Using Motion with Final Cut Pro

Integration between Motion and Final Cut Pro allows you to:

Note: Motion can import audio included in a Final Cut Pro project, but audio in a Motion project does not appear in Final Cut Pro.

Importing a Motion Project into Final Cut Pro

You can import Motion projects into Final Cut Pro to quickly add motion graphics, title sequences, and animations to your sequence.

To import a Motion project into Final Cut Pro
Do one of the following:
  • Drag the Motion project from the Finder to the Final Cut Pro Browser or Timeline.

  • Choose File > Import > Files, then select the Motion project in the dialog that appears and click Choose.

Importing a Motion project into Final Cut Pro creates a Motion clip (also called an embedded Motion project) that you can edit in the same way as any other clip in your Final Cut Pro project. A Motion clip in Final Cut Pro is linked to the original Motion project stored on your hard disk. Motion clips appear in the Final Cut Pro Browser and Timeline with a .motn extension.

Motion clips can play back in real time, although you may have to choose Unlimited RT mode to avoid rendering. For more information, see the Final Cut Pro User Manual, available in Final Cut Pro Help.

Important: In order for a Motion clip to play correctly in Final Cut Pro, all media files (such as movies and still images) used in the original Motion project must be on the same hard disk as the Final Cut Pro project.

Making Changes to a Motion Clip in Final Cut Pro

While working in Final Cut Pro, you can quickly make changes to a Motion clip by opening the clip’s project file in Motion. After you save the Motion project, any changes you made appear immediately in Final Cut Pro.

Note: This feature requires both Final Cut Pro and Motion to be installed on the same computer.

To open a Motion project from within Final Cut Pro
Do one of the following:
  • Select the Motion clip, then choose View > Clip in Editor.

  • Control-click a Motion clip, then choose Open in Editor from the shortcut menu.

    The Motion project opens in Motion. Once you make changes in Motion and save the project, Final Cut Pro automatically reconnects the Motion clip to the updated project so you can see the changes.

    If you do not use the View > Clip in Editor or Open in Editor command in Final Cut Pro to open a Motion project, Final Cut Pro may not automatically reconnect the Motion project if you resave it. In this case, you will have to manually reconnect the Motion clip in Final Cut Pro to its original Motion project file.

To reconnect a Motion clip to an updated Motion project
Do one of the following:
  • Initiate the Motion project update from within Final Cut Pro by selecting the Motion clip and choosing View > Clip in Editor.

    This method informs Final Cut Pro that the Motion project may be updated; as a result, the Motion clip is automatically reconnected when you return from Motion to Final Cut Pro.

  • Select the Always Reconnect Externally Modified Files option in the Editing tab of the Final Cut Pro User Preferences window.

    This method tells Final Cut Pro to automatically reconnect any modified media and project files when you switch to another application and then switch back to Final Cut Pro.

    Note: The Always Reconnect Externally Modified Files checkbox is active by default in Final Cut Pro User Preferences.

Restrictions When Working with Motion Clips in Final Cut Pro

When working with Motion projects in Final Cut Pro, keep the following restrictions and limitations in mind:

  • The audio in a Motion project is not imported into Final Cut Pro.

  • All video tracks in a Motion project appear as a single layer when imported into Final Cut Pro as a Motion clip.

  • The frame size and duration of the Motion clip are determined by the settings in the Motion project.

  • The Final Cut Pro Media Manager does not manage source media files used by a Motion clip’s project file. You need to manage your media for Motion projects separately from your Final Cut Pro media.

Sending Final Cut Pro Clips and Sequences to Motion

Just as you can import Motion projects into Final Cut Pro (where they are embedded as Motion clips), you can also send standard Final Cut Pro clips and sequences to Motion. To do this, use the Send To Motion Project command. This command is useful when you want to:

  • Edit a rough motion graphics sequence in Final Cut Pro and then send those clips to Motion for more complex animation

  • Use Final Cut Pro to capture media files for use in Motion

Many of the clip parameters you adjust in Final Cut Pro are retained in the resulting Motion project.

Selecting Clips or Sequences to Send to Motion

The Send To Motion Project command behaves slightly differently depending on what you select in Final Cut Pro and where you select it.

  • Browser clips: When one or more clips are selected in the Final Cut Pro Browser, the Send to Motion Project command sends the clip or clips to a new project in Motion; the Motion Timeline remains empty and the clips appear in the Motion Media tab.
  • Sequence in the Browser: When a sequence is selected in the Final Cut Pro Browser, the Send to Motion Project command creates a new Motion project with a track and clip layout identical to that of your Final Cut Pro sequence.
  • Clips in a sequence: When one or more clips in a sequence are selected in the Final Cut Pro Timeline, a new Motion project is created containing only the clips you selected in your Final Cut Pro Timeline. In Motion, the clips retain the same track layout as your original selection. If you select the Embed Motion Content checkbox in the Export Selection to Motion Project dialog the clips in your Final Cut Pro sequence will be replaced with a single Motion project file. For more about this option, see About the Embed Motion Content Option.

Important: Sending a Motion clip (as opposed to a Final Cut Pro clip) by itself back to Motion results in an empty project. If you want to open a Motion clip in Motion, use the Open in Editor command instead. For more information about working with imported Motion projects, see Making Changes to a Motion Clip in Final Cut Pro.

To send clips or sequences from Final Cut Pro to a new Motion project
  1. In Final Cut Pro, do one of the following:

    • Select one or more clips in the Browser.

    • Select a sequence in the Browser.

    • Select one or more clips in the Timeline.

  2. Choose File > Send To > Motion Project.

  3. In the dialog that appears, do the following:

    • Choose an export location and enter a name for the new Motion project.

    • If you want the new Motion project to open immediately in Motion, select the Launch Motion checkbox.

    • If you selected sequence clips in the Timeline, select the Embed Motion Content checkbox to replace the selected sequence clips in Final Cut Pro with the Motion project you just created (an embedded Motion clip with the .motn extension). For more information, see Sending Selected Sequence Clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion.

  4. Click Save.

    A new Motion project is created. If you selected the Launch Motion option, the new project opens in Motion. For more information about the results of sending different kinds of selections to Motion, see the following sections.

Sending Browser Clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion

When you send Browser clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion, a new Motion project is created with an empty Timeline, and the media from each selected Final Cut Pro clip is displayed in the Media tab of Motion. Use this method to quickly import media from Final Cut Pro into an empty Motion project.

Sending a Browser Sequence from Final Cut Pro to Motion

When you send a sequence (selected in the Browser) from Final Cut Pro to Motion, each clip in that sequence is placed in a separate layer in a new Motion project (in the Layers tab and Timeline). Use this method to edit one or more layers in Final Cut Pro and then add effects, animation, or text in Motion.

Important: Sending a sequence that contains Motion clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion causes gaps to appear in the Motion Timeline where the Motion clips appeared in the sequence.

Sending Selected Sequence Clips from Final Cut Pro to Motion

When you send multiple sequence clips (selected in the Timeline) from Final Cut Pro to Motion, each selected clip in that sequence is placed in a separate layer in a new Motion project. Noncontiguous selections are allowed. For example, if you selected sequence clips A, B, and D in Final Cut Pro, but you skipped clip C, the Motion Timeline would also contain media from clips A, B, and D with a gap where clip C was located.

When you send sequence clips to Motion, several things happen:

  • Final Cut Pro automatically creates a new sequence containing only the clips you selected. You can verify that there is a new sequence by looking in the Browser.

  • The contents of the new sequence are used to create a new Motion project.

  • If you choose the Embed Motion Content option in the Export Selection to Motion Project dialog, the new Motion project is imported back into Final Cut Pro as an embedded Motion clip (with a .motn extension) in the Browser. The selected sequence clips are replaced by the new Motion clip.

About the Embed Motion Content Option

The Embed Motion Content option is available only when you send selected sequence clips from the Final Cut Pro Timeline to a new Motion project. This option imports the new Motion project back into Final Cut Pro and replaces your selected sequence clips. In effect, it converts your selection of sequence clips into a Motion clip in a single step. For more information about working with imported Motion projects, see Making Changes to a Motion Clip in Final Cut Pro.

If you don’t select the Embed Motion Content checkbox, the selected sequence clips are still copied into a new sequence in the Browser, but they are not replaced. Furthermore, the new Motion project is not imported into Final Cut Pro, so your original sequence remains unchanged.

What Properties Are Exported to Motion?

When you send sequence clips from the Final Cut Pro Timeline to Motion, the following properties are retained in the exported Motion project.

Exported properties
Video
  • Clips, with In and Out points, placed on the correct Timeline tracks and positions

  • Clip and sequence markers (called object and project markers in Motion)

  • Almost all attributes in a clip’s Motion tab, including Basic Motion, Crop, Distort, Opacity, Drop Shadow, and Time Remap. Any linear and smooth Bezier keyframes are also included.

  • Composite (blend) modes

  • The SmoothCam filter. If applied, the filter is converted to the Stabilize behavior with the Smooth method enabled in Motion.

Audio1
  • Media

  • Markers

  • Levels and keyframes

The audio exported to Motion is not imported when you bring the Motion project back into Final Cut Pro. The audio is only intended to be used in Motion for playback and markers. For this reason, make sure that you retain the original audio clips in Final Cut Pro.

Note: With the exception of the SmoothCam filter, Final Cut Pro does not send filters applied to clips. Also, transitions and generators are not sent.