Probably my favorite feature of the new Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 is the ease with which you can create new effects. If you can apply an effect to a placeholder, then you can just as easily apply it to any clip. Here, we’ll create a new effect from scratch in Motion 5 and apply it to a clip in FCP X.
Launch Motion 5, and choose the Final Cut Effect preset from the Project Browser window. I’ll choose the 1080p24 preset here, but it’s not critical. Click in the Canvas and press Shift-Z to zoom to fit to the window.
Create a new effect.
In the Layers and/or Timeline panes, you’ll see an item named “Effect Source”. That’s a placeholder clip, a stand-in for whatever clip(s) this effect is applied to in FCP X. At the left of the interface, choose Library > Filters > Stylize, and scroll down in the pane below to find Slit Tunnel. Drag Slit Tunnel onto Effect Source in either the Layers or Timeline panes.
Find a filter in Motion.
Click on the Inspector tab (next to Library). Below that, click on the Filters tab if it’s not showing already. A few settings here can be changed, and can produce a very different look. Take a few moments to see what the different settings can do.
Tweak properties in Motion.
Note: It can be tricky to see what you’re doing on a grey placeholder graphic. If you’re having difficulty seeing what you’re doing, feel free to drop in a “dummy” still image or a movie above the placeholder, adjust settings there, then finally drag the filter back down to the Effect Source before deleting the added “dummy” item.
Now that you’ve seen your options, it’s a good idea to pick the most important settings and expose them to modification in FCP X. You shouldn’t necessarily do this for every parameter available, just what you might want to tweak in FCP X. Right-click on the name of each parameter you want to expose, and choose Publish. Here, I’ll expose Center, Rotation, and Perspective.
Click on Project in the Layers or Timeline views. In Project > Publishing, you’ll see all the parameters you just published. Double-click any of them to rename them, and drag them up or down to rearrange them.
Reorder and rename.
This part is easy: choose File > Save. Give the name “Slit Tunnel”. From the Category drop-down, choose New Category... and type “Experiments”. Click the Publish button.
Save the effect.
Launch FCP X and open any project. Open the Effects tab by clicking on the Effects icon on the right of the toolbar (it’s the leftmost of the seven smaller buttons). Under the new Video category Experiments, drag the Slit Tunnel effect to any clip in a timeline.
Apply the filter in FCP X.
Click on the Inspector button, the 'i' inside a blue circle all the way to the right of the toolbar. Select the clip you just applied your effect to. In the Inspector, to the right of the viewer, you’ll see the parameters you published. Change them; in particular, try lower values for Perspective and move the center X and Y.
Tweak parameters in FCP X.
You can repeat these steps for just about any effect in Motion, even combining multiple effects, clone layers, masks and moves. In fact, many of the built-in FCP X effects appear to have been built this way. It’s never been this easy to create original effects and avoid the cliché of an effect you’ve seen a hundred times before — so go for it!
Want to learn more about creating effects in Motion? These Motion 5 tutorial-videos by Michael Wohl will show you what you need to know!