Motion Templates in Final Cut Pro

In this article I’m talking about using Motion templates in Final Cut Pro. To do this, you need to create the templates in Motion and publish them to Final Cut. I’m always looking for ways to work faster, without compromising on quality. One way of doing that is to make custom templates. You can make them for the following assets you like to use in Final Cut:

  • Titles
  • Generators
  • Effects
  • Transitions

Personally I don’t create my own transitions or effects, but I do have a ton of generators and titles.

Here you’ll find step-by-step guides to making templates, so you can follow along if you like. In the section on Generators, you can download a mostly done Motion project. I’ll also show you how to complete it by including a 3D model. This can either be from the 3D Objects library, or one you’ve imported as a USDZ file.

Template Locations in Final Cut Pro

Before we get started, let’s just remind ourselves where the templates will show up in Final Cut Pro. Open the Final Cut Pro app. On the left of the interface, open the Titles and Generators sidebar. As the name suggests, this is where you’ll find all the titles and generators we can use in our edits. When you create a Title or Generator template in Motion and publish it to FCP, this is where it will be listed. You can select a category you’ve already made or you can create a new one.

Over on the far right, just above the timeline, you’ll find buttons to open the Effects and Transitions browsers. So, if you create an effect, you’ll find it in the Effects Browser. If you create a transition, it’ll be in the Transitions Browser. Again, you can create a new category or use one you’ve already made.

Effect Template

To start with I’ll show you how to create a vintage lens effect in Motion and publish it to Final Cut. As you probably know, an effect is something that changes the appearance of the whole clip.

Making the Effect Template in Motion

Motion project browser
Motion Project Browser

When you launch Motion, you see the Project Browser, with various options for making a new project. Choose Final Cut Effect. These are the settings I use, but you might want to change them for your particular project:

  • Preset: 4K – Ultra HD
  • Frame rate: 24 fps (frames per second)
  • Duration: 10 seconds

The duration of an effect doesn’t actually matter that much. When you apply it to a clip, it’ll take its duration from the clip.

Once you’ve happy with your settings, click Open. This takes you to the Motion interface.

Motion interface
Motion interface

From the Zoom menu above the Viewer, select Fit, so you can see the full frame.

Take a look in the Project panel to see the objects in the default Effect template. There’s a Group and inside that, the Effect Source object. The Effect Source is a placeholder for your effect and is represented in the Viewer by the grey image with a down pointing arrow. Rename the Group to something more memorable. As we’re making a Vintage Lens effect, call it Vintage Lens.

Effects Source placeholder
Effect Source placeholder

For this example, let’s keep the effect fairly simple. You’re going to combine three Motion filters to create the Vintage Lens template. You’ll do that by applying the filters to the Effect Source object.

Adding a Radial Blur Filter to an Object in Motion

  • In the Project pane, select the Effect Source.
  • From the Filters menu (top of interface) choose the Blur category and then the Radial Blur filter.

The filter is applied to the Effect Source object.

  • On the left of the interface, open the Inspector.
  • In the Project pane, make sure the Radial Blur filter is selected. In the Inspector you can see the parameters for the filter.
  • By dragging up and down on the value of Angle, you can see the effect changing.

Adding a Prism Filter

Let’s add another filter:

  • From the Filters menu, choose the Blur category and then the Prism filter. In the Viewer you can see a small arrow. This is an on-screen control.
  • Drag the arrow and you’ll see the Prism filter in action.

It creates separation between the image’s colour channels. And as you move the arrow, you’ll see both the Amount and Angle parameters changing in the Inspector.

Adding a Bulge Filter

Apply the last filter:

  • From the Filters menu, choose the Distortion category and then the Bulge filter. In the Viewer, you’ll see a white circle. This is an on-screen control.
  • Drag the white circle larger or smaller to increase or decrease the Bulge effect. In the Inspector, you can see this also changes the Amount parameter.

Stacking Order of Filters

The stacking order of filters, dictates the order in which they’re applied. Take a look in the Project pane to see how they’re staked. In this case Radial Blur is applied first, then Prism and then Bulge. Altering the stacking order can change the appearance of the effect. Try the filters in a different order, you can always Undo if you don’t like the results.

Save and Publish the Motion Template for Final Cut Pro

Before you can see how the effect looks in Final Cut, you need to save it and assign it to a category:

  • From the File menu, choose Save As.
  • You need to give the Template a name. Call it Vintage Lens.

From the Category drop-down menu you can create a new category, or use one you’ve already made.

  • Choose New Category and name your category.
  • Click Create.
  • And then click Publish.

This publishes the project as an Effect and makes it available in Final Cut Pro.

Viewing the Effect in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro interface
Final Cut Pro interface

To see how the effect looks and behaves, open Final Cut Pro and make sure you have a clip on the timeline. Next you’ll apply the Vintage Lens effect you created.

  • On the right of the interface, just above the timeline, click the Effects Browser button.
  • In the Effects Browser, select the category you created.
  • Apply the Vintage Lens effect by dragging it onto your clip.

Although you might like the effect, chances are you’ll want to make adjustments. However there aren’t any controls for changing the effect. If you go to the Video Inspector in Final Cut Pro, you’ll see the Vintage Lens effect listed. But it doesn’t have any controls. You can change that by returning to Motion and publishing some of the filter parameters.

Publishing Parameters in Motion

Back in Motion, click on the Radial Blur filter in the Project pane. This brings up its parameters in the Inspector.

Publishing a Radial Blur Parameter

Start by publishing the Angle parameter:

  • Hover your cursor to the right of the Angle slider.
  • When the white arrow appears, click on this to open a menu.
  • From the menu, select Publish.

Before we publish any more parameters, you can get an idea of how the controls will look in Final Cut.

  • In the Project pane, click the Project layer at the very top.
  • And in the Inspector, click on the Project tab.

Here you can see the parameter you published, which was Angle from the Radial Blur filter. You can rename the parameter to make its purpose more obvious. Double-click the word Angle and change it to Blur Angle.

Continue publishing parameters and renaming them as you go.

Publishing Prism Parameters

Select the Prism filter in the Project pane. From its parameters in the Inspector, publish Amount and Angle. To the right of each of these settings, click the white arrow and choose Publish.

Once again, view and rename these parameters. At the top of the Project pane, select the Project layer. In the Inspector, click the Project tab. Rename Amount to Prism Amount. Rename Angle to Prism Angle.

Publishing Bulge Parameters

Finally let’s publish a couple of the parameters from the Bulge filter. Select Bulge in the Project pane and publish the Amount and Scale parameters.

Select the Project layer once again and then the Project tab in the Inspector. Rename Amount to Bulge Amount. Rename Scale to Bulge Scale.

How the parameters appear in the Project tab reflects how they’ll look in Final Cut Pro. If you want to change the order of the listed parameters, you can drag them up or down.

Publishing an OSC (On-screen Control)

All three of the filters you’ve used have on-screen controls. These can be published to make them visible in the Viewer in Final Cut Pro.

Click on one of the filters in the Project pane. This lists all filters and their parameters in the Inspector. You can see that each has a Publish OSC check box. Don’t do this for all the filters, only check the box for Bulge.

From the File menu choose Save. When you save a published template, any changes you make in Motion are automatically carried over to Final Cut.

Adjusting Template Parameters in Final Cut

To see if the parameters you published are working, jump back into Final Cut Pro. Because you made changes to the Effect in Motion, you need to reapply it to the clip.

  • On the timeline, select the clip.
  • In the Video Inspector, select and delete the older version of the Vintage Lens effect.
  • Then from the Effects Browser, drag the new version of the effect onto the clip.
  • In the Video Inspector, hover your cursor over the Vintage Lens effect.
  • When SHOW appears, click on it to reveal the parameters.

You can see the parameters you published in Motion. Drag the sliders or drag over the value numbers to see the settings change. Because you also published the Bulge OSC (on-screen control), you can drag the white circle in the Viewer to adjust the Bulge amount.

Another thing you can do to enhance an effect is add a mask.

  • In the Video Inspector, go to the title bar of Vintage Lens and click the Mask button.
  • From the menu, choose Add Shape Mask.

In the Viewer, you can see the mask has been applied. The effect only appears inside the mask area. To make it appear on the outside, return to the Mask menu and choose Invert Mask. The effect is now outside the mask area. To adjust the shape, size and softness of the mask, use the on-screen controls.

So, that was a fairly simple Effects template. You created the effect and saved it to a category. If you make more, you can save them to the same category. So when you open the Effects Browser in Final Cut, you know where to find them. You also published parameters in Motion, making them available to use in Final Cut Pro. If you ever need to edit the effect, right-click on it and choose Open in Motion.

Transition Template

The next type of template we’ll look at is the Transition. As you probably know, a transition is something we place on the edit point between two clips. It’s a way of moving from one shot to another. The transition you’re most familiar with is Cross Dissolve. This is where one clip fades out while another fades in over a set period of time. It’s usually a second, but you can change the duration of a transition to make it faster or slower.

  • If you already have a project open in Motion, go to the File menu and choose Close.
  • Open the File menu again and choose New.
  • In the Project Browser, choose Final Cut Transition.
  • Make sure the Preset is 4K – Ultra HD.
  • For the frame rate choose 24fps (or whatever you prefer).
  • Set the duration to 1 second.

This sets the default duration of the transition. But once you apply the transition in Final Cut, you can make it longer or shorter.

  • Click Open
  • Once the main interface appears, select Fit from the Zoom menu (above the Canvas)

When Motion opens, you’ll see the default layout for a Transition template. As you know a transition moves us from one clip to another. The object called Transition A represents the outgoing clip and Transition B is the incoming clip. I’m going to make it so that B swings in over A. I’m also going to have another panel that swings in as part of this transition.

  • Select the Group containing the transition objects and rename it Side Swing.
  • Next change the order of the objects. In the Project Pane or the Timeline, drag Transition B above Transition A.

Extend the duration of the transition objects so there’s enough time for the animation:

  • Drag the edge of B so it starts at 6 frames.
  • Drag the edge of A so it ends at 16 frames.

Move the Anchor Point for Transition B

At the moment Transition B rotates around its centre. To create the animation I want, I need it to rotate from the top-right corner. To make this happen I need to change the position of the Anchor Point and then reposition Transition B. Each object has an Anchor Point, this is the point around which an object rotates and from where it scales.

  • With Transition B selected, open the Inspector and then the Properties tab.
  • Click the arrow to the left of Anchor Point to expend the settings.

Below are the numbers to use if used the 4K – Ultra HD preset. If your resolution is different, then you’ll need to work out the correct values. For the X position, you need to take the width in pixels and divide by two. With the Y position, take the height in pixels and divide by two.

  • X parameter of the Anchor Point: 1920
  • Y parameter of the Anchor Point: 1080.

The anchor point is in the top right corner of Transition B. But changing the anchor point has moved the object. Next, move it back into place.

  • Expand the Position settings for Transition B.
  • For the X position, enter 1920.
  • For the Y position, enter 1080.

We can see that Transition B is back in position and the Anchor point is in the top-right corner.

Create the Swing Animation

Next we’ll create the swing animation.

  • In the Inspector, expand the Rotation settings for Transition B.
  • Set the Z rotation to 90º.

To see what this has achieved, choose 25% from the Zoom menu. You can see that Transition B has been rotated 90º, so it’s outside of the frame.

  • In the Project Pane, select Transition B.
  • From the Behaviors menu, choose the Basic Motion category and then the Spin behaviour. This applies Spin to the Transition B object.
  • Drag the end of the behaviour, so it lines up with the end of Transition A. This covers the area where the two transition objects overlap.
  • Select the Spin behaviour. This reveals its parameters in the Inspector.
  • Set Increment to: Ramp to Final Value
  • Set Spin To as: -90º
  • In the Timeline, enable looped playback
  • Hit the Spacebar to play the transition

You can see Transition B swinging into place.

The Second Swinging Panel

To make the transition more exciting, I’ll add another swinging panel.

  • Select the Library tab.
  • Then choose Generators from the list.
  • Grab a Color Solid generator and drag it onto the Side Swing group. This places it at the top of the group.
  • Drag Transition B above the Color Solid.
  • Select the Color Solid. To see its parameters, choose the Inspector tab and then the Generator panel.
  • Click on the colour swatch and change the colour from blue to white.
  • Trim the Color Solid so it starts 1 frame before Transition B.

Copy Settings from One Object to Another

You need to change the anchor point, position and rotation of the Color Solid. But that’s easy to do, because you’ve already done it to Transition B.

  • Select Transition B.
  • In the Inspector, choose the Properties panel.
  • Grab the Anchor Point parameters and drag them onto the Color Solid. This copies the anchor point settings from Transition B to the Color Solid.
  • Drag the Position parameters onto the Color Solid.
  • And finally, grad the Z rotation parameter and drag it onto the Color Solid.

Now all those settings from Transition B have been copied to the Color Solid.

Duplicating a Behaviour

Next you need to take the Spin behaviour from Transition B and apply it to the Color Solid.

  • Right-click the Spin behaviour and select Duplicate.
  • Drag Spin copy onto the Color Solid.
  • Move the whole behaviour one frame to the left so it lines up with the start of the Color Solid.

Now when we play the transition, you can see that the white panel swings into place one frame before Transition B.

Publish the Colour Parameter

I’m going to publish one parameter for this transition and that’s the colour of that swinging panel.

  • I’ll select the Color Solid.
  • In the Inspector, I’ll choose the Generator panel.
  • To the right of Color, I’ll click the arrow and choose Publish.

Save the Transition Template

Before you can see how the transition looks in Final Cut Pro, you need to save it and assign it to a category.

  • From the File menu, choose Save As.
  • Call the template Side Swing.
  • Create a new category or use one you’ve already made. Click create.
  • Click Publish.

Viewing the Transition in Final Cut Pro

In Final Cut, you can apply the transition and see how it looks. You need to have at least two clips on the timeline, so you can create a transition.

  • On the far right of the interface, just above the timeline, click the Transition Browser icon.
  • In the Transition Browser, click on the category you assigned.
  • Drag Side Swing onto the edit point between two of the clips.
  • Play it to see how it looks.
  • Drag one edge of the transition to make it longer (slower) or shorter (faster).

Adjusting the Colour Parameter

While in Motion, you published the colour parameter. Let’s see how you can use this in Final Cut Pro.

  • On the timeline, position the playhead in the middle of the transition, so you can see the white panel in mid swing.
  • With the transition selected, its settings appear in the Inspector.
  • Click the colour swatch and select a different colour.
  • Play the transition to see it in action with the new colour.

This was a basic example of a transition. With practice you could create more complex templates.

Improving the Transition Timing

While the transition works well, you might have noticed that nothing happens for the first few frames and the last few frames. This shows my inexperience with creating custom transitions! Fortunately, I’m a quick learner. Here’s a quick guide to using more of the transition time to create the swing animation.

  • Right-click Side Swing in the Transition Browser.
  • From the pop-up menu, choose Open in Motion.
  • The transition opens in Motion.
  • Drag the right edge of Transition B so that it ends on the last frame (at the Out point on the timeline).
  • Drag the left edge of Transition A so that it starts at frame 1. Note that the first frame is frame 0.
  • Make sure the Spin extends the length of Transition B.
  • Drag the left edge of Color Solid so it starts at frame 0. Drag the right edge of Color Solid so it ends on the last frame.
  • Make sure Spin copy extends the length of Color Solid.

This doesn’t change the look of the transition, but it makes better use of the 1 second duration.

Title Template

As the names suggests, you can use the Titles template to create custom text effects and publish them for Final Cut. Once again, you need to start with a new Motion project. In the Project Browser select Final Cut Title. Make sure the Preset is 4K – Ultra HD. Set the frame rate to 24fps, or whatever you prefer. Make the duration 10 seconds. Then click Open.

From the Zoom menu choose Fit to see the full frame in the Canvas.

In the default Title template, we’ve got two objects, Type Text Here and Title Background. What’s really cool about the Title Background is it represents the visible image under the text. So any filters applied to the Title Background will be applied to the clip under the title in Final Cut. You’ll soon see how you can use this to create very interesting effects.

Creating the Title

You can see the Text object at the bottom-left of the Canvas. Right now it doesn’t look very exciting, but you can quickly change this with some styling.

  • Select the Type Text Here object.
  • Click the Inspector tab and open the Properties panel.
  • Click the arrow to the right of Position and choose Reset Parameter. This positions the text box in the vertical centre of the frame.
  • In the Inspector, choose the Text panel and make sure you’re in the Format tab.
  • In the Text section type Full Screen Title, or whatever you want the title to be.
  • From the Font selector, choose a chunky looking font.
  • Increase the size of the text. The Size slider only goes so far. To make the text even larger, drag upwards on the number.
  • Under Alignment, select the centre position (second option from the left).
  • In the Advanced section, check All Caps. This makes all the letters capitals.
  • Set the All Caps Size to 100%. This makes all the capitals the same height.
  • Use the Baseline slider to move the text up, if necessary.

Making the Text 3D

Currently the text is flat and two dimensional. But you can easily add visual interest by making it 3D, giving it a material and including some lights.

  • Still in the Text panel, click on the Appearance tab.
  • Check the 3D box to make the text three dimensional.
  • Drag the Depth slider to 100 to give the text some depth and make it look more 3D.
  • Click the Material selector, choose the Metal category and select the Chrome material.

The text looks dark, but you can change this by adding some lights.

  • From the Object menu at the top of the screen, choose New Light Setup and then Standard.

You’re prompted to change the 2D group into a 3D group. Click Switch to 3D.

A three light setup is created. The lights are called Fill Right, Fill Left and Key Center. They need tweaking to make the most of the chrome text.

  • Select the Key Center light, so its settings appear in the Inspector.
  • In the Inspector, uncheck the Shadows option. The stops the text from casting shadows on the background.
  • For each of the three lights in the setup, increase the Intensity and Diameter until the text looks how you want it.
Title template - background blown out by text lighting
Title Background blown out by text lighting

Increasing the brightness of the lights has blown out the background, but you can remedy that next.

  • Select the Title Background object.
  • In the Inspector choose Properties.
  • Under Lighting click Show.
  • And change the Shading parameter to Off.

The background has been restored to its normal brightness level.

Adding Filters to the Title Background

Now add some filters to the Title Background to make it more interesting when we use it in Final Cut. As mentioned earlier, any effects applied to the Title Background will be applied to the visible clips below the title.

  • Select the Title Background.
  • From the Filters menu choose Colour and then Hue / Saturation. The Hue / Saturation filter is applied.
  • In the Inspector drag the Saturation all the way to the left. Allow it’s not obvious, this will make any clip under the title black and white.
  • From the Filters menu, choose Stylize and then Crystalize.
  • Locate the Crystalize filter in the Inspector and drag the Size slider up. You can see how it effects the arrow in the Title Background.
  • Drag the Speed slider to zero to make the effect static and not animated.
Title template - background with filters applied
Title Background with filters applied (Title layer hidden)

Publish Parameters for the Title Template

For this template, publish two parameters from the Crystallize filter.

  • Select the Crystalize filter in the Project Pane.
  • To the right of the Size slider, click the white arrow and choose Publish.
  • Also publish the Mix parameter.
  • At the top of the Project Pane, select the Project layer.
  • In the Inspector, choose the Project panel.

Here you can see the parameters you’ve just published. To make it really obvious what they do, edit the names.

  • Rename Size as Crystal Size.
  • And rename Mix as Crystal Mix.

Save the Title

Saving the Title publishes it as a template in Final Cut Pro.

  • From the File menu choose Save As.
  • Call the template Full Screen Title, or whatever you prefer.
  • Use an existing category or create a new one.
  • Click Publish.

Using the Title in Final Cut Pro

The next step is to hop into Final Cut and make sure the title is working as expected. Make sure you’ve got at least one clip on the timeline.

  • Open the Titles and Generators sidebar.
  • Under Titles, select the category you used.
  • Drag your new title above the existing clips on the timeline. It’s applied as a connected clip. The text is visible and you can see the clip under the title is black and white and has the Crystalize effect.
  • Select the title and make sure the Title Inspector (T icon) is open.
  • In the Inspector, you can adjust the Crystal Size and Crystal Mix settings to get the effect you want.
  • Then choose the Text Inspector (lines of text icon) to type in your title.

You also have full access to plenty of other settings for editing your text. Even in Final Cut the text is fully 3D. Try rotating it on any of the three axes. You can also change the text material.

Generator Template

Generators are background images and graphic elements you can add to your video. You can also use text in a Generator.

Download the Motion Project

If you want to follow along, download the Globe Lower Third Motion project to get started.

Motion Generator Template

I’m not going to go through step-by-step how I created this Generator. Instead I’ll start with the project you’ve downloaded, add a 3D object, convert the project into a Generator and then publish it for Final Cut Pro. I’m going to be using a 3D object I created in the Blender to Motion 5 tutorial. I made a globe in Blender with a metallic texture and transparency. Then brought into Motion as a USDZ file.

Downloaded Globe Lower Third from the link above. Unzip it and double-click the project, to open it in Motion. You should see something like the image below. From the Zoom menu (above the Canvas), make sure Fit is selected.

Globe Lower Third Motion project
Globe Lower Third Motion project

Making the Canvas Background Transparent

If you don’t see a transparent background in the Canvas:

  • Click on the Project layer at the top of the Project Pane.
  • In the Inspector, select the Properties tab.
  • Set Background to Transparent.
  • From the Channels menu above the Canvas, select Transparent.

Adding a 3D Object

You can see there’s a circle hole in the lower third. This is where you’ll add a 3D object. If you followed the Blender to Motion 5 training, you might already have a 3D world with transparency and a metallic material. Unfortunately I can’t supply this as a download, because the world map is provided by Vemaps. If you haven’t made it yourself, you can use one of the models from Motion’s 3D Object library.

  • Position the playhead at the start of the timeline.
  • Select the Library tab.
  • Open the 3D Object library.

There are a number of spherical objects you can place in the circular gap. There’s the Earth or the Moon. Alternatively you can use a Golf Ball, an Eight Ball or a Basket Ball. If you’re using an object from the Library, drag it into the empty World group. Alternatively, if you’re importing a 3D object, select the World group and click the Import button in the Toolbar above the Library / Inspector.

When you add a spherical object to the World group, it should be positioned in the correct place. But it will probably need tweaking:

  • Select your 3D object in the Project Pane and click on the Inspector tab.
  • Choose the Properties panel.
  • Drag down on the Scale number to make the object smaller. If you need to make fine adjustments, hold down the Option key as you drag.

If you’ve imported the metallic globe from the previous training, it will probably be too shiny for the lower third. You can quickly remedy this:

  • Select the World 3D object.
  • At the top of the Project Pane, choose the Project layer.
  • In the Inspector, make sure the Properties panel is selected.
  • Reduce the value of the 3D Object Environment, until the world looks correct.

Animate the 3D Object

Now you have a spherical 3D object in the lower third’s circular gap, it’s time to animate it.

  • Make sure the playhead is at the start of the timeline.
  • Select your spherical object.
  • From the Behaviors menu (in the Toolbar, above the Canvas), select the Basic Motion category and then Spin.
  • In the Inspector, make sure Increment is set to Continuous Rate.
  • Set the Spin Rate to around 85º.
  • And set the Axis to Y.

Hit the Spacebar to play the timeline. You should see the sphere spinning rather nicely. You can always tweak the Spin settings if required.

Publishing Generator Parameters

Let’s publish a couple of parameters to make this lower third more useable in Final Cut. If you need to enter a lot of text in the lower third, it would be useful to be able to resize the text bar. And if you change the size of the text bar, you’ll also need to change the X position of the text.

  • In the Project Pane, select the Text Bar object.
  • In the Inspector, select the Properties panel.
  • Click the arrow to the left of Scale to expand the parameters.
  • To the right of the X slider, click the white arrow and choose Publish.
  • Next, click the Text goes here object in the Project Pane.
  • In the Properties panel, expand the Position parameters.
  • To the right of the X position, click the white arrow and choose Publish.

Rename the published parameters to make it obvious what they do:

  • At the top of the Project Pane, click the Project layer.
  • In the Inspector, select the Project panel.
  • Rename Scale to Bar Scale.
  • And rename X.Position to Text X.Pos.

Convert a Motion Project to a Generator

This is currently a Motion project, so it needs to be converted into a Generator project before you save it.

  • From the File menu, select Convert Project To and choose Generator.
  • And again from the File menu, choose Save As.
  • Call it Globe Lower Third, or whatever you prefer.
  • Select an existing category, or create a new one.
  • Click Publish.

If you’re prompted to copy media into the template, click Copy.

Using the Generator in Final Cut Pro

Let’s hop into Final Cut and use the new Generator in a project. Make sure you’ve got at least one clip in the timeline. You’ve going to place the lower third above it as a Connected Clip.

  • Open the Titles and Generators sidebar.
  • Under Generators, locate the category you used for the new generator.
  • Drag the lower third above the clips on the timeline. It’s applied as a Connected Clip.

Play the timeline and see how it looks.

In the Generator Inspector (2 in circle icon), you can adjust the length of the Text Bar and reposition the text on the X axis. Consider what other parameters you could publish to make the lower third more useful.

Solving Template Problems with Compound Clips

Generator Animation Speed

With the Generator we’ve just created in mind, let’s consider a problem you might encounter. When you create a Generator in Motion, it has a default length. If you downloaded the Generator I provided, it is 10 seconds. But if you trim the Generator longer or shorter than the default duration, the speed of the animation changes. A shortened generator will have faster animation and a lengthened one will have slower animation. This is not what you want. Fortunately, there is a simple solution.

  • Reapply the lower third generator to make sure it’s the default duration of 10 seconds.
  • Right-click the generator and choose New Compound Clip. You can either accept the name suggested by Final Cut, or enter a new one.

Now the generator is a compound clip, you can trim it as much as you like and the animation speed doesn’t change.

Title Background Transition Issue

Let’s look at an issue with the Title template you created earlier. Here’s how it looks placed over a clip on the Final Cut timeline:

Title template applied in Final Cut Pro
Title template applied in Final Cut Pro

When you apply a Cross Dissolve transition to the Full Screen Title, it doesn’t behave as you’d expect. The text fades on, but the background effect snaps on without any dissolve. I want the background effect to fade in as well.

  • Remove the Cross Dissolve transition.
  • Make sure Snapping is turned on (N key).
  • Activate the Range Selection tool. You can select it from the Tool menu or press the R key.
  • With the Range Selection tool, select the length of the clip underneath the title.
  • Copy and then from the Edit menu, choose Paste as Connected Clip.
  • Switch back to the standard Select tool (A key).
  • Lift the title above the pasted range.
  • Drag the pasted clip so it lines up with the title.
  • Select both the title and the pasted range.
  • Right-click and choose New Compound Clip. Both selected items and converted into a single compound clip.

Now when you apply a Cross Dissolve to the Compound clip, the transition behaves as expected. Both the title and the background effect will fade in and out.


I hope you enjoyed this article about creating Motion templates and publishing them to Final Cut Pro. It really speeds up the editing process because it means you don’t have to create your generators, titles, effects and transitions from scratch every time.

If you’ve got any questions or suggestions please comment.

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