecting to create cool YouTube or Vimeo videos… they won’t fly. This is a more pro level video effect, not because I think it’s so good (although I do), but because of the encoding requirements to make it look… right.

Check out some of these stills taken directly from the FCPX storyline!


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

Use 3D Titles for the 3D orientation onscreen control

A Simple Trick with FCPX Titles

A Simple Trick With FCPX Titles

Rotating Title text in FCPX

You will need FCPX 10.2.x in order to make use of this tip.

[ QuickTools has been upgraded, enhanced and greatly expanded by SC KeyFX! ]

I’ve created dozens (if not more than 100) titles for FCPX, but for my own personal use, 95% or more of the time I just simply add a Basic Title to my storyline as needed. If you’re familiar with Basic Title (and you should be!) you’ll know that there are no parameters available. One of the features of Basic Title is that the Title Background is absent. This Title Background is a placeholder used in developing Titles in Apple Motion to represent the content of the storyline in FCPX (or more accurately, the content of *everything* video/image related beneath the title in the storyline). Something to keep in mind as I’ll get back to that later.

The behavior of Basic Title in the storyline is that you can click on the text in the canvas and drag it around to place it in the scene. You cannot keyframe the motion to create an animation in this way. Keyframing animation is not the important point of this story, it’s just a point of note.

What this article is about is a “trick” to be able to *rotate* the text in 3D space to arrange it in the scene. It should work in any Title or Generator that includes editable text in the canvas.

With the Title selected in the storyline, click on the Text tab of the Inspector. Activate 3D Text (you can turn it back off afterwards!)


3D Text - not selected
3D Text Select

Go back into the canvas and mouse over the text area. You should see an outline appear:

Title Selection

Click *once* inside the rectangle. You should see a 3D control appear:

3D Title OSCs

Clicking and dragging inside the circles will allow you to rotate the text in 3D space. The top circle is the X-axis rotation (a red “great circle” will appear when activated). The left circle will be the Y-axis rotation (its great circle is green). The right circle will be the Z-axis rotation (and its great circle is blue).

3D Title Control

If you hold down the command and option keys, you can coax all the great circles to appear and stay on allowing a floating rotation control with the mouse in all directions at once.

You may not like or need a 3D look to the text so you can turn 3D Text back off to restore the 2D text and the orientation will remain as in the example frame below. This is a great tool to help align text along perspective planes inside video. It’s not perfect but seems to be convincing enough most of the time. To make it work better — if you have Motion — you could publish the Camera: Angle of View parameter and possibly the Camera: Distance (Position.Z) to emphasize parallax views.

Integrating Titles Into the Scene

The second part of this article is about taking the technique to another level, that have having it appear integrated into the scene — to have action move in front of the text. Take a look at the examples in this video:

QuickMask is part of the QuickTools Effects sold on this site and on my store on Creative Market. The mask only works in this fashion on Titles that have their Title Background placeholder disabled. You can download a *FREE* Basic Title with Parameters title/template here ( which will allow you to animate the title in the canvas without having to use the Transform parameters for the entire “layer.” You are able to keyframe rotation using the onscreen 3D controls, and although the position parameters respond to onscreen control movement, you must manually keyframe the Position parameters (for some unknown reason) as onscreen control changes for position are ignored in FCPX.

The power of QuickMask is based on the newly included feature of “effects masks” in FCPX. For an overview of Effects Masks watch this video:


As it turns out, effects can be used on Titles as well and if a title has no background placeholder in use then this visual effect can be accomplished with QuickMask. The masks are easily animated/keyframed making creating the effects shown in the top video possible. The downside is that you have to manually “track” the masks. The upside: manual tracking is usually faster (although more tedious) than automatic tracking — and considerably less expensive! Note: since this technique only works on Titles with no Title Background layer, the Color Mask option is useless (unless you use it directly on the text).


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FCPX Commands - Play Rate

FCPX Editing Tip — J,K,L and beyond

FCPX Editing Tip — J,K,L and beyond

Most people know that the J, K, and L keys can be used to skim video in FCPX. It’s been around since… Quicktime Pro (I don’t even know which version!) The ‘K’ key always stops playback. Typing ‘J’ will play in reverse in whatever frame rate your project is [i.e. -1x time.] A double tap on J will set playback at -2x speed. Triple tap: -4x speed. Up to 6 taps on the key will send the speed all the way up to -32x playback. That’s fast. The same is true using the ‘L’ key, except in the forward direction.

The problem is, if you 5-tap the L key (16x forward) and you want to slow down to 2x forward, you have to Stop (K) and restart with a double-tap on the L key.

There is another way.

Type Command-Option-K to call up the Command Editor.
In the Search field at the top right, search for “play rate” (without the quotes, of course).

In the Command List > Command section, you will see a listing of all the play rate speeds: Play Rate -1, Play Rate -2, …,
Play Rate -32, then Play Rate 1, Play Rate 2, etc… to Play Rate 32.

You can assign any available key combination that you like, that is convenient for you, but I’d like to suggest:

Reverse Speeds:
Play Rate -1     →   Command-Control-Shift-keypad 1
Play Rate -2     →   Command-Control-Shift-keypad 2
Play Rate -4     →   Command-Control-Shift-keypad 3

Play Rate -32    →   Command-Control-Shift-keypad 6

Forward Speeds:
Play Rate 1     →   Command-Option-Control-keypad 1
Play Rate 2     →   Command-Option-Control-keypad 2
Play Rate 4     →   Command-Option-Control-keypad 3

Play Rate -32    →   Command-Option-Control-keypad 6

Select the Command and hold down the modifier keys and type the number value on the keypad (laptop users use the regular number keys.)

The spacebar will always stop playback as well as the K key.

Now when skimming through your video, you can change speeds in one action and go immediate from one speed to another without having to stop and restart the process each time you want to change speeds.

FCPX Commands - Play Rate
comand editor

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