FCPX Animation Tools


I’ve been envious of the plugins that FCPX has had since its inception. The one thing that amazes me about the Final Cut Pro X ecosystem is the availability of plugins that allow you to create amazing things right inside the program; otherwise difficult in other NLEs. With effects and transitions being based on Motion templates, developers sprang out of the woodwork and seized the opportunity to offer products that would streamline the editing and motion graphics creation that a user could perform within FCPX. The creative possibilities put FCPX above most NLEs in the market. I want to highlight a selection of animation plugins from a variety of vendors which streamline user abilities to create animation inside of Final Cut Pro X



This product is a collection of self animating icons and modular elements that you can use in FCPX. Created by the team from MotionVFX, these elements are easy to combine and modify within FCPX. This product is great for doing quick infographics without having to create elements from scratch. What I like about this product is that it’s based on title layers, which offer infinite creative possibilities. There are so many parameters to modify that you don’t need to settle for default animations. This product currently comes in two different categories: Corporate and Essentials. At the price of $49 each, it’s a no brainer purchase for quick infographic based animations.

Callouts 2.0


Created by the team at Ripple Training, Callouts is a Final Cut Pro X plugin that gives you the power of emphasis to remove distractions and draw your audience’s attention exactly where you want it focused. This is a great product for projects where you have to highlight tips for training, or to emulate the pop up look from VH-1’s Pop Up video. Using the FxFactory application, you gain access to 22 callouts which can be used immediately in FCPX. Working as title based effects, you can modify the color, position, gloss, and other parameters for whichever callout you choose.

Story Pop


A new plugin to the growing FxFactory product line, Stupid Raisins’s Story Pop is a collection of over 400 animated and customizable Final Cut Pro X whiteboard style drawings designed for HD. Built to emulate the look of a cartoonist drawing characters from scratch, this animation plugin allows you to pop your story with authentic looking hand drawn whiteboard sketches. I believe this plugin is good for voiceover commercials and illustrating facts with a creative flair. I can see it used for start up companies explaining how their business model works to prospective customers.

Object Animator


Object Animator is a powerful tool that allows you to quickly add animations to any element on your timeline by simply choosing an option from a drop-down menu. Equipped with over 80 options, Object Animator can save you hours of time, helping you to avoid key-framing animations you commonly do as an editor. I like this animation quite a bit because it comes with an array of animation options that would be rather difficult to do using keyframes in FCPX. One of the biggest benefits of Object Animator is how easy it is to animate your elements onto the timeline. Equipped with axis controls, on screen controls, reflections, and more, this animation tool offers endless possibilities for achieving professional animations in very little time.



Projection allows FCPX editors to project a 2D image onto a 3D room. Then with a 3D camera, editors can pan, tilt, and dolly around their environment to observe it from unique and interesting perspectives. This animation tool is great for visual effects artists who need to create 3D backgrounds, or editors who need to project text in a 3D environment. They can take their 2D images, manipulate the paramaters, and have a 3D scene in little time. I believe this plugin is a great animation tool for FCPX users because it reduces the amount of time you would ship this out to something like AE or Motion to achieve projection mapping.

Overall, these are just a few tools that allow editors to achieve complex animations within FCPX without much hassle. I would recommend you check out each vendor for more products that may assist in your editing needs.

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Swap Slide Transition in Premiere


One of the many tips I learned when I started editing was to be observant of things I see on the screen. When I wanted to learn how to recreate a transition, effect, or animation and there was no tutorial or breakdown available, I would watch the example over and over to fill in the pieces. By doing that, I learned how to create my own effects transitions in various editing applications as well as how to turn those into successful tutorials. What I’ve recently learned how to do in Premiere is how to create over/under transitions that I was used to seeing in FCP 7. The first one I did was a Sliding Page Transition. I was able to break it down by observing a video clip I saw online into its essential elements. In short, it was nothing more than animating the scale and position parameters, switching clips on their original video tracks and adding a quick gradient behind it. Once I put the pieces together, it was simple to recreate it. I took a similar approach for this transition as well.

The next transition I will show you how to do a Swap Slide. This transition involves swapping your outgoing clip with your incoming clip.

Swap Slide Transition Setup

First, you want to have two clips on your timeline like the picture below.

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 3.11.58 PM

Next, add keyframes for position on both clips. For the clip on track 1, I’ll add a keyframe for position at its default value.

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 3.42.31 PM

Let’s move 13 frames forward and add another keyframe with the clip moved to right, almost offscreen.

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 3.44.34 PM

Move 12 frames forward and change the position value back to the default.

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 3.45.43 PM

Now, we need to add the same amount of keyframes to the clip on track 2 as well but instead of moving it to the right, we will move it to the left. Follow these screenshots as a reference.

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 3.47.21 PM

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Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 4.08.29 PM

The final step in creating this transition is a blade edit and swap the video clips. First, let’s make a blade edit on the second keyframe of each clip.

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 4.10.01 PM

Move the clip on track 1 to track 2. Do the reverse for the clip on track 2.

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 4.11.16 PM

If you do all that, you will get a result that looks like this.

There you have it. Another over/under transition for the FCP converts who now use Premiere. If you want the transition to happen sooner, you can change the timing of the keyframes to your liking. If you are PC user, this tutorial may not be relevant as this transition still exists in the Slide category. If you want an option to purchase a package that has this actual transition, you can get the Genarts Sapphire package or BorisFX’s RED package. Both of them offer this transition with in their vast categories. While they are great to have, they can be expensive if you don’t have the budget, so purchase wisely.

I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

Sound Effects

Sliding Page Transition in Premiere Pro

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One of the many things that amazes and intrigues me are the animations that you can find in commonly used devices. Everything from your smartphone, computer and gaming system provide unique ways of navigating their respective interfaces. One of the animations I enjoy seeing on my iPhone is the new page animation when using Safari. The current page you are on will scale down, shift to the left and a new page will come in and take over the screen. I’m going to show you how to create that animation in Premiere. A transition like this exists within the FxFactory collection so check that out if you want to add that to your arsenal.

In Premiere Pro, I have a 1080p timeline with 2 clips on top of each other

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I’m going to set up the animation for the clip on Track 2. Let’s move 15 frames into the clip. Next, set a keyframe for scale at 100. Move 10 frames forward and change the value to 75 on the scale parameter.

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Before we move it offscreen to the left, let’s scale and position our clip on Track 1. I’ll scale it down to 75 as well and position it so there is a small gap between the clips.

 photo Screenshot2013-02-28at90819PM_zpsb192ba95.png

Let’s animate our clip on Track 2 offscreen to the left. I’ll set a keyframe for position about 5 frames from my last scale keyframe at its default value. Move 10 frames forward and position the clip until only a small piece remains on screen.

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Go back to the first position keyframe. Highlight the clip on Track 1. Set a keyframe for position at its current value. Move 10 frames forward and change the value to its default position.

 photo Screenshot2013-02-28at91527PM_zpsd3b360e1.png

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Move 10 frames forward. Set a keyframe for scale at its current value of 75. Move 10 frames forward change the scale back to 100.

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I’ll add a Solid Composite filter to both clips. For the clip on Track 2, change the blending mode to multiply. Set a keyframe for opacity at 45 where the last scale keyframe is at. Move back 5 frames and set another keyframe with a value of 0. Copy the filter. Move to the clip on Track 1. Paste the Solid Composite filter. Delete the keyframes for opacity leaving it with a value of 45.

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This next step is crucial to sell the animation. Move the playhead 3 frames forward from the last position keyframe on Track 2. Make an edit. Place the clip on Track 1 on Track 2 and the clip on Track 2 on Track 1.

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With the playhead at the edit point, set a keyframe for opacity in the Solid Composite filter. Move 5 frames forward and change the value to 0.

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One thing before we proceed. Change all keyframes you set to Auto Bezier to get a smoother animation.

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The final piece of the puzzle is a gradient background. Highlight your clips and move them one track up. Create a gradient background in the Title Tool or use a gradient from Photoshop. Place the gradient on Track 1 and make sure it’s the length of your clips.

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This is what the final result looks like.

That’s how you make this over and under transition in Premiere Pro. As I said before, this is based on a transition from Noise Industries which is available for Premiere Pro CS6 on Mac. Try this out and see if you can take it a step further. I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

Adobe Premiere Pro: Multi-Matte Transition

Adobe Premier Pro Logo

In the amount of time I have spent learning the art of editing, compositing and motion graphics, I have come up with a way to breakdown how certain effects and transitions are created. They are usually created with combination of the following: keyframes, mattes and/or filters. To put this theory to the test, I am going to show you how to create a transition that uses multiple mattes, keyframes and filters inside Premiere Pro. Let’s get started.

I have two clips in my timeline with a frame rate of 23.976 and the sequence is 720p. I’m going to make an edit at the end of the first clip for 12 frames and at the beginning of the second clip as well. If you are working with footage that is 30 or 60 fps, then you will want 15-30 frames from both of your clips so they equal one second.

Two Clips with Edits

Next, highlight your edits and nest them into a sequence.

Two Clips Nested

For the second clip in your nested sequence, apply the horizontal flip filter on it. We’ll be using the Basic 3D filter down the line and whenever you rotate a clip 180 degrees, it will face a different way. If you have the horizontal flip applied prior to the Basic 3D filter, this will offset it.

Horizontal Flip Filter

Horizontal Flip Applied

Let’s return to the main sequence. We will need a total of 8 video tracks to make this transition happen so let’s add a few more.

Main Sequence

To achieve this transition, I used a multi-layered Photoshop file, which I provided in 720p and 1080p. Import the file as individual layers when you bring it into Premiere Pro.

Import PSD as Individual Layers

Highlight your nested sequence. Go to the effects browser and type Track Matte. Apply the filter to the nest. Go back to the browser and type Basic 3D. Apply that to the nest as well.

Track Matte Key

Track Matte Applied

Basic 3D Filter

All Filters Applied

Place layer 1 from the Photoshop file on track 2. With the nested sequence selected, go to the effect controls panel. Set the matte option to Video 2. Set a keyframe for swivel at the beginning of your clip with a value of 0. Advance 12 frames forward and change the swivel to 90. Advance 9 frames forward and change the swivel to 180.

Layer 1 Track Matte

Layer 1 First Keyframe

Layer 1 Second Keyframe

Layer 1 Third Keyframe

To save time from reinventing the wheel, let’s highlight the nested sequence and layer 1. Hold down option and drag up to create a duplicate. Option drag layer 2 on top of layer 1 on track 4 to replace it. With your nest on track 3 selected, change the matte to Video 4. Move the first swivel keyframe 5 frames forward. Move the second swivel keyframe 1 frame forward and change the value to -90. Move the third swivel keyframe 1 frame forward and change the value to -180.

Layer 2 in Timeline

Layer 2 First Keyframe

Layer 2 Second Keyframe

Layer 2 Third Keyframe

Transition Progress 1

Let’s highlight the nest and layer on tracks 1 & 2 and option drag duplicates onto track 5 and 6. Option drag layer 3 onto the layer 1 duplicate to replace it. Next, change the matte on the track 5 nest to Video 6. Shift the first swivel keyframe 7 frames forward. Shift the second swivel keyframe 3 frames forward. Shift the third swivel keyframe 2 frames forward.

Layer 3 in Timeline

Layer 3 First Keyframe

Layer 3 Second Keyframe

Layer 3 Third Keyframe

Transition Progress 2

Let’s repeat the same steps I did above only this time highlight the nest and layer on tracks 3 & 4. Option drag duplicates onto tracks 7 and 8. Next, option drag layer 4 onto the layer 2 duplicate to replace it. Change the matte of the nest on track 7 to Video 8. Move the first swivel keyframe 2 frames forward. Move the second keyframe 1 frame back. Finally, move the third keyframe 1 frame forward.

Layer 4 in Timeline

Layer 4 First Keyframe

Layer 4 Second Keyframe

Layer 4 Third Keyframe

Transition Progress 3

If you did it right your final result should look something like this.

This transition was inspired by the MTransition 2 transition collection of MotionVFX. If you want a different shape than rectangles, you can create mattes in Photoshop to your liking. Third party plugins from Genarts and NewBlue FX tend to operate on these principles for most of their effects. It looks like this transition proved my earlier theory that most effects/transitions can be broken down into 3 essential elements: keyframes, mattes and/or filters. So the next time you see an effect you want to replicate, break it down with these parameters.

I’m the NLE Ninja with Audio Micro asking you to stay creative.

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