FCP X: Intro to Animation

posted Jan 19, 2012, 8:34 AM by Frank Maggi   [ updated Jan 24, 2012, 10:14 AM ]

There is a lot of animation that can occur right inside FCP X. You can animate opacity, scale, position, rotation, cropping, color, filters, text parameters...there’s a lot you can do. So long as you understand the concept of Keyframing and work in a methodical way, your only limitation is your imagination. Below are the steps to complete a simple project that should give you the skills you need.




Fade In/Fade Out

  • Add a 7 second clip (any) to the timeline
  • Show Video Animation (above)
  • Hit Show Graph for Opacity (or double-click on the word)
  • Set fade in and fade out (works like this for Audio, too)
  • Space bar to play
  • Reset to original condition (we'll do something more interesting)
  • Hit Hide Graph for Opacity (or double-click on the word)
  • Close Video Animation (x)

Animate Crop in the Viewer

  • Click at the beginning of the clip to set the Playhead
  • In the Viewer, activate Cropping and set a Keyframe
  • Set Playhead at 1second (⌃-P; 1.=1:00; 1..=1:00:00 etc.)
  • Add a second Keyframe in the Viewer; leave it as is. 
  • Use the Previous Keyframe button to go to the first Keyframe
  • Note: always use Keyframe arrows to navigate to be sure you are on a Keyframe
  • Note: always add Keyframe, then change parameter
  • Drag the top middle handle to the center of the Viewer
  • Drag the bottom middle handle to the center of the Viewer
  • Click the Preview button to play your animation
  • Click Done

Add a Generator

  • Set Playhead at 1second (⌃-P; 1.=1:00; 1..=1:00:00 etc.)
  • Click on Generators tab
  • Click on Elements > Shapes
  • Drag Shapes to Playhead
  • Playhead to end of main clip; -1. to go back one second (deselect first)
  • Select Shapes clip at that point in time
  • ⌥-] to set Shapes out point
  • With Shapes selected, click Inspector button, then Generator tab
  • Set shape to Arrow

Animating Roundness (Shapes clip) in the Timeline

  • Show Video Animation
  • Clip > Solo Animation
  • Hit Show Graph button for Roundness 
  • Playhead at beginning; add Roundness Keyframe (Modify > Add Keyframe; ⌥-K)
  • Move forward one second (⌃-P; 2.=2:00); add second Keyframe; leave Roundness at 0
  • Use Keyframe back arrow to go to first Keyframe; set Roundness to 140
  • Set interpolation to Ease
  • Note: always use Keyframe arrows to navigate to be sure you are on a Keyframe

Animating Transformations in the Inspector

  • Place Markers (M) at 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 seconds of the Project; make sure they go on the Shapes clip (select first)
  • Go to Marker 1 [Mark > Next (or previous) > Marker⌃-; or -' ] and select clip
  • In the Inspector, go to Video
  • Add Keyframes for Position, Rotation, and Scale; leave as is
  • Go to Marker 2 [-']; add Keyframes for Position Rotation, and Scale
    • Then set:
      • Position: X=-56
      • Rotation=-90°
      • Scale=50%
  • Go to Marker 3 [-']; add Keyframes for Position, Rotation, and Scale; leave as is so there is a 1 second pause
  • Go to Marker 4 [-']; add Keyframes for Position, Rotation, and Scale
    • Set:
      • Position: X=17; Y=-34 (or any point, really)
      • Rotation=-90° (same)
      • Scale=50% (same)
  • Go to Marker 5 [⌃-']; add Keyframes for Position, Rotation, and Scale
    • Set:
      • Position: X=Off Screen right
      • Rotation=-270° (same)
      • Scale=50% (same)

Extra Credit: Animate Crop of Main Clip in the Viewer

  • Click at the end of the clip to set the Playhead
  • In the Viewer, activate Cropping and set a Keyframe
  • Activate the Timeline (⌘-2)
  • Set Playhead at 1second earlier (-1. > Enter); deselect clip first
  • Add a second Keyframe; leave it as is
  • Use the Next Keyframe button to go to the first Keyframe
  • Note: always use Keyframe arrows to navigate to be sure you are on a Keyframe
  • Note: always add Keyframe, then change parameter
  • Drag the top middle handle to the center of the Viewer
  • Drag the bottom middle handle to the center of the Viewer
  • Click the Preview button to play your animation
  • Click Done
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