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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #37

Motion paths and Bezier Curves By Stephen Schleicher

In this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip, we take a look at motion paths and how create them in any version (3.0+) of Final Cut Pro.  In addition to looking at keyframe creation, Ill show you how smooth the motion with Bezier Curves.

If you havent created a motion keyframe before there are two ways you can do it.  The first is in the Motion Tab of the Viewer Window.  The buttons with the diamonds in the center represent turning keyframes on or off at that moment in time (the official name is Insert/Delete Keyframe Button).  If you are familiar with Adobe After Effects, this is similar to the Stop Watch icon that allows you to create a new keyframe.

The good thing is, once you have created an initial keyframe, you no longer have to click on the Insert/Delete Keyframe Button, as long as you follow this simple rule:  ?Time then Position.  In other words, once the initial keyframe is created all you have to do is move the Timeline Indicator to a new moment in time, and then move the video layer to a new position.

The second way you can create a keyframe for a layer is by using the keyboard shortcut Control+K.  If you want to simultaneously create keyframes for all parameters (Scale, Rotation, Center, Anchor Point, Crop, Distort, and Opacity), click on the Insert/Delete Keyframe Button in the Canvas Window.

Once you have several keyframes created you can jump back and forth between the keyframes by using the previous and next arrows in the Motion Tab or use the keyboard shortcuts Shift+K (next keyframe) and Option+K (previous keyframe).

While you can adjust the position (Center) of your video layer in the Motion Tab of the Viewer Window, it is so much easier to click and drag the layer to the exact place you want it in the Canvas Window.  In order to do this, you need to change your Canvas View to Image+Wireframe, or if you have a large number of video layers, or a slow system, you can change the view to simply Wireframe.

When you have Image+Wireframe turned on, you can still see your video, and the motion path for the selected track.

Lets walk through a simple exercise in creating a spiral motion path for a video layer.

Step 1:  With Final Cut Pro open, select a clip and add it to your Timeline.  In my example, I have placed the clip in Video Track 2 with a simple gradient in Video Track 1.

Step 2:  Double click the clip in the Timeline to load it in the Viewer Window.  Switch to the Motion Tab.

Step 3:  In the Canvas Window change the view to Image+Wireframe, and then change the magnification to 50% as well.  This will allow us to see outside the Canvas.

Step 4:  Under the Motion Tab, change the Scale amount to 50.

Step 5:  With the Timeline Indicator at the beginning of the Timeline, drag the video layer (in the Canvas Window), to the upper left, outside the visible range (see image below).


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Related Keywords:Final Cut Pro, schleicher, motion path, bezier curve, apple, motion graphics, Final Cut Pro Quick Tip

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